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Author Topic: Austen Adaptations  (Read 3014 times)

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November 10, 2012, 03:23:15 PM

Allons-y!

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What is your favorite movie adaptation of a Jane Austen movie?  Which is your least favorite?  Where there are multiple versions of the same story, which is your favorite?

I haven't seen them all, however, I go back to Sense and Sensibility over and over. There is NOTHING about the film with Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet that I don't like.  Rickman is, in my mind, the ultimate Colonel Brandon.  Hugh Grant, who so often plays a cocky, over-sexed playboy, is adorably awkward as Edward.  Kate Winslet portrays the Sensibility perfectly, her enthusiasm and emotion perfectly suited to Marianne.  The scene when Eleanor finally shows HER heartbreak over Edward to Marianne seals Emma Thompson's portrayal. She almost loses it, and then recovers before you do, as you watch.

As for Pride & Prejudice, the Focus Features version from a few years back is a beautiful film, and I adore Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennet, but my favorite is the BBC mini-series starring Colin Firth (sigh!) and Jennifer Ehle.  It takes its time and tells the story in such a satisfying way as to make it the first (and only) movie adaptation that I enjoyed more than its written counterpart.

So what are your thoughts, and favorites? 


Jiggery-pokery...wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey...spacey-wacey...stuff.
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November 10, 2012, 08:39:10 PM
Reply #1

Evreka

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I haven't either read or seen much of Jane Austen (shame on me, I guess), but I really love Pride and Prejudice. My two favourite versions are a TV mini series in six parts from 1995 and the film from 2005 for quite different reasons.

The 1995 TV version is of course more detailed as it is 6 hours long in total, and I think it is very true to the book. As such Mrs Bennet is a complete pain to watch and listen to (nearly as unendurable as the written Lockhart in HP  ;) but for different reasons)! But I love how Elizabeth, Jane and Mr Darcy, in particular, are portrayed. I don't remember a single character I didn't like how they were casted. The annoying ones are perfectly annoying, the lovable ones lovable and so on. :D The episodes from the Lake District, where Elizabeth meets Mr Darcy at his home ground are my particular favourites (the cut between two episodes are in the middle of that trip if I remember correctly). And I love how they have filmed Mr Darcy's (original) proposal and the letter that follows. Yummy! :D I also love the added scene where Mr Darcy are fencing. I walk away from that series with the feeling of having watched the perfect adaption.

However, when I saw the 2005 movie for the first time, I found it somewhat funnier and, to be a shorter version, very very well done. Mrs Bennet is not nearly as annoying as she is supposed to be, and hence infinitely more pleasant to watch! ;) Upon a revisit of the movie on DVD a year or two ago, it didn't feel quite as realistic "time wise", people seemed to act a little less true to the decade in which it is supposed to happen and somewhat more modern. Still, I like this one too.

« Last Edit: November 10, 2012, 08:41:17 PM by Evreka »
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November 10, 2012, 10:16:41 PM
Reply #2

RiverSpirit

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I really struggled with the books but the films opened up the world of Austen to me.

I love Sense and Sensibility. The casting was brilliant. The story seemed fresh (which is impressive given when the book was written).

Another Austen film that I enjoyed was Emma. Maybe the lead wasn't the best choice but it was really nice to watch.
  
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November 12, 2012, 07:37:04 PM
Reply #3

Kickassnoodle

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I really struggled with the books but the films opened up the world of Austen to me.
[...]
Another Austen film that I enjoyed was Emma. Maybe the lead wasn't the best choice but it was really nice to watch.
Oh, yes, I had difficulties with the books at first as well (being a non-native speaker and trying to read the original versions and all), but after watching some of the adaptations, it became easier to follow the books as well and now I love them on their own right :D Which Emma film do you mean? There are 2 better-known films - one starring Kate Beckinsale and one starring Gwyneth Paltrow. The one with Beckinsale is truer to the book. But the one with Paltrow is more romantic, the character of Mr Knightley is made gentler, for instance, him 'almost' kissing Emma's hand before leaving for London is him actually kissing her hand, the scene is very, well, *swoon* ;) I like both of those versions for those respective reasons.

However, I think, my favourite Emma is the BBC miniseries starring Ramola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller. Those two are cast just perfectly, even though Jonny Lee Miller seemed an odd choice to me at first, but I think, he makes a perfect Mr Knightley. Also, there's something to be said for the miniseries format - it allows to explore the book more than a film, which basically just glances over.

The 1995 TV version is of course more detailed as it is 6 hours long in total, and I think it is very true to the book. As such Mrs Bennet is a complete pain to watch and listen to (nearly as unendurable as the written Lockhart in HP  ;) but for different reasons)! But I love how Elizabeth, Jane and Mr Darcy, in particular, are portrayed. I don't remember a single character I didn't like how they were casted. The annoying ones are perfectly annoying, the lovable ones lovable and so on. :D The episodes from the Lake District, where Elizabeth meets Mr Darcy at his home ground are my particular favourites (the cut between two episodes are in the middle of that trip if I remember correctly). And I love how they have filmed Mr Darcy's (original) proposal and the letter that follows. Yummy! :D I also love the added scene where Mr Darcy are fencing. I walk away from that series with the feeling of having watched the perfect adaption.

However, when I saw the 2005 movie for the first time, I found it somewhat funnier and, to be a shorter version, very very well done. Mrs Bennet is not nearly as annoying as she is supposed to be, and hence infinitely more pleasant to watch! ;) Upon a revisit of the movie on DVD a year or two ago, it didn't feel quite as realistic "time wise", people seemed to act a little less true to the decade in which it is supposed to happen and somewhat more modern. Still, I like this one too.
See, for me it's quite the opposite regarding Mrs Bennett - I absolutely adore her in the 1995 miniseries, in a totally annoying sort of way ;D You can almost see how much fun the actress is having playing that role :D She's great comic relief. Whereas the Mrs Bennett in the 2005 film is just sort of meh for me. Speaking of meh, the main reason why I can't really like the 2005 film is Mr Bennett's character, he's just so mumbling and, well, sort of weak. Whereas the character in 1995 version is the way he's supposed to be - sort of resigned to the way of his life but not lost his spirit, so to speak, still having fun with Mrs Bennett (often at her expense) and such. I have a very strong opinion about Mr Bennett because he's my favourite PandP character ;D Mr Darcy is also a tad too weak and awkward in the 2005 film, in my opinion. Apart from his stature, there's not much conveying his pride.

All that said, however, I still like the 2005 film well enough, because of its beautiful visuals. That opening sequence with the trees at dawn and then Lizzie walking through the meadow and then through the yards and all - is one of my favourite opening sequences. With the gentle sounds and warm lighting it's just so beautiful in a very simple sort of way. But the 1995 miniseries is probably my favourite Austen adaptation ever. It's just perfect.

Finally, I just must mention my newest obsession - The Lizzie Bennett Diaries, a modern PandP adaptation, made as a series of vlogs on Youtube. Despite the story being told in a modern setting, it's keeping surprisingly true to the book, even though it's taking certain liberties, and while at that it's actually making some PandP characters a lot more likeable. It's very inspired and pretty brilliant ;) I have long waited for a good modern PandP adaptation. Arguably, Bridget Jones Diary films were based on PandP but apart from a few key scenes which are clearly based on book scenes, there's not much PandP in there. I'm so glad Hank Green had the idea to create Lizzie Bennett Diaries :D
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November 12, 2012, 07:44:09 PM
Reply #4

Evreka

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What is a PandP adaption??   ??? *Completely confused*
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November 13, 2012, 03:22:28 AM
Reply #5

ss19

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What is a PandP adaption??   ??? *Completely confused*
It means Pride and Prejudice adaptation. :)


See, for me it's quite the opposite regarding Mrs Bennett - I absolutely adore her in the 1995 miniseries, in a totally annoying sort of way ;D You can almost see how much fun the actress is having playing that role :D She's great comic relief.
Me, too!  I loved Mrs. Bennett in the 1995 miniseries!  I thought Alison Steadman did a great job bringing the character to life.  In fact, when I tried reading the Pride and Prejudice book, I didn't like it and stopped reading after 4 chapters, part of the reason being that I found the Mrs. Bennett character in the book way too annoying for my taste, in a bad way.  But in the miniseries adaptation, I thought she was annoying but in a very fun-to-watch sort of way.  Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy was perfect as well, and I ended up taking a strong liking to him, particularly after his proposal was rejected.

This miniseries adaptation is the only Jane Austen I've watched so far.  The book that I attempted reading but failed is also the first and only Jane Austen book I've tried.  I do have the Sense and Sensibility adaptation on my list of movies to watch though, if I ever get around to it.
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November 13, 2012, 11:27:15 AM
Reply #6

RiverSpirit

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I really struggled with the books but the films opened up the world of Austen to me.

I love Sense and Sensibility. The casting was brilliant. The story seemed fresh (which is impressive given when the book was written).

Another Austen film that I enjoyed was Emma. Maybe the lead wasn't the best choice but it was really nice to watch.

I meant the Gwyneth Paltrow film.
  
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November 13, 2012, 04:05:02 PM
Reply #7

Allons-y!

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  I do have the Sense and Sensibility adaptation on my list of movies to watch though, if I ever get around to it.

If you get around to it, it's a beautiful film. Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie...what's not to like? Oh and Imelda Staunton being possibly even more annoying than she was as Umbridge. Not as evil, obviously, but annoying.  I love the dynamic between her and her husband, very humorous. (Especially because of who plays her husband, I'll let that be a surprise to you.)
I'm not much of a romantic, not nearly as much as I once was, but this movie makes me feel all lovey dovey inside. :)  Colonel Brandon is one my literary crushes, and Rickman's portrayal cemented that forever.
Jiggery-pokery...wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey...spacey-wacey...stuff.
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November 13, 2012, 06:48:43 PM
Reply #8

Evreka

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What is a PandP adaption??   ??? *Completely confused*
It means Pride and Prejudice adaptation. :)
Oh, I thought it was an adaptation term of some sort! Thanks for clearing that up! :)

I do have the Sense and Sensibility adaptation on my list of movies to watch though, if I ever get around to it.
I think I have two different adaptations of Sense and Sensibility among my pile of bought and not yet seen DVDs. One of these days, I will hopefully find that time lurking somewhere. ;)


If you get around to it, it's a beautiful film. Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie...what's not to like? Oh and Imelda Staunton being possibly even more annoying than she was as Umbridge. Not as evil, obviously, but annoying.  I love the dynamic between her and her husband, very humorous. (Especially because of who plays her husband, I'll let that be a surprise to you.)
I'm not much of a romantic, not nearly as much as I once was, but this movie makes me feel all lovey dovey inside. :)  Colonel Brandon is one my literary crushes, and Rickman's portrayal cemented that forever.
Ooooh, with that list of actors and actresses it does sound very interesting.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2012, 06:51:09 PM by Evreka »
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November 14, 2012, 03:54:18 PM
Reply #9

Kickassnoodle

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Oh, sorry about the PandP confusion. It's branded in me sort of like all the HP abbreviations  ::) Anyway. ss19, I see what you mean about Mrs Bennett being fun to watch, but too annoying to read. However, since I saw the miniseries, every time I read the book now, the miniseries just jumps out to the front of my mind and I can hear the shrill voice of the Mrs Bennett from TV and everything :D and it's fun. I actually think the creators of the miniseries really captured Mrs Bennett (and all the characters, really) just as they were written, there's just a bit of difference between reading and seeing and/or hearing, I think. When you read, you imagine characters and their voices and everything as your brain's connections create them in your mind, but when you're watching it, well, the visualisation is done for you.

I meant the Gwyneth Paltrow film.
Oh, OK. Yes, Gwyneth Paltrow is probably not the best choice for Emma, she just seems too grown-up, in my opinion. But Jeremy Northam as Mr Knightley is just totally swoon-worthy ;D

This is a bit random, but speaking of well-known actors in Austen adaptations - the Emma miniseries with Ramola Garai has Michael Gambon in it, playing Emma's father, and he's just excellent as the fussy, afraid-of-illness Mr Woodhouse.

Oh, and I love Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson (even if her Elinor was rather too old). However, my rather recent favourite is yet another BBC miniseries from 2008. It doesn't really have any big stars in it, apart from Dominic Cooper (who after the miniseries went to star in Mamma Mia!, The Duchess, etc) and David Morissey who is, I guess, mostly familiar from a Doctor Who Christmas Special, The Next Doctor. I guess I just like the way a miniseries can take a longer time to tell a story, when it does it so well.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2012, 04:03:00 PM by Kickassnoodle »
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November 18, 2012, 06:06:24 PM
Reply #10

merrythought

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I love Emma Thompson's Sense and Sensibility.  The humor is more Thompson's than Austen's, but I think that's fine.  I remember when I saw it for the first time, I had tears of laughter when Elinor's sisters and mother slam their way into their separate bedrooms, and there's a shot of Elinor from above; you can't see her face at all, but as she sits on the stairs and sips from a cup of tea, you feel her resignation and possible relief that they've all stormed off.  Also, Thompson's commentary on the DVD is one of the most interesting and informative commentaries I've ever heard.

Another adaptation I think really fine is Persuasion with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds (from the 1990s).  Now, to my mind that film perfectly captures the humor of Austen's novel, in particularly how everyone around her constantly bends Anne Elliot's ear.  The tone perfectly captures that of the original book as well, where there's a strong thread of melancholy alongside the humor.  The cast is fantastic, and E. Thompson's sister, Sophie, is hilarious as Anne's hypochondrical sister.
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December 10, 2012, 11:41:00 AM
Reply #11

Kickassnoodle

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I love Emma Thompson's Sense and Sensibility.  The humor is more Thompson's than Austen's, but I think that's fine.  I remember when I saw it for the first time, I had tears of laughter when Elinor's sisters and mother slam their way into their separate bedrooms, and there's a shot of Elinor from above; you can't see her face at all, but as she sits on the stairs and sips from a cup of tea, you feel her resignation and possible relief that they've all stormed off. 
Oh, yes! That is one of my favourite scenes from that film. I love how they work the camera in that tight space. In general, though I adore Emma Thompson, I think, my biggest problem with this film is just that she doesn't look like Elinor to me, and it's not only the age. It's OK if I separate the film from the book, but I don't think it's very faithful to Austen's characterisations.

Quote
Another adaptation I think really fine is Persuasion with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds (from the 1990s).  Now, to my mind that film perfectly captures the humor of Austen's novel, in particularly how everyone around her constantly bends Anne Elliot's ear.  The tone perfectly captures that of the original book as well, where there's a strong thread of melancholy alongside the humor.  The cast is fantastic, and E. Thompson's sister, Sophie, is hilarious as Anne's hypochondrical sister.
I agree. I love Persuasion! And I think, this adaptation captures everything from the book pretty well, even Anne's subtle physical transformation as she becomes more confident of herself as the book progresses. And Ciaran Hinds is pretty swoon-worthy too :D
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October 25, 2013, 09:58:58 PM
Reply #12

merrythought

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Hi everyone,
I was recently told about a clever vlog-style adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (modernized) which I ended up enjoying:  "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries." The whole series is on YouTube, and the folks who made it also made a modern series out of Sanditon and are currently rolling out a vlog version of Emma, called "Emma Approved."
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November 08, 2013, 10:59:29 PM
Reply #13

Dreamteam

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I've always loved Jane Austen's books and Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books of all time.  My favourite adaptation was the Colin Firth miniseries because, as has been mentioned, with six hours of screen time there's lots of time to explore all the nooks and crannies of the story in a way that many of us would have loved for the HP films.  The casting was wonderful and I well remember a friend, who hadn't read the book (shame on her), who thought after the first episode or two that "Wickham is so lovely" and "Darcy is just horrible".  I just smiled and told her to keep watching, she soon saw the truth :)   :hearts:   .  I loved Alison Steadman as Mrs Bennett, she's meant to be toe-curlingly embarrassing in her comments and she did it beautifully, poor Lizzie must have wanted the ground to open up and just swallow her.  I also loved Anna Chancellor as Caroline Bingley, she wants Darcy so much and doesn't realise just how much she turns him against her with her sharp comments against Lizzie.  Her facial expressions as she aims her shots, only to realise that they've completely missed their mark are a joy to watch.  I did like the Matthew McFaddyen version but I didn't feel it had as much impact as the miniseries.


If you get the chance to see it, there is an old black and white movie, with Laurence Olivier as Darcy and Greer Garson as Lizzie, which is well worth seeing.  It does divert from the book far too much but Olivier and Garson are both so wonderful in their parts that, unusually, I forgave that.  Lady Catherine is played by a comedy actress, Edna May Oliver, who I loved, especially when she arrives to inform Lizzie that she must not marry Darcy, the story line is one of the parts that is changed from that in the book but it is funny.


I also love the Emma Thompson version of Sense and Sensibility and I fully agree that Alan Rickman is perfect as Colonel Brandon but then the whole movie is so well cast, what's not to love?  Emma is another favourite movie adaptation with Gwynneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam as Emma and Mr Knightley.  I'm now thinking I might settle myself down for an Austen moviethon :)
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 11:02:50 PM by Dreamteam »

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November 09, 2013, 05:09:16 PM
Reply #14

Kickassnoodle

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Hi everyone,
I was recently told about a clever vlog-style adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (modernized) which I ended up enjoying:  "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries." The whole series is on YouTube, and the folks who made it also made a modern series out of Sanditon and are currently rolling out a vlog version of Emma, called "Emma Approved."
OMG Yes! I actually mentioned loving The Lizzie Bennet Diaries in this thread before ;) but it bears repeating :fredgeorge: I think, it was truly inspired. I've actually just discovered Welcome To Sanditon vlog-series - I don't know how I missed it when it first appeared and I didn't know it was an Austen adaptation at first. Anyhow, I'm enjoying it while I wait for new Emma Approved episodes :fredgeorge: I especially love Clara Breton's character. She's just awesome. There's this cool graphic on Tumblr, here pretty much summing the best parts about various Austen characters as brought to live at Youtube, and I love how Clara is described :fredgeorge:

And I simply love love love Emma Approved! Emma and Knightley's relationship is possibly my favourite of the Austen relationships largely due to Knightley being probably my favourite of Austen's romantic interests (don't hold me to this opinion, though, it changes!), and Brent Bailey & Joanna Sotomura play the characters' playfully bickering friendship so well. Brent Bailey is particularly adorable :hearts:
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May 11, 2014, 05:20:00 AM
Reply #15

Hermione P

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Hi everyone,
I was recently told about a clever vlog-style adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (modernized) which I ended up enjoying:  "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries." The whole series is on YouTube, and the folks who made it also made a modern series out of Sanditon and are currently rolling out a vlog version of Emma, called "Emma Approved."
And I simply love love love Emma Approved! Emma and Knightley's relationship is possibly my favourite of the Austen relationships largely due to Knightley being probably my favourite of Austen's romantic interests (don't hold me to this opinion, though, it changes!), and Brent Bailey & Joanna Sotomura play the characters' playfully bickering friendship so well. Brent Bailey is particularly adorable :hearts:
I haven't been here for ages - I was going to start a discussion about Emma Approved.
Joanna and Brent are now dating apparently.
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June 18, 2014, 01:44:27 PM
Reply #16

Hermione P

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Watched the 1995 Sense and Sensibility and it's great. Because I already knew how it was going to end,
Spoiler
I found Willoughby very irritating.
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