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Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Bit More Jane Austen

I'd been pretty good at keeping up with my reviews of the Jane Austen-fest on PBS, but a got a little behind with the last few, now that it's spring, and I've had to DVR them rather than watching them all when they aired.

Ms. Austen Regrets disappeared into the black hole of the DVR, though I did manage to catch large swatches of it when it aired. While I liked what I saw, I have to say I was a little leery of watching it. I've read some biographical sources on Jane Austen, and for whatever reason, since we know so little about her actual life, I feel somewhat strange watching a movie about her, since it's based so much on speculation or secondary sources.

I didn't watch Pride and Prejudice since I own it on DVD. I love that book, and every single screen adaptation I've seen of it. There's really nothing more to say.

The Kate Beckinsale Emma was fun. I loved Samantha Morton's frizzy hair for some reason. It made her portrayal of Harriet for me. I also loved Olivia Williams as Jane Fairfax, due to her portrayal of Jane Austen in Ms. Austen Regrets. It seemed a fitting cross-over. The gardens at Mr. Knightley's estate (the name of which escapes me at the moment) were lovely. But, my favorite thing about this movie was Mark Strong as Mr. Knightley. I'm sure I'd seen him in other things before I saw Stardust, but he's now stuck in my head forever as Prince Septimus, and I just loved it every time he walked on screen.

I actually was able to watch the first part of Sense and Sensibility on the night it aired. Since I didn't know it was a two-parter, I was starting to get fairly confused when 10:30 was rolling around and the girls hadn't been invited to London yet.

I really enjoyed this adaptation. The cottage, and the Devonshire coast scenery in general, were stunning, and were used to great effect to contrast all the emotional goingson in the story. Actually, all of the scenery was lovely, and they picked some very interesting houses for the various locations. I especially liked the hall in Cleveland where we last see Mr. Willoughby. The woodwork and the balcony were very atmospheric. I believe I liked this better then the Emma Thompson version, and that movie actually convinced me to give the book another try, after an initial failed attempt to read it.


Jenn said...

I'm with you - I liked this S&S better than the Emma Thompson one, which I did love.

I still need to track down that Emma from the library or something, since we missed it!!

Carl V. said...

I may have to try S&S sometime though I can't imagine liking it better than the Emma Thompson version. That one is a frequently rewatched film in our home.

I haven't seen the Kate B. version of Emma yet though I am a big fan of hers. The Gwyneth version is another favorite of ours, I love Jeremy N. as Mr. Knightley. He is just perfect.

I can at least admit that I am a fan of both versions of Pride and Prejudice, the BBC version and the Keira Knightley version. Both have wonderful things about them and reflect my love for the book as well.