A re-imagining of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey...Read More
A little while ago, I finished reading Captain Wentworth’s Diary, by Amanda Grange. It’s Persuasion from Captain Wentworth point of view told through his diary entries. This was the second time I’ve read the book. The first time, I must admit, I read it without having read Persuasion thinking that having watched the 2007 version, starring Rupert Penry-Jones and Sally Hawkins, would give me all of the background I needed. I was mistaken. Even though, I found it enjoyable the first time around, I got so much more out of it after having read the original story, as it all fit together as it was intended. Amanda Grange beautifully painted a picture of Captain Wentworth’s feelings and I felt as if I got know him. From the moments of his growing love for Anne, through the heart break of Anne ending their engagement, and, finally, their reconciliation.
Of course, the entire time, I was picturing Penry-Jones as the Captain. I’m afraid that he will always be who I picture, as he played the role so well. I could even hear him narrate the letter as I read it. To me, the letter is the pinnacle of the story. All of his emotions are laid to bare and Amanda Grange built up the moment, so it was even more satisfying having been privy to his struggle the entire time. If you have not done so, pick up a copy. You’ll not regret it for an instant. It’s a story that every Jane Austen fan must read!
A friend of mine forwarded me an article that the estate used as Pemberly in the Pride and Prejudice mini-series starring Colin Firth is up for sale. It’s only a mere 12.5 million US dollars. I was joking with her that we should get everyone we know to pitch in, because with over 300 rooms, I’m not sure we’d notice that we all lived together! Even so we both agreed that we’d have to hold, at least, one ball per year. How could you not?
A girl can dream…
Here’s a link to the article, which also relates some of the history surrounding the estate. It’s an interesting read.
On my previous blog post, which you can read here. I listed my top 5 Jane Austen inspired movies, but left the question of whether Pride and Prejudice and Zombies would usurp one of those spots. On that count, my answer is no. On the whole I’m not a fan of zombies, and in this movie, the zombies were a little too much on the gross/creepy side for me. Now, don’t get me wrong, some of the interactions were comedic, but I just have a hard time with zombies and mixing them with Jane Austen is one of the few ways to get me to watch them.
That being said, there were parts that I truly enjoyed. However, I must say that my favorite bits surprised me. Not in any version of Pride and Prejudice have I ever felt like I needed to see more Mr. Collins or Lady Catherine de Bourgh, but in this version they were the best characters. If I had to choose between the two, Matt Smith’s Mr. Collins, out right stole the show. Every scene he was in made me laugh, especially his interactions with Elizabeth at the Netherfield Ball! His dance moves were something to behold.
If you were on the fence about watching this movie, see it for him. For those of you that like Zombies, definitely give it a watch. It’s worth watching once just to see that juxtaposition between Regency manners and zombie slaughter and, of course, for Matt Smith.
There are several movies that have used Jane Austen as the basis for story. From the likes of Bridget Jones’s Diary to Clueless, but just like with faithful adaptations I also have my favorites in this category. Now, I had thought about waiting to put this together until I get a chance to see Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, however I thought it would be more interesting to see if the movie ends up displacing one of my current Top 5. So without further ado here’s my list:
- Austenland, starring JJ Feild and Keri Russell. This one is just so much fun and pokes at the obsessive Jane-ite in us all. Who doesn’t want to fall in love with their own version of Mr. Darcy!
- Lost In Austen, starring Jemima Rooper and Elliot Cowen as Mr. Darcy. This fun excursion into the world of Austen has an excellent cast all around and for those Ichabod Crane fans out there, Tom Mison plays Mr. Bingley. Whenever I watch this, I hope that I would handle things a bit better than Amanda.
- Bride and Prejudice, starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Martin Henderson. Who would have thought that blending Austen and Bollywood could be so great!. If you like musicals as well as Austen, don’t miss this one. As a side note, for all of you Elijah fans from Vampire Diaries and The Originals, Daniel Gillies plays a fabulous Wickham.
- Bridget Jones’s Diary, starring Renee Zellweger and none other than Colin Firth, basically reprising his role as Darcy. However, this time his first name is Mark instead of Fitzwilliam. This version of Pride and Prejudice is just a great time.
- Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, starring Renee Zellweger and Colin Firth. If you like the first one, you’ll most likely enjoy the sequel.
Will Pride and Prejudice and Zombies displace any of the movies currently on my list? Stay tuned, because I’ll be seeing it this coming weekend.
Jane Austen’s Persuasion tends to get lost in the shadow of Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility, but I dare any woman to hear or read Captain Wentworth’s letter and not fall in love with him. His letter which is a mixture of hope and despair pulls at the heart and every time I read or hear it, I can hardly wait for Frederick’s and Anne’s reconciliation. Even though it does not appear in its entirety, watch 2007’s Persuasion to hear Rupert Penry-Jones deliver a beautiful dramatization of the letter.
Here is it in its entirety below:
“I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone forever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tone of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in F.W.
I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening or never.”
Do you think it’s swoon worthy?
When I originally thought about putting this post together, I hadn’t considered restricting it. However, with the numerous amounts of adaptations out there I thought it best to narrow the focus down to adaptations set in the 1800s so I can do this list justice. Otherwise, I could never decide!
- Northanger Abbey: starring Felicity Jones & J.J. Feild
- Pride & Prejudice: mini series starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle
- Sense & Sensibility: mini series starringHattie Morahan & Dan Stevens
- Emma: mini series starring Romola Garai & Johnny Lee Miller
- Pride & Prejudice: starring Keira Knightly & Mathew Macfadyen because you simply don’t always have time to watch the mini series and, let’s face it, Matthew Mcfadyen looks great in a poet shirt. ;-)
What are your top five?
Jane Austen was born on this day 1775. Thank you for this delightful couple that inspired me to pick up the pen.