Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Favorite Austen Adaptations

The article below can also be found at my website Austen Efforts which celebrates all the Jane Austen adaptations.

The Best of the Best

It's long been disputed by Janeites which adaptations more closely follow the story lines of the Austen novels. Below is the list of my own personal favorite adaptations and the ones that I believe are filmed in the spirit of Jane Austen and are the most faithful to her novels.

While updating some of the language and movements of the characters this miniseries has an overwhelming amount of good points that closely follow Emma. I also love the casting, costumes, settings and music in this beautiful film!

Although this older miniseries is long and does not have am many beautiful sets as other adaptations it is very well cast and scripted and is the only adaptation to date that tells the whole story of Mansfield Park while faithfully capturing Fanny Price's character.

As this is my favorite Austen novel I have a hard time recommending any adaptation without first saying "please, read the novel!". This newer adaptation is beautiful and has a lovely cast. It does not however tell the whole story of Northanger Abbey as faithfully as I could wish, especially in the casting and portraying of the character of Henry Tilney.

This is my favorite Jane Austen adaptation because it has it all! There are beautiful costumes, gorgeous settings, extremely talented and well cast actors, and a beautifully written script. Most importantly is the overall feeling and spirit of this adaptation that they really understand the time period and Jane Austen.

This well-loved miniseries is loved for a reason - it's simply the best! With much time to develop the plot of Pride & Prejudice and to really get to know the characters, amazingly talented and well cast actors, gorgeous costumes and settings, and delightful dances and music. This is the quintessential Jane Austen adaptation!

I always have a hard time deciding which version is my favorite and often come back to the older Sense & Sensibility (1981) adaptation as a faithful and gentle adaptation. But for an even fuller and much more beautiful and well cast adaptation take a look at this newer miniseries. Besides the scandalous first scene "the seduction of Eliza", the film continues well to the very end and includes scenes and characters commonly left out of other adaptations. A scrumptious bit of period drama!

If you're looking for a biopic of the authoress then you'll definitely want to see this TV film on the life of Miss Austen. Delightfully cast, beautiful settings and costumes and no fanciful or made-up bits like those in other films (i.e. Becoming Jane), this is Jane Austen at her best and brightest seen just before her last days.

Unfortunately no film adaptations of this short story written in letters is available to date. But besides reading it yourself I highly recommend this lovely audiobook recording! It's almost as good as watching a film!

What are your favorite Jane Austen adaptations and why?

Very Truly Your's,


Elegance of Fashion said...

Great list! I haven't seen a few of these films (Sense and Sensibility (2008), Miss Austen Regrets, and Mansfield Park (1983)). I absolutely love the 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries!

Melanie said...

What a lovely list!!

I love Emma 2009 too! The Gwyneth Paltrow one is nice too, but I like the 2009 one better because it includes more and provides more character development.

"Mansfield Park" was so-so.... I don't care for the old BBC filming/acting style, but I have say that Fanny was perfectly cast, and Mrs. Norris was great too. :-D

I really want to see "Northanger Abbey"... maybe I'll pull it up on YouTube and watch it tonight in honor of Jane's birthday... ;-)

YAY!!! Someone else who looks the Amanda Root "Persuasion"!!!! I LOVE that version! So quiet and beautiful and well-done. Even though they left out material from the book, it still seems complete. And I love how Anne grows more beautiful throughout the film.

P&P 95-- agreed! It's the best!!! :-D

Sense and Sensibility 2008 is lovely too. I actually enjoy the 1995 one better but the 2008 version is great when I feel like getting the whole story, and more of Edward and Elinor. I love E & E in this one!! :-D

"Miss Austen Regrets" was so depressing! :-P


My favorite film adaptions are probably as follows:
Mansfield Park-2007 (though I have a lot of issues with that too, but I enjoy watching it)
Persuasion-1995 (totally!)
P&P- 1995! Hands down! :-D
Sense and Sensibility- 1995, closely followed by 2008


Cecily said...

Emma is my favorite! I had my doubts when I first watched it on Masterpiece Classic, but as the show continued, I fell in love with it. Northanger Abbey is my favorite book, too!

a Merry Christmastide,

Anonymous said...

Sorry I'm late to this post, I just discovered your blog today and I'm loving exploring it!
I was so happy when you the 1983 version of MP! None of my friends have seen it, but I agree that it's the closest to the book, specifically with Fanny's character.
I just watched a movie adaptation of Lady Susan that came out this year, called Love and Friendship. I'd love to hear what you think of it! My thoughts are mixed. I think I got a bad vibe from it because the main character is the "villain", but then, that's what the book is like too!
God bless!

Anonymous said...

Hannah again! I had another thought: one critique I have for the 1983 MP is that the ending is really rushed. It makes Fanny seem like more of a rebound from Mary for Edmund than real love.

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