Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lark Rise To Candleford

"People were poorer, and had not the comforts, amusements or knowledge we have today, but they were happier."
- Flora Thompson, 'Lark Rise to Candleford'

The Lark Rise to Candleford TV series is light and fun with not too much that is not family-friendly. I've watched all three seasons on YouTube and am looking forward to the fourth season. If the DVD sets weren't so expensive ($30-$40) I'd snap up all three!

Lark Rise to Candleford hearkens back to an older time when life was simpler and neighbors worked together. This series reminds me of Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford a bit but also has the grit of a Thomas Hardy novel (Under The Greenwood Tree, Far From The Madding Crowd). Just another BBC production done well!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Jane Austen On Character

"There is something so amiable in the prejudices of a young mind, that one is sorry to see them give way to the reception of more general opinions." ~ Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility

Colonel Brandon's past disappointments and misfortunes make him the exact companion to understand Marianne's young heart and help her through her own disappointments and misfortunes. I do respect and admire Colonel Brandon. Both heroes in Sense & Sensibility are gentle, kind and honorable. Just the type of gentleman I hope to meet with some day!

Here I've featured banners I've made with screencaps from two different S&S adaptations. I love both of these but the newer BBC adaptation is closer to the novel.

I hope you're all having a lovely weekend!

Very Truly Your's,

Friday, January 28, 2011

My Favorite Villains & Scoundrels

I've been working on this post since before Christmastime and have finally finished it.

A while ago I had posted My Favorite Literary Heroes and My Favorite Literary Heroines. I have quite a few more heroes and heroines that I'd like to add to the list some day, but for now I'd like to share my favorite literary villains and scoundrels!

Photobucket 1 John Willoughby
Photobucket 1 John Willoughby
1. John Willoughby of Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility
Mr. Willoughby is a young man who own a large estate and is awaiting the death of an old aunt before he comes into the inheritance of Allenham. He was made some very unwise choices and knows that his only hope is to marry a rich woman. The in the middle of this mess that is his life he meets Marianne Dashwood who is different from any woman he's ever met before. Beautiful, passionate, strong-minded, independent and yet with an purity of love and a zest for life. He falls head over heals for her and as is his wont continues to make bad choices.
Willoughby is my favorite Austen "villains" of all time for various reasons. The biggest reason is because rather than consciously acting with evil intent (like Henry Crawford of George Wickham) or with revenge in mind Willoughby seems to bumble through the story. Unwise choice after unwise choice as if he couldn't help himself. But the greatest reason I prefer Willoughby is that different from other Austen villains he did indeed love Marianne for herself and seek for forgiveness in the end. His future may not be one of total reform but it's as near to one as we get.
Four actors to date have portrayed John Willoughby in film: Clive Francis, Peter Woodward, Greg Wise and Dominic Cooper. I think each actor has given a different idea of Willoughby from dashing to passionate to truly repentant. I really enjoy the older portrayals of Willoughby because they always include his confession scene with Elinor and I think those actors being younger and lighter better show the character's nature.

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2. William Elliot of Jane Austen's Persuasion
As heir presumptive of Kellynch Hall Mr. Elliot has high prospects but he is also smart and knows it will be a long time before any money will come his way. He marries a rich by lowly born young lady for her money and lives the high life with his friends, distancing himself from his titled family. But when his wife dies and he finds that his chances at the title of Baronet are threatened by a devising Mrs. Clay.
Mr. Elliot's principle attraction for me is that he is wise enough to choose Anne over Elizabeth, and to like Anne for herself. He even admires Anne before he knows who she is! He is a sensible man, gentleman-like, good breeding, good manners and good conversation. It is a little more difficult to see the real Mr. Elliot, but we find that he is actually just as proud and selfish as Sir Walter himself. His end is rather a tangled one as he seems to have eloped with Mrs. Clay. If he marries her (which I still doubt) he will have a tedious life ahead.
Three actors have portrayed Mr. Elliot but I've posted pictures of my two favorite versions. Actor Samuel West played a curly blond haired Elliot who is gentlemanly and with very pleasing manners. But, my favorite is Tobias Menzies who played a dark and decidedly handsome Mr. Elliot. What a scoundrel!

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3. John Thorpe of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey
John Thorpe is your basic public college boy. He likes wine, parties, pretty ladies and fast wheels. His pride and joy is his open carriage which he likes to drive at top speed whenever possible. He is a rattle and a tease, especially to his sisters and mother. His best friend at present is James Morland who seems to be falling in love with John's sister Isabella. Morland has a very pretty sister too and the moment John meets Catherine a plan starts to form in his mind.
Whenever I read about John Thorpe I just have to laugh! He's such a funny character really. What really makes him a scoundrel is the way in which he presumes too much about Catherine and in telling General Tilney that she is an heiress he causes problems for her later on.
There have been two actors who have portrayed John Thorpe both of whom I have enjoyed. Jonathan Coy was a sly red-headed John with shifty eyes. But I enjoyed actor William Beck's portrayal of a younger John Thorpe who was quite perfectly cast!

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4. Mr. Smallweed of Charles Dickens' Bleak House
A first rate villian, Mr. Smallweed knows how to make his presence know! He enters a room yelling at the footmen who carry him in, makes quite a stir while there and leaves with everyone loathing him. All the while he is so comical with his "shake me up Judy" and his clever quips.
Every time I watch Andrews Davies' adaptation of Bleak House I discover a new facet or character who I really enjoy. From the very first time I saw that miniseries I was quite taken by Mr. Smallweed. He is so evil while being so comical! Every interview I've watched actor Philip Davis is praised for his stellar performance in the role and envied by his fellow cast members who wish they could have done as much with an interesting character like that. I always have a good giggle when Mr. Smallweed is on screen!

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5. Reverend Mr. Philip Elton of Jane Austen's Emma
Although not quite a villain, rogue or scoundrel, Mr. Elton is far from a perfect gentleman. As vicar of Highbury Elton is neither humble nor focused on the Lord's work. He is in fact a ladies man. Emma's brother-in-law John Knightley sees straight through him saying: "I never in my life saw a man more intent on being agreeable than Mr. Elton. It is downright labour to him where ladies are concerned. With men he can be rational and unaffected, but when he has ladies to please every feature works." Mr. Elton thinks so well of himself that he decides that rich Emma Woodhouse is the woman he deserves and he goes about boldly showing his affections. When Emma tells him she was thinking of him only as a match for her friend Mr. Elton is down right rude with his words about Harriet. To add insult in injury his next move is to go to Bath where he marries the first rich woman who catches his fancy and brings her home to flaunt under Emma's nose. He is trying to injure more than Harriet when he slights her at the ball. And Lord only knows what boasts he told Mrs. E about his acquaintances in Highbury as she goes about calling his employer "Knightley" and giving Emma set downs at every opportunity.
My favorite Mr. Knightley had been the kind and pleasing Reverend Elton as portrayed by actor Timothy Peters in the 1972 adaptation of Emma. But now I am coming to prefer the very arrogant and affected Mr. E portrayed so well by Blake Ritson in the newest Emma film. As Mr. Knightley says: "That man is so full of himself that I'm surprised he can stay on that horse!"

6. Bradley Headstone of Charles Dickens' Our Mutual Friend
As a simple school teacher Mr. Headstone quickly becomes the friend and champion of poor schoolboy Charley Hexam. After meeting Charley's lovely sister Lizzie, Mr. Headstone quickly fall head-over-heels for her. He tried to help Lizzie, first by offering himself as her teacher, then by helping Charley confront a questionable admirer and finally by asking her to be his wife. After Lizzie refuses him Bradley Headstone seems to become obsessed with finding out why she refused and how to get the handsome and educated Eugene Wrayburn to leave her alone. His obsession leads him to sickness and ruin. Overall I like Mr. Headstone and feel quite sorry for him as Lizzie does because she couldn't love him and then especially when he's being made a joke of by Mr. Wrayburn. His actions are wrong and he's a bit scary at time but I just have to pitty him. He has his uses though and ultimately helps Lizzie and Eugene Wrayburn realize their need for each other.
Actor David Morrissey played Mr. Headstone very well in the 1998 adaptation of Our Mutual Friend, capturing his raw emotions.

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7. Fagin of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist
Fagin is a character draped in mystery and darkness. Sometimes he seems to act as a father to the group of homeless boys who orphan Oliver Twist joins, then he makes deals with criminals and uses underhanded acts to support himself. But all in all he adds a lot of comedy to the story and helps to move the plot along in many ways.
I've only see three actors portray Fagin: Ron Moody in the old Oliver! musical is full of comedy, Robert Lindsay in the 1999 adaptation of Oliver Twist adapts the perfect accent and mannerisms, and Timothy Spall in the 2007 adaptation of Oliver Twist adds a great deal of mystery to the character. Whoever is portraying him the character of Fagin is fun to watch!

7 Mr Tulkinghorn
8. Mr. Tulkinghorn of Charles Dickens' Bleak House
As a lawyer Mr. Tulkinghorn is in the position to know many personal matters about his clients, especially of Sir Leicester Dedlock and his wife Lady Dedlock who is an heir in the famous Jarndyce case. But Mr. Tulkinghorn's intelligence and and power also make him deadly to those who stand in his way. When he smells a scandal he follows the trail ruthlessly running over anyone who gets in his way. The strange thing is that he seems to think it's his duty to root out these secrets and expose those who "threaten" his client's reputation. He is the man of whom Mr. Boythorn (Sir Leicester's neighbor) says:
"You're the villain who writes me threatening letters!" He really doesn't have any redeeming qualities which makes him the ultimate villain.
In the 2005 adaptation of Bleak House actor Charles Dance so brilliantly portrays Mr. Tulkninghorn that I couldn't imagine this character with a different face.

9. Mr. Preston of Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters
It took me a few viewings of the 1999 adaptation of Wives and Daughters before I started to understand Mr. Preston's character and his relationship with Cynthia. He's not a villain in the general sense but his obsession with Cynthia and blackmailing of her makes him a nasty character. Iain Glen cuts a very handsome and roguish figure in the 1999 adaptation.

3 Carver Doone
10. Carver Doone of R.D. Blackmore's Lorna Doone
There aren't many reasons to like Carver Doone. He's young, impetuous, arrogant and determined to have young Lorna at any cost. He's a very dark and brooding character, harsh and cold. So I suppose it must be the actor Aidan Gillen in the 2000 adaptation of Lorna Doone who makes this character appeal to me. Funny but he sort of adds a touch of rockstar to the character.

So that's it! I'm not sure if they're really in order of my favorite or not, I just generally tend to put Jane Austen's characters above others. Funny how most of these characters are either Jane Austen or Charles Dickens. They're just the best!

Who are your favorite villains and scoundrels?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Scarves Galore!

Me with some of the scarves I made.

I'm sorry it's been almost a week since I last posted. My family and I have been busy finishing up our project of crocheting scarves for the Special Olympics in our state.

My mama with some of the scarves she crocheted.

Our goal: crochet as many scarves as we could in three weeks using the official blue and turqua colors of the Special Olympics.

Miss Bea with three of the scarves she made.

We could use any pattern we wanted to so long as it incorporated both colors. We used nine different patterns varying them a bit. We all worked together day by day crocheting our little hearts out!

Our shelf of scarves!

Today was the deadline for us to finish the scarves and send them out so we were up late last night finishing up the scarves we were working on and sewing in the ends (tails). We were just pleased as punch to be able to send 36 scarves!

Our box of scarves ready to send out!

This was a very fun project and I hope we'll be able to do it again next year. It was great crocheting together and trying new patterns. I hadn't crocheted in a while so I was able to get back into practice and make somethings that will really be used!

In other news, I'm afraid things just aren't working out and I won't be able to host a giveaway at this time. But I'm currently at 265 post so I hope to host a giveaway when I reach 300 posts. So we'll see. Sorry to disappoint!

What have you all been up to lately?

Very Truly Your's,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

100 Followers & Pre-giveaway!


That's right, you did read correctly. Only today Old-Fashioned Charm made it to 100 Followers!

When I first started posting, in September 2008, I had no idea that I would make so many new friends, find so many other lovely blogs, or have so many amazing followers! Thank you all so much for following my blog and enjoying "everything old-fashioned under the sun" with me!

As an added thank you I plan on having a giveaway! I've really been wanting to do a giveaway and think that 100 followers is a perfect excuse for one!
I have a few items of my own in mind to giveaway but I'd love to have a few people who might like to give something away to my followers. I know some of you have Etsy shops or sell handmade items on your blogs.

So if you'd like to give something away or know someone who might be interested please leave me a comment or e-mail me at: OldFashionedCharming(at)gmail(dot)com

I'm so excited about this giveaway scheme and can't wait to hear your ideas!

Very Truly Your's,

P.S. I chose this delightful piece of art because it's cold here and we're supposed to get quite a lot of snow tomorrow! Also because it reminds me of having a lovely chat with all of you! :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Patrick Doyle, Composer

One of best and my all-time favorite soundtrack composers is definitely the greatly talented Patrick Doyle. I'd like to highlight some of his work and share with all of you some of my favorite music!

Bio: "Born in 1953, outside Glasgow, Doyle benefited from a very musical upbringing. He studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and graduated in 1974....His first theatre score was written in 1978, and subsequently Patrick has written the music for a host of other theatre, radio, television and film productions. In 1987, Patrick joined the Renaissance Theatre Company as composer and musical director....In 1989 director Kenneth Branagh commissioned Patrick to write the original score for the Renaissance Film Company production of Henry V. The song 'Non Nobis Domine', from the film, was awarded the 1989 Ivor Novello Award for Best Film Theme. In 1990, HRH The Prince of Wales commissioned Patrick to write 'The Thistle and The Rose', a song cycle for Soprano and Choir, in honour of the Queen Mother's 90th birthday." -Quoted from Air Edel's page.

Here are some of Mr. Doyle's major works that I have enjoyed:

Continuing his partnership with Kenneth Branagh, he composed an exquisite and rousing soundtrack for Much Ado About Nothing in 1993. This is an amazing adaptation, which my family and I have enjoyed for years (we always skip through the 2 questionable scenes), not only stars the then married could Kenneth Branagh & Emma Thompson but Mr. Doyle also appeared briefly on screen as a minstrel! I own this soundtrack and enjoy the music immensely! Listen to samples at Amazon.

In 1995 Mr. Doyle composed the exquisitely moving soundtrack for Emma Thompson's adaptation of Sense & Sensibility. For this score he was nominated for three awards: Golden Globe nominee for 'Best Film Score', Academy Award nominee for 'Best Original Dramatic Score', and BAFTA nominee for 'Best Film Score'. This was the first soundtrack I ever bought and the first in my Jane Austen collection. I cannot recommend this album enough, it's one of my favorites! Listen to samples at Amazon.

Also in 1995 he composed the music for Disney's A Little Princess. While this is not a faithful adaptation of the book, it is a sweet children's film and the music is gorgeous as always! Listen to samples on Amazon or listen to the track 'Letter To Papa' on YouTube.

A team up with Kenneth Branagh again brought a soundtrack for Hamlet in 1996. The first track on this delightful soundtrack also features the tenor voice of Placido Domingo! My father and I really enjoy this adaptation of Hamlet, it's so full of bright colors and characters and talent galore! Watch with care though, it is a tragedy and there is some nudity shown briefly. This very grand soundtrack also was an Academy Award nominee for 'Best Original Dramatic Score'! Listen to some samples at Amazon.

The soundtrack for Gosford Park * was composed in 2001. The music sweeps you in and is quite reminiscent of the 1930's area in which the film is set. This was a quirky little film with many amazing British actors and many credits to it's fame but is sadly rated R for language and sexual references. Listen to samples at Amazon.

Renewing his association with Emma Thompson, he composed the soundtrack for Nanny McPhee in 2005. This soundtrack is like the film, lively and lots of fun! I really enjoyed this film but haven't been able to watch the second film yet. Listen to samples from the soundtrack at Amazon.

Getting back to where he began Mr. Doyle composed a soundtrack for a film that was both Shakespeare and written/directed by Kenneth Branagh when he composed for As You Like It in 2006. Because this film is set in the Victorian Orient the music for this film has some oriental flair to it which is beautiful and moving as the film itself! I've seen this once and enjoyed it quite a bit, I love Shakespeare's comedy anyway, and the settings, costumes, and actors only added to it's charm! Listen to samples at Amazon.

Other well known films which Patrick Doyle has composed for include: Eragon, Nim's Island, Secondhand Lions, Quest For Camelot, Sleuth*, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire* and Bridget Jones' Diary* (please note films with * I cannot recommend). And there's a whole list of more films and TV which Mr. Doyle has composed for - you can read the list at IMDb and a complete bio at Air Edel.

I've created a few videos featuring music by Patrick Doyle:

Music from As You Like It:

As You Like It from Miss Laurie on Vimeo.

Music from Sense & Sensibility:

Sense & Sensibility 1995 from Miss Laurie on Vimeo.

Thank you Mr. Doyle for your contribution to period film, filling them with music that touches the viewer with joy and delight and catches us up in the story!

Have you seen any of these films? Which is you favorite?

Very Truly Your's,

Charles Edmund Brock is my favorite illustrator who has painted scenes from Jane Austen’s novels. This delightful scene is from Mansfield Park of Edmund giving his cousin Fanny a chain for the sweet cross present her brother gave her. See more of Brock's illustrations at my older website Also read a fuller bio here.

I pray you all have a very blessed Lord's day!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I've Been Awarded!

I'm sorry I haven't been around lately. My days lately have been filled with a lot of crocheting which I hope to tell you all more about later. Right now I would like to thank Charity U at Austenitis for awarding me with the Stylish Blogger Award!

With this award I'm supposed to list seven random things about myself. So lets see:
  1. My favorite flowers are lilacs - I love their sweet smell and pretty clusters in various colors.
  2. I collect quotes and recently started my fifth book of quotes and poetry.
  3. I enjoy re-watching old British TV comedies with my family, such as Keeping Up Appearances, To The Manor Born, As Time Goes By, Good Neighbors and One Foot In The Grave.
  4. My middle name is Brittany and, although my parents think Laurie Brittany sounds pretty, I don't really like the name because it's so trendy!
  5. I love to see people with red hair, especially people with red curly hair!
  6. I love the smell and taste of fresh fruit, especially citrus fruits, pineapples and raspberries.
  7. When I was a little girl I used to hate chocolate and strawberries. Now my mouth can't help but just water when I see a chocolate covered strawberry! Yum!
Okay, now I get to award 15 other people! I've never passed on one of these awards so let's's what you should do if I mention your name below:
  • Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award.
  • Share 7 things about yourself.
  • Award fifteen recently discovered great bloggers.
  • Contact the named bloggers and tell them they're awarded!

Here you go, thank you all for having such lovely stylish blogs! I'm awarding:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Rachel Portman, Composer

The other day I was watching The Woman In Black (1989), a Victorian ghost story, and noticed that Rachel Portman composed the music for the film. That prompted me to look up this composer who I already knew from the Emma soundtrack.

Her website says: "Rachel Portman was born in west Sussex, England. She began composing at the age of 14 and read music at Oxford University. Whilst there, she became interested in writing music for student films and theatre productions. She gained experience writing music for drama in BBC and Channel 4 films such as Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Mike Leigh's Four Days In July and Jim Henson's Storyteller series, however the majority of her work has been in film."

Here are some of the film soundtracks that Rachel has worked on:

She was the first woman composer to win an Academy Award for Best Musical Score for her work on Emma in 1996. I bought this soundtrack as part of my Jane Austen collection a few years ago and I really love listening to it! You can listen to samples at Amazon.

The soundtrack for Because of Win Dixie in 2005. It's funny that when I first saw this film I recognized a few strains of music in the background as being similar to the Emma soundtrack. I was so surprised to find out that this sweet film has the same composer!

A beautiful soundtrack written for Nicholas Nickleby in 2002. I didn't really like this as an adaptation of Charles Dicken's book but it was nominated for some awards. Listen to samples at Amazon.

Rachel composed the music for this 2005 big screen adaptation of Oliver Twist. I haven't seen this film yet but long to see actor Ben Kingsley in his role as Fagin! The samples from the soundtrack on Amazon are delightful!

Worked with composer Nigel Westlake on the delightfully charming soundtrack for the sweet Miss Potter film in 2006. This soundtrack is on my wishlist! Listen to samples at Amazon.

I was surprised to see A Little Princess (1986) on her list of credits. This film has long been a family favorite as it faithfully tells the story. The music is light and pretty and I remember enjoying the beginning and end themes especially. I really need to get this film on DVD it's so lovely!

Here are some other films that Rachel Portman composed music for which I've seen but don't really recommend for viewing: The Lake House (2006), Ethan Frome (1993), Chocolat (2000) for which she was nominated for a Grammy and an Academy Award, The Manchurian Candidate (2004). And there's a whole list of other films that she's composed for which you can read about on her informative website and at Wikipedia.

Here's a video with music from The Woman In Black (1989). I am working on an Emma video which I hope to post soon.

While working on this post I just enjoyed listening to the Main Titles from Emma (on her website) and also previewing clips from other films at Rachel Portman is my new favorite composer! Her work is so lovely I could listen to it for hours!

Thank you Ms. Portman for your contribution to making period dramas that much more beautiful with your music!

Do you have any favorite movie soundtracks?


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