Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Beauty...and the Beast?


"Marianne's abilities were, in many respects, quite equal to Elinor's. She was sensible and clever; but eager in everything; her sorrows, her joys, could have no moderation. She was generous, amiable, interesting: she was everything but prudent. The resemblance between her and her mother was strikingly great." - Sense & Sensibility, Jane Austen

This is from the newest adaptation of Sense & Sensibility staring the lovely Charity Wakefield as Marianne Dashwood. I love these shots of her in this dress and shawl during the scene at Allenham with Willoughby. Truly and beauty and perhaps a beast of a man? This thought just came to me. Willoughby is actually my favorite of Jane Austen's "villians", he's so horrible yet so pitiable at the same time. If only he was brought up better, had better guidance, if only Eliza was kept better track of, if only Willoughby had money enough to marry her at once. He'd a monster, but and interesting one. I've considered writing a story of his life, but it would be rather sordid so I'll leave it to others.

This adaptation is beautiful by the way and I beliveve the characters were perfectly cast. I'm thinking it's the best yet even though I'll always love Emma Thompson's adaptation.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Anne in Bloom


"Twelve years had changed Anne from the blooming, silent, unformed girl of fifteen, to the elegant little woman of seven-and-twenty, with every beauty excepting bloom, and with manners as consciously right as they were invariably gentle..." Jane Austen's Persuasion

One particularly lovely part about actress Amanda Root portraying Anne is that she literally changes onscreen from a pale old maid with a red nose and blooms into a healthy, bonny bride. She is so lovely especially right at the end when she starts to smile more and curl her hair a bit.

Check out the transformation with some of my favorite shots of Anne:

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Anne leaving Kellynch - yes her nose is actually red!

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Anne taking a closer look in the glass - not quite what Captain Wentworth would remember.

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Sea air at Lyme is good for the complexion - or is it literary chats with Captain Benwick, or being admired by a stranger on the beach, or is it being in love?

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Anne enjoying of Mrs. Smiths gossip and good spirits - are those rosy cheeks I see?

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Anne shortly after seeing Captain Wentworth in Bath - she wears the same earrings quite a bit but they are nice.

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Mrs. Wentworth, the picture of a beautiful blushing bride. Now that's a transformation!

(a weekend of rest is just what I needed)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas at Uppercross

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"But Mrs. Musgrove, who got Anne near her on purpose to thank her most cordially, again and again, for all her attentions to them, concluded a short recapitulation of what she had suffered herself, by observing, with a happy glance round the room, that after all she had gone through, nothing was so likely to do her good as a little quiet cheerfulness at home."

And this is Mrs. Musgrove's idea of "a little quiet cheerfulness" :
"Immediately surrounding Mrs. Musgrove were the little Harvilles, whom she was sedulously guarding from the tyranny of the two children from the Cottage, expressly arrived to amuse them. On one side was a table occupied by some chattering girls, cutting up silk and gold paper; and on the other were tressels and trays, bending under the weight of brawn and cold pies, where riotous boys were holding high revel; the whole completed by a roaring Christmas fire, which seemed determined to he heard in spite of all the noise of the others. Charles and Mary also came in, of course, during their visit; and Mr. Musgrove made a point of paying his respects to Lady Russell, and sat down close to her for ten minutes, talking with a very raised voice, but from the clamour of the children on her knees, generally in vain. It was a fine family-piece."

Lady Russell's idea of "a little quiet cheerfulness" is widely different.
"I hope I shall remember, in future," said Lady Russell, as soon as they were reseated in the carriage, "not to call at Uppercross in the Christmas holidays."

"When Lady Russell, not long afterwards, was entering Bath on a wet afternoon, and driving through the long course of streets from the Old Bridge to Camden Place, amidst the dash of other carriages, the heavy rumble of carts and drays, the bawling of newsmen, muffin-men, and milk-men, and the ceaseless clink of pattens, she made no complaint. No, these were noises which belonged to the winter pleasures: her spirits rose under their influence; and like Mrs. Musgrove, she was feeling, though not saying, that after being long in the country, nothing could be so good for her as a little quiet cheerfulness."


Monday, December 22, 2008

A Christmas Carol


I've really been enjoying Charles Dickens stories quite a bit lately and I know The Muppet Christmas Carol isn't the closest adaptation but it's one movie that my family and I love to watch this time of year.


I'd call it "period" in the sense of Muppets dressed in Victorian costume. It may be a bit unconventional but the point of Dicken's novel comes across clearly and it's a great family film.


The bittersweet tale of Scrooge's love Belle is portrayed very sweetly with a lovely song "When Love is Gone".


Humor, singing and dancing abound in this family friendly funny film. Just another of the good things in life that make you laugh and cry at the same time. If you haven't seen it yet I suggest a good dose of Christmas cheer! :)


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Looking Out to Sea

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"The day was uncommonly lovely. It was really March; but it was April in its mild air, brisk soft wind, and bright sun, occasionally clouded for a minute; and everything looked so beautiful under the influence of such a sky, the effects of the shadows pursuing each other on the ships at Spithead and the island beyond, with the ever–varying hues of the sea, now at high water, dancing in its glee and dashing against the ramparts with so fine a sound..."

Almost done with my Christmas shopping. I found the most lovely handmade earrings online made by a seller on Etsy. Wickedpen has a series of "Jane Austen earrings" which are just exquisite! I bought this one-of-a-kind pair for my friend Amanda. I love old-fashioned items like this, it reminds me of a bygone era. :)


Saturday, December 20, 2008

In My Own Little Corner, In My Own Little Room

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"The East room, as it had been called ever since Maria Bertram was sixteen, was now considered Fanny’s, almost as decidedly as the white attic: the smallness of the one making the use of the other so evidently reasonable that the Miss Bertrams, with every superiority in their own apartments which their own sense of superiority could demand, were entirely approving it; and Mrs. Norris, having stipulated for there never being a fire in it on Fanny’s account, was tolerably resigned to her having the use of what nobody else wanted, though the terms in which she sometimes spoke of the indulgence seemed to imply that it was the best room in the house."

I don't really like this 1999 adaptation of Mansfield Park but who does? A few of the characters were cast well but most just weren't right at all. I've said many times that this movie would have been so much better had it not suppose to have been a Jane Austen adaptation. If only the names had been changed to protect the innocent Mansfield Park characters from accusations of slavery, seduction, and same gender lovers! The best thing about this film is the music, such a lovely and lively score. It's too bad too because they could have done so much.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Just Friends

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" How long had Mr. Knightley been so dear to her, as every feeling declared him now to be?" - Jane Austen's Emma

This adaptation is good but not my favorite. I really enjoyed the humor between Emma and Mr. Knightley and Harriet's simple minded ramblings. The casting wasn't the best, I did really enjoy Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma, Jeremy Northam as Knightley (perhaps a bit too handsome but a true gentleman), Juliet Stevenson as Mrs. Elton (love her ramblings, she's so horrid!), and Sophie Thompson and Phyllidia Law as Miss and Mrs. Bates.
All other castings were rather silly or overdone in my opinion. I was very dissapointed with Ewan McGregor as Frank Churchill, he didn't have much screen time and was a bit corse instead of being chraming. I did have fun watching Alan Cumming as Mr Elton but he wasn't quite charming enough.
Costumes were lovely and so was the scenery but they were also a bit too theatrical, big screen and overdone for Jane Austen's tiny Highbury. The music was lovely and the script was closer to the book than I would have expected for a big screen adaptation.

I love the story of Emma, though it's not my favorite Jane Austen. I've always viewed Emma as a mystery of sorts where the truth is not discovered even by Emma until the very end when they work out the details of what actually had taken place. The friendship that developes into a deep and abiding love is just how I'm praying the Lord will work in my life when the time comes.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." - Jeremiah 29:11-13


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Home is Best


"Ah! there is nothing like staying at home, for real comfort. Nobody can be more devoted to home than I am." - Mrs. Elton, Jane Austen's Emma

I know in my last post I mentioned that I'd give my opinion of this adaptation of Emma but now it come to the point I've decided to wait at least one more post.

I've been thinking how very much I love my home. I'm an unconventional girl, I was home schooled from kindergarten up and graduated just three years ago. I wasn't able financially to go to college or Bible school right away. At the time I saw it as a blessing because my family had just been through a long time of unemployment and financial difficulties which caused us to be on the road quite a bit. I was glad that we were finally settled, dad had a good steady job and that we could all be together. The Lord blessed with my first full time job where I cared for a christian friend's mother who had dementia. My second job was similar and during the summers I worked at Christian camps. The work I am now doing is a more secular environment where I care for Alzheimer's residents. I praise the Lord through all of this that I am still able to live at home and am blessed by godly parents and siblings who love me and that we enjoy such close relationships. Because of my busy work schedule I've been realizing lately how good it is to just relax and talk with my family. Home is such a lovely place for me, I hope it is for you as well.

I recently ran across this poem entitled 'Song' by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

Stay, stay at home, my heart, and rest;
Home-keeping hearts are happiest,
For those that wander they know not where
Are full of trouble and full of care;
To stay at home is best.

Weary and homesick and distressed,
They wander east, they wander west,
And are baffled and beaten and blown about
By the winds of the wilderness of doubt;
To stay at home is best.

Then stay at home, my heart, and rest;
The bird is safest in its nest;
O'er all that flutter their wings and fly
A hawk is hovering in the sky;
To stay at home is best.

A special thank you to The Edtrix from Ribbons of Light for the award! :)


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pretty as a Picture

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"The sitting began; and Harriet, smiling and blushing, and afraid of not keeping her attitude and countenance, presented a very sweet mixture of youthful expression to the steady eyes of the artist. But there was no doing anything, with Mr. Elton fidgetting behind her and watching every touch." - Jane Austen's Emma

What a picturesque scene is laid before us. What genius!

"You, sir, may say any thing," cried Mr. Elton; "but I must confess that I regard it as a most happy thought, the placing of Miss Smith out of doors; and the tree is touched with such inimitable spirit!"

Miss Smith out of doors, just the place Mr. Elton would always wish Harriet to be if he was within door. What a coxcomb Mr. Elton was!

My opinion of this adaptation tomorrow...


Beautiful Hands


The girls were wild for dancing; and the evenings ended, occasionally, in an unpremeditated little ball. ...Anne, very much preferring the office of musician to a more active post, played country dances to them by the hour together: a kindness which always recommended her musical powers to the notice of Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove more than any thing else, and often drew this compliment -- "Well done, Miss Anne! very well done indeed! Lord bless me! how those little fingers of yours fly about!"

Hands are very fascinating to me and quite beautiful. Faces can be altered with make up or surgery but "hands never lie" as my father says. My father is very good at telling a woman's age by looking at her hands.
I myself enjoy a good handshake - firm, almost rough and sincere not weak and limp (these features are particularly awful in a man's handshake). I enjoy seeing an older man's hand rough with work such as a farmer or carpenter. And one of the joys of working with elderly women particularly is seeing how beautifully wrinkled their hands become through a full life of caring for others.

Below are the hands of my friend Miss Velma who I cared for this Spring. Her's are hardworking hands and the hands of a woman of faith.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Turn Around


"And it was soon over. In two minutes after Charles's preparation, the others appeared; they were in the drawing-room. Her eye half met Captain Wentworth's, a bow, a curtsey passed; she heard his voice; he talked to Mary, said all that was right; said something to the Miss Musgroves, enough to mark an easy footing; the room seemed full, full of persons and voices, but a few minutes ended it." - Persuasion

After so many years separation Anne and Frederick's first meeting after so many years was not at all as she had pictured. "A bow, a curtsey passed..." and that was all. Silence and an uncomfortable feeling fill the space between them. He hardly looks at her. They are both hurting so much.

"It is over! it is over!" she repeated to herself again, and again, in nervous gratitude. "The worst is over!" - Anne Elliot, Persuasion


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Box of Memories


"No one had ever come within the Kellynch circle, who could bear a comparison with Frederick Wentworth, as he stood in her memory." - Persuasion

And what a great Captain Wentworth actor Rupert Penry-Jones was in the ITV adaptation of Persuasion. I didn't really like this adaptation very much and perhaps I was so critical because Persuasion is my second favorite Austen novel and I love the BBC Ciaran Hinds/Amanda Root adaptation. The story was cut short and the story line was changed which was quite dissapointing. Casting was a bit off at times as well, Sally Hawkins as Anne was alright but she's so very plain at times. Rupert Penry-Jones was well cast, perhaps not quite rugged enough, but the script was cut so it didn't show Captain Wentworth's genius or wit as well as it could have.
I also enjoyed Tobias Menzie's preformance as Mr. Elliot, he was very charming and really had Anne fooled it seemed. The other characters were alright but not the best. I did like Henrietta and Louisa in this one but other characters were just passe.
There was some beautiful scenery in this film and it was fun but still a bit dissapointing.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Turn Back


"They must think it so strange, so rude of me! To go by them, too, without saying a word!" - Catherine Morland, Northanger Abbey

I thought this was a really lovely shot of Eleanor and Henry as they turn back from their walk to see Catherine driving with Mr. Thorpe. Eleanor's bonnet is quite elegant, in fact everything about Eleanor Tilney is elegant. Eleanor is one of my favorite characters in Northanger Abbey, I love her almost more than Catherine!

"Miss Tilney had a good figure, a pretty face, and a very agreeable countenance; and her air, though it had not all the decided pretension, the resolute stylishness of Miss Thorpe’s, had more real elegance. Her manners showed good sense and good breeding; they were neither shy nor affectedly open; and she seemed capable of being young, attractive, and at a ball without wanting to fix the attention of every man near her, and without exaggerated feelings of ecstatic delight or inconceivable vexation on every little trifling occurrence."

Were I write the story of Eleanor Tilney I would entitle it 'More Real Elegance'.
Elegance in an Austen character is often prized, it encompasses, as the quote above points out, quite a bit of virtue and not just pedigree or a pretty face.

Note: I've updated the side list of Old Fashioned Movies and they are all linked to their IMDb page. Please note that though I recommend all of them some may not be appropiate for families to view. A few are just "period" in costumes only.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Reader

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"But from fifteen to seventeen she was in training for a heroine; she read all such works as heroines must read to supply their memories with those quotations which are so serviceable and so soothing in the vicissitudes of their eventful lives." - Northanger Abbey

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