"Pictures of perfection, as you know, make me sick & wicked"

- Jane Austen
"Jane Austen is weirdly capable of keeping everybody busy. The moralists, the Eros-and-Agape people, the Marxists, the Freudians, the Jungians, the semioticians, the deconstructors - all find an adventure playground in six samey novels about middle-class provincials. And for every generation of critics, and readers, her fiction effortlessly renews itself."

- Martin Amis, in The New Yorker

Friday, June 20, 2008

More Austen movie adaptations

Good old Aunty ABC is continuing to screen a whole series of British Jane Austen movie adaptations, some old and some new, although sometimes one is reminded of the advice, which I think was in an article somewhere on the Republic of Pemberley (or perhaps it was JASNA?) - when trying to do an Austen adaptation, there is one main rule - DON'T!!

And so a couple of weeks ago, we saw Persuasion, which on the whole wasn't bad, although Rupert Penry-Jones was much too fair of complexion to be playing a weather-beaten navy Captain, and the whole thing was all a tad Gothic in tone. Anne Elliot's nervy, hypochondriac sister was an absolute delight, however.

Last week, we saw the latest (2007) version of Northanger Abbey, which to my taste was nowhere near Gothic enough, or at least not as Gothic as the 1986 BBC production. However, the actor who played John Thorpe was suitably villainous.

If only we could extract bits of one adaptation and merge them with bits of another, perhaps we might get an adaptation that approaches satisfactory. The BBC's TV series of Pride and Prejudice still seems to be the benchmark for Austen adaptations (that is to say, the "straight" ones that follow the novels more or less faithfully).

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