"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

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Mansfield Park movie adaptation

Have been meaning to post something about the final Austen adaptation screened a week or so ago on ABC TV - the 2007 version of Mansfield Park starring a somewhat miscast Billie Piper as Fanny Price.

Not very satisfactory - Billie's Fanny P. is nowhere near mousey enough, engages in far too much exuberant running around and other lively, un-Fanny like behaviour, and about three quarters of the novel's plot appears to be missing. (Hacking off great chunks of plot is of course standard procedure in movie adaptations, but at least in the less woeful ones, they dispense with only about 50% of it.) Mary and Henry Crawford however, weren't bad, having a somewhat Jamesian Turn of the Screw feel about them, although this of course vastly oversimplifies the complexity of the characters in the actual novel.

Towards the end of the movie, I was somewhat amazed by Lady Bertam suddenly arousing herself from her unceasing torpor to notice what is going on between Fanny and Edward, and becoming very assertive with her husband about not interfering. Did anything of the sort ever happen in the actual novel? I don't recall it.

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