Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Beloved Miss Jane Austen

"Jane lies in Winchester -- blessed be her shade!
Praise the Lord for making her, and her for all she made!
And while the stones of Winchester, or Milsom Street, remain,
Glory, love, and honor unto England's Jane!"
- Rudyard Kipling, Epigraph to "The Janeites"

The Beloved Miss Jane Austen


Jane Austen was born December 16th, 1775 at Steventon, Hampshire, England. Her parents were Reverend George Austen (1731-1805) rector of Steventon, and Cassandra Leigh Austen (1739-1827). She was the second to the last of eight children and the younger of the two girls. She was very close to her older sister Cassandra, with whom she attended the a boarding school in Reading for two years (1785-1786), her only formal education outside of her family.

Within her family Jane learned to draw and play the piano, and formed a love of literature. From the age of twelve to seventeen, she wrote what is now called her Juvenilia, a collection of short stories, light verse, prayers, fragments of stories, and humorous parodies of the literature of the day, for the pleasure and amusement of her family.

From about 1795 - 1799 Jane Austen began work on early versions of what would become three of her most famous novels. Her father even tried to get an early version of Pride and Prejudice, then titled First Impressions, published but failed.

Jane's pastimes were not all literary though. She enjoyed parties, balls, and visiting family and friends. Her family was very close and when her brothers married she often stayed them and their families and enjoyed playing with her little nephews and nieces.

In 1800 with the retirement of Jane's father, the Austen family moved to Bath, that great city mentioned in several of her books.

Jane Austen had few serious romantic attachments beyond a few flirtations. But it during this period of her life, in December of 1802, when she and her sister Cassandra were staying with the Biggs family near Steventon that Harris Bigg - Wither, some six years younger than herself, proposed to Jane and she accepted. However, the next day she retracted her answer and she and her sister went to stay with their eldest brother James, then the rector of Steventon. Though seemingly not very affected by this incident Jane never married.

In 1803 Jane Austen sold her first novel Susan (an early version of Northanger Abbey) to a publisher for ten pounds but he chose not to publish it and it did not appear in print till fourteen years later. She continued writing, though, during the family's years in Bath, one fragment of a novel from that era, The Watsons, still survives.

In January of 1805 with the death of her father and a considerable reduce in their income, Mrs. Austen, Jane and Cassandra were largely dependant on the support of their brothers. In 1806 the women moved, from Bath, first to Clifton and then to Southampton which was near two of Jane's naval brothers Frank and Charles. In 1809 the ladies, joined by Martha Lloyd, an old friend and sister-in-law to their brother James, moved to a small house on their second brother, Edward (Austen) Knight's, estate Chawton in the county of Hampshire. Here Jane Austen continued her writing, revising her earlier versions of Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice. Both novels were published written anonymously 'By A Lady' in 1811 and 1813 respectively, and did fairly well.

From 1812 - 1813 Jane worked on Mansfield Park which was accepted and appeared in publication May of 1814 and was sold out in six months. At this time Jane had already begun work on Emma which appeared in December 1815 dedicated, by the express request of His Highness, to the Prince Regent (later George IV) who was a reported fan of Austen's.

From 1815-1816, although she was becoming increasingly unwell, Jane wrote Persuasion. It was in early 1817 that she began work on another novel, Sanditon, but had to give it up because of her health in March.

By April she had made her will and about a month later Jane was moved to Winchester for medical treatment. She died there, from Addison's disease, Friday, July 18th, 1817 at the age of forty-one. Jane Austen was buried in Winchester Cathedral on July 24th, 1817 and mourned by all her family, including her mother and beloved sister Cassandra.

It was not until the end of 1817 that Persuasion and the earlier refused Northanger Abbey were published by Jane's brother Henry Austen.

Her brilliantly witty, elegantly satirical fiction marked the transition of English literature from reason to romance. Her way of describing and accurately pin-pointing human nature and events of every-day life makes her one of the greatest writers of all time.

Published Before Her Death:

  • Sense and Sensibility
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Emma
  • Mansfield Park

Published After Her Death:

  • Northanger Abbey
  • Persuasion

Other Works:

  • Lady Susan (a completed story in letters)
  • The Watsons (unfinished because her father died similar to the story plot)
  • Plan of a Novel according to Hints from Various Quarters
  • Sanditon (unfinished - writing at the time of her death)

Juvenilia Works:

  • A Beautiful Description
  • A Collection of Letters
  • A Fragment
  • A Tale
  • A Tour through Wales
  • A letter from a young lady
  • Amelia Webster
  • Catharine, or the Bower
  • Edgar and Emma
  • Evelyn
  • Frederic and Elfrida
  • Henry and Eliza
  • Jack and Alice
  • Lesley Castle
  • Love and Freindship
  • Memoirs of Mr. Clifford
  • Ode To Pity
  • Scraps
  • Sir William Montague
  • The Adventures of Mr. Harley
  • The Beautiful Cassandra
  • The Female Philosopher
  • The First Act of a Comedy
  • The Generous Curate
  • The History of England
  • The Mystery
  • The Three Sisters
  • The Visit


  • At Eastbourne Mr Gell
  • I've a pain in my head
  • In measured verse I'll now rehearse
  • Maria, good-humoured, and handsome, and tall
  • Miss Lloyd has now sent to Miss Green
  • Oh! Mr Best, you're very bad
  • See they come, post haste from Thanet
  • When Winchester Races

My Reviews: Persuasion (1995)


Directed by Roger Mitchell, this 1995 version is probably my favorite movie of all time and is certainly my favorite Jane Austen adaptation. It is wonderfully faithful to Jane’s book and just a heart-warming movie in general with much to recommend it to viewers: a charming script, lovely music, beautiful scenes and costumes, and excellent actors.

Written by Nick Dear, the script comes straight from the pages of Jane Austen’s last completed novel, Persuasion. It catches the quite humor and touching scenes that are her trademark. Its only fault perhaps is in the unclear explanation of Mr. Elliot’s greed, which somehow doesn’t make sense, even if you haven’t read the book. There are also a few omissions such as the story of Dick Musgrove and Anne’s visit to Kellynch Lodge with Lady Russell and strangely enough the changing of some of the minor character’s names around for clarification or whim. A lovely touch to the movie is the way in which the script blends both the common and original endings, which Austen wrote, adding to the movie’s personal charms.

Original music composed by Jeremy Sams, as well as classical pieces from Chopin and Bach, perfectly accent the tone of the movie. The music is touching, rolling, light and exquisite; while an Italian Aria surpasses all as it is sung so beautifully by soprano Rosa Mannion.

Filmed entirely in England, majestic country manors form the homes of the main characters, while outside scenes show charming gardens and fields. The clamor-filled streets of Bath are sufficiently crowded while on the seashore at Lyme the sea fairly dances and you can almost feel and taste the salty breeze. Inside scenes do a fantastic job of contrasting the differences of living qualities between the upper and lower classes in Regency society. As Jane Austen paints with her words so the camera shows how the stark, clean, rich scenes represent the heartless mind-set of the noble; while the dark, damp, earthy feel of the not-so-rich represent love and friendship.

The costumes for this production were accurately designed by Alexandra Byrne and delightfully contrast the difference in status and personality between the characters. Anne’s costumes are like her character, soft and quiet, while the playful Musgrove girls wear brighter colors trimmed with ace and ribbons, and Sir Walter’s suits show in their sheer extravagance his self-important pride. Grand make-up and hairstyle teams were also employed in contrast, creating natural and easy styles fitting each character perfectly. As Anne transforms from appearing plain and sickly at the beginning of the film to appearing truly lovely and blooming at the end of the movie, her conceited sister just seems to grow more unattractive.

Actors On Their Roles:
A delightful cast showcasing some of Britain’s finest actors and skilled artists of stage and film. Their acting is perfectly easy and natural making one feel as if they are watching and indeed living in this marvelous world.

  • Corin Redgrave is brilliant as the entirely self-important and vain Sir Walter Elliot. His style shows the narcissism of the character and he even adopts an aristocratic accent with his “Dalwymples”.
  • Pheobe Nicholls plays Sir Walter’s oldest daughter Miss Elizabeth Elliot. She carries off the very elegant style of the character but is not very pretty. However she truly matches her father in vanity.
  • Felicity Dean is Miss Elliot’s simple-minded friend Mrs. Clay. She has the perfect bucktooth and funny grin but sadly she lacks the quantity of freckles that would seem to constitute the use of Gowlands!
  • Susan Fleetwood elegantly plays Lady Russell, the family’s friend. Always kind and proper she also shows a personable mother-like relationship with Anne, though she seems to have a passion for wearing feathers in her caps!
  • Amanda Root is quite endearing as our sweet-tempered heroine Anne Elliot. I felt with her as she patiently listens to the complaints of all her relations while suffering so much in side herself. Her countenance is quiet and almost melancholy at times, the only thing that shows what she feels is her lovely expressive eyes. As the ends we see her opening up and becoming by turns more open and trusting, and receiving her just rewards for her long-suffering love.
  • Sophie Thompson plays Anne’s younger sister Mary Musgrove, cross, sickly and complaining. Her scenes are so funny and wonderfully executed. 
  • Simon Russell Beale who serves wonderfully as the stout, friendly sportsman plays her husband Charles Musgrove. He is also a caring father and kind brother with good manners. The open, easy friendships between him and the naval officers are charming and real. 
  • Roger Hammond & Judy Cornwell are the jolly, friendly elder Mr. & Mrs. Musgrove and make for a wonderful contrast between them and Elliots. They show that they are real people who care deeply for their children and don’t pretend but live comfortable, loving and joking freely with their family all around them.
  • Victoria Hamilton plays the sweet, pretty Henrietta Musgrove - quiet, friendly, pretty and sisterly. 
  • Emma Roberts is her high-spirited younger sister Louisa Musgrove. She is quick witted and the perfect show-off before the men but not as giggly and silly as you might expect, just determined. Her Lyme fall is executed so much as if it was real but she does seem a strange match for a certain Captain.
  • Ciaran Hinds is the perfect Captain Frederick Wentworth, kind, handsome and friendly. He is sometimes the hearty, teasing sailor and sometimes the feeling, romantic lover but always a gentleman and a true friend.
  • Fiona Shaw plays Captain Wentworth’s sister Mrs. Croft to a T! While a little older than Jane Austen described her, she is friendly, personable, elegant, kind, and a wonderful loving wife. Actor John Woodvine plays her seafaring husband Admiral Croft - friendly, charming, wise and fatherly. There is a wonderful chemistry between Shaw and Woodvine that is so sweet and make them seem the happiest married couple in the world.
  • Actors Richard McCabe (Captain Benwick) and Robert Glenister (Captain Harville) play Captain Wentworth’s two brother officers, winningly courageous as to inspire true naval fervor in myself as well as similar young ladies. Captain Benwick is really a thinking reading man, quiet with an injured heart. Captain Harville is friendly with a believable limp and loving nature. His heartfelt talk with Anne seems to come from his real life experiences, and he is a very good whisperer!
  • Samuel West is the handsome, gentlemanlike cad Mr. William Elliot. He is personable and friendly but at times slightly brooding and snakelike as he should be.

  • After Louisa jumps off the steps in Lyme, a blue car is seen driving up the Cobb behind Captain Wentworth.
  • On one of her visits to her friend Mrs. Smith, Anne can be seen entering the building wearing a pink dress and exits wearing a blue dress.
  • At the dinner at the Musgrove's, the Musgrove girls read from the Navy List that Captain Wentworth’s former ship the Laconia is a 74 gun frigate. Frigates of the era had at a maximum around 44 guns. A ship with 74 guns would have been known as a "ship of the line".
Memorable Quotes:
  • Mr. Shepherd: Women without children are the very best preservers of furniture.
  • Sir Walter Elliot: Anne? You want to marry Anne? Whatever for?
  • Captain Wentworth: I tried to forget you... I thought I had.
  • Mr. Elliot: Have you thought any more about my offer? Anne: What offer was that? Mr. Elliot: My offer to flatter and adore you all the days of your life. Anne: I haven't had a moment, Mr. Elliot, to turn my mind to it.
  • Anne Elliot: We do not forget you, so soon as you forget us.
  • Henrietta Musgrove: Louisa is grown so severe, Mama, I wonder she shall want a ribbon in her hair at all. Give her a book of verse to hold instead!
  • Mary Musgrove: Are you coming in, Henrietta, or is my cottage insufficiently grand for you?
  • Anne Elliot: Are you here for the concert? Captain Wentworth: No, I am here for a lecture on navigation. Am I in the wrong place?

My Reviews: Persuasion (1971)

Persuasion (BBC, 1971)

Produced and directed by Howard Baker this TV movie was the first of six BBC adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The film was released in April of 1971 on BBC television in five 60-minute segments for a total of 225 minutes.

Adapted by Julian Mitchell, this is a fairly complete script that includes such overlooked scenes as the story of Dick Musgrove, Anne’s charming visit to Lady Russell and the Crofts at Kellynch, as well as including a rather long but wonderful explanation of the elusive Mr. Elliot. For his script Mr. Mitchell chose the originally published ending to Persuasion which features Anne and Wentworth’s explanation of their conducts and - hold on to you hats - two kisses in a public place! This general defect of propriety in Regency England is carried throughout the movie as we see bad manners exhibited by those to whom bad manners were never attributed to by Jane Austen. Men can be often seen sitting before ladies do or not even rising when a lady comes into a room and on two occasions servants can be seen handing ladies in and out of carriages while not wearing gloves of any kind! In the dialog also we see many defects as we hear the proper Lady Russell calling her baronet friend “Walter” at least five times and in return Sir Walter says “Penelope” when speaking of the widowed Mr. Clay! These instances along with dialog being allowed to fill in heavily for the narrative can leave one bored and dissatisfied with the film as a whole.

Original music arranged by Steven Hancock is often a bit dramatic but does feature fun, light, lively dances arranged by Litz Pisk and a fine Italian tenor.

Exterior scenes are few but feature lovely gardens, fields, and avenues painted in autumn colors. House exteriors display glimpses of grand manors and historic Bath buildings that appear lovely in the daylight but seem very dark in the evening. Interior scenes are filmed on soundstages that seem open and lofty and echo quite a bit. Wallpapers have funny 1970’s patterns, windows are large and fake, but furniture in these scenes is grand and quite nice. Character placements on these “stages” are very odd and the sound quality is poor as it shifts around quite a bit.

Designed by Esther Dean, costumes catch the style of regency with high waisted gowns and velvet jackets but are mixed with the colors of the 1970’s: bright shades of green, orange, and brown. The costumes seem to have been made and handed out at random, as they often don’t seem to suit the characters they are worn by. The simple, elderly Musgroves wear fancy styles in rich colors while the elegant, vain Sir Walter Elliot and his daughter Elizabeth, who are in debt because of their love of finery, are dressed in simple styles of dull colored materials. Many costumes are worn several scenes in a row, for instance one dress that our heroine Anne is seen in repeatedly is a horrid green plaid that is so ugly one feels sorry for her.
Funny lace caps are worn by many of the women, married or unmarried, and the jewelry is tacky and out of place. The sailors in the film never wear their uniforms, bow ties can be seen on the men instead of the period cravats, and footmen very rarely wear gloves! The hairstyles are little better; the gentlemen can be seen in long mop like lengths, while the ladies hairstyles are pretty but simple and hardly decorated with anything like a turban, feather or beads.


  • Anne Firbank as Anne Elliot at first glance is too old and has an elegant beauty that really doesn’t fit Jane Austen’s description of a heroine “past her bloom”. Despite her unflattering costumes I tried to like her but her acting is spiritless, her hair is too light, and her voice too deep and dramatic. She is too tall, too thin; also her attitude is too forthright and outspoken. She has such a commanding aspect as she argues with friends and family, speaks too freely of her feelings, and laughs her head off in a ridiculous manner. I can’t understand how anyone can like her at all – let alone the charming Captain Wentworth.
  • Bryan Marshall does an excellent job of portraying Captain Wentworth. He is really quite the gentleman, humorous, well-breed and sociable. He seems truly concerned about the Musgrove’s dead son and about Louisa’s fall, and he is so romantic at the end as he tells Anne his feelings for her have never changed. The only thing that puts a damper on his performance is his shaggy brown hair and his never wearing a naval uniform.
  • Basil Dignam as Anne’s father Sir Walter Elliot is fine, handsome and believably vain and eloquent. Sadly his character seem under the regulation of a script that has him filling in the narrative, talking with his daughter of her feelings, calling a widowed friend too familiarly by her Christian name, and generally doing several things against his nature.
  • Anne’s older sister, Elizabeth Elliot, is played by handsome and elegant Valerie Gearon. With her quiet, confident attitude she is a convincing Elizabeth, though she may have made a better Anne. Ms. Gearon’s talents however seem restrained by dyed jet-black hair, the same pink and purple gowns, and lengthy unreasonable discussion of women’s confinement.
  • Charlotte Mitchell is Elizabeth’s friend Mrs. Clay who Jane Austen describes as a young, pretty, charming fortune-hunter but in this movie version she is depicted as an unattractive, simpering elderly lady who smiles funny and tries to please everyone but fails miserably. Her gowns are hideous green and yellow affairs with matronly caps completing the anti-temptress attitude. 
  • Her father, Mr. Shepherd, portrayed by the very talented Edward Jewsburry, is perfect as the Elliot’s persuasive and gentlemanlike lawyer.
  • Actress Morag Hood portrays a very elegant and slightly flirtatious Mary Musgrove in rather low cut gowns and chokers. But she does a fabulous job of lying upon a sofa and complaining illness. 
  • Rowland Davies is a fine Charles Musgrove; he is definitely the picture of sportsman and can be seen frequently throughout the film with shooting rifle in hand or hunting dog at his heel. He is young, solid, amusing, brotherly, and affectionate even though he seems to be constantly carving some meat or other for a meal.
  • Timid Henrietta Musgrove is played by the truly sweet and pretty actress Mel Martin. She is perfectly cast and dressed in clothes matching her character light, fresh, and blooming.
  • Zhivila Roche is the impatient and giddy Louisa Musgrove. She is cute as a button and wears the most darling bonnets but really her giggle is over the top, her acting far too dramatic, and her gaga infatuation with the naval men so irritating that the viewer is extremely glad that she falls off the Cobb when she does because we’re not sure we can handle any more of the stupid girl!
  • Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove are portrayed by actors William Kendall and Noel Dyson. Though perfectly friendly, old-fashioned and parental they appear too gentile and dignified.
  • Actress Marian Spencer is Anne’s friend Lady Russell who in this movie is far too dramatic, homely, gray haired, friendly and agreeable. She talks a great deal and is too much Anne’s confidant, so much so that I believe she would have served much better as Mrs. Musgrove than the elegant, practical, rich noblewoman. Again the script plays a large part in my not liking her as it places her in scenes where she is waving her hand off while saying good-bye, pulling away in her carriage from the sidewalk before her friend is safely inside the house and wearing the same dresses frequently throughout the film.
  • Georgine Anderson as Mrs. Croft is just as lovely and elegant as Jane Austen described her. She shows she has style by wearing lovely turbans and her warm sisterly affections almost put to rest the thoughts of her high pitched voice and over thirty-nine years.
  • Her husband the seafaring Admiral Croft is the comic relief in this film. Actor Richard Vernon is tall and bearded, rather crusty and careless, and resembles in my mind a jolly Father Christmas. But again the technical aspect of the film has him always stoking a fire and sitting down before the ladies in a room have a chance too. I dearly love the scene where Anne and Lady Russell visit the Crofts at Kellynch where the Admiral laments the quantity of mirrors, it’s just so funny!
  • David Savile as the fine mannered cousin Mr. William Elliot is totally charming, gentlemanlike, humorous, and fastidious with a slightly strange accent. The scenes between him and Mrs. Clay are perfectly acted though she is such a woman.
  • Also of note are Michael Culver & Helen Ryan who are perfect as Captain Wentworth’s friends the ever hospitable, charming Harvilles; Paul Alexander who as Henrietta’s beau Charles Hayter, is rather stuffy, scholarly, funny-looking, and lovable; comedic actor Paul Chapman is a dark, lanky, somber, quiet, but kind Captain James Benwick; and Polly Murch serves well as Anne’s old school-mate Mrs. Smith, but wears ridiculous caps, is terribly pale and thin with big eyes and a fairly large nose. Her explanations of Mr. Elliot’s dealings with her husband are warm and convincing.

  • While walking down a country lane, actors pass World War Two tank traps, quite out of place in Regency England.

Memorable Quotes:
  • Captain Wentworth: I could think of you only as one who had given me up, who had been influenced by one other than me.
  • Anne: “Oh, Frederick, Frederick, Frederick!”
  • Admiral Croft: There’s no getting away from oneself!

My Reviews: Emma (1972)

Emma (BBC, 1972)

Directed by John Glenister, this mini series was first produced for the BBC and aired in July of 1972 over six episodes for a total of 240 minutes. This play like adaptation is a tad long but it’s complete script and talented actors will endear it to the true Janeite.

Written by Denis Constanduros, this version is an excellent adaptation of Jane Austen romantic comedy, but because it does cover the entire novel it can seem a bit lengthy. The dialog however is sweet and often funny. One of the things that were a bit disappointing was the scene of the Box hill party, which takes place the same day as the Donwell Abbey outing (instead of the day after) and half of the characters that were supposed to be present were missing while the other characters were participating in activities against their nature. But the ending interchanges between Emma and Mr. Knightley are tender and charming.

There is a serious lack of music in this film, but the opening and ending credits do feature light renditions on pianoforte of ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’. Because of the lack of music, scenes to echo with a play like quality and seem to drain the excitement out of the ballroom scenes. The songs that Emma plays for her friends are light and pretty, while the tunes Jane Fairfax plays are so somber and her voice is mediocre.

Stage like settings with high ceilings, wide-open spaces, and fake windows give indoor scenes a surreal feel. Outside scenes feature country houses, a lovely town street, as well as a delightful church and cemetery.

The costume department did a wonderful job producing period costumes on their ostensibly limited budget. The female characters are dressed in exquisite regency gowns laced with frills and ribbons and all of the ladies wear darling caps and bonnets. The men sport stylish hats, gloves, and velvet dinner jackets that seem to suit their station in life. Some of the fabrics though appear a bit out of place for the time period, such as Emma’s rather excessive pink faux fur cloak. Our light-hearted heroine is often put in high starched collars and can be found wearing the same gown several days in a row!

All experienced stage actors, the cast brilliantly perform before the camera though their theatrical style causes one to feel as if you are watching a play rather than real life.

  • Doran Godwin is Jane Austen’s “handsome, clever and rich” Emma Woodhouse. Though extremely elegant and upright Ms. Godwin just doesn’t seem to fit the mold Jane set out for one of her most popular heroines. She is neither pretty, nor convincingly twenty-one, nor does she have a very pleasing manner. Her acting is slow and deliberate with a high-pitched voice and a silly self-assured smile. Not quite “the picture of grown-up health” Jane Austen wrote of.
  • Donald Eccles is Emma’s elderly father Mr. Woodhouse, and decidedly one of my favorite characters in this particular movie version. Thin and weedy with neat gray hair and eyes that grow endearingly wide as his concern about everyone’s health grows. He has even me convinced that opening a window at a dance would be as shocking as murder!
  • Gray haired John Carson sadly is Mr. Knightley. Though he plays the aspect of Emma’s gentlemanlike “brother” correctly he often seems too old, too fine in appearance, too much the English aristocrat, and rather high-and-mighty for me to truly like him.
  • Ellen Dryden is Emma’s former governess Mrs. Weston but with her supercilious ways she seems too elderly, and not motherly or friendly enough to be our heroine’s friend. 
  • Raymond Adamson as her husband seems to be trying for almost a sea faring type in his portrayal of Mr. Weston. But he is perfectly kind with friendly manners.
  • A young Mollie Sudgen is smashing as the teacher Mrs. Goddard, a bit gussied up, but sensible and insightful.
  • Blonde haired Debbie Bowen is Emma’s friend Harriet Smith, who in this version is far from a naive seventeen-year-old. She would be a lovely Miss Smith if she did not smile so much and wasn’t so gushingly grateful to everyone. Her “yes Miss Woodhouse” and “thank you miss Woodhouse” can easily got on my nerves.
  • Timothy Peters is very pleasing as the vicar Mr. Elton. A tad thin, and dressed in vicar blacks, he is always kind and thoughtful and rather good-looking.
  • Fiona Walker as Mrs. Elton is both horrid and wonderful at the same time. Her acting is so good that we really dislike this “little upstart” who talks with her hands and seems to be always trying to arrange every else’s life.
  • Robert East – young, handsome, agreeable, smiling, friendly, with a true love of gloves and dancing, charmingly acts Frank Churchill, but is a bit secretive.
  • Constance Chapman after portraying Miss Bates in a BBC radio production renews acquaintance with that character. But though her voice is truly suited for the chattering old maid her appearance is too old and smiling, and always seems that she is being told to keep quiet. 
  • Mary Holder plays the elderly Mrs. Bates, very quiet and matronly.
  • Ania Marson as the lovely Jane Fairfax is quite small and fragile. But her acting is good but in one scene she is very quiet and patient and then all of a sudden speaks loud and cross to her aunt. But her voice is fine as she delights the guests at a Hartfield party with her singing performance.
  • Meg Gleed, with her bright red hair and squeaky voice is Emma’s sister Isabella Knightley. She is rather too old though and could really be a grandmother rather than a young mother. She is very nice but always seems to be arguing with someone weather it be her husband, sister or father. 
  • John Kelland is her husband Mr. John Knightley who is like his older brother Mr. Knightley. But instead of being very jovial and funny his humor seems to come from arguing with his father-in-law and laughing at him behind his back, instead of kindly indulging him. But he is truly a kind, insightful brother-in-law to Emma.

Memorable Quotes:
  • Harriet: Yes Miss Woodhouse, thank you Miss Woodhouse!
  • Harriet: I like of all things to go shopping the day after a party. One has the possibility of meeting – so many people!
  • Emma (to Harriet): But you may borrow my lace ruff if you wish.
  • Mr. Elton: Oh, Kightley! There’s some horrid creature crawling n my neck! In the absence of my caro sposo e you may remove it if you wish.
  • Knightley: On one condition, that you cease to call me Mr. Knightley Emma: But that is how I always think of you. Kightley: I do have another name you know. Emma: Oh, yes but to call you by it would make you seem other than you are, and that I should not like. Oh, dear! I do remember once when I was just a girl, calling you George just to see if it would annoy you. But when I found it did not I never did so again! Knightley: And can you not do so now just to please me? Emma: George…George!…George? I am sorry Mr. Knightley I can not do it, you will have to remain as you are!

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Many Lovers of Miss Jane Austen

The Prime Of Miss Jane Austen

The Prime Of Miss Jane Austen

To mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen's first novel, Sense And Sensibility, Professor Amanda Vickery, one of the leading chroniclers of Georgian England, explores the ebb and flow of Austen's popularity and the hold her fiction has on people today.
In this 60-minute programme, Vickery considers what it is about Austen's plots and characters that continue to delight, amuse, console and provoke. Her fans insist her current popularity is due to the timelessness of the fictional world Austen created, but for Vickery the question is: why have her novels gone in and out of fashion? What interests Amanda is how different periods and generations have looked for their own reflection in the characters and plots of the novels. She wants to work out what that says about them, as well as about Austen.
Interviewing a variety of literary scholars, film directors and costumed devotees who attend the Austen conventions, Vickery also views the Sotherby's sale of an incredibly rare, handwritten manuscript of an unfinished Austen novel.
The Prime Of Miss Jane Austen is part of Books On The BBC 2011.
A Matchlight production

The Many Lovers Of Miss Jane Austen

Professor Amanda Vickery
To mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s first novel, Sense and Sensibility, Professor Amanda Vickery, one of the leading chroniclers of Georgian England, explores the ebb and flow of Austen’s popularity and the hold her fiction has on us now.
In this 60-minute programme, Vickery considers what it is about her plots and characters that continue to delight, amuse, console and provoke. Her fans insist her current popularity is due to the timelessness of the fictional world Austen created, but for Vickery the question is: Why have her novels gone in, and out, of fashion?
What interests Amanda is how different periods and generations have looked for their own reflection in the characters and plots of the novels. She wants to work out what that says about them, as well as about Austen. Interviewing a variety of literary scholars, film directors and costumed devotees who attend the Austen conventions, Vickery also views the Sotherby’s sale of an incredibly rare, handwritten manuscript of an unfinished Austen novel.
This programme is part of the Books on the BBC 2011.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Real Jane Austen (2002)

The best documentary about the life of Jane Austen! Narrated by actor and great-grand-niece Anna Chancellor this is a lovely look at the short but fairly happy life of The Authoress. There are lovely scenes of Steventon and other places where she lived and wrote about. Actors play some historic characters mixed with much archive footage of film adaptations.

Summary: Through readings and dramatic reconstructions, The Real Jane Austen pieces together the reality of Austen's existence: her modest upbringing in Hampshire as one of seven children of a clergyman; her disappointment in love; and the family's poverty following the death of her father.

Director & Producer: Nicky Pattison
Executive Producer: Franny Moyle
Costumes: Dinah Collin
Original Music by: Lesley Barber
Release Date: UK - 30 December 2002
Running Time: 60 minutes


Anna Chancellor as Narrator

Gillian Kearney as Jane Austen

Jack Davenport as Henry Austen

Lucy Cohu as Cassandra Austen

Phyllis Logan as Mrs. Austen

John Standing as Mr. Austen

Ben Illis as James Austen

Oliver Chris as Tom Lefroy

Wendy Craig as Mrs. Lefroy

Beth Winslet as Fanny Knight

Patrick Connolly as Harris Bigg

Lauren Birch as Baby Jane Austen

Judith French as Jane's schoolmistress

Danielle Green as Young Cassandra Austen

Lara Harvey as Young Jane Austen

Many Other Actors from clips of these film adaptations:

  • None yet...

Links of Interest:

Trailers & Clips:

The Real Jane Austen - Part 1 of 8

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lost In Austen (2008)

Lost in Austen
A modern girl goes into the world of Pride & Prejudice! Some of the humor is a bit vulgar and she basically makes a mess of the story. But there are some nicely cast actors and beautiful scenery!

Summary: Amanda Price is dissatisfied with her life in modern London. Her favorite escape is getting lost in the pages of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. One night, Amanda is startled to come face to face with the novel's protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet. A small door in her apartment mysteriously links their worlds. Eventually, Amanda becomes trapped on the other side, while Elizabeth remains in the modern world. Now as the events of her favorite book unfold in all the wrong ways, Amanda tries desperately to set things straight, but inevitably makes things worse. Will this fractured version of a classic tale lead Amanda to her own happily-ever-after?

Script: Guy Andrews
Directed by: Dan Zeff
Produced for: ITV
Release Date: 3 September 2008 (UK)
Filming: UK
Length: 180 minutes, originally shown in four episodes
Producer: Kate McKerrell
Executive Producers: Guy Andrews, Michele Buck, Hugo Heppell, Damien Timmer
Costume Designer: Emma Rosenthal
Composer: Christian Henson

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Jemima Rooper as Amanda Price

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Elliot Cowan as Mr. Darcy

Hugh Bonneville as Mr. Bennet

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Alex Kingston as Mrs. Bennet

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Morven Christie as Jane Bennet

Gemma Arterton as Elizabeth Bennet

Ruby Bentall as Mary Bennet

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Florence Hoath as Kitty Bennet 

Perdita Weeks as Lydia Bennet

Tom Mison as Mr. Bingley

Christina Cole as Caroline Bingley 

Tom Riley as Mr. Wickham

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Guy Henry as Mr. Collins

Michelle Duncan as Charlotte Lucas

Lindsay Duncan as Lady Catherine de Bourgh 

Miss Anne de Bourgh

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Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Pirhana (Amanda's friend) 

Daniel Percival as Michael (Amanda's boyfriend)

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Mr. Collins's Brothers

  • Amanda Price: I'm not hung up about Darcy. I do not sit at home with the pause button on Colin Firth in clingy pants, okay? I love the love story. I love Elizabeth. I love the manners and language and the courtesy. It's become part of who I am and what I want. I'm saying that I have standards. 
  • Mr. Bingley: [after Amanda sings 'Downtown'] Brava, Miss Price! And whenever life is gettin' me down, I shall be sure to go 'downtown'. Eh, Darcy? 
    Mr. Darcy: With alacrity. 
  • Amanda Price: [to Darcy] You're supposed to be so bloody incandescent with integrity and you misjudge everybody! You misjudge me! 
  • Amanda Price: Hear that sound, George? Duh-uh-uh-uh! That's Jane Austen spinning in her grave like a cat in a tumble-dryer. 
  • Elizabeth Bennet: Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley? I am your wife. 
    Mr. Darcy: I do not recall marrying you, Madam. I think I would have noticed if I had. 
    Elizabeth Bennet: We have been married nearly 200 years. 

Links of Interest:

Visit Our Lost In Austen Photo Gallery!

Trailers & Clips:

Trailer for Public Television Stations

Fanmade Trailer

My Music Video:

Lost In Austen Theme