Category Archives: Authors

An Adaptation That Makes Sense (and Sensibility)

The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013

Continuing on with my Sense and Sensibility adaptation binge, I wrapped up my mini film fest with the 2008 BBC version.  I was not prepared to like this one at all because BBC blew it so badly with the 1981 version, and I am a totes fan of the  1995 version.

I watched it at and have to admit it does a better job of making sense of JA’s novel of mixed up romances.

What I liked:

  • more actual dialogue and character development
  • actors closer in age to those of the novel characters
  • the mother–classy and nurturing
  • Edward, who seemed more believable than Hugh Grant’s version
  • including characters who had previously been left out, like Sir John’s wife and children and Lucy’s sister

What I didn’t like:

  • too much kissing!  I’m not against kissing, but JA didn’t have kissing in her novels
  • Elinor didn’t have the emotional range like Emma Thompson, especially when it looked like Marianne might die from her fever
  • Willoughby–much too young and spoiled.  He seemed more like a boy band member than a romantic rich kid who wants it all.

Overall, I prefer this version if wanting to “watch” the book, but Emma’s version is definitely the one I prefer for the cinematic thrill of watching true love take place.  And I love watching Willoughby riding away on his white horse (is that symbolic that he is a good guy gone wrong?)

Note:  This will be my last post on this site.  I meant to only post my NaNoWriMo novel and then I got caught up in the thrill of comments and followers.  Unfortunately, school commitments has taken its toll and one must go.  Since school is mandatory and blogging an option, I must give up blogging.

I appreciate your follows and comments and will keep the site up.  I won’t be posting anymore though.

Farewell (for now, perhaps)

Vera

P.S. I suggest popping over to www.cricketmuse.wordpress.com for continuing Emily Dickinson and Jane Austen entries.

 

 

Jane Calling: Emma Makes Sense

The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013

 

Emma Thompson. She’s a definite acting fave of mine.  She can be oh so serious (Howard’s End, for one), funny (Much Ado About Nothing), surprising (Stranger Than Fiction), and even silly (Nanny McPhee). Did you know she can also write?

 

I found her book at the library when I was checking out all the different movie versions of Sense and Sensibility.  I knew she had written the screenplay for the 1995 adaptation, but I didn’t know I could read it.  

 

Product Details

image: amazon.com

 

Here are some takeaways from reading her book:

 

  • it took about 15 years to actually get SandS made into a movie
  • Emma Thompson worked on the script over four years
  • reading a screenplay script is not as easy as it seems
  • although it’s fun to read all the stage directions (Elinor takes his hands gratefully)
  • it’s fascinating to read the story broken down into bits and pieces
  • I “watched” the movie as I read the script
  • I better understood each character having to focus on each of his or her lines
  • I would like to write a screenplay of a novel someday
  • Maybe not

 

That was the first part of the book–the screenplay.  The second part dealt with Emma Thompson’s diaries while making the movie.  As a writer and an actress it gave her a lot to write about.  My biggest takeaway from reading her diary?

 

  • Acting is not as glamorous as it looks

 

I highly recommend reading Emma’s book if you like to learn more about what makes a favorite movie tick, and I learned quite a lot about the 1995 version (one of the movie sheep fainted due to getting too hot from not being sheared–they wanted wooly sheep, not naked sheep for the movie).  Oh, just a heads up–Emma is, well, kind of open in how she writes. She isn’t one to hold back on how she sees things.

 

 This was an unexpected find and gave me a different insight about Sense and Sensibility.

 

English: Emma Thompson at the César awards cer...

English: Emma Thompson at the César awards ceremony. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Jane Calling: Some Adaptations Make No Sense (or Sensibility)

English: Sense and Sensibility, (Jane Austen n...

English: Sense and Sensibility, (Jane Austen novel) ch 29 : Elinor read with great indignation Willoughby’s letter Français : Sense and Sensibility, (Jane Austen) Ch. 29 (illustration N° 14) Elinor découvre avec indignation le contenu de la lettre envoyée par Willoughby à Marianne, après leur rencontre au bal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Continuing on with my Sense and Sensibility marathon, I popped in the 1981 version–a BBC offering after watching the fabulous 1995 version.

Opinion? Dry, blah, and so unimpressed I flipped through Emma Thompson’s SandS book while watching.

Part of the problem, I suppose, is that this is an older production and meant for television, and probably didn’t have that big of a budget.  Another problem is Emma Thompson’s version happened to be magical.

If interested, here is my grocery list of dislikes about the 1981 version:

1. Where is Margaret?  How could they get rid of a sister?  Quite unkind in my opinion.

2. Acting is stiff and wooden.  I felt like I was watching one of our high school drama club productions (which isn’t fair, since we have a pretty decent drama department).

3.  The costumes were terrible.  They didn’t look at all Regency.  In fact, I couldn’t tell what period the style was supposed to be.

4.  Marianne came off as a spoiled brat instead of an impassioned girl.

5.  I couldn’t muster any compassion for Colonel Brandon and his unrequited love for Marianne (Alan Rickman spoiled that one).

6. Fanny’s shock over finding out about Edward’s engagement was laughably over-the-top in hysterics factor.

7. Edward chasing Elinor through the woods seemed a bit too dramatic. I wouldn’t think she would be running away from Edward upon finding out he’s finally available.

8. Willoughby’s confession scene quite pathetic–he came off as whiner, instead of a narcissistic cad. Then again, whining also showed his cad stripes.

9.  What happened to the happy ending?  Where’s the wedding?  I wondered if I missed the ending it stopped so abruptly.

10.  Okay, one good thing to say: Mrs Jennings still proved irritating.

Overall opinion?  Skip this version and stick with Emma.  I’m off to explore the 2008 Sense and Sensibility.

Watch this:                                                                                      Not this:

Sense and Sensibility Poster

image: IMDB

The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013

Jane Calling: Darcy and Liz Senselessly in Love

Today is the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice, which is why I am writing about Sense and Sensibility.  Everyone will be extolling their la-de-dahs about P&P, so I’m writing about the forgotten firstie: Sense and Sensibility.

In my last post, I created a poll to see what you all thought about which book is better: Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility.  Here are the results

I also said I would start my finally-free-from-finals weekend with a Sense and Sensibility marathon.  I began with Emma Thompson’s 1995 film adaptation.  apparently there hadn’t been an major film adaptation of a JA novel for fifty years until Ang Lee and Emma brought their version to the screen (although there had been a few TV ones).  To say it was a hit is a definite understatement.  Here’s the Wikipedia on it (please don’t tell Mrs. Fieldstone I’m using Wikipedia as a resource):

Sense and Sensibility
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ang Lee
Produced by Lindsay Doran
Screenplay by Emma Thompson
Based on Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Starring Emma Thompson Alan Rickman Kate Winslet Hugh Grant
Music by Patrick Doyle
Cinematography Michael Coulter
Editing by Tim Squyres
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s)
  • 13 December 1995 (1995-12-13) (United States)
  • 23 February 1996 (1996-02-23) (United Kingdom)
Running time 136 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom United States
Language English French
Budget $16 million
Box office $134,993,774

Sense and Sensibility is a 1995 British-American period drama film directed by Taiwanese-American director Ang Lee and based on Jane Austen‘s 1811 novel of the same name Emma Thompson wrote the script and stars as Elinor Dashwood, while Kate Winslet plays Elinor’s sister Marianne. Actors Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman play their respective suitors.

Producer Lindsay Doran, a longtime admirer of Austen’s novel, hired Thompson to write the screenplay. The actress spent four years penning numerous revisions, working on the script between other films as well as into production of the film itself. Doran found studios nervous that Thompson was the credited writer, but Columbia Pictures eventually agreed to act as the film’s producer. Though initially intending for another actress to portray Elinor, Thompson was persuaded to undertake the part herself, despite the disparity with her character’s age.

The film garnered overwhelmingly positive reviews upon release and  received many awards and nominations, including three awards and eleven nominations at the 1995 British Academy Film Awards. The film received seven Academy Awards nominations, including Best Picture. Emma Thompson received two nominations, for Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay, winning the latter. As of 2012, Thompson remains the only person to have won both acting and writing awards at the Academy Awards, as she previously won the Best Actress award in 1992 for Howards End.

Sense and Sensibility contributed to a resurgence in popularity for Austen’s work, and led to many more film and television adaptations in the following years.

I adore this movie, although I get so irritated with Marianne, I want to shake her, especially how rude she is to Colonel Brandon.  Emma plays the forbearing sister part incredibly well.  I knew, as everyone else, that she was really too old to being playing Elinor, but her acting is absolutely perfect.  When Elinor lashes out at Marianne about having had to hide her hurts all those months, she still found the compassion to comfort her self-centered sister (Kate shows her own abilities in this part).

I even checked out Emma Thompson’s book about the movie, which is the screenplay and her running journal.  That’s for next postie.

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