Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby 220chrisTian » Sep 12, 2014 1:32 pm

I read an excellent two-part interview with Ashley Clements (Lizzie – LBD) yesterday. She explains Lizzie’s thoughts, feelings, and motives, as well as the genius of LBD. It is just this genius that I admire in the web series and cannot find in the ‘secret diary’ (which reads like a modern P&P). For example, I love how the creators focus on Lizzie’s relationships with both sisters and give Lydia a second chance. I also like Ashley’s thoughts on Darcy and Lizzie: they’re flawed people who need to change before they can begin a relationship.

http://www.hypable.com/2013/02/13/exclu ... ts-part-1/
http://www.hypable.com/2013/02/14/exclu ... ts-part-2/
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby 220chrisTian » Sep 19, 2014 12:57 pm

If anyone is interested, I created a Facebook fan page for Daniel Vincent Gordh (Darcy) and Ashley Clements (Lizzie) last week. It’s called “Daniel & Ashley – LBD.” I like these people and their beautiful friendship. This is what two of my other fan pages celebrate (Skandar & Georgie, Daniel & Erin Fans). :)

http://www.facebook.com/Daniel.and.Ashley.LBD
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby Meltintalle » Nov 21, 2014 11:58 am

The Mansfield Park post for which you've all been waiting! :p

As a rule of thumb, I read the book first.

Book: As was my experience with Emma, I was rather ambivalent on finishing the book and preferred watching the story to reading it. (Unlike Emma, I did read the book first instead of getting to it while in the middle of the mini-series.)

This opinion may change on rereads, because it may just take being familiar with the characters to really appreciate the more subtle wit.

My greatest frustration as a reader was that the ending does seem better suited to the swift happily-ever-after of stage and screen. Now, given that much of the story revolves around poor decisions made while one is deluded by love and desire, I'm not sure if that's entirely a good thing. What I really wanted was Henry/Fanny--him sticking it out or her giving him a smidgen of encouragement--it's a book, that's all it would have taken... another hundred pages of Edmund realizing that it was actually Fanny he was in love with and not the picture he'd created of Mary Crawford.

1983 BBC Mini-Series
The award for worst hairstyle goes to Mary for her perm. Runner-up is Edmund for dutch-girl-hat hair and Yates is an Honorable Mention for whatever weirdness was going on at the back of his head. It was a close run race between the two gentlemen, but Edmund took precedence because he had more screentime.

It's so nice when the first criticism goes to the make-up department instead of the script. B-) If I were to rank my favorite adaptations of Jane Austen's novels today, I think I'd put this one in the #2 slot, right behind the '95 Sense and Sensibility.

The worst choice the script made, in my opinion, was cutting a scene with Sir Thomas and Maria. In the book, when Sir Thomas has met Rushworth, he offers to break the engagement and she refuses. Its loss is understandable since we don't see anything Fanny isn't present for or told, but the lack changes one's impression of Maria's choices.

(It's rather strange to hear the English pronunciation of Maria. It sounds like Moriah, which I read as another name entirely.)

I liked the little touches like having Lady Bertram carry out her promise of gifting Fanny with a puppy. ;))

There are significant looks between the Crawford siblings that hint toward a lack of seriousness in their intents, which makes the ending that much more expected. And we see how Fanny has a slightly clearer view of earlier behavior than anyone else, which makes her stubbornness commendable and yet still regrettable when a single kind word might have changed the course of the story....

Twigs, re: Tom I think we did see that he'd changed at the end; if only in a very small way. More or less every other time we see him interact with Fanny he comes up behind her and scares her. The last time, he greeted her in a decorous fashion.

Audio Drama
It was done by the BBC in 2003. And... I don't think it quite understands how to show, and not tell, in audio form. It's not until the end of the third episode that we're informed our narrator is Jane Austen herself, which is an interesting idea but would work better if I'd known that from the beginning. :p The scenes in the beginning are quite fragmented and the characterizations run contrary to expectation. And even once things start evening out in the third and fourth episodes, Fanny still feels like an afterthought.
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby Pattertwigs Pal » Nov 22, 2014 6:39 pm

Meltintalle wrote:The Mansfield Park post for which you've all been waiting! :p
Yay!!! I have been waiting. ;))

Meltintalle wrote:was Henry/Fanny--him sticking it out or her giving him a smidgen of encouragement--it's a book, that's all it would have taken... another hundred pages of Edmund realizing that it was actually Fanny he was in love with and not the picture he'd created of Mary Crawford.
I never liked Henry and Fanny but I wouldn't argue with more details about Fanny and Edmund although the lack of details didn't really bother me.

Meltintalle wrote:1983 BBC Mini-Series
The award for worst hairstyle goes to Mary for her perm. Runner-up is Edmund for dutch-girl-hat hair and Yates is an Honorable Mention for whatever weirdness was going on at the back of his head. It was a close run race between the two gentlemen, but Edmund took precedence because he had more screentime.
I agree about Mary but I found Yates' hair worse than Edmund's. Although Edmund's hair was pretty bad. He looked kind of older than Tom.
Meltintalle wrote:It's so nice when the first criticism goes to the make-up department instead of the script. B-)
Yes! It is so refreshing. I'm not sure where I'd put it in my list of favorite adaptations ... I'll have to think about it...

Meltintalle wrote:The worst choice the script made, in my opinion, was cutting a scene with Sir Thomas and Maria. In the book, when Sir Thomas has met Rushworth, he offers to break the engagement and she refuses. Its loss is understandable since we don't see anything Fanny isn't present for or told, but the lack changes one's impression of Maria's choices.
I agree I didn't care for that change either. I suppose it does make sense when you it that way. They could have had Fanny accidentally overhear it.

Meltintalle wrote:There are significant looks between the Crawford siblings that hint toward a lack of seriousness in their intents, which makes the ending that much more expected.
Which times? Mary and Edmund, Henry and Fanny before he falls in love, and/or Henry and Fanny after after Henry falls for her? There were definitely some looks when Henry was announcing he was going to make Fanny a little in love with him but those were appropriate.


Good point about Tom. I thought there was more interaction between Fanny and Tom during his illness in the book that helped make the change evident but I could be mixing up stories.

Well, I have the advantage of knowing who the narrator is when I start listening to the audio drama.

On Wikipeadia it says:
Mansfield Park is the most controversial of Austen's major novels. Regency critics praised the novel's wholesome morality, but many modern readers find Fanny's timidity and disapproval of the theatricals difficult to sympathise with and reject the idea (made explicit in the final chapter) that she is a better person for the relative privations of her childhood. Jane Austen's own mother thought Fanny "insipid",[3] and many other readers have found her priggish and unlikeable.[4]
I must say I agree far more with the Regency critics than the others. The reason I love Mansfield Park so much is Fanny. She is my favorite Austen heroine. I can relate to her better than other ones and I love how she stands up for what she believes in. If she weren't timid, it would not have the power it does. For someone who aims to please and spends a lot of time in service to others, it is especially striking that she did stand up for what she believed in. Thoughts about Fanny / the quote above?
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby Meltintalle » Nov 23, 2014 2:13 pm

Twigs wrote:They could have had Fanny accidentally overhear it
Yes. If the interview had taken place in passing--which, granted I would expect it to have been like Sir Thomas' chat with Tom about the finances (an exception to my previous rationalization so let's go back to there was no real reason to cut this scene ;)) )--it would not stretch the imagination that Fanny might be around.

Twigs wrote:I never liked Henry and Fanny
That was one of the things that the mini-series did well; the non-verbal cues indicating Henry's lack of consistency were a lot more, well, obvious than I found them in the book where I took him at face value and was charmed he'd realized Fanny's worth. :|

Again, re: the Crawford siblings: My impression from the book was that Mary was more thoughtless than anything else; she was selfish and wanted what drew her to Edmund dressed in a form she understood; ie a man who was going to make a name for himself. Which still holds true with the mini-series interpretation but it also portrayed her as more aware and complicit with Henry's actions.

The biggest difference might be in how one understands the last letter she sends Fanny. I'd read it as a, "Oh, no, that's torn everything this is awful, Fanny please..." instead of something more deliberate effort to smooth the matter over as quickly as possible (which she would later realize was out of the question). I'm explaining myself very badly but basically it all goes back to whether or not he/they make deliberate or accidental bad choices. :ymblushing:


re: Tom I'm pretty sure they didn't call for Fanny until Tom was on the mend because there was a significant time between when she was supposed to be fetched (when she could have taken the Crawfords up on their offer) and her return to Mansfield Park.

Don't let me forget to come back with a fuller answer to the last question, but I've now tried two or three times and haven't liked the way any of them came out. In short, I'm with the Regency critics; I'm not sure I'd generalize the appeal for me as 'morality' because that's the surface effect. It's what's underneath that drives the characters and gives them their appeal.
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby Pattertwigs Pal » Feb 27, 2016 10:30 am

I had the opportunity of attending a play based on Sense and Sensibility. I attempted to reread the book before the performance but alas I did not quite make it. I was puzzled at first by the portrayal of Edward and Margaret's interactions. I wondered if I had been reading the right books since 2 adaptations had the same type of interactions. Upon consideration, I realized that I was likely seeing an adaptation of the movie. I received confirmation of this from one of my companions of the evening declared it would have been better preparation to have watched the movie than to have read the book. Elinor and Marianna were portrayed well. Sir John and Mrs Jennings were played sillier than I imagined them. Lucy Steele and Fanny Dashwood were well done as well. Lady Middleton apparently suffered from an early death as Sir John was called a widower. I believe the story would have benefited if Lady Middleton had been there as a contrast for her mother and and husband. Mr Palmer was well done. One significant change from the 1995 movie was that Mr Willoughby made his explanation and apology in person to Elinor. The "wall" that was part of Mrs Jennning's London residence moved every time the door in it was used. I found that distracting because I was worrying it might fall down. I'm sure it was more secure than it appeared.
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby Meltintalle » Feb 28, 2016 2:53 pm

Twigs wrote: The "wall" that was part of Mrs Jennning's London residence moved every time the door in it was used.
It did look unstable, didn't it. ;)) Other than the one unwieldy backdrop, the play was nicely staged. Family members commented on how well the scenes in the rain were done.

I liked the inclusion of Willoughby attempting to apologize/explain while Marianne was ill, but other than that, it was mostly a variation on the '95 screenplay. I'm not sure how I feel about that. The movie is great, yes, but copying it right down to Marianne's hairstyle? And the vocal ranges? What if Willoughby had had the deep, Alan Rickman-esque voice? How would that change the audience's perception of the character???
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby the4signs[repeat] » Feb 28, 2016 8:41 pm

I was also at this production of Sense and Sensibility. :)
I completely agree that this was an adaptation of an adaptation of the book Sense and Sensibility. I was surprised that the program made no mention of the writer on whose screenplay so much of this play’s script was based. Any who, it has prompted me to reread S&S so that I don’t allow bits of Hollywood script to supplant actual Austen observation and dialogue in my mind’s library of maxims and quotes. /:)
I agree with Pattertwig’s Pal.
I believe the story would have benefited if Lady Middleton had been there as a contrast for her mother and and husband.
It is too bad that Lady Middleton was cut out of this adaptation. In the book this character’s shallowness underlines how much Elinor misses her conversations with Edward, and also that Colonel Brandon is really the only person in the neighborhood with enough kindness, insight, knowledge and experience to be good company for Elinor.
As for the production, I thought the set (particularly that which represented the outdoors) was lovely. It had many steps and “rocks” which added dimension to the set. So much so that I was relieved when neither Willoughby nor Colonel Brandon took a spill as they each hefted Marianne around the stage. The costumes were lovely (lots of bright colored fabric), and the gentlemen of the cast had very fine cravats. The actors' English accents didn’t feel too corny or forced. Surprisingly, some of the most memorable and fun moments were mimed, for example Edward falling out of the tree swing. At the end I shed a small tear as I always do when Edward comes back for Elinor in the end. All in all it was an enjoyable evening with Austen’s classic story and some new friends. :ymapplause:
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby Meltintalle » May 01, 2016 2:46 pm

Post-play, I've had the opportunity to watch (and rewatch) some other dramatizations of Sense and Sensibility.

1971 BBC Mini Series
    Marianne is not convincing as a younger sister, though very believable as Marianne
    Has a very young Mrs. Jennings, though she'd grown on me by the end of the series

1981 BBC Mini Series
    Pros: Starts off heavy on the snark
    Favorite Willoughby; very boyish charm that highlights his follies; also an excellent 'apology' scene
    Better casting for the leads
    Cons: Has an excessively silly Charlotte and a more violently irritated Mr. Palmer
    Plays down the traits that make Sir John Middleton and Mrs. Jennings excessive
    Inconsistent characterization; lines are sometimes out of place
    Just sort of ends

1995 movie
    Includes Margaret
    Cuts Lucy's sister, Lady Middleton, and Mrs. Ferrars
    Favorite Mr. Palmer and Charlotte

Fanny's portrayal never really changes at all. :p
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby Meltintalle » May 08, 2017 3:32 pm

*looks at previous post date* Huh, must be time for an annual look-in on Jane Austen. ;))

So here's a question for y'all: Why is Mr. Darcy considered such a compelling example of a romantic lead? Why is he an iconic 'perfect guy'? What are women looking for in their 'very own Mr. Darcy'?

My personal favorite answer is that he was willing to change for Elizabeth; she pointed out his faults and he said, "Huh, I see your point" and the next time she meets him, he's a changed guy!

What this answer does not acknowledge, however, is that Elizabeth changes too. She listens to Darcy's rebuttal and reconsiders their encounters and then meets him and is more willing to give him a second chance as a person. The fact that it isn't all a one-sided "Oh, I've made a terrible mistake!" *cue pining and rainstorms* is what makes P&P stick with you after you've read it. (Or watched it.)
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby Pattertwigs Pal » May 16, 2017 6:33 pm

I've been thinking about that question about Mr. Darcy and I'm not sure. ;)) I do know that there are at least two books using Mr. Darcy to represent the ideal date / husband. One is Dating Mr. Darcy I have not read the book so I don't know what points the author makes. Well, that is interesting. I did a google search on men in Jane Austen's books and found 2 different rankings that seemed more about the books than the adaptations and Mr. Darcy was not top on any of them. I'd link to the lists but they include a small amount of words that are not family friendly. Here is a list of unmarried men in Jane Austen's works. At the beginning of the books that is. I put a 1 next to the top ones on the rankings I found. I'm not sure which I would choose as the best. ;))
S & S
Edward Ferrars - I'm a little put off by his leading Elinor on whether he intended to or not.
John Willoughby - No way
Colonel Brandon - He is a really good guy but I think his age is against him in the eyes of many.
Robert Ferrars - Too vain and self-centered
P & P
Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy - Not desirable to start with but improves as the book goes on.
Charles Bingley - Too easily influenced by his friend
George Wickham - No
Mr William Collins - Did you read his proposal? Not likely to be held as a great catch
Lt. Denny - We don't know a lot about him but he is Wickham's friend and is interested in Lydia ...
Col. Fitzwilliam - He's a good guy but I suppose not rich enough?
Mansfield Park
Tom Bertram - Irresponsible
Edmund Bertram - 1 He is a very nice guy and a good friend to Fanny when he isn't off chasing after Mary who makes it clear she will not marry a clergyman. If he weren't so blind about Mary, I think he would be number one for me.
Mr Henry Crawford - Nope
Mr. Rushworth - too unintelligent
The Hon. John Yates - Too self centered
William Price - seems okay but isn't in the book a lot
Emma
George Knightley - A wise character, I like that he is willing to correct Emma. However, I don't understand what he sees in her and it is a little creepy that he was in love with her when she was 13 ...
Mr Frank Churchill - No
Mr. Martin - A hard worker, seems like a good guy but a minor character
Philip Elton - No. He leaves a lot to be desired in his wooing and is not very kind after Emma rejects him.
Northanger Abby I don't remember enough of Northanger Abby to say much about the male characters.
James Morland
Henry Tilney
John Thorpe - Full of himself, lies
Frederick Tilney - leads women on
Persuasion
Captain Frederick Wentworth - 1 - decent enough man, is kind of hard on Anne to start with, for while leads two girls on.
Captain James Benwick - a bit too moody for my tastes
Mr William Elliot - changes based on what he wants, will not help Mrs. Smith as he should

Basically, all of Jane Austen's male characters have faults. That is what makes her books so good. As for as many people holding Mr. Darcy as the iconic "perfect guy," I suppose a lot has to do with the fact that P & P is very well known and I think it is the most popular of Austen's books. Mr. Darcy might be in the books more than some of the other male characters. We hear interactions between him and Miss Bingley. I'm not sure that happens with any other of the leading men.
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby Anhun » Jun 04, 2017 11:24 am

I'm going to start by just saying what I've read and watched. I'm putting the books in order of how well I liked them, and the film adaptations are sorted by book, then preference within that same source book. I haven't heard any audio versions.

Books:
1. Mansfield Park
1. (tie) Persuasion
2. Northanger Abbey
3. Pride and Prejudice
4. Emma
5. Love and Friendship
6. Sense and Sensibility
7. Lady Susan
8. The History of England . . . by a Partial, Prejudiced and Ignorant Historian

Films:
1.a. Mansfield Park 2007
1.b. Mansfield Park 1983
1.c. Mansfield Park 1999
2.a. Persuasion 1995
2.a. (tie) Persuasion 1971
2.b. Persuasion 2007
3.a. Pride and Prejudice 1940
3.b. Pride and Prejudice 1995
3.c. Pride and Prejudice 1980
3.d. Pride and Prejudice 2005
4.a. Emma 2007
4.b. Emma 1996-A&E
4.c. Clueless
4.d. Emma 1996-Miramax
6.a. Sense and Sensibility 2007
6.b. Sense and Sensibility 1995
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby AJAiken » Jun 06, 2017 3:12 am

Meltintalle wrote:What this answer does not acknowledge, however, is that Elizabeth changes too. She listens to Darcy's rebuttal and reconsiders their encounters and then meets him and is more willing to give him a second chance as a person. The fact that it isn't all a one-sided "Oh, I've made a terrible mistake!" *cue pining and rainstorms* is what makes P&P stick with you after you've read it. (Or watched it.)

For me, that's what makes Lizzie and Darcy as a pair so wonderful (and therefore P&P). And I don't think that dual development is seen in any of the other books. Emma changes a lot, but Knightley doesn't. Captain Wentworth changes, but Anne doesn't. At least, I don't remember any significant changes.

Elizabeth is often considered an ideal heroine, so perhaps that's why Darcy has a similar reputation. Would they be considered so without the other?

Has anyone seen Love and Friendship, the film based on Lady Susan? It's so different from a 'typical' Austen movie, but hilarious and brilliant nonetheless.

Pattertwigs Pal wrote:Basically, all of Jane Austen's male characters have faults. That is what makes her books so good. As for as many people holding Mr. Darcy as the iconic "perfect guy," I suppose a lot has to do with the fact that P & P is very well known and I think it is the most popular of Austen's books. Mr. Darcy might be in the books more than some of the other male characters. We hear interactions between him and Miss Bingley. I'm not sure that happens with any other of the leading men.

Hmm, I think you're right about us seeing more of Darcy compared to the other characters. The only one who might be comparable could be Knightley? I don't know.

Perhaps it's not so much that he has faults or that he's willing to change for Elizabeth, but that he acknowledges his faults and is willing to change across the board. He changes not solely for Lizzie but for everyone, and with no thought of reward. Austen constantly mocks those who act cruelly and pretend goodness, and she redeems very few of them. Emma and Darcy are probably the characters who change the most.

I think the Lizzie Bennet Diaries was an excellent adaptation. I was very disappointed in the Laurence Olivier one, I thought it messed up a lot of the book big-time. My favourite remains the 2005 version. I know a lot of people don't like it, but I like Kiera Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen and I think the supporting cast are excellent too. With the gorgeous cinematography and score, it's a perfect package! A close second is the 1995 version. My main problem with this (and almost every other adaptation, barring the 2005 one) is that Mrs Bennet is shrill and unrealistic. I think Austen wrote her as irritating and unaware, but not as a pantomime character.

Recently I watched Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It was interesting. ;)) I'd been told that it wasn't a good zombie movie (which I didn't mind in the least; I'm not interested in that!!) but that it was a good adaptation. I have to disagree ... it's very stripped down and simplified to accommodate the ridiculous zombie plot. I don't feel there's a good reason for anything that happens - you have to know the story already to understand it. However it is funny and it was great entertainment, if you don't mind a bit of gore.
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby Anhun » Jun 07, 2017 6:52 pm

To me Fitzwilliam Darcy is an excellent match for Elizabeth Bennett. They complement each other in a number of ways. Her high spirits and his gravitas. Her common sense and his refinement. Darcy is not, however, some sort of "ideal man." I don't think he would be a good partner for most women, and I know I'm personally not looking for "my Mr.Darcy."
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Re: Sense and Silliness: All things Austen

Postby the4signs[repeat] » Nov 13, 2017 8:19 pm

I'm not sure what makes Mr. Darcy the iconic love interest, but I'd love to take a few guesses:
1)He's seemingly impossible to impress -but despite this he falls head over heels in love with Elizabeth (way more fun than a story about a Casanova, or even Colonel Brandon for that matter)
2)He's a secret admirer -Lizzie doesn't even know he doesn't HATE her till he proposes!
3)He's willing to change and grow as a person -some call it having "a teachable heart" a very great asset in a person you will spend your life with, I'm told.
4)He's a passionate character with strong loves and hates. A character like Henry Tilney, though a great guy, doesn't have this going for him.
5)He's educated, observant, and respectable. Not like Mr. Hurst who is only interested in cards or eating.
6)He's moral. He has problems with pride that leads Elizabeth to think he did other wrong things, but those turn out to be untrue. I know this probably isn't the reason modern culture likes Mr. Darcy, but it's one of my whys, and it was important to Elizabeth too.
7)He's willing to sacrifice for the person he loves, without any thought of reward or even her knowing about it.
8)He's rich and handsome. nuff said! ;;)

As great as Mr. Darcy is it would take some work and understanding to have a relationship with him. Personally, I think Mr. Knightly would be the greatest catch. Henry Tilney has a lot going for him too, though he is often overlooked.
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