Another mashup for your imaginitive indulgence! Having already committed such foolishness of behalf of Mansfield Park, Emma, and Pride and Prejudice, I have moved on to my next victim, my very favorite Austen novel which, unfortunately, doesn't really seem to transfer to the screen as well as some of the others. I have great issues with the available Persuasion adaptations - the 1971 BBC mini-series is my favorite (yes, in spite of bad cinematography), largely because it is the only one that doesn't include, for some unfathomable reason, the chapter Austen deleted in which Captain Wentworth asks Anne on behalf of Admiral Croft if she will be wanting to reside at Kellynch following her rumored marriage to Mr. Elliot. I cannot fathom what possesses film makers to include this. The 1995 film is very good, other than that scene, and the 2007 version is fabulous up until the last fifteen minutes, at which point I start screaming every time I see it. Warning to the weary - I shall now indulge myself in a bout of ranting, for I really HATE the end of this film. Anne would not run ramshackle through the streets of Bath (let alone Mrs. Smith, who is supposed to be an invalid), that super prolonged prelude to a kiss in which Sally Hawkins looks as if she is about to eat Wentworth's face turns my stomach, and even if the estate weren't entailed onto Mr. Elliot, Captain Wentworth's 20,000 pounds still wouldn't buy him Kellynch Hall! Ahhhh! That felt good to get off my chest, and now I believe I am ready to engage in an extremely partial and prejudiced exercise, mixing and mashing my favorite actors from each role into my ideal Persuasion cast. Who would you pick?
Anne Elliot - This was very difficult, as all three actresses who have played the part have their strengths. Ann Firbank (1971) looks the most like I envision Anne, and though I cannot fairly blame the choices of the director on Sally Hawkins, I still can't forgive her for the end of the 2007 film, so the prize goes to Amanda Root, who really does do an exquisite job representing my favorite heroine in all of English literature.
(image - tumblr.com)
Captain Wentworth - I typically prefer dark haired men to blonds, and actors who played beloved historical figures in Rome, but I have to give this one to Rupert Penry-Jones for his 2007 performance, which was exquisite! He captures the passion and emotion of Wentworth better than the other actors who have played this role - no easy feat, as anyone who has read that letter can attest to.
(image - Becoming Jane Fansite)
Sir Walter Elliot - I think Basil Dignam's performance, though dated in style, is the only one to have accurately captured the role (it might have something to do with him being the only one to quote the Baronetage). It is amusing that all three gentlemen who have played the part resemble each other physically. Unfortunately, there is not an image to be found.
Susan Fleetwood in this role, from the 1995 production, but I must mention Alice Krige's rather sinister, 2007 portrayal, as she was also the Borg Queen (a rather terrifying personage) in the Star Trek movies. How very creepy she is, but certainly not the Lady Russell Austen created.
(image - Ellen and Jim have a Blog, Too)
Mary Musgrove - I prefer Morag Hood in this role, as she is both charming when appropriate and whinny the rest of the time (I wish I had an image to share). I cannot help myself but must comment on Amanda Root's sniveling 2007 interpretation, which I loathed. Stand up straight woman! You are the daughter of a baronet!
Simon Russell Beale, 1995. There is a look in his eye that perfectly captures the awkwardness of Charles predicament, torn between a high-maintenance wife and family. Today, he would live in his man cave instead constantly going off shooting. What a real character! We've all known one. Unfortunately, I could only find a picture of his back.
(image - Jane Austen em Portugues)
Emma Robert's 1995 performance the best. Hers is the most likeable portrayal of Louisa. This rather unsatisfying image is the only one I could find. Louisa is to the left of Harriet, and you can see Mary and Charles in the background en route to Winthrop.
(image - Photobucket.com)
Henrietta Musgrove - I must go back to '71, when Mel Martin took this role. As Louisa is the Musgrove who tempts Captain Wentworth (though only due to her availability), film makers seem to have a difficult time remembering that it is Henrietta who is generally reckoned the most handsome. As I had not even the slightest hope of finding an image, I escaped disappointment.
Elizabeth Elliot - This was another hard call, but again I think I must go back to 1971 and Valerie Gearon's portrayal. It is the most natural, later performances tending towards caricature. Again, no picture ...
Mr. Elliot - Here the Rome bias plays out. Tobias Menzies (who played Brutus) is by far my favorite Mr. Elliot. He treads that charming but sinister line terribly well.
Fiona Shaw and John Woodvine were picture perfect in 1995, just like they had stepped off of the streets of Bath as Austen described them right into my living room.
(image - Each Little World)
(image - PBS.org)
Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove - Again, I must commend the casting in 1995, for Judy Cornwell and Roger Hammond look every bit their parts as do the Crofts - large and jolly, just as they should be. I have no patience with undersized Musgroves, and even less patience with my inability to locate an image of the fat and proper ones.
Captain Harville - Robert Glenister, 1995. He looks so much the sailor (which you can't see as I again am pictureless) and delivers those lines on woman's constancy very well.
Richard McCabe (1995) in this role. Here he is pictured behind Anne and Wentworth, right after Lousia's fall from the Cobb.
(Image - imdb.com)
Quickly, just in the name of thoroughness, I like Mr. Shepherd as portrayed by Michael Fenton Stevens (2007), Helen Schlesinger as Mrs. Smith (1995), Sally George as Mrs. Harville (also 1995) and Paul Alexander as Charles Hayter (1971), who had very little competition (not sure who that Henry fellow in 1995 was supposed to be - are Austen fans so stupid that we can't handle two characters having the same name without being thrown into confusion? Certainly not!). I have no opinion on Lady Dalrymple and her daughter, who are as much non-entities to me as Colonel Wallis.
So there you have it. Are we in agreement or have I slighted your favorite actor? Please tell me all about it! And for those of you who haven't seen the 1971 version, check out this short clip from the very beginning of the film. You'll get a glimpse of all the Elliots, quite useful since I couldn't find images of Mary or Sir Walter. This is when the latter quotes the Baronetage - my favorite intro to my favorite book! Enjoy.