Movie Mashups

I really need to update this page. So many new films have been released in the 8 years since I wrote this. 

So there are now four cinematic adaptations of Emma available to the modern audience (there were apparently versions made in 1948 and 1960 but I can't find them): BBC's 1972 mini-series, Douglas McGrath's 1996 Hollywood adaptation, Andrew Davies' 1996 TV version, and the new BBC mini-series we've all been abuzz about. All have their strong points but I find none of them perfectly satisfying. So here's an endeavor in futility - if I could pick my favorite portrayals of each character, this is the Emma that would result. A lot of this is arbitrary and based on my personal biases; I would love to hear how much you disagree with me!

Emma Woodhouse - I have to go with Gwyneth Paltrow. She just looks the way I think Emma should. I like all the different portrayals of Emma for one reason or another but her's is the one that stays in my mind. She has all the beauty, poise, arrogance, and petulance that the character requires.

Mr. Knightly - Who am I to break up a Hollywood match? Jeremy Northam captures Mr. Knightly's maturit, kindness, and, most importantly, he is swoon worthy. I really like some of the other portrayals of him but they're just not attractive enough. I am vain creature, aren't I?

Mr. Woodhouse - Some actors I absolutely adore have played this character (Bernard Hepton, Michael Gambon) but my favorite is Donald Eccles from the '72 version. He looses none of the humor of the character, admirably balancing courtly instincts with hypochondria.

Mrs. Weston - Samantha Bond from the '96 TV version. This is a very biased decision. I loved her portrayal of Maria Bertram in the '83 version of Mansfield Park and am always pleased to see the same actors in Austen adaptations. Besides, she made a very fine Mrs. Weston.

Mr. Weston
- Raymond Adamson, '72. I can't find a picture of him in this role but he was the perfect, jolly Mr. Weston.

Jane Fairfax - I have to favor Olivia Williams in the '96 TV adaptation. She does an excellent job of balancing Jane's refinement with the awkwardness of her predicament. I would like to prefer Polly Walker from the Hollywood version (I have been rather obsessed with this actress ever since she blew my mind away as Atia in Rome) but I cannot.

Frank Churchill - This is a really arbitrary choice as none of the portrayals of this character truly satisfy me. Falling back on looks again, I have to say Robert East from '72 but alas, no picture. I like Raymound Couthard's portrayal from the '96 TV version but just cannot reconcile myself to the idea of Frank Churchill as a blonde.

Harriet Smith - Without hesitation I say Debbie Bowen from '72. She is the only actress to have ever played the role to my satisfaction. In appearance and deportment she is the perfect Harriet Smith.

Miss Bates - Another one for Hollywood! Sophie Thompson portrays all the sweetness and silliness that this character requires. Most importantly, she keeps me laughing, as Miss Bates should. I must admit that Tamsin Greig in this role in the new version of Emma left me feeling distinctly uncomfortable. It was a creepy portrayal.

(In regards to Mrs. Bates I have nothing to say. They are all silent old ladies in frilly caps and rather interchangeable).

Mr. Elton - Blake Ritson in the new version nails this role! He's absolutely fabulous, simpering and smirking to my heart's content. This portrayal so far surpasses all the previous Mr. Eltons that I can barely tolerate watching them anymore. He is one of the highlights of this adaptation.

Mrs. Elton - This is a much harder call. Each portrayal has its merits (it must be such a fun role to play) but I think I have to go with the Fiona Walker in '72, probably because she's the one who I would be most tempted to hit if forced to endure her company.

Mr. John Knightly - A favorite character of mine. Dan Frendenburgh did an excellent job in the new mini-series of portraying his cantankerous nature. You would think with all the wonderful pictures available of this version online I could find at least one of him, but I can't. Why is he always overlooked? They didn't even bother including him in the Hollywood adaptation.

Isabella Knightly - Another overlooked role. I thought Meg Gleed did her credit in '72. Again, no pictures.

Mrs. Goddard - My own biases make me prefer Mollie Sugden, of Are You Being Served? fame for this small part.

Robert Martin - Edward Woodall, Hollywood. He just has such a pleasant, cheerful face, exactly as I always pictured Robert Martin.

So a while back I did this to Emma and now I intend to commit the same folly with Mansfield Park. Before I do, however, it is imperative that I rant and rave for a moment. There are three adaptations of this most misunderstood of Jane Austen's novels, only one of which I find satisfying: the 1983 BBC mini-series. The two more recent adaptations, the 1999 Hollywood version, courtesy of the Weinstein brothers, and the 2008 TV version both offend me, in different ways. I believe the latter to be somewhat hampered by budget (not a problem for the Weinsteins), hence no ball room and no trip to Portsmouth. Even a hair dresser was apparently too expensive. Nevertheless, both films have something in common - what I can only describe as a hatred for Fanny Price as Austen created her. I understand that many over the years have maligned this character as dull and priggish but does that give those adapting a masterpiece of literature the right to completely alter the very essence of the main character? I do not think so. Let me state clearly that Fanny Price is a timid young woman, totally unlikely to run, skip, and jump in the hoydenish manner she has been shown doing in film. She also has not a jot of wit. That being said, I will (largely) refrain from further explicit commentary and let my selections speak for themselves.

Fanny Price - As indicated by my above comments, I have to pick Sylvestra Le Touzel from the 1983 version as she is the only actress who actually plays the character I know as Fanny Price. She captures all the appropriate timidity, affection, and sensibility of the character. If I think she looks better before she is supposed to have blossomed (that emergence being indicated in this film by the addition of curls to her coiffure) it is a moot point.

Edmund Bertram - I have a bias towards Blake Ritson, who I consider the indisputable shinning star of the 2008 version. He is certainly the most handsome actor to have played Edmund, which doesn't hurt, plus he's incredibly talented. His portrayal of Edmund has all the appropriate seriousness while also capturing the character's innate naivety.

Aunt Norris - I love Anna Massey in this role from the '83 version! She busily bustles about, totally unaware of her own meanness, exactly as Austen intended. It certainly helps that almost all of her dialogue from the book is in tact. Aunt Norris is a character I find rather fascinating - Austen makes her both despicable and rather hilarious simultaneously, no small feat. Ms. Massey is the only portrayer of the role who has captured both aspects of her personality.

Lady Bertram - Angela Pleasence ('83 again) is the ultimate Lady Bertram. I laugh rather hysterically every time I watch her in the role. The voice she uses, so insipidly languid, is perfection. She is my favorite character in this film, achieving what the best film portrayals do: adding depth to a character while remaining true to its essence.

Sir Thomas Bertram - I have to choose Bernard Hepton of the '83 adaptation because, as is the case with Fanny, his is the only portrayal of the real Sir Thomas. He is a very complex character and, while he largely fails as a patriarch, he is the most effective father in all of Austen. Yes, he can be tyrannical, but he always acts with the best interest of his family at heart. Mr. Hepton, wonderful actor that he is, aptly captures Sir Thomas' struggle. I cannot control myself - I must add that Harold Pinter's portrayal in '99 leaves me sick with fury.

Mary Crawford - This was a hard call as all the portrayals of Mary are rather good, each in their own way, but again I go back to the '83 version. Jackie Smith-Wood is the only actress who manages to capture the softer aspects of the role. Mary might have a multitude of worldly faults but she truly cares for Fanny and Edmund. The more recent adaptations only convey her mercenary side, to the neglect of her affections. The result is that she comes off too cold, lacking in the playfulness inherent to the character. I wish I could find a picture that did justice to Ms. Smith-Wood but this is the best I could do.

Henry Crawford - This is not turning into much of a mashup as I again select a member of the '83 cast. Robert Burbage is an excellent Henry, smug and charming, with none of the unseemly intensity of emotion that marks the later portrayals. He has a sparkle to his eyes that aptly bespeaks the mischief he pursues. Also, for those who have been paying attention, I like both my Austen heroes and villains alike to be dark and Mr. Burbage is the only Henry to fulfill that qualification. What else can I do? Another terrible picture, unfortunately.

Maria Bertram - I really enjoyed Michelle Ryan as Maria in the '08 adaptation (in spite of the silly, lank locks that hang by her ears throughout the majority of the film). She brings an appropriate sauciness to the role and has all the beauty one could want in a Maria Bertram. That's a rather devilish hat she's wearing, isn't it? Her riding habit is my favorite costume in the film.

Tom Bertram - OK. So I really just like his last name, but James D'Arcy ('08) does do an admirable job as Tom. The kind of hyperactivity he portrays is very appropriate to the character. He is every inch the young man about town.

Julia Bertram - I love Justine Waddell ('99) in this role, mostly because I think she's a wonderful actress and is much better to look at than my two other options (she's actually probably too pretty, out shinning Victoria Hamilton as Maria). Her portrayal of Laura Fairlie in the '97 version of The Woman in White still haunts me.

Mr. Rushworth - This is another difficult call, all the actors who have portrayed Mr. Rushworth having done so admirably, but I have to say Hugh Bonneville of the 1999 adaptation. Honestly, he just looks the most like Mr. Rushworth to me: fat, happy, and silly.

Mr. Yates - I cannot find a picture of him but Allan Hendrick in the 1983 version is the ultimate Mr. Yates. He doesn't have a lot of competition as the character is not included in the '08 version and Charles Edwards portrayal is merely that of an amiable young man, totally lacking in the affectation and pomposity required of Mr. Yates. I do wish I had a picture; his hair is marvelous.

William Price - Again there is a shortage of options here as William is totally absent from the '99 plot. I choose Joseph Morgan ('08) because he both looks the part and has all the animation of character with which Austen endowed him. I love it when he reenacts a naval battle at the dinner table using a spoon and a salt shaker.

Susan Price - Only two options again. This time it was the '08 version that deemed a character expendable (apparently Fanny can only have one sibling at a time). Though I really enjoyed Eryl Maynard's portrayal of this character in the '83 version, so exactly like the book, I choose Sophia Myles because she thoroughly charmed me and I choose to indulge my prejudices. She lacks the brashness the character has when we first meet her so I must think of her more as the lady Susan becomes rather than as a product of the Price household.

Mrs. Price - Lindsay Duncan played both Lady Bertram and Mrs. Price in the '99 adaptation but I can only find pictures of her in the former role. As Mrs. Price she is so raw, weary, and weather beaten that it's quite heart breaking. Perhaps she is too aware of the miseries of her situation, when compared with the book, but that does not prevent her from being the image I see whenever I reread it, a true sign of a successful portrayal.

Mr. Price - I like David Buck in the 1983 version. He is utterly disgusting.

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.
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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.

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.

Lady Russell - I prefer 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.

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!

Charles Musgrove - I like 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.

Louisa Musgrove -I prefer 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.

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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. 

Mrs. and Admiral Croft - I've paired them together as 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)

Mrs. Clay - Mary Stockley from the 2007 production. Frankly, she's the only one pretty enough for me to believe could really perceived as a serious threat to Mr. Elliot's succession, though it would be better if she had freckles, which none of the actresses in this role seem to have. What to do with all that Gowlands?

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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.

Captain Benwick - I prefer Richard McCabe (1995) in this role. Here he is pictured behind Anne and Wentworth, right after Lousia's fall from the Cobb.

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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.

No, no monsters here. Those who have long read this blog will recall my flights of fancy with Mansfield Park and Emma, in which I picked and chose my favorite actors in each role to compose my idea cast for each film. It is a highly prejudiced exercise, and I intend to fully exercise that prejudice here, appropriately (and repetitively), as I perform the same office for Pride and Prejudice. This most beloved of Austen's novels has been portrayed on film numerous times: first in 1938 (a mere 55 minutes!), then in 1940, starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier, and again in 1952, 1958, 1967, and 1980 (staring Elizabeth Garvie and David Rintoul - read my review), all in mini-series format, well before Andrew Davies made his monumental, 1995 mini-series staring Jennfier Ehle and Colin Firth (which is by far my favorite, so consequently over represented here). Next came the 2003, LDS modernization and, of course, the 2005 production staring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. This does not include Bollywood's 2004 Bride and Prejudice, Bridget Jones's Diary, Lost in Austen (read my review), or the upcoming and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The variations are seemingly endless, so for clarity (and for the sake of my sanity), I will focus on only the four best known, traiditonal adaptations: 1940, 1980, 1995, and 2005. As all have numerous merits, the following casting decisions were extremely hard to make:

Elizabeth Bennet - Though all four actresses play the part well, it is Jennfier Ehle who will always be my personal favorite. The indignation and joy she expresses with her eyes are perfectly Elizabeth. No one else captures the liveliness that characterizes her so well. Her performance is, in my opinion, definitive. 

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Fitzwilliam Darcy - Um ... Colin Firth of course. Any one who has been paying attention knows my love of his performace. Just like Jennifer Ehle expresses Elizabeth's "sparkling" nature through her eyes, in Colin Firth's we see all of Darcy's pain and struggles. This has nothing to do with wet shirts and bathtub scenes, in fact I think he looks more handsome in his great coat, but is premised on the fact that he totally embodies the role. If Ms. Ehle's performance is definitive, his is iconic.

Jane Bennet - I really love Sabina Franklyn's 1980 performance. She makes Jane more warm and feeling than she is usually portrayed, without sacrificing that notoriously private lady's composure. I do tend to think of Jane as a blond, but Ms. Franklyn's hair color is not enough to sway me from her.

Charles Bingley - I have to go with Simon Woods in 2005, mostly because he just looks the most like I think Mr. Bingley should. It was a very hard call, as Crispin Bonham-Carter played the role superbly in 1995 (who also has the advantage of being related to one of my favorite actresses, as well as having made an appearance on one of my favorite TV shows), but some roles must go to the 2005 cast and, if Mr. Bingley had a larger role in this version, I believe Mr. Woods (who was actually in yet another of my favorite TV shows) would have been remarkable.

(image - Flore et Faune)

Mr. Bennet - This one is easy. Benjamin Whitrow was Mr. Bennet in 1995. He is perfect in the role, from the sardonic twinkle in his eye to the humored grimace he maintains throughout. No one else has matched him.

(image - BBC)

Mrs. Bennet - Also easy, and though I do not think Alison Steadman is quite as fabulous as her counterpart, it is her voice I now hear shrieking in my mind every time I read the book, which should certainly count for something. She does a better job with the comic aspect of the role than some of the other actresses, and she flutters divinely.

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Lydia Bennet - Those of you who have been following my many links in this post may already know why my prejudice is completely with Julia Sawalha on this one, who performed the role amazingly well in the 1995 mini-series. She played Saffron on the 90's TV show Absolutely Fabulous, a role as different from Lydia as it  possibly could be, and for which she will always command my loyalty.

 George Wickham - Adrian Lukis of course, 1995. I mean, just look at him! Need I say more?

Caroline Bingley - There is a a reason why Miss Bingley almost always wears orange (and looks ghastly in it) in Austen fan fiction: because Anna Chancellor made such a huge impression on everyone who saw her 1995 portrayal of the character. Really, she was fabulous.

(image - Jane Austen Today

Mary Bennet - Mary gets a few more lines in the 1980 mini-series, which might be why I favor Tessa Peake-Jones in the role. Her piano playing is atrocious, her countenance smug, and I just adore the entire performance. I also enjoy how the character was developed in 2005 by Talulah Riley, but she was not as Maryish as she should have been.

Kitty Bennet - If Carey Mulligan had the opportunity to cough in this role, I might have had to go with her, but as it is I must give it to Polly Maberly, 1995.

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 Mr. Collins - Once again, I have to go with the 1995 performance of David Bamber (though Malcolm Rennie must be commended on his dancing in the 1980 version), and again, not just because he is spectacular, but because he is reaping the benefits of my prejudice being on his side. I was always amazed by his perfect portrayal of one of the silliest characters in Austen, but after boggling my mind as Cicero in Rome, he has my undying devotion.

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Charlotte Lucas - After much deliberation, I have to say Claudie Blakley in 2005 was the best. I really love both Lucy Scott (1995) and Irene Richard (1980) in this role (though I always considered Ms. Scott a bit too pretty for it), but Ms. Blakley, with very little time on screen, nails it.

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 Lady Catherine be Bourgh - This is a little unfair, as this fabulous role has been performed beautifully by all the actresses who have undertaken it, but when Judi Dench is in play, who can really compete? In her hands, it is like the character stepped out of the book and onto film, an indomitable force demanding to be reckoned with.

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Georgiana Darcy - I like Emma Jacobs' very short 1980 performance, because it best represents the shyness and timidity Austen gave to the character. Unfortunately, I cannot find an image of her.

(Added 4/21/11 - Thanks to Vince Runza for the following image!

Anne de Bourgh - Again, I like the 1980 representation of this character by Moire Leslie, although this time it is because she is developed beyond what Austen provides. With no lines, it takes only one tender moment for Ms. Leslie to garner our sympathy. Very well done. Sadly, I cannot find an image of her either.

Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner - I love how this couple was portrayed by Michael Lees and Barbara Shelley in 1980. Sophisticated, agreeable, and snidely witty, their performances were dead on. While I cannot find an image of Mr. Lees, here is Ms. Shelley with Elizabeth Garvie.

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Mr. and Mrs. Hurst - Rupert Vansittart and Lucy Robinson (who also played Mrs. Elton in the 1996 TV adaptation of Emma) were perfect in 1995. I especially love when Ms. Robinson demonstrates what good piano playing sounds like with Mozart's Rondo alla Turca, played with such a self-complacent smirk on her face.

Colonel Fitzwilliam - 1995 again, Anthony Calf. He just has the correct manner: not stiff or too handsome but with good air.

Maria Lucas - Lucy Davis (1995) doesn't have a lot of competition, but she does do a wonderful job. Her performance reminds me of Mary Crawford's thoughts regarding the distinction between ladies who are out and those who are not. Here she is with Jennifer Ehle.

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 Sir William Lucas - Christopher Benjamin's 1995 performance is perfect.

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Mrs. Phillips - No one has made her quite vulgar enough for my tastes, but I prefer Lynn Farleigh's 1995 rendition to the others. I love this image of her with Alison Steadman and only wish it were clearer.

Forgive me for stopping here, to the neglect of Lady Lucas, Mr. Denny, and Mrs. Hill, amongst others. There are so many players in this story that it is difficult to be conclusive. And what of the 1940's version, which I have totally failed to represent? It is so different from the book that it has proven too difficult to plug its characters into a scheme like this, but that does not mean that it isn't a wonderful movie, if a product of its time. In way of making amends, I am concluding on this clip from the film, which includes my favorite scene, in which Greer Garson shows up Laurence Olivier in archery. Enjoy it, as I hope you enjoyed this highly prejudiced exercise. Who would you have cast?

Today I tackle mashing up Sense and Sensibility, which I think may be the book of Ms. Austen's that best translates to film. All the adaptations done of this story stick fairly closely to the original text, and all are satisfying in their own ways. Nevertheless, as each film has improved on its predecessor, the first - a 1971 BBC mini-series in four parts - cannot really compete in this contrary exercise in which I intend to indulge. It is for this reason that I posted a review of the film last Friday, as it is entirely unrepresented here. Still, between the 1981 BBC mini-series (this one was allotted an enormous seven parts, though in only half hour increments), the 1995 Ang Lee film, and the 2008 Andrew Davies mini-series, this was still the hardest mash up I have yet attempted. Some of the characters have been repeatedly represented phenomenally - like Fanny Dashwood and Willoughby - making selection very difficult. I know many will disagree with my final calls, but as I acknowledge the entire endeavor to be partial and prejudiced, I hope no one may think I slighted anyone intentionally. That being said, for your delectation may I present my Sense and Sensibility Mash Up? I hope you enjoy it!

(Check out previous mash ups - Emma, Mansfield Park, Pride and Prejudice, and Persuasion)

Elinor Dashwood - Though Irene Richard charmed me in this role (also familiar to Austen fans as Charlotte Lucas in the 1980 production of Pride and Prejudice), and Hattie Morahan was positively exquisite, I still prefer Emma Thompson in the role (despite being a bit too old for it). Yet I cannot watch the film without remembering those awesome final episodes of "The Vicar of Dibley", so memorable to Richard Armitage fans, in which Dawn French refers to Emma Thompson's reaction when Hugh Grant finally asks her to marry him. If you've ever seen it, by all means get a copy a check it out!

Marianne Dashwood - I'm sticking with 1995 on this one, though it was a tough call between Kate Winslet and Charity Wakefield. I went with the former because, frankly, I just really like Kate Winslet. Ever since first seeing the film (not long after first reading the book), she has been the Marianne in my mind's eye whenever I read the book.

Edward Ferrars - By far and away, I vastly prefer Dan Stevens' 2008 portrayal to any other Edward. He is more charming than Edward is usually imagined to be, which might have something to do it with it. I must admit that Edward is not one of my favorite Austen heroes.   

Colonel Brandon - On this one I am decidedly biased towards 1995. I adore Alan Rickman andwill always think he's the best Brandon, no matter how many phenomenal performances David Morrissey gives. I have nothing else to offer in justification of myself. 

John Willoughby - If I could blend Greg Wise's 1995 performance with  Dominic Cooper's physical appearance I would, but, as that would be against my self imposed rules, I'm going to pick Dominic Cooper (2008) for this role. He just looks exactly like I have always imagined Willoughby to appear (a slight resembles to my first boyfriend doesn't hurt either).

Mrs. Dashwood - Everyone who has played this role has done a fine job, but I prefer Janet McTeer's 2008 portrayal. She captures the sensitivity towards her children that Austen develops so well and looks every inch the lady of the manner. We really feel her the magnitude of her indignation at her social descent in this adaptation.

Margaret Dashwood - I lean towards Lucy Boynton in the 2008 production for this role, although her interpretation seems more based on Emilie Francois' 1995 performance than anything one might find in Austen. As none of the previous adaptations bother to include Miss Margaret, I guess we can assume that this hoydenish portrayal is the version cinema is sticking to.

Lucy Steele - I am going back to the 1981 version for this selection. Julia Chambers is the only actress who seems able to balance her innocent facade and the deceitful nature. The other portrayals lean either too fart one way or the other for my satisfaction. Unfortunately, I could not find a better quality photo. 

John Dashwood - This was a very hard decision, but in the end I think I favor Mark Gatiss' 2008 performance, as he really comes off as, frankly, whipped, and inclined to act better were his wife not such a harpy. This feels, to me, more in keeping with Austen's intentions for him.

Fanny Dashwood - I imagine this must be a wonderfully fun part to play, as most of the actresses who have attempted it have done it so well, but I like Amanda Boxer's 1981 performance best. She has such a sneer! Her self-satisfied condescension is perfect.

Mrs. Jennings - Again, 1981 holds sway here. I really like Annie Leon's motherly portrayal of this part. She is both the ill-mannered and jovial lady Austen created while perfectly capturing the truly good heart that lays beneath the unpolished exterior, yet not an image can I find! You'll just have to watch the film!

Sir John Middleton - This is another role that just seems like fun and has been repeatedly performed well. I like Mark Williams' 2008 portrayal best. He's a perfect country squire while not being overly course. I also like how his friendship with Colonel Brandon is developed further in this adaptation.

Mrs. Ferrars - For whatever reason, none of the actresses who have played this role seem to quite capture the essence of the part, at least not at well as some Austen's other grand-dames have been portrayed (like Lady Catherine). I think Jean Marsh did the most justice to the part in 2008, incorporating a very appropriate haughtiness into her performance, but I wish she would have been less stoic (especially when she confronts Edward and Lucy).

Charlotte Palmer - I really like Hetty Baynes thoroughly silly portrayal of this part from 1981. Her incredibly annoying giggle sticks with me far more than any aspect from any other lady's performance as Charlotte, although a personal bias makes me long to give this role to Imelda Staunton -1995 (especially as I lament the lack of a decent image of Ms. Baynes).

Mr. Palmer - Although the interpretation of Mr. Palmer presented by Hugh Laurie in 1995 is significantly more sympathetic than anything Austen could have envisioned for the man, I like it, and I like Mr. Laurie. His performance emphasizes the similarities between the relationship of the Palmers to that of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, a parallel which has long intrigued me.

Anne Steele - I prefer Daisy Haggard's 2008 portrayal of this part. Something about her toothiness makes her performance work far better for me than the others. It should be noted that Miss Steele was completely absent from the 1995 film - a sad omission of a fabulously comic character in my mind.

Robert Ferrars - There is a propensity to cast rather doughy-faced actors in this role, a practice I do not fully understand. Of the doughy-faced portrayals of this part, I think I find Richard Lumsden's 1995 performance most satisfying. Perhaps he is just less doughy than the other actors, but I do think he has a bit of the Ferrars haughtiness, which helps to make him rather convincing.

Images -

Emma Thompson -
Kate Winslet -
Dan Stevens -
Alan Rickman -
Dominic Cooper -
Janet McTeer -
Lucy Boynton -
Julia Chambers -
Mark Gatiss -
Amanda Boxer -
Mark Williams -
Jean Marsh -
Hetty Baynes -
Hugh Laurie -
Daisy Haggard -
Richard Lumsden -

I do have obsessions other than Austen, one of which is gearing up at the moment. It began a few weeks ago when I decided that a great project for all our planned summer driving would be to listen to the entire Harry Potter series on audio tape. My husband and I have both read the books several time, both together and on our own. It seems like once a year we can't help ourselves but devote at least a few weeks to Potter. Needless to say, instead of saving the audio books for long and tedious car rides, we spent most of our free time listening to the books as quickly as possible, once again unable to walk away from the tale. After finishing book seven, what else was there to do but rewatch all the films? Though I have anxiously awaited the release of each film, perhaps never before have I been as excited as now, with the first part of The Deathly Hallows coming out in November and the final installment next July. Two Harry Potter movies in less than a year is a worthy cause for massive elation in my world. Though the films are never quite up to the books, I continue to marvel at how well cast they are and how many of the actors have serious costume drama credentials. Daniel Radcliffe himself had his first role in the 1999 BBC adaptation of David Copperfield. Unfortunately, he has never been in an Austen adaptation. Neither has Emma Watson, despite tauntingly sharing her name with the heroine of Austen's unfinished novel, The Watsons, but so many of the other wonderful actors in these films have. So as to reprieve my husband from questioning each time we watch these movies (Do you know who he is? Do you recognize her?), I have compiled the following list. If there are any other Austen/Potter addicts out there who know of actors I have missed, please let me know, though I think I have been fairly thorough, providing images when I could find them.

Sam Beazley (who filled the small role of Everard in The Order of the Phoenix) is the vicar in the first episode of the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice.

Jim Broadbent (Professor Horace Slughorn) was Bridget's father in Bridget Jones's Diary.

Michael Gambon (Professor Albus Dumbledore in all but the first two films) played a particularly curmudgeonly Mr. Woodhouse in the 2009 production of Emma.

Genevieve Gaunt (Pansy Parkinson in The Prisoner of Askaban) was Georgiana Darcy in Lost in Austen.

Robert Hardy (Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge) was Sir John Middleton in the 1995 version of Sense and Sensibility.


Shirley Henderson (Moaning Myrtle) played Jude in Bridget Jones's Diary.

 Guy Henry (Pius Thicknesse in The Deathly Hallows: Part Two) played Mr. Collins in Lost in Austen and John Knightley in the 1996 TV version of Emma.

Gemma Jones (Madam Pomfrey) was Mrs. Dashwood in 1995's Sense and Sensibility and Bridget's mother in Bridget Jones's Diary


Alan Rickman (a perfect Professor Severeus Snape) was simply unforgettable as Colonel Brandon in the 1995 version of Sense and Sensibility.

Fiona Shaw (Aunt Petunia Dursley) was Mrs. Croft in the 1995 version of Persuasion.

Though the amazing Maggie Smith (Professor Minerva McGonagall) has for some curious reason never been in an Austen adaptation (I think she would be a phenomenal Mrs. Ferrars), she did play Lady Gresham in Becoming Jane.  

She was also Caro Eliza Bennett in Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Just had to mention it.

Elizabeth Spriggs (The Fat Lady in The Sorceror's Stone) was Mrs. Jennings in Sense and Sensibility (1995).

Imelda Staunton (amazing as the vile Doloris Umbridge) played happy Charlotte Palmer in the 1995 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility

Emma Thompson (Professor Sybil Trelawney) is, of course, both Eleanor Dashwood in and the screenwriter of the 1995 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility.

Sophie Thompson (Mafalda Hopkirk in The Deathly Hallows: Part One) was Miss Bates in the 1996 Hollywood version of Emma and Mary Musgrove in the 1995 version of Persuasion

Julie Walters (Mrs. Molly Weasley) played Mrs. Austen in Becoming Jane.

Mark Williams (Mr. Arthur Weasley) was Sir Thomas Middleton in the 2008 production of Sense and Sensibility.

Jim Broadbent

Michael Gambon

Genevieve Gaunt 

Robert Hardy

Shirley Henderson

Guy Henry

Gemma Jones

Alan Rickman                                                                                  

Fiona Shaw

Maggie Smith

Elizabeth Spriggs

Imelda Staunton

Sophie Thompson

Julie Walters

Mark Williams