Mansfield Park (1999) Movie — A Review

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress: 

Take a controversial classic novel, mix in a liberal filmmaker’s re-interpretation, amplify the slavery subtext, add in lesbianism and incest, and presto! you have Mansfield Park (1999), writer-director Patricia Rozema’s provocative adaptation of Jane Austen’s 1814 novel. I am not exaggerating when I say that Jane Austen’s fans find this movie puzzling. So did critics. It has spawned a rash of conversation since it premiered. Just Continue reading “Mansfield Park (1999) Movie — A Review”

Mansfield Park (1983) Movie: Musings & Discussion: Day 3 Give-away

Movies

This six part BBC mini-series was adapted from Jane Austen’s novel Mansfield Park by Ken Taylor and broadcast in 1983 in the UK winning a BAFTA for costume designs by Ian Adley. Sensitively directed by David Giles, this interpretation of Jane Austen’s most complex and challenging novel is by far the most accurate attempt to follow Austen’s plot and characterizations of the three film adaptations now available on DVD. Featuring a stellar cast of notable British actors, the two main leads where played by Sylvestra Le Touzel as Fanny Price and Nicholas Farrell as Edmund Bertram. Supporting roles went to Angela Pleasence and Bernard Hepton as Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram, Robert Burbage and Jackie Smith-Wood as Henry and Mary Crawford, and most notably, Anna Massey as the most annoying Mrs. Norris that anyone could envision! 

At 312 minutes over six episodes, we are privy to almost all of the novels scenes and veteran readers of Mansfield Park will recognize much of Jane Austen’s choice and witty dialogue. Some viewers might be disappointed in the production quality, as this was originally filmed on video tape and the sound does not supply the quality that we have become accustomed to since it was produced twenty five years ago. Its strengths lie in the actors performances, costumes and visual beauty as many of the scenes were actually filmed on location, which considering its budget, was a bonus. 

Because of time restraints, I will not attempt to critique the entire movie but focus on one favourite scene which I will call the ‘Sentinel at the garden gate’ from episode 2. Fanny Price and her cousins Maria, Julia and Edmund Bertram travel with Mary and Henry Crawford to the grand Elizabethan era estate of Sotherton Court to visit Maria’s fiancé Mr. Rushworth. As the couples walk through the wilderness parkland adjacent to the estate, director David Giles reveals Austen’s comedic genius in a scene that could have inspired any vintage vaudeville burlesque or modern television sitcom. When Fanny becomes fatigued, she is deposited on a park bench in the shade adjacent to a locked iron gate that has bared progress through the park. As the different groups and individuals arrive in search of each other, Fanny acts as the ‘sentinel of the garden gate’, relaying messages and explaining to everyone who has come and gone, and why. Austen’s brilliant comedic timing is in full play, and the director David Giles knows how to emphasize the right moments to build tension to the point of hilarity.

You can view the scene online here. Enjoy these screencaps with descriptions.

 Fanny Price, Mary Crawford and Edmund Bertram arrive at the locked garden gate.

Fanny is fatigued, and left on a bench as Mary and Edmund walk on together.

Henry Crawford, Mr. Rushworth and Maria Bertram
 arrive to  find Fanny and the locked gate.

After Mr. Rushworth goes to the house for the key, Henry and Maria become
 impatient and squeeze through the bars to enter the park in pursuit
of a better vantage of the grounds, or is that really the motivation?

 Fanny is alarmed and advises them to wait, but to no avail.

 

Heyday! Julia Bertam arrives in pusuit of Henry and
Maria to find Fanny alone on the bench.

Julia will not wait for the key either, and squeezes through
 the bars seeking to find Henry and Maria.

Fanny is further alarmed and worries that Julia will
harm herself or her gown, but is unheeded.

Mr. Rushworth arrives with the key! Where is Maria?

Mr. Rushworth sits with Fanny despondent, deriding the shortness of Mr. Crawford.

Mr. Rushworth decides to unlock the gate and pursue Maria and Henry. Fanny is left
 alone to continue waiting for Mary and Edmund’s return, which was much,
much longer than a anyone anticipated!

Further reading 

Mansfield Park Madness: Day 3 Give-away

 Leave a comment by August 30th. to qualify for the free drawing on August 31st. for one copy of

Mansfield Park (1983) 

BBC 6 part mini-series, adapted by Ken Taylor and directed by David Giles. 312 minutes. Staring Sylvestra Le Touzel as Fanny Price, Nicholas Farrle as Edmund Bertram and Anna Massey as Aunt Norris. 

Upcoming posts
Day 4 – Aug 18            MP Naxos (Juliet Stevenson) audio
Day 5 – Aug 19            MP novel discussion chapters 9-16
Day 6 – Aug 20            Metropolitan movie discussion
Day 7 – Aug 21            MP novel discussion chapters 17-24

Mansfield Park Madness: 17 Days of Great Give-aways!

The Free Stuff 

Austenprose is happy to announce the 17 great days of give-aways being offered during Mansfield Park Madness. To qualify for any and all of the following prizes, please leave a comment in the corresponding post(s) for the day that the prize is announced (a real comment not just a spam-ment) between August 15-30, 2008 and your name will be entered in the drawing for that prize. Multiple comments increase your chances to win. It is also possible to win multiple prizes. US residents only. Winners will be drawn and announced on August 31st, 2008. A big thank you goes out to the generous vendors who contributed the prizes to make Mansfield Park Madness fun, exciting and rewarding!  

Here is a list of the prizes to be offered and the dates they will be posted. 

Books

Mansfield Park, Oxford World's Classics (2008)

Mansfield Park: Oxford World’s Classics (Aug 15 & 25)

Oxford University Press (2008). Revised edition. Unabridged novel text. Introduction and notes by Jane Stabler with great supplemental material to enhance the text. Trade paperback, 418 pages, ISBN 978-0199535538

Oxford Illustrated Mansfield Park (1998)

The Oxford Illustrated Jane Austen: Volume III: Mansfield Park (Aug 16) 

Oxford University Press, USA (1988). Third edition. Unabridged novel text and extensive supplementary material. Hardcover, 584 pages, ISBN 978-0192547033 

Mansfield Park, Penguin (2003)

Mansfield Park: Penguin Classics (Aug 21)

Penguin Classics (2003). Revised edition. Unabridged novel text. Re-instated introduction by Tony Tanner. Trade paperback, 480 pages, ISBN 978-0141439808 

The Jane Austen Miscellany (2006)

The Jane Austen Miscellany (Aug 22) 

By Leslie Bolton, Sourcebooks, Inc. (2006). The ultimate guide of everything Jane Austen for those who just can’t get enough! Hardcover, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1402206856 

Mansfield Park, Barnes & Noble Classics (2005)

Mansfield Park: Barnes & Noble Classics (Aug 23)

Barnes & Noble (2005). Revised edition. Unabridged novel text. Introduction and notes by Amanda Claybaugh. Hardcover, 427 pages, ISBN 978-1593083564 

Mansfield Park, Broadview Press (2001)

Mansfield Park: Broadview Literary Texts Series (Aug 28)

Broadview Press (2001). Unabridged novel text. Introduction and notes by June Sturrock with extensive supplemental material including criticism to enhance the text. Trade paperback, 528 pages, ISBN 978-1551110981 

Mansfield Park, Norton Critical Edition (1998)

Mansfield Park: Norton Critical Edition (Aug 30)

W.W. Norton & Co, Inc. (1998). Unabridged novel text. Extensive supplemental material including critisms and historical information edited by Claudia L. Johnson. Trade paperback, 544 pages, ISBN 978-0393967913           

Sequels

Edmund Bertram's Diary (2008)

Edmund Bertram’s Diary, by Amanda Grange (Aug 29)

Berkely Trade (2008). A re-telling of the novel Mansfield Park from the perspective of hero Edmund Bertram in which no sermonizing or over moralizing is revealed! Trade paperback, 344 pages, ISBN 978-0425223796 

Mansfield Park Revisited (2008)

Mansfield Park Revisited: A Jane Austen Entertainment, by Joan Aiken (Aug 29)

Sourcebooks Landmark (2008). Reprint. Sequel to the novel Mansfield Park in which Fanny’s sister Susan’s story is told. Trade paperback, 208 pages, ISBN 978-1402212895 

The Matters at Mansfield (2008)

Matters at Mansfield: Or, The Crawford Affair, by Carrie Bebris (Aug 29)

Part of the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries Series where the Pride and Prejudice’s characters go sleuthing in this decetive mystery spinoff. Hardcover, 288 page, ISBN 978-0765318473 

Central Park (2005)

Central Park: An Austen Series Book 3, by Debra White Smith (Aug 29)

The Dale Group, Rev. (2007). Contemporary re-telling of the novel Mansfield Park set in New York. Hardcover, 543 pages, ISBN  978-0786295678

Movies

Mansfield Park Movie (1983)

Mansfield Park 1983 (Aug 17)

BBC 6 part mini-series, adapted by Ken Taylor and directed by David Giles. 520 minutes. Staring Sylvestra Le Touzel as Fanny Price, Nicholas Farrle as Edmund Bertram and Anna Massey as Aunt Norris.  

Mansfield Park Movie (1999)

Mansfield Park 1999 (Aug 24)

Major motion picture written and directed by Patricia Rozema. 112 minutes. Staring Frances O’Connor as Fanny Price, Jonny Lee Miller as Edmund Bertram and Embeth Davidtz as Mary Crawford. 

Mansfield Park Movie (2007)

Mansfield Park 2007 (Aug 27)

ITV & WGBH production adapted by Maggie Wadley and directed by Ian MacDonald. 92 minutes. Staring Billie Piper as Fanny Price, Blake Ritson as Edmund Bertram and Hayley Atwell as Mary Crawford. 

Metropolitian Movie (1990)

Metropolitan 1990 (Aug 20)

Independent major motion picture written and directed by Whit Stillman. 98 minutes. Staring Carolyn Farina as Audrey Rouget, Taylor Nichols as Charlie Black and Chris Eigeman as Nick Smith. 

Ephemera

Jane Austen Journal (2007)

Jane Austen Journal, by Potter Style (Aug 19)

Paperback lined journal with the image of Regency lady and quote “We have a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.” 160 pages, ISBN 978-0307352392

Jane Austen Address Book (2007)

Jane Austen Address book, by Potter Style (Aug 26)

Paperback, with alphabetical tabs. Image of Regency lady and Jane Austen portrait on the front. 120 pages, ISBN: 978-0307352385 

Audio 

Mansfield Park Audio Book (2007)

Mansfield Park: The Complete Classics Series Audio Book (Aug 18)

Naxos AudioBooks (2007). A brilliant reading by the acclaimed British actress Juliet Stevenson. Unabridged 17 CD’s, ISBN: 978-9626344675, abridged 3 CD’s ISBN: 978-9626340677

    

FREE JANE AUSTEN AUDIO SAMPLER

Available to all participants of Mansfield Park Madness. Just leave a comment between August 15-30, 2008 and e-mail your physical address to Austenprose at Verizon dot net before September 1, 2008 and you will receive one copy of the following sampler by mail. US residents only.

Jane Austen Naxos AudioBooks Sampler, read by various artists 

Naxos AudioBooks, Ltd. (2008). A lively sample reading of the Biography of Jane Austen by Elizabeth Jenkins, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion and an interview with actress Juliet Stevenson.  1 CD, 75 minuets. 

Good luck to all, and enjoy your Austen items! 

Upcoming posts! 
Day 2 – Aug 16            MP novel discussion chapters 1-8
Day 3 – Aug 17            MP 1983 movie review and discussion
Day 4 – Aug 18            MP Naxos (Juliet Stevenson) audio
Day 5 – Aug 19            MP novel discussion chapters 9-16

Mansfield Park Madness @ Austenprose Preview

Mansfield Park Madness Banner

Mansfield Park Madness at Austenprose August 15-31 

Seventeen days of seventeen great give-aways

and Fanny too!

 

Welcome Janeites and classic literature fans. I am pleased to announce that Austenprose will be hosting a seventeen day event in celebration and re-discovery of Jane Austen’s most complex and often misunderstood novel Mansfield Park. Please join us on our daily journey of discovery as we investigate and discuss the text, movie adaptations and sequels. Here are a few highlights of what will be featured.  

Mansfield Park, Oxford Illustrated Edition (1988)

Mansfield Park Book Editions 

Current versions of the text in print published by Broadview Press (2001), Norton Critical Edition (1998), Oxford World’s Classics (2008) and Oxford Illustrated Editon (1988), Cambridge University Press (2005), Penguin Classics (2003) and Barnes & Noble Classics (2005) book editions, and the Naxos unabridged audio version (2007).  

Mansfield Park Movie (1999)

Mansfield Park Movie Adaptations 

1983: staring Sylvestra Le Trouzel and Nicholas Farrell
1999: staring Frances O’Conner and Johnny Lee Miller
2007: staring Billie Piper and Blake Ritson
Metropolitan 1990: written and directed by Whit Stillman, staring Carolyn Farina, Edward Clements, Chris Eigeman 

Cover of Edmund Bertrams Diary (2008)

Mansfield Park Book Sequels 

Edmund Bertram’s Diary, by Amanda Grange
Mansfield Park Revisited, by Joan Aiken
The Matters at Mansfield: or The Crawford Affair, by Carrie Bebris  
Central Park, Debra W. Smith 

17 Great Give-aways

Don’t miss your chance to win a free copy of the 17 items that are featured over the 17 day event. Many of the novel editions, all of the movies, and all of the sequels discussed will be offered in drawings from comments left between August 15-30. Winners announced on August 31. 

Please join us –  because gentle Fanny has requested your attendance and does not want to be viewed as insipid any longer!

Cheers, Laurel Ann 

Upcoming posts
Day 1 – Aug 15            MP Madness introduction
Day 2 – Aug 16            MP novel discussion chapters 1-8
Day 3 – Aug 17            MP 1983 movie review and discussion
Day 4 – Aug 18            MP Naxos (Juliet Stevenson) audio review 

Beautiful Mansfield Park Madness banner by the handsome, clever and rich in heart Kali Pappas at Strangegirl Designs

Mansfield Park 1983: I Know a Black Cloud When I See It

Illustration by H.M. Brock, Mansfield Park, (1898)South or north, I know a black cloud when I see it; and you must not set forward while it is so threatening.” Mary Crawford, Mansfield Park, Chapter 22 

I am currently watching the 1983 BBC mini-series of Mansfield Park staring Sylvestra le Touzel as the famously insipid Fanny Price. Poor Fanny. Traditionally, she gets a bum rap all around from readers, and her family in the novel. Of all of Jane Austen’s heroines, I think that she is the most misunderstood and under-appreciated. With this in mind, I am looking at the story from her perspective, quite determined to be her friend; the dissenting voice against the tide of derision! All Fanny bashers can stop reading now and go back to your respective corners. I am waving a white flag and calling a temporary truce in the Fanny war. 

This is my first viewing of this film adaptation. I can’t say how it has passed me by for twenty-five years since this Anglophile rarely missed a Masterpiece Theatre presentation let alone a feature film with any remote British connection. I had to think long and hard about where I was in 1983. Wow, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were in power, The Return of the Jedi was the top grossing film, and a gallon of gasoline costs $1.25. Gulp! It’s amazing to think that a good portion of people reading this blog weren’t even born yet. 

Continue reading “Mansfield Park 1983: I Know a Black Cloud When I See It”

Mansfield Park (2007) Movie — A Review

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress:

Mansfield Park, Jane Austen’s third novel was published in 1814. It’s reception by critics and readers has been mixed—not as light, bright, and sparkling as Pride and Prejudice nor as poignant and romantic as Persuasion. It is a complex story about identity, self-worth, and moral fortitude. It’s heroine Fanny Price has been criticized as being weak and timid, its hero Edmund Bertram as too biddable, and the secondary characters as corrupt and morally bankrupt. Ouch. That is quiet an introduction for a first-time reader to absorb. It is also one of the reasons why movie adaptations are difficult to pull off. Condensing Austen’s largest novel into a 90 minute or 2 hour screen drama is problematic. Now the new PBS & ITV adaptation is here for us to deconstruct. Let’s see how this Mansfield Park plays out. 

Complicated Characters

This adaptation presents a large and handsome cast portraying Austen’s complicated characters including the heroine Fanny Price (Billie Piper), a poor relation conscripted as a child into the household of her wealthy and privileged aunt and uncle, Lady (Jemma Redgrave) and Sir Thomas Bertram (Douglas Hodge) of Mansfield Park. By age eighteen, Fanny is basically a glorified servant to the family. Her indolent cousins: heir apparent and gambling boozer Tom (James D’Arcy), spoiled sisters Maria (Michelle Ryan) and Julia Bertram (Catherine Steadman), and her horrid Aunt Norris rule her world. The only one on the straight and narrow among this tribe is our pious hero Edmund Bertram (Blake Ritson), Fanny’s only friend and love interest. Enter two scheming siblings: acerbic Mary (Hayley Atwell) trolling for a rich husband and her hedonistic brother Henry Crawford (Joseph Beattie) determined to make Fanny fall in love with him to “make a small whole in her heart,” and you have all the ingredients for an interesting story. 

Jane Austen Lite

So much of the original plot has been eliminated that after the first fifteen minutes I put aside my expectations of re-visiting my memories of Jane Austen’s prose and attempted to enjoy the essence of the plot and characters. Given the restriction of time for this adaptation director Ian B. MacDonald whips along at a frenetic pace touching on themes and condensing all of it’s action to one beautiful location, the house and grounds of Mansfield Park. Gone are the neighboring homes of the rectory of Mrs. Grant where the Crawford’s reside, the cottage of Mrs. Norris, Sotherton Court the estate of Mr. Rushworth, and the Price family residence in Portsmouth. One can only assume that these deletions were agreeable to the budget. Ack! I felt like I was on a Jane Austen restricted diet.

Standouts and Failures

The majority of actors were well cast with only a few exceptions. I tried to like Billie Piper as Fanny, unfortunately she had so little to say that I am not sure if I should blame it on her acting or the script, which had her stone faced in the sidelines dutifully fetching and carrying for her cousins and simpering on cue. When she finally stands up against her uncle Sir Thomas’ wishes for her to accept the proposal of Henry Crawford, I was not convinced by her actions or words that she could have been capable of pleading her case against such a strong patriarch.

Compelling Michelle Ryan 

Our hero Edmund Bertram’s best scenes were unfortunately not with our heroine, but played out with his love interest Mary Crawford. I was relieved that he was allowed to actually have more than a few lines with her. Their final scene together, ending his infatuation with her, was his best. My favorite performance was by Michelle Ryan as willful Maria Bertram. When she is on screen her presence was so compelling that it demands your complete attention. Other actresses with this same quality from the golden age of Hollywood such as Vivian Leigh or Ava Gardner learned to develop their acting beyond their striking beauty to command recognition. Miss Ryan is well on her way to stardom and I hope to see her in a more expanded capacity.

Muppet Hair

As for the production values, Mansfield Park was filmed at the stunning Newby Hall in North Yorkshire, a stately country manor built in Georgian era. The costumes and hair were adequate. The costumes had been appropriated and reused from previous Jane Austen adaptations. I must add that the designer did give us the requisite cleavage for the nasty female antagonist, and the big messy hair for the male cad. Thank you very much. I’m not sure that I would have been able to identify them otherwise. I was also amused to learn that the hair designer Mary Southgate had, in addition to her many credits in grand opera, worked as the hair designer on The Muppet Show. This may allow for the un-Regency like mop-top do of Miss Piper.

A Fools Errand

I was sad to see that the majority of the original nuances and wit in the novel ended up in the round file in this adaptation. In defense of screenwriter Maggie Wadey, she was hired for a fool’s errand. Condensing Austen’s 473 page intricately detailed work (Oxford Illustrated Jane Austen) into ninety minutes of screen time is an impossible task. I am still hopeful that one day we will have a longer and more detailed interpretation of Austen’s dark horse. There is merit in the story if the right screenwriter and production team have the insight, budget, and the guts to go for it. 

3 out of 5 Stars


MOVIE INFORMATION

  • Mansfield Park (2007)
  • Studio: ITV & PBS
  • Screenwriter: Maggie Wadey, based on the novel by Jane Austen
  • Director: Iain B. MacDonald
  • Cast: Billie Piper, Blake Ritson, Hayley Atwell, James D’Arcy, & Michelle Ryan
  • Length: 1 hours and 30 minutes

ADDITIONAL INFO | ADD TO IMDb

We received a DVD from the producer in exchange for an honest review. Austenprose is an Amazon affiliate. Images courtesy of Masterpiece PBS and ITV © 2007; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2008, austenprose.com. Updated 12 March 2022.

PBS Masterpiece Unveils New Interactive Web Site

 Image of new Mastepiece banner

THE COMPLETE JANE AUSTEN SERIES

 INITIATES NEW WEB SITE FEATURES

Image of Sally Hawkins as Anne Elliot, PBS PersuasionIt’s official! In honor of the ‘opening night’ season premeire of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Masterpiece Theatre Classic has revealed their bright and shiny, new interactive web site; – – and it’s ready for your perusal and enjoyment,  full of all sorts of bells and whistles!

Be prepared to be wowed, cuz it sure knocked my bonnet off!

Image of Felicity Jones as Catherine Morland, PBS Northanger AbbeyThe front page sports a completely new design and displays The Complete Jane Austen series, opening with a slide show of photos of Persuasion, and access to a preview film clip. Each of the adaptations are accessible from this portal. Oh joy!

Image of the cast of Mansfield Park, PBSYou can explore each of the six adaptations: Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, Pride & Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, and new biopic Miss Austen Regrets from the Classic Schedule. Dig deeper and discover the synopsis, cast & credits, cast interviews, characters, Jane Austen and resources for each production!

Image od Olivia Williams as Jane Austen in PBS, Miss Austen RegretsOf particular amusement, is a special section devoted to The Men of Austen, where you can read match.com-like bios of each of the bachelors, learn “who is a dream, a bore or a scoundrel”, and then vote on your choice of the ideal Austen mate! Check the tallies to see how you rate against other Austen addicts.

Image of the Dashwood sisters of Sense & Sensibility, PBS 2008There is so much to see and explore that you can spend hours just cruising about, scouring the historical archives, peeking at the poster gallery, learning about educational resources, shopping at the store, and connecting to the community through the discussion boards that I will cut it short like Mr. Darcy and decree, “GO TO IT”!

PBS to Connect Jane Austen Community

Illustration by Miroot Puttapipat, “Boxhill Picnic”, Emma, Chapter 44I congratulate you, my dear Harriet, with all my heart. This is an attachment which a woman may well feel pride in creating. This is a connection which offers nothing but good. It will give you every thing that you want — consideration, independence, a proper home — it will fix you in the centre of all your real friends, close to Hartfield and to me, and confirm our intimacy for ever. This, Harriet, is an alliance which can never raise a blush in either of us.” Emma Woodhouse, Emma, Chapter 9

In Jane Austen’s 18th-century society, personal alliances fueled the social strata, connecting families in marriage, and in business. And so it continues today, as PBS reaches out to the Jane Austen community to promote its upcoming series The Complete Jane Austen, through its online guest blogger project Remotely Connected.

Eight Austen enthusiasts and authorities from the online community have been invited to write about each of the upcoming Jane Austen adaptations and a new biography being presented by Masterpiece Classic, beginning Sunday, January 13th with Persuasion, and concluding in April with Sense & Sensibility. Continue reading “PBS to Connect Jane Austen Community”

A Preview of the Complete Jane Austen on Masterpiece Theatre PBS

Image of banner of The Complete Jane Austen PBS (2008)

PBS TO AIR ALL SIX JANE AUSTEN ADAPTATIONS IN THE NEW YEAR

I am all anticipation of the new Masterpiece Theatre presentation, Sundays with Jane: The Complete Jane Austen, which airs on PBS starting January 13th at 9:00 pm. It will include four new adaptations of the Jane Austen novels Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility, two previously aired productions of Emma (1997) and Pride & Prejudice (1995), and a new biography entitled Miss Austen Regrets based on the letters of Jane Austen. Better and better!

I dare say that such an inclusive Austen presentation has hitherto yet been televised. The closest event of such grandeur was from the now defunct Romance Channel’s 1999 airing penned Austen Power, which included four BBC Austen adaptations from the 1970’s & 1980’s; Mansfield Park (1983), Sense & Sensibility (1981), Emma (1972) and Pride & Prejudice(1980). This stroll through Austenland was only a teaser in comparison to what is in store for us from the good people at Masterpiece Theatre.

In the PBS press announcement of The Complete Jane Austen this past summer, the Austen extravaganza was revealed in detail…

How many ways can a young woman find true love amid the dinner parties, balls, carriage rides, picnics and other picturesque opportunities to meet the opposite sex in turn-of-the-19th-century England? There are six transcendentally satisfying scenarios, as told in a half-dozen enchanting novels by Jane Austen – one of the most beloved writers in all of literature.

Well this is perky prologue! Read on…

Austen fans can now sit down to a weekly feast of all of her immortal plots, presented by MASTERPIECE ® THEATRE over the course of four months in beautifully acted, lavishly set and gorgeously costumed adaptations.

Four months IS an extravaganza. We shall have ample time to view, absorb and dissect every tidbit and nuance of the charms of her characters, plots and language; — swoon over the newest heartthrob and tear apart the ladies bonnets.

As a bonus, viewers will be treated to a new drama based on Austen’s own bittersweet love life, Miss Austen Regrets.

Image fo Becoming Jane poster (2007)Ok, that makes me nervous. After last summer’s fiasco Becoming Jane, I admit to being leery of liberal statements about Jane Austen’s love life. Let us hope that the writer and producer of Miss Austen Regrets did not opportune to be inspired by such openhanded tag lines from that movie such as “Jane Austen’s greatest love story was her own“, and “Her own life is her greatest inspiration“.  I shudder the thought.

The productions will be between 90 minutes to 5 hours in length, totaling 917 minutes of pure, or as may-hap be, almost Jane Austen for your viewing enjoyment!

  • Persuasion: 13 January 2008, 9-10:30 pm
  • Northanger Abbey: 20 January 2008, 9-10:30 pm
  • Mansfield Park: 27 January 2008, 9-10:30 pm
  • Miss Austen Regrets: 03 February 2008, 9-10:30 pm
  • Pride & Prejudice: 10, 17 & 24 February 2008, 9-11:00 pm
  • Emma: 23 March 2008, 9-10:30 pm
  • Sense & Sensibility: 30 March & 06 April 2008, 9-10:30

The airings of the new productions have been a highly anticipated event in the Austen community since the advance publicity in Great Britain, where the new adaptations were produced and aired in 2007 and 2008. Not wanting to post any spoilers…we shall bite our tongue and withhold any opines until after viewing. If you can’t wait, you might be amused by some of the dish and banter about on the net-o-sphere which I have linked below. Be forewarned. Janeites are protective of their authoress, and vociferous on the topic of diversion from, and embellishment to the plots!

And, be sure to have your share of the conversation at the PBS on-line community blog, Remotely Connected, where during the week of each adaptation, a guest blogger will comment on each of the productions in the series starting with Persuasion, on the 13th. of January.

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