A Royal Night Out (2015) Movie – A Review

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress:

On Monday, September 19th I was glued to the TV watching the funeral service for HM Queen Elizabeth II. Since I live in the US and did not want to stay up all night, I recorded the 6-hour BBC coverage. It was a moving and awe-inspiring event; very well planned out by the former Queen and executed to precision by her family, staff, and the military.

No one does parades like the British! After crying for six hours, I was spent and ready for something Queen Elizabeth related that was upbeat. The 2015 movie, A Royal Night Out totally filled the bill. Continue reading “A Royal Night Out (2015) Movie – A Review”

Miss Austen Regrets (2007) Movie — A Review

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress:

What do we know about Jane Austen’s love life? Very little. The information that survives is found in her personal letters and from family recollections. Apart from the one proposal by Harris Bigg-Wither, no other known romances or love affairs were documented. For someone who wrote so perceptively about love and romance, it stands to reason that she must have experienced a grand passion herself. This is an Continue reading “Miss Austen Regrets (2007) Movie — A Review”

A Preview of Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile (2022) Movie

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress: 

A new, glitzy, star-studded movie adaptation of Agatha Christies 1937 novel Death on the Nile opens in theaters in the UK & US today. This high society mystery-thriller reunites the film-making team behind the 2017 adaptation of another Christie favorite, Murder on the Orient Express. Returning in the role of her iconic Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is Kenneth Branagh, who also directs from a screenplay by Michael Green. He is joined by an all-star cast of victims and suspects including Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, and Emma Mackey. Continue reading “A Preview of Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile (2022) Movie”

A Preview of Julian Fellowes’ new Period Drama, The Gilded Age on HBO

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress:

It’s time to brush up on your etiquette period drama fans. The Gilded Age premiers on Monday January 24th on HBO. We shall soon be immersed in the 1880s New York social whirl of Mrs. Astor’s elite, “Four Hundred,” along with some of those social climbing upstarts, the nouveau riche. Gasp!  

Period drama fans have been on high alert since the announcement of The Gilded Age in 2018. It started out in production at NBC and then moved to HBO. It’s been a long wait with many starts and stops. The Continue reading “A Preview of Julian Fellowes’ new Period Drama, The Gilded Age on HBO”

Costuming in the EMMA (2020) Movie with Fashion Historian Hilary Davidson

 

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress: 

The new film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Johnny Flynn opened in general release in the US on March 6th. This enchanting and visually stunning interpretation of Austen’s classic tale of Miss Emma Woodhouse as the misapplying matchmaker of Highbury has received raves from the press and viewers alike.

The costumes beautifully define the film, greatly adding to the characterization and the drama. Joining us here today is fashion historian Hilary Davidson who has generously contributed a guest blog to share her Continue reading “Costuming in the EMMA (2020) Movie with Fashion Historian Hilary Davidson”

A Preview & Slideshow of The World of Sanditon: The Official Companion Book, by Sara Sheridan

The World of Sanditon, by Sara Sheridan (2019)Welcome to Sanditon, an 1819 Regency seaside community in Sussex England—the fictional site of the new ITV/PBS television adaptation/continuation of Jane Austen’s final unfinished novel.

For those who are watching the eight-part series currently airing in the US on PBS, The World of Sanditon, by Sara Sheridan will be catnip to heighten your addiction. A copiously illustrated behind the scenes look at the making of the new television series, it also is filled with a biography of Jane Austen, historical information on the era, seaside life and health resorts, and Regency life for women.

In addition, there are spotlights on the characters and interviews with the actors who brought them to the screen. Here is a description of the book from the publisher Grand Central Publishing, details on the content, and images from the production for your enjoyment. Continue reading “A Preview & Slideshow of The World of Sanditon: The Official Companion Book, by Sara Sheridan”

Sanditon: A Novelization of Andrew Davies’ TV Adaptation of Jane Austen’s Unfinished Novel, by Kate Riordan — A Review

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress:

A new Jane Austen adaptation/continuation written by Andrew Davies (Pride and Prejudice 1995) debuted last night in the US on Masterpiece PBS. Inspired by an unfinished novel that Austen began shortly before her death in 1817, Sanditon, the original novel, the television series, and the novelization by Kate Riordan, all share the same title. A tie-in novel based on a screenplay based on an uncompleted novel. That is six degrees of separation that is a challenge to get my mind around. Today we are reviewing the novelization!

A Heroine in the Making Comes to Sanditon

The story unfolds from the perspective of Charlotte Heywood, a young lady experiencing her first trip Continue reading “Sanditon: A Novelization of Andrew Davies’ TV Adaptation of Jane Austen’s Unfinished Novel, by Kate Riordan — A Review”

A Preview of the Emma (2020) Movie Adaptation of Jane Austen’s Classic Novel

Detail of Emma 2020 movie poster Focus Features © 2020

UPDATED 12/16/19 – in honor of Jane Austen’s birthday today, Focus Features has premiered the second trailer.  Scroll down to view.  There are some amusing lines. This new adaptation just gets better and better.

Janeites are all aflutter over the forthcoming release of the new Focus Features movie adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel Emma, starring Anya Taylor-Joy as the misapplying matchmaker Miss Emma Woodhouse and Johnny Flynn as Mr. Knightley, her older, and wiser neighbor. This new feature film was shot entirely in England in period-accurate settings and costumes this past summer. It will premiere in the UK on February 14th and in the US on February 21st, 2020.

Emma, Jane Austen’s most highly acclaimed novel has been adapted for radio, stage, television, and feature films many times, most recently for television in 2009 starring Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller, and for the screen in 1996 starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam in the starring roles. While Austen’s most Continue reading “A Preview of the Emma (2020) Movie Adaptation of Jane Austen’s Classic Novel”

A Preview of Sanditon: A New Television Adaptation of Jane Austen’s Novel on Masterpiece Classic PBS


Premiering Sunday, August 25 on ITV, Sanditon will be the first television series inspired by Jane Austen’s final, unfinished novel.

Jane Austen fans in the UK have much to celebrate. Austen’s seaside Regency drama is being given the red-carpet treatment by the co-production team of Red Planet Pictures in the UK and MASTERPIECE PBS in the US. Adapting and continuing the eight-part series will be veteran period drama screenwriter Andrew Davies (Pride and Prejudice (1995) and Sense and Sensibility (2008)), and a cast of accomplished and emerging British actors will portray the lively and diverse characters that Austen established in her novel, with a few additions to the roister as well. The new series will air on eight consecutive Sundays at 9:00pm August 25 through October 13, 2019. Continue reading “A Preview of Sanditon: A New Television Adaptation of Jane Austen’s Novel on Masterpiece Classic PBS”

Actress Joanne Froggatt Goes to the Dark Side as Murderess Mary Ann Cotton in Dark Angel on Masterpiece Classic PBS

After reading the advance press on Dark Angel – the new period drama starring Joanne Froggatt as Victorian-era serial killer Mary Ann Cotton – I was seriously considering skipping my weekly MASTERPIECE appointment with my television. Multiple murders by a woman who successively kills her husbands and children by poison for their life insurance sounded like nails on a chalkboard to me – something way beyond my comfort zone. The fact that it featured Froggatt, an awarding winning actress who I adored as Anna Bates in Downton Abbey, Emmy award winning director Brian Percival (Downton Abbey) and acclaimed screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes (Miss Austen Regrets) softened the blow a bit, but I was still not convinced.

My tipping point was my love of English history and my curiosity. Life in lower-class Victorian England was harsh and bleak, however, many wives and mothers did not become serial killers. What was Mary Ann Cotton’s story? What pushed her beyond despair and made her a mass murderer?

“Why don’t you let me make you a nice cup of tea?” – Mary Ann Cotton

Screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes had an extraordinary true-life story to draw from. It is estimated that Cotton poisoned with arsenic up to 21 people including: three of her four husbands, fifteen children, a lover, a friend, and her mother – collecting life insurance for many of them. Continue reading “Actress Joanne Froggatt Goes to the Dark Side as Murderess Mary Ann Cotton in Dark Angel on Masterpiece Classic PBS”

Love & Friendship — Whit Stillman Brings Jane Austen’s Comic Gem Lady Susan to the Screen

Love & Friendship (2016) poster 2016 x 200The highly anticipated release of Love & Friendship, filmmaker Whit  Stillman’s new adaptation of Jane Austen’s novella Lady Susan, arrives this Friday, May 13 in Los Angeles, New York and Paris with national release set for May 27, 2016. Early praise for the film is more than encouraging: “FLAT-OUT-HILARIOUS. Jane Austen has never been funnier.” – The Telegraph; “Whit Stillman and English novelist Jane Austen make for a delightful pairing in this comedy of manners.” – The Star.com; “Kate Beckinsale magnetizes the screen.” – Variety.

We have long been a champion of Austen’s Lady Susan. So much so we dedicated an entire blog event to it in 2009, A Soiree with Lady Susan. For those who have not read this delightfully wicked novella by Austen written in the 1790’s and published posthumously in 1871, I highly recommend it. Besides changing the title to Love and Friendship, (also the title of one of Austen’s juvenilia), Stillman has added his movie magic and adapted the story into a screenplay. Continue reading “Love & Friendship — Whit Stillman Brings Jane Austen’s Comic Gem Lady Susan to the Screen”

Downton Abbey – A Celebration: The Official Companion to All Six Seasons, by Jessica Fellowes – A Review

Downton Abbey a Celebration 2015 x 300“It’s that time of year when the world falls in love” … with Downton Abbey all over again. The final season starts in less than one month on Masterpiece Classic PBS on January 3, 2016. My anticipation of another season of great drama, romance, and witty retorts runs high.

I am, of course, paraphrasing The Christmas Waltz; the famous 1954 holiday song written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne for Frank Sinatra. There is nothing like listening to Christmas carols to make me sentimental. Coupled with the fact that this will be the sixth and final season of Downton Abbey, one of my favorite period dramas on television, and I am ready for a double shot of brandy in my eggnog.

Despite my melodramatic angst over the conclusion of the Crawley family and their servants’ story, fellow Downtonites can revisit the fabulous plots, locations, and characters by reading the final companion volume Continue reading “Downton Abbey – A Celebration: The Official Companion to All Six Seasons, by Jessica Fellowes – A Review”

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