Sense and Sensibility 1995 – Revisited

Sense and Sensibility (1995) DVDNominated for seven Academy Awards®, the 1995 movie Sense and Sensibility remains one of my most cherished interpretations of a Jane Austen novel. Everything about this film project seems to be touched with gold; from the award winning screenplay by actress Emma Thompson; to the incredible depth of British acting talent: Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman, Gemma Jones, Harriet Walter, Greg Wise, Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson; stunning film locations in Devonshire; and the fine brush-work of the Taiwanese director Any Lee. The movie touched many and introduced Jane Austen’s classic story of two divergent sisters searching for happiness and love to millions. I never tire of viewing it, basking in its beautiful cinematography, enjoying its thoughtful performances and marveling at its exquisitely crafted screenplay – both reverent to Austen’s intentions and engaging to modern audiences.

There has been so much discussed online already about this movie that I doubt I can add any new insights. I can however share with you what I find so moving about it: the performances, the music, the language and the filming locations. I feel that the movie can say it so much more than I, so here are a few video excerpts for your enjoyment.

The trailer

Edward Ferrars and Elinor listen to Marianne play the pianoforte

Mrs. Jennings tries to winkle information out of the young Miss Dashwood’s and Col. Brandon meets Marianne.

Mr. Palmer is quite rude today!

Good God Willoughby!

Elinor, where is your heart?

Miss Lucy Steele calls on Elinor – and so does Edward Ferrars!

Marianne goes in search of Combe Magna in the rain

All’s well that ends with a wedding!

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

This is my sixth selection in the Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Challenge 2011, my year-long homage to Jane Austen’s first published novel, Sense and Sensibility. You can follow the event as I post reviews on the fourth Wednesday of every month and read all of the other participants contributions posted in the challenge review pages here.

A Grand Giveaway

Enter a chance to win one DVD copy of Sense and Sensibility 1995 by leaving a comment by midnight PT Wednesday, July 6, 2011 stating who your favorite character is in the 1995 movie or what intrigues you about a movie adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. Winners will be announced on Thursday, July 7, 2011. Shipment to US or Canadian addresses only.

Sense and Sensibility 1995
Sony Pictures (1995)
DVD Region 1 (2h 16m)
UPC: 043396115996

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Giveaway Winner Announced for The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay & Diaries

The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay & Diaries, by Emma Thompson & Lindsay Doran (2007)45 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win a paperback copy of The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay & Diaries, by Emma Thompson. The winner drawn at random is CJ who left a comment on May 2nd.

Congratulations CJ! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by May 18th, 2011. Shipment is to US and Canadian addresses only.

Thanks to all who left comments, and for all those participating in The Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Challenge 2011. We are reading many Sense and Sensibility inspired novels, watching movie adaptations and delving into Jane Austen’s classic novel this year in honor of the bicentenary of its publication in 1811.

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Austen Film Locations: Barton Cottage – Sense and Sensibility 1995

Guest blog by Helen Wilkinson of P and P Tours

Actress Emma Thompson recalls her time filming Sense & Sensibility for the 1995 movie directed by Ang Lee,

The house representing Barton Cottage is one of the most beautiful spots we’ve ever seen. It took the curse off a six-day week.

The film location researchers knew they had found a world-beating location when they stumbled on the glorious eighteenth century stone cottage on the private Flete Estate in south Devon. It is not only near the Plymouth mentioned in Austen’s novel, but also close to the small town of Newton Ferrers which many believe was an inspiration to Jane for her hero’s surname of Edward Ferrars. Jane and her contemporaries would have passed signs to the small town on the old coaching route between London and the south-west.

Many key scenes in the movie were filmed at Barton; Willoughby carrying Marianne, driving the custom-built yellow curricle, Edward proposing to Elinor, and a piano being delivered to Marianne from Col. Brandon. Director Ang Lee raved about the location, although he found the estuary swans a little too ‘romantic’ and often asked for them to be excluded from shot.

The researchers had stuck closely to Jane Austen’s description of the cottage in chapter 6.

A view of Barton Valley, as they (Mrs Dashwood and the girls) entered it, gave them cheerfulness. It was a pleasant, fertile spot, well wooded, and rich in pasture.  A small green court was the whole of its demesne in front; and a neat wicket-gate admitted them into it.  As a house, Barton Cottage, though small, was comfortable and compact; but as a cottage it was defective, for the building was regular, the roof was tiled, the window shutters were not painted green, nor were the walls covered with honeysuckles. A narrow passage led directly through the house into the garden behind. On each side of the entrance was a sitting room, about sixteen feet square. Four bed-rooms and two garrets formed the rest of the house.

I am fascinated to see how closely the Flete Estate cottage matches Jane’s description. It too is a perfectly proportioned Georgian house, in a wooded valley exactly as the novel describes, with the wicket- gate and the small green patch in front, almost as if Jane was describing it from life.

In contrast, the later 2007 BBC/PBS Andrew Davies production of Sense & Sensibility used a shepherd’s cottage in wild Hartland, Devon – not the sort of place a genteel widow and her daughter would have settled. It is the kind of property the Georgians would have described as a ‘hovel’ and is only picturesque to a 21st-century audience. The 1995 Barton is well-proportioned, neat and – in comparison to the glories of Norland – a very modest property.

In 2010 we were thrilled to be able to include Barton in our S&S May tour. It was such an enormous hit with the clients – none of them could bear to leave – that we’ll be including it in several of our future trips. There are no cars, and no sounds except the estuary birds which beset the film crew until Ang Lee demanded could someone shut up the geese! The geese won of course!

Helen Wilkinson, P and P Tours

P and P Tours accommodate up to 10 clients at Barton Cottage in Devon as part of their tours. Visit the P and P Tours website for further information and booking details.

Austen Tattler: News and Gossip on the Blogosphere

“All that she wants is gossip, and she only likes me now because I supply it.”
Marianne Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 31

Jane Austen around the blogosphere for the week of October 6th

Actress Emma Thompson (Sense and Sensibility 1995) has reached national treasure status according to  interviewer Karen Price of the Western Mail who spoke with her before the opening of Brideshead Revisited in the UK this week. She is always a surprising and amusing in life, and on the screen. I saw this version when it opened in the US in July and enjoyed her performance, though the adaptation by Andrew Davies (Pride and Prejudice 1995, Emma, Northanger Abbey 2007, and Sense and Sensibility 2008) had to be so condensed for the two hour movie that it seemed like an entirely different story than the BBC miniseries of the 1980’s or the Evelyn Waugh novel. Her co-stars Hayley Atwell (Mansfield Park 2007) and Joseph Beatie (Mansfield Park 2007) were also excellent, and the movie is well worth renting the DVD of just for the locations and fabulous costumes.

Even though Matthew Macfayden went all Byronic on us as Mr. Darcy in the 2005 movie adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, he can also do comedy and drama with equal aplomb. Pride and Prejudice (2005) Blog was updates on all his latest projects including Frost/Nixon and Incendiary.

Have lunch with Andrew Davies (well almost) and interviewer John Lloyd who thinks that Davies has shaped the literary imagination of millions (that may be true, but it is a daunting thought for this writer). His latest project airing this month on the BBC is an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Little Dorrit staring a formidable cast of classic actors including Austen connects with Matthew Macfayden (Pride and Prejudice 2005), Robert Hardy (Northanger Abbey 1986), and Judy Parfitt (Pride and Prejudice 1979). Mabe it will make it acrosss the pond to PBS next season? Hope so.

Did Jane Austen like children? Old Fogey blog takes a shot at his interpretation of Jane Austen’s view of children in her books and letters with his post on More Cake than is Good for Them. I always enjoy reading his insights on Austen, even though I may not always agree with him!

Classic Reader a website of e-texts of many classic novels offers a nice brief biography of Jane Austen and includes the six major novels and novella Lady Susan for reading online. Also included are is an extensive library of classic titles such as The Castle of Orantano by Horace Warpole, Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, poetry and nonfiction works, so check it out!

Austen and Austen-esque book reviews for the week: Just Jane, Persuasion, A Cure for All Diseases, Mansfield Park, Jane and the Man of the Cloth, Lydia Bennet’s Story, Pride and Prejudice, Bride and Prejudice Movie, The Jane Austen Handbook, Persuasion, The Jane Austen Book Club, The Darcys and the Bingleys, Me and Mr. Darcy, and The Independence of Mary Bennet.

Australian author Colleen McCoullough’s new Austen-esque book The Independence of Mary Bennet is getting a bit of press in Australia since its release there on October 1st. The interviews of the author are bristly as she is quite outspoken, ahem. The reaction by Austen enthusiasts is not surprising, since we do defend our Jane, and are unguarded and outspoken about others those who use her name or characters to make money. Here are few reactions from Austenblog and Barbwired.

Austen-esque author Sharon Lathan asks, Another ‘Pride and Prejudice’ sequel…Really? on the Casablanca Authors blog, then proceeds to explain her reasons which I can not argue with but some may. Jill Pitkeathley of newly released Cassandra and Jane chats with A Circle of Books,  Jane Odiwe of Lydia Bennet’s Story is interviewed by Ms. Place (Vic) of Jane Austen’s World,

The  beautiful color 2009 A Year with Jane Austen wall calendars produced by JASNA Wisconsin are available and a very worthy addition including great daily events through the calendar year from the novels and significant events in Jane Austen’s life. Be informed every day of what happened in Jane Austen’s world. What Janeite could need more, well maybe a book and a movie or two.

The AGM of JASNA concluded in Chicago and now we get to read about all of the wonderful experiences had by many there. Janeite Deb of Jane Austen in Vermont blog does Day 1, shops (bless her), and tells us all about the great books she found, and now on to Day 2. Mags of AustenBlog gives us a daily breakdown of, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4. Now that is dedication!

Emma the musical officially opens tonight in St. Louis, Missouri at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Penned, scored and lyrics by Paul Gordon, the Toni nominated composer of Jane Eyre, the reviews have been mixed, so we shall see how Miss Woodhouse charms the audience.

The Cleveland Heights Janeites had an Austen celebration last week, and it was all things Jane all around. Read this charming article by reporter Laura Johnston of the The Plain Dealer, who must be a Janeite herself to be so knowledgeable (or good at her research).

Find out why Elizabeth Bennet never got fat! Enuf said!!! and all about miniature portraitist George Englheart who has more Austen connections than Jane Austen’s boy toy Tom Lefroy.

Reporter Judith Egerton gushes about the new Jon Jory production of Pride and Prejudice on stage in Lousiville, Kentucky through November 2nd. I wonder if her love of Jane Austen is genetic? Could she be a descendant of Thomas Egerton who first published Pride and Prejudice in 1813?  ;)

Go Gothic with Northanger Abbey continues here at Austenprose until October 31st. The group read is progressing and we are up to chapter 10 as heronine in the making Catherine Morland was just danced with Mr. Tilney (lucky girl). It’s not too late to join in the group read and all the guest bloggers and giveaways. You can read the progress to date at my co-blog, Jane Austen Today. Thanks to the many bloggers and readers who went Gothic with us and are joining in; Kimberly’s Cup, Blue Archipelago, Tea, Toast and a Book, This is so Silly, KimPossible, and Kindred Spirits. It has been great fun to read your opinions. Keep them comming!

Until next week, happy Jane sighting,

Laurel Ann

Craving More of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility? Read On!

“I shall divide every moment between music and reading. I have formed my plan, and am determined to enter on a course of serious study. Our own library is too well known to me, to be resorted to for anything beyond mere amusement. But there are many works well worth reading, at the Park; and there are others of more modern production which I know I can borrow of Colonel Brandon. By reading only six hours aday, I shall gain in the course of a twelvemonth a great deal of instruction which I now feel myself to want.” Marianne Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 46

I hope that you enjoyed the Masterpiece Classic presentation of Sense and Sensibility on PBS last Sunday. I did, and it was definitely the highlight of The Complete Jane Austen series for me. It is well worth multiple viewing to revisit special moments like the first family dinner at Norland Park, Anne Steele’s blundering admission that Lucy and Edward are secretly engaged, or the seaside walk of Elinor and Marianne after their return to Barton cottage from London.

Since this production will always be compared to the 1995 Ang Lee/Emma Thompson adaptation of the same name, I heartily encourage you to view it also. You just might recognize more than a few similarities in the script, camera angles and costumes! I did, so watch out for Margaret’s character expansion, Fanny Dashwood’s hair, clothing and inflections, and the Delaford picnic scene. Emma Thompson knows the value of Austen’s talent for humor, and her attention to the minor characters such as Sir John Middleton, Mrs. Jennings, the Palmers, and Lucy Steele really make the difference for me in the 1995 production.

If you are craving more Sense and Sensibility, and are compelled to continue on your Austen quest, you will enjoy perusing these books to expand your knowledge and appreciation of Jane Austen’s story and characters.

The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay & Diaries, Emma Thompson, Newmarket Press (2007) revised edition. Synopsis from the publisher. Bringing Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility to the screen was a labor of love for writer/actress Emma Thompson. Featuring the complete award-winning script, Sense and Sensibility: The Screenplay and Diaries also showcases Thompson’s unreserved, often hilarious diaries that capture the unique experience of making this landmark film. In addition, the book includes an introduction by producer Lindsay Doran; over fifty photos; cast and crew credits; and Thompson’s sparkling Austen-like acceptance speech at the Golden Globe awards ceremony. Thompson’s rare and personal perspective makes Sense and Sensibility: The Screenplay and Diaries an irresistible book for students of film and Austen devotees, as well as for everyone who loved this extraordinary movie. ISBN: 9781557047823. Review on The Republic of Pemberley.

Reason and Romance, by Debra White Smith, Harvest House Publishers (2004). Second book in the Austen series. Synopsis from the publisher. Echoing the themes in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, Debra White Smith crafts a delightful, contemporary story about passion and love. When Ted arrives, Elaina assumes he can’t be interested in her. But Ted surprises her. Attracted by his charming personality, Elaina dreams about love. But then comes shocking news. Has she made a mistake? The handsome Willis hints at engagement…and Elaina’s sister, Anna, is delighted. But when he is called away, he doesn’t leave a forwarding address. Brokenhearted, Anna falls into depression. Will she love again? Readers will be enraptured by this story about the joys and follies of infatuation and love. ISBN: 9780736908771. Interview with the author about her Austen series.

Suspense and Sensibility, Or First Impressions Revisited, by Carrie Berbris, Tom Doughtery, Associates, LLC (2005). Second book in the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mystery series. Synopsis from the publisher. In the spring of 1813, Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy agree to sponsor Elizabeth’s sister Kitty for a season in London along with Darcy’s 17-year-old sister, Georgiana. In the course of their social rounds, Kitty meets Harry Dashwood – a younger cousin of the Sense and Sensibility Dashwood’s – and the courtship begins. Mr. Darcy makes inquiries into Harry’s character, fortune and expectations, but no sooner does he receive favorable answers than the suitor begins to behave most strangely. Harry gives a friend the “cut direct” outside Boodle’s Club, and there are rumors of gambling and worse excesses. The author smoothly combines characters from Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility while remaining true to Austen’s originals. ISBN: 9780765350923. Review on Curl up with a good book.

The Dashwood Sisters’ Secrets of Love, by Rosie Rushton, Hyperion Books, (2005). Synopsis from the publisher. The Walker sisters have always lived a privileged life in their beloved Holly House in Sussex. Even though their father, Max Walker, has left the family to live with his new macrobiotic-food-obsessed trophy wife, Pandora, he has always doted on his girls. But then one day, reality crashes down around them when Max has a heart attack and passes away, uncovering the truth that he was knee deep in debt. The Walkers discover that their home is actually in Pandora’s name and she decides she wants it back. So the family has to uproot their lives and move to the seaside town of Norfolk in an old cottage. What happens then? ISBN: 9780786851362. Review on A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy.

The neverending sequel search continues. Here are more titles, but these are sadly out of print. Check out your local library, or buy them gently used from my favorite out of print and used book source online, Advanced Book Exchange; Eliza’s Daughter, by Joan Aiken, (1994), The Third Sister: A Continuation of Sense and Sensibility, by Julia Barrett, (1998), Margaret Dashwood or Interference, by Mrs. Francis Brown (Edith Charlotte Brown) (1929), Brightsea by Jane Gillespie (1997), and Elinor and Marianne: A Sequel to Sense and Sensibility, by Emma Tennant (1996).

Happy reading to all!