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

Emma and Mr. Knightley dance at the Crown Inn, Focus Features © 2020

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 insights and impressions of the costumes made for the new film by Academy Award-winning designer Alexandra Byrne.

Welcome, Hilary. Continue reading “Costuming in the EMMA (2020) Movie with Fashion Historian Hilary Davidson”

Pride and Prejudice (1980) Mini-series – A Review

I have been blogging about Jane Austen here at Austenprose for over five years and I have reviewed many books and movies, yet I have held off writing about the one that really turned me into a Jane Austen disciple—the 1980 BBC Pride and Prejudice. When something is close to our hearts we want to keep it in a special place, so my personal impressions of Fay Weldon’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s most popular novel has remained my own. In this bicentenary year, I think it is time for me to share.

It first aired in five (55) minute episodes on the BBC in the UK in 1979, and on US television on Masterpiece Theatre between October 26 and November 23, 1980. I was a great fan of Masterpiece and period drama and remember being quite excited to watch the new series. I was not disappointed in the first episode—in fact I was mesmerized—and watched the episode again when it aired again that week on PBS. Considering that in 1980 disco music was all the rage and Magnum P.I. and Three’s Company were the most popular television shows, you might understand why this anglophile was entranced by a series set in Regency England with beautiful costumes, country houses, sharp dialogue and swoon worthy romance. I was totally hooked and started reading the novel for the first time while the series aired. Continue reading “Pride and Prejudice (1980) Mini-series – A Review”

A Closer Look at The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Finale: Episodes 90-100

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Darcy and Lizzie © 2013 The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

From the desk of Virginia Claire Tharrington

This week I am wrapping up my look at The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed watching these videos. They are light, bright and sparkling, just as Jane Austen describes Pride and Prejudice, yet they also have serious modern themes that are relevant today and make the story more accessible to younger generations.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Bing and Jane © 2013 The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Jane and Bing (Episodes 90-92 & 95)

Bing comes back. He and Jane get a fresh start, yet Lizzie is still unhappy that Jane hasn’t made him beg her to take him back. Bing does try to make amends by bringing Jane snicker-doodle cookies (like she made him right after they broke up). Before their relationship really gets underway again, Jane gets a job offer from New York. Bing finds out about the job offer from Lizzie’s videos and seems hurt that Jane didn’t tell him herself. She was trying to spare both of them the pain that would be cause if he asked her to stay, yet Bing doesn’t ask Jane to stay. Instead he asks if he can go with her. He confesses that he quit medical school several months ago because he was so unhappy, so he too is looking to make a fresh start in NYC. Continue reading “A Closer Look at The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Finale: Episodes 90-100”

A Closer Look at The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Episodes 85-89 and Domino Videos

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Episode 85 Consequences © 2013 The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

From the desk of Virginia Claire Tharrington

This week on The Lizzie Bennet Diaries I will be looking at episodes 85-89 and Gigi’s Domino videos. There was just too much to get through with the Lydia storyline to add in Jane and Bing, so I will save that for next week. These are emotionally packed videos, though a lot of the action happens off stage like it does in Pride and Prejudice.

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Lydia discovers George's video © 2013 The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Lizzie and Lydia

Lizzie rushes home from her internship at Pemberley Digital, Darcy’s Company, when Charlotte tells her about Lydia and George Wickham’s website. George videoed an intimate encounter between he and Lydia and sold it to a distribution company. The website was advertising the count-down to the release of the video. When Lizzie arrives home she thinks that Lydia knows about the website. It is only after she confronts Lydia that she reveals she had no idea about the site. Lydia stares at the website in horror and disbelief. She just keeps repeating, “This is a joke right?” Yet Lizzie knows it is no joke. George sold the tape without Lydia’s knowledge and never returns any of Lydia’s text, calls or tweets. Continue reading “A Closer Look at The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Episodes 85-89 and Domino Videos”

A Closer Look at The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Episodes 67-76

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Lizzie Bennet © 2013 The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

From the desk of Virginia Claire Tharrington:

This week on The Lizzie Bennet Diaries Lizzie comes home from Collins & Collins and celebrates the holidays. Episodes 67-76 don’t introduce any new characters (though we do see Mary from Lydia’s videos in Lizzie’s videos for the first time), but there is significant character development of Lizzie, Jane and Lydia. The girls catch up on news from Jane, like that she never heard from Bing when she was in LA, and Charlotte tries to get Lizzie to explain more of what was in Darcy’s letter. Lizzie does do a “story time” where she talks about Darcy and Wickham and how Wickham squandered all his money for college in one year, but she does not mention Gigi at all. Lydia then takes over Lizzie’s vlog while she is in the library studying for exams. Lydia says that the girl’s “summer friends” (Darcy, Caroline and Bing) have “toes filled our lives with drama and annoyance” (Episode 69). She “liked it so much better when it was just you and me and Lizzie and Charlotte and Mary.” Lydia shows her love for her sisters when she says, “It’s almost New Years and that means new people and new places and new super fun times. No more anx’ and drama and stupid people who don’t matter.” While Lydia remains vivacious and lively, this is a slightly more serious side of Lydia because she seems lonely and to be looking out for her sisters and wishing that they could go back to the way they were before Lizzie started her vlog. Lydia says, “We work best just us.

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Charlotte and Lizzie © 2013 The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

This, new side of Lydia, is contrasted later by the fight that she and Lizzie get in after her birthday party extravaganza.  Lizzie gives Lydia a book as a birthday present called Where Did I Park My Car? A Party Girl’s Guide to Becoming a Successful Adult. Lydia is really hurt by Lizzie’s gift when she realizes that it isn’t a joke. Lydia sees the gift as a condemnation from Lizzie of Lydia’s behavior. Lydia thinks that Lizzie has been influenced in her opinion of Lydia’s actions by Darcy and Caroline and their criticism of Lydia. While Lydia might have a point she seems to be blowing this out of proportion in Lizzie’s eyes and continues to hold a grudge against Lizzie. This will be one of the factors that drives Lydia into the arms of George Wickham. Continue reading “A Closer Look at The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Episodes 67-76”

A Closer Look at The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Episodes 51-66

Image from the Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Lizzie and Darcy porposal scene

From the desk of Virginia Claire Tharrington

This week I will be looking at episodes 51-66 of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries starting with Lizzie’s life while she is visiting Collins and Collins. We get to meet several knew characters and get to see some of the most beloved ones in a new setting. Did I also mention that we get to see DARCY for the first time!

Lizzie goes to visit Charlotte at Collins and Collins. She meets Lady Catherine and her dog Annie Kins (though we never get to see Lady Catherine we just see Lizzie’s impressions of her). We also get to meet one of my favorite characters in the novel and in the series, Fitz, who comes with Darcy to look at Collins and Collins and give Lady Catherine a report on its progress. Darcy finally shows up in the videos and tells Lizzie he loves her. She flatly rejects him and tells him off for his rude behavior towards her and others and she also tells him to watch her videos. He returns later with a letter and having watched videos. Lizzie reads the letter but refuses to share its contents even with Caroline who comes trying to snoop and find out what is in the letter. Lizzie and Charlotte face off against Caroline and call her out for her manipulation of Bing. Collins flits in and out of several episodes mostly causing havoc by making Charlotte dress as a condiment or trying to make Charlotte work over Thanksgiving. By the end of these episodes Lizzie is ready to go home because home would probably be less stressful. In episode 62 Lizzie says, “This is definitely messing with my world view. Its like I don’t know myself anymore” (I consider this line akin to Austen’s “Till this moment, I never knew myself.” It is the turning point in the book for Elizabeth’s character)

Here are some highlights from Episodes 51-66:

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Fitz and Lizzie care package

We meet Fitz:

Colonel Fitzwilliam is one of my favorite characters from the novels. I have always had a crush on him because I found him to be so much nicer than his cousin. In some alternative universe I really think he and Lizzie would work out (even though he is a younger son and has no money).

In the alternative universe of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries Fitz (Craig Frank) and Lizzie can’t work out as a couple because he is gay. I think this modernization is BRILLIANT because it allows Fitz and Lizzie to be good friends, but it is known from the start that they will never be more than friends. Fitz in the LBD is a smart and well-established business executive (he can see two bridges from his corner office) but he is also super fun. I automatically want to be his friend and so does Lizzie. Lizzie wonders why Darcy can have such nice friends when he is so cold and stiff. Fitz explains “The guy doesn’t always make the best first impression, and he has the social skills of an agoraphobic lobster.” (episode 56).  Fitz does a fabulous impression of haughty Darcy and really enjoys goofing off on the videos. He says “Well what is life if you cant have a little fun? Am I right Lizzie B? You know you should meet Gigi… because she is a cool kid and I think you too will like each other” (episode 56). Fitz seems to be a nice guy who cares about his friends and has his head on straight yet a guy who can also loosen up and have a lot of fun.

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Annie Kins

Catherine de Bourgh and Annie Kins

I hate that we never to get see Catherine de Bourgh but Lizzie’s impressions of her make up for this loss. Her daughter Anne is transformed into a snaggletooth, asthmatic dog named Annie Kins that Catherine dotes on. Mr. Collins prepares Lizzie for dining with Catherine de Bourgh by giving her a long list of dos and don’ts and by telling her “so if you will simply choose the least offensive outfit you have brought along with you, I am certain that will be more than satisfactory.” (episode 53). Catherine still tries to but into everyone’s conversations and adores Caroline Lee for her accomplishments even though it is unclear what Caroline does or if she even has a job or goes to school.

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: staff spirit costumes

Charlotte and Mr. Collins Dressed as condiments

Mr. Collins is full of hair-brained ideas about improving the company morale. One if his ideas involves a “spirit week” of sorts culminating in a Halloween party where he and Charlotte dress up as condiments. Seeing Charlotte as a giant ketchup bottle is pretty amusing, but Mr. Collins as a giant mustard bottle takes the cake. His sincerity and seriousness make him even funnier. Collins tries to make Lizzie come to the party but Charlotte steps in and shows her control and handling of him. Mr. Collins might be the head of the company but Charlotte is the neck and she can turn the head anyway she chooses.

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: proposal scene

Darcy:

Darcy, Darcy, Darcy… everyone freaks out when Darcy is finally shown. Not this girl. I am going to try and keep my talk of Darcy to a minimum for several reasons:

  1. We don’t see that much of him.
  2. I don’t like Darcy Hype.
  3.  He does come off as a pretty big jerk.
  4.  I agree with Lizzie about him.

The viewership of the Darcy episode almost doubled compared to other episodes. Episode 60 (where we first see his face) has had over 466,000 views. Don’t get me wrong– he will improve, and I do think the writing on his episode is fantastic; I just hate Darcy hype. These are called the LIZZIE BENNET DIARIES and that is who the story is about, so I applaud the writers and creators for putting off introducing Darcy till 3/5 of the way through the series.

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: DarcyBot

Ok, now on to Darcy. Daniel Vincent Gordh plays Darcy and does a very good job. He comes off as haughty and austere early on but does loosen up in later episodes. The writing for the proposal episode is a wonderful modernization of the scene from the book. I was worried that they would stray too much from the novel in his insults to Lizzie or that they wouldn’t have him insult her, but they did. Darcy says “I have been fighting against this for months now but Lizzie Bennet I am in love with you… I cant believe it either; that my heart can completely overwhelm my judgment.” Lizzie responds, “I hope that your judgment can be some solace in your rejection because those feelings are not mutual.” (Episode 60) In his video about the episode, one of the creators of the series Hank Green talks about how much effort and time went into writing this episode because they knew it was so important. Hank and his wife Katherine had a lot of input into who they chose for Darcy and the scene. Overall I applaud the series portrayal of Darcy because he does come off as a pretty big jerk at first and then starts to soften so that maybe you think he is just super awkward instead of a jerk. I could also do without the suspenders and skinny jeans, but I see why they did it.

Darcy hand writes and wax seals his letter to Lizzie, which is pretty cute and shows his quaintness. I thought they might do his letter as an email but I like that Darcy hand writes it and says that sometimes he has trouble expressing himself in words so he has to write things down. I think this is just the beginning of Darcy opening up. He also watches Lizzie’s videos because she tells him about them. He says, they were “illumining… you called me a robot and a newsie.” (Episode 62)

Image from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: Caroline v Lizzie and Charlotte

Lizzie and Charlotte v Caroline

Caroline Lee shows up to try and see what was in the letter. Charlotte and Lizzie question her motives in befriending Lizzie and helping Lizzie with her videos since Caroline hasn’t spoken to Lizzie since they left. This betrayal by Caroline seems worse than in the book because in the book Lizzie never thought that Caroline was her friend. The fact that Lizzie and Jane are both hurt by Caroline’s lack of communication with them shows Lizzie’s vulnerability in a new way. Caroline comes off as manipulating, conniving and superficial. The nicest thing I can say about her is that she has great hair. Lizzie and Charlotte call Caroline out for her behavior, and I say, “You go GRILS!” If only Lizzie got to tell Mrs. Bingley off like that in the books. I think it would be very therapeutic to her.

I am leaving out Lydia’s videos from this weeks article because I want to be able to do them justice in an article all to themselves.

Next Week 67-76

Favorite Quotes of the Week

If Lydia ends up with in anyway involved with someone who traces back to Darcy I swear I am going to steal a plane and crash land onto a desert island. I can totally survive on coconut and crabs… assuming there is wifi.” (Lizzie in episode 54)

He is like a robot with buggy programing for social interaction”– “Darcy- bot Malfunction” (Lizzie on Darcy in episode 55)

He was probably just looking for an air conditioned place to drink his probiotic hemp latte”- (Lizzie guessing why Darcy keeps stopping by to see her in episode 57)

I am pretty sure the guy read Tolstoy for you

Even if that is true the virtues of reading Russian literature are far out weighted by the fact that he disinherited George. Oh yeah and he broke up Bing and Jane” (Charlotte and Lizzie talking about Darcy in episode 61)

You should see the texts I have been getting from Lydia about this OMG… WTF… WHATEVS… YOLO… FTS… PQZ!!!!” (Lizzie talking about Lydia’s reaction in episode 62)

Awesome Links:

“If you are in the Raleigh, North Carolina area this weekend please join JASNA NC for a discussion of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. The talk will be held on Sunday March 17th at 2:00 at the Cameron Village Regional Library. Virginia Claire Tharrington will be showing clips and leading a discussion about the adaptation. We would love to see you there. Thanks VC”

Images courtesy © The Lizzie Bennet Diaries 2012; text © Virginia Claire Tharrington 2013

Emma (2009) on Masterpiece Classic – Miss Woodhouse, a Nonsensical Girl!

Image from Emma 2009: Emma and Frank at The Crown Inn dance © BBC 2009 for MASTERPIECE

“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Sage advice from the philosophizing Forrest Gump. The same can be said of Jane Austen adaptations. Last night’s US premiere of screenwriter Sandy Welch’s newly retooled Emma on Masterpiece Classic had its mix of nuts, chews, and soft centers. Most viewers will be tempted to consume it quickly like the beautifully crafted confection that it is. I prefer to take a small bite first to see what I’m getting.

Emma may very well be the last Jane Austen adaptation (or any other bonnet drama) that we see on television for quite some time. The BBC is feigning Austen fatigue after years of milking the almighty cash cow. Since 2005 we have been treated to a new major movie or television production of each of Jane Austen’s six major novels. Emma (2009) completes the set. Time to bring on the reality television and grittier fare. So speaketh Auntie Beeb. Because of their partnership with the BBC, Masterpiece PBS Continue reading “Emma (2009) on Masterpiece Classic – Miss Woodhouse, a Nonsensical Girl!”

Join the Emma Twitter Party on Sunday hosted by PBS Masterpiece Classic

Image from Emma 2009: PBS Emma Tweet Party © BBC 2009 for MASTERPIECE“Why not seize the pleasure at once?” 

Emma (2009), the new mini-series staring Romola Garai as the clever, handsome but misguided Miss Emma Woodhouse premieres on Sunday January 24th on Masterpiece Classic.

Join me as co-host with Vic of Jane Austen’s World, Kali of Emma Adaption Pages, Austen enthusiasts, bonnet drama lovers and the good folks at Materpiece PBS for a red carpet premiere Tweet party during the broadcast starting at 9:00 to 11:00 pm ET on Twitter or Tweetgrid.

Comment on the production, ask questions and join in the celebration by using hashtag #emma_pbs.

Follow this link to the Emma Tweet Party on TweetGrid

For additional information, visit the official Emma Tweet Party page at the Masterpiece Classic website

Remember to use hashtag #emma_pbs in your posts to be included in the festivities

Twitter accounts for co-hosts & PBS

Laurel Ann tweets as Austenprose
Vic tweets as janeaustenworld
Kali tweets as magicskyway
PBS tweets as PBS
Masterpiece Classic tweets as masterpiecepbs

Image courtesy © BBC 2009 for MASTERPIECE

Emma (2009) staring Romola Garai premieres on Masterpiece Classic next Sunday

Image from Emma 2009: Romola Garai as Miss Emma Woodhouse © BBC 2009 for MASTERPIECE

US bonnet drama lovers are in for a treat when Emma (2009) premiers on Masterpiece Classic next Sunday January 24th, 2010 on PBS. This is the first of three episodes of the new adaptation by BAFTA award winning screenwriter Sandy Welch (Our Mutual Friend, Jane Eyre, North And South). The esteemed cast is lead by Romola Garai (Atonement, Vanity Fair) as the clever, handsome and rich (but misguided) Miss Woodhouse, Michael Gambon (Cranford, Brideshead Revisted) as her valetudinarian elderly father Mr. Woodhouse and Jonny Lee Miller (Byron, Eli Stone, Trainspotting) as Emma’s reproachful neighbor.

This highly anticipated new mini-series aired in the UK on the BBC  last September and will finally jump the pond and arrive in the colonies for our immediate consumption and deconstruction! To herald its charms it has a proven screenwriter, superior production values from the BBC/WGBH, an incredible cast, authentic locations, and beautiful costuming. Continue reading “Emma (2009) staring Romola Garai premieres on Masterpiece Classic next Sunday”

Emma 2009 Masterpiece Classic Preview

Image from Emma 2009: Boxhill scene © BBC 2009 for MASTERPIECE

Mark your calendars for January 24th, 2010 at 9:00 pm for the North American premiere of the new miniseries Emma on Masterpiece Classic on PBS. Staring Romola Garai (Atonement, Daniel Deronda) as the handsome, clever and rich heroine Emma Woodhouse, this new 3 part historical drama/comedy will run on three consecutive Sundays: January 24th (2 hours), and January 31st and February 7th (1 hour ea).

Based on Jane Austen’s fourth published novel Emma, this new adaptation is by renowned screenwriter Sandy Welch (Our Mutual Friend, Jane Eyre, North And South) and aired in the UK in four one hour episodes in October 2009. It was jointly produced by the BBC and WGBH. It also stars Jonny Lee Miller (Eli Stone Endgame) as Mr. Knightley, and Sir Michael Gambon (Cranford) as Mr. Woodhouse. PBS has created a beautiful Emma page on their Masterpiece Classic website and this amusing video. Continue reading “Emma 2009 Masterpiece Classic Preview”

Me and Mr. Darcy, (not the book …)

Illustration of Mr. Darcy, by Chris Duke, (1980)“And that,” said Mrs. Reynolds, pointing to another of the miniatures, “is my master — and very like him. It was drawn at the same time as the other — about eight years ago.”  

“I have heard much of your master’s fine person,” said Mrs. Gardiner, looking at the picture; “it is a handsome face. But, Lizzy, you can tell us whether it is like or not.”  

Mrs. Reynolds’s respect for Elizabeth seemed to increase on this intimation of her knowing her master. 

“Does that young lady know Mr. Darcy?”  

Elizabeth coloured, and said — “A little.”  

“And do not you think him a very handsome gentleman, ma’am?”  

“Yes, very handsome.”

Mrs. Reynolds, Mrs. Gardiner & Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 43 

Darcy Sightings

The sun is shining today in the Pacific Northwest, and consequently I am quite distracted and have bloggers malaise! The temperatures are in low 80’s! I am in raptures to say the least, enjoying one of the 10 – 20 days of clear skies and warm weather that we will receive in a year. If any of you use Google Earth and have looked up your homes from a satellite view, this is a day that those geeks who take the photos jump around like monkeys to get clear pictures to update the database! Real Estate types are also busy today, snapping photos of all of their home listings to plaster on their web sites to trick out-of-towners into thinking this is usual weather in the Pacific Northwest!  I know, I know; —  I am as cynical as Jane Austen’s character Mr. Palmer to be sure! 

Image of Lake Stevens with Mt. Pilchuck in the distance (2008)

My neighborhood in the country turns into another world when the sun shines. Imagine, I actually need my sun glasses to see outside. As I walked to my car to run errands, a swallowtail butterfly fluttered across my path and almost collided with me. He was drunk on the sunshine too! I live quite close to a lake, and the road that I travel to the market skirts the shore past a public beach (so to speak) where boaters can launch their jet skis (argh) and swimmers can brave the cold water. The view to the distant Mt. Pilchuck with its patches of lingering snow is quite lovely, when we can see it. Being the eternal optimist, I bought fudge cicles to stock up for the weekend, and stopped by the beach on my way back and enjoyed one while looking at the view. There were scads of teenagers on the rocky beach sitting on towels and chairs trying to get a one day tan, hip-hop music blasting from a boom box and the roar of jet skis from the water. 

Continue reading “Me and Mr. Darcy, (not the book …)”

Mansfield Park (2007) on Masterpiece Classic – A Review: No Hope of a Cure

Image from Mansfield Park 2007 Billie Piper and cast © 2007 Masterpiece PBS

“My dear Miss Price,” said Miss Crawford, as soon as she was at all within hearing, “I am come to make my own apologies for keeping you waiting; but I have nothing in the world to say for myself-I knew it was very late, and that I was behaving extremely ill; and therefore, if you please, you must forgive me. Selfishness must always be forgiven, you know, because there is no hope of a cure.” Mary Crawford, Mansfield Park, Chapter 7

Today I am feeling much like that supercilious Mary Crawford in Jane Austen’s novel Mansfield Park; selfish, greedy and smug. I want my Jane Austen adaptations served up to me according to my wishes. Right now! Continue reading “Mansfield Park (2007) on Masterpiece Classic – A Review: No Hope of a Cure”

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