Daily Archives: May 21, 2014

Mansfield Park 2007 Vs. Mansfield Park 1999

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Mansfield Park and it’s heroine, Fanny Price has been debated time again since it’s initial publishing 2o0 years ago. It is also universally acknowledged that any film adaptation of this novel will bring about the same heated debate.

I have not seen the 1983 Mansfield Park, but from what I have heard, it is the best adaptation. But I have seen both the 1999 and 2007 adaptions and I hope to give each a fair shake, to determine which is the better adaptation.

1999 Movie

Cast: Frances O’Connor (Fanny), Johnny Lee Miller (Edmund), Sir Harold Pinter (Sir Thomas), Embeth Davidtz (Mary Crawford) and Alessandro Nivolo (Henry Crawford).

  • Pros: Director and screenwriter Patricia Rozema weaves throughout the film Fanny’s strength and innate sense of self, especially in the face of overwhelming odds against her. Rozema also inserts Austen’s experiences and early writings, revealing interesting facets of Fanny’s character.
  • Cons: The actors who were supposed to be playing the young people in the film were 30 ish and above. William, Fanny’s adored big brother, and The Crawford’s sister and brother in law are nowhere to be found.

2007 TV Movie

Cast: Billie Piper (Fanny), Blake Ritson (Edmund), Douglas Hodge (Sir Thomas), Hayley Atwell (Mary Crawford) and Joseph Beattie (Henry Crawford).

  • Pros: The actors playing the young people are all age appropriate, each approximately 25 ish, closer in age to their characters than their counterparts in the 1999 movie.  William is included in this adaption.
  • Cons: Billie Piper. She is a very good actress, but not suited for this part. Fanny in this adaptation is too much of a tomboy. The fact that the hair and makeup people did not take a few minutes to make sure that her hair color and eyebrows matched just boggles my mind. Nor did the costume department make sure that she had the appropriate bonnet and gloves while outside. What female in Regency England had naturally brown eyebrows and blonde hair? Fanny maybe the impoverished niece reliant on her uncle’s support, but even she would know what to wear when going outside. And once again the Crawford sister and brother in law are nowhere to be found.

In conclusion, the winner is….. the 1999 movie.

 

 

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Filed under Books, Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, Movies

Life Is Better Than Art

I am Downton Abbey Addict. There, I said it. My addiction has started to move beyond the television series  to the real and fascinating history behind the television series.

Highclere Castle’s current mistress, Fiona, Countess of Carnavon, has written two books on the history of her home and her husband’s family. The first novel, published in 2011, Lady Almina And the Real Downton Abbey, The Lost Legacy Of Highclere Castle, focused on her husband’s paternal great grandmother.  Her 2013 novel, Lady Catherine, The Earl And Real Downton Abbey focuses on her husband’s paternal grandmother, Catherine, Countess of Carnarvan.

 Like her fictional counterpart, Cora, Countess of Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern), Catherine is an American heiress who marries Lord Porchester, son and heir to George, 5th Earl Of Carnavan. Lord Carnavan was part of the expedition that initially discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen. Her life is fascinating. She was born in 1900 and died in 1978. She lived through two world wars, became a member of the British aristocracy through her marriage and watched the world change around her.

I enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it because I enjoyed reading about the real history and the real people that are part of the history of Highclere castle. Reading the book bring a real, historical perspective to fictional Downton Abbey and the characters that inhabit that world.

I recommend this book.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Downton Abbey