March 12, 2014

How To Waltz...

...according to just about any movie I've ever seen that includes teaching somebody the dance, no matter how clueless and inexperienced the trainee is.

  • The first think you need to do is to find or be found by some guy, preferably a dashing one, who already knows how to waltz beautifully.  
  • Next you need to be in some sort of situation where he asks you to dance with him.  This may be in a ballroom surrounded by hundreds of people, but you might be alone, shockingly enough... perhaps even in your own private quarters where you have a music box that kind of gets things started, or a romantic outdoors setting such as under a large tree next to a lake or something of the sort.
  • All you have to do at this point is back up a bit, stutter, make excuses, or even confess that you really can't/don't know how to dance.  This is apparently an irresistible challenge for gentlemen-- and deep down inside, after all, you must really want to, despite any protestation to the contrary.
  • To avoid any further embarrassment you accept, and he shows you where your hands should be placed.  (Shocking, I know.  Hopefully you're both wearing gloves.) {Note: this step may be omitted altogether. Hopefully you can figure it out on your own.} 
  • Depending on the situation, there may be beautiful, romantic waltz music to guide you-- if not, you'll probably be subjected to the "one-two-three, one-two-three" routine.  (Or maybe he'll actually sing to you, which kind of gets him extra points. Unless he sounds like Gerard Butler.)  The most guidance you'll ever get is being told to begin by stepping backward with your right foot, but even that is not necessary-- once you're in the right position and start moving, you are overcome by some magical knowledge or instinct and won't need any further details or how-to's... you'll just know.  
  • You can now waltz beautifully, and are able to add this to your list of accomplishments. 
  • If you make it all the way through without breaking away for some reason, don't forget to curtsy at the end.  Oh, and, just a little warning-- you're destined to marry the gentleman with whom this occurs, so choose wisely.  You'll both know you're in love by the end of the dance. 
And that, ladies, is how one learns how to waltz.  But if you end up having to learn some other way, don't worry, it will work too... you might not get the magic instinct, but you will be able to waltz like a duchess-- or even a princess-- in less than six weeks.

February 8, 2014

So, I generally try to stay away from controversial topics...

...but when somebody makes a request, what can I do? ;)

Ahem.  Well, see, it was suggested I write this week about Why I Don't Like P&P 2005.  Y'all know that's the case but I try not to be too detailed about that because I know I have readers who do like it and I have no wish to annoy anybody.

Also, a post is in the works for the P&P95Forever Club blog which will be an official P&P05 bashing.  Ha.  But I won't do that here... in fact, I'm not going to give you all the reasons I don't like this version because there are kind of a lot and I don't want to get carried away.  So I'll just go with the main reason-- I find it Inaccurate To Jane Austen's Novel.

Which I suppose requires further explanation.  In a nutshell, these are the particulars, not in any special order:

~The time period in general is inaccurate.  I could go into detail about what I mean, but I don't feel like bothering, so let's just say even the makers say they meant to set it in the late 1700s.  Pride and Prejudice was published in 1813-- they were about twenty years off, and you can definitely tell.  (Some may argue that this makes sense because Jane Austen started writing the novel in the 1790s, but I will argue back that that doesn't make much of a difference-- she started working on Pride and Prejudice in 1811.  She was writing a thing called First Impressions earlier, and this wasn't just editing, it was revision.  And updating.  Therefore, the book is supposed to take place when it came out.  The end. :D)
Besides for having the wrong time period, I think they give it a distinctly modern feel, and for me that Will Not Do.

So many problems...

~The script isn't even trying to be like the book.  They had to change everything.  And add things.  And take other things out.  I don't expect any adaptation to be word-for-word from the book all the time, but really, they could have done better.

~There are too many made-up scenes and additions to scenes that are not at all Janely.  Haha.  For instance, Mr. Darcy stalking Elizabeth in the rain and then proposing to her.  (I could write an entire post on what was wrong with the proposal scene-- well, both of them, actually-- but I don't feel like going there.  Just don't get me started.  Okay?)  Wandering around outside in your nightclothes... nooo.  No way.  That did not happen back then.  Lady Catherine randomly showing up late at night?  The list can go on, but I think you get my point.

Pretty much describes how I feel.

~A lot of the characters and actors just did not seem true to the book to me.  I'm trying to keep personal preference out of this, but it's hard.  Mr. Bennet was not humorous enough, Mrs. Bennet was too... normal... people ran around yelling things like "YOU CANNOT MAKE ME"... Mr. Bingley was a complete buffoon... Elizabeth sometimes acted like a slightly less stupid version of Lydia.  Many characters in some form showed lack of propriety that was not acceptable back then.  Georgiana was too young and child-like.  The list goes on... and on...

Side-ish note: Just look for pictures from this version.  There are hardly any in which Elizabeth is smiling or laughing or looking... Lizzy-ish.  Most of them are just like this:

~It was too short to get enough of the story and had to leave things out.  Including characters.  Elizabeth did not go to Hunsford to visit Charlotte by herself, she was going with Charlotte's father and sister who... were never even there in this movie, I think?  There is another Bingley sister... as well as her husband...

~They took the Bennets to be poor in a literal sense.  They were not poor.  They were still properly genteel, it's just that they weren't rich by the upper-middle-class standards, and Mr. Bennet did not have much money to leave his family.  But the girls would not wear those drab dresses all the time. Their place of abode would not look like a dilapidated farmhouse, and speaking of farms, though the Bennet family sort of had a farm it was run by the tenants and would have been a good distance from their actual house.  (Longbourn was actually a very small village owned by Mr. Bennet, people.)  There would not be chickens and pigs running around.

~I'm shutting up now. :D

Like I said, that's just a rather brief overview of the ways I consider the adaptation to be inaccurate to the book... other things such as how I just don't think it has the same feel as the book are more matters of opinion, I suppose.  And I must save some of my juice for that bashing. ;)

Saw this picture and thought it was just asking for Gothicizing. :P

February 7, 2014

The Top Ten Dickens Adaptations

A dear girl suggested that I do a post listing my favorite Charles Dickens adaptations and talking a little about them.  Splendid idea. :D

I'm going to do this in the form of Top Ten, even though I have seen more than that... I may mention the others I've seen at the end.  Anyway, we're going to go from Tenth Favorite to Top Favorite.  Ready, set, go.

A Tale of Two Cities: The Musical
This would actually be higher (or lower, in this case) on the list if it wasn't for a couple things.  It's not that it's a musical.  I've, um, kind of outgrown that prejudice.  Haha.  It's because it's not really an adaptation-- not a movie, anyway.  In fact, I haven't even been able to watch one that's actually a full play-- the 2009 concert thingy is what I saw, and though they did remarkably well for not having much of a set and having the orchestra right behind them, it's just not quite the same.  But it was remarkably gripping, I thought, for being the way it was.  They didn't refrain from actually acting and they had costumes.  (Costumes are just important.  They are.) 

{Side note of sorts: I really, really wish that there was a 'real' adaptation of ATOTC.  And for goodness' sake, I cannot figure out why there isn't-- it's one of Dickens' most famous works, yet the most recent miniseries/movie was from 1989.  It's not as if they're without resources (two versions of Great Expectations being made at the same time? Seriously?). }

But anyways.  The musical is really good and I'd recommend it, especially for anyone who's read the book and wants to watch some version of it.
IMDbWatch Online | {trailer on IMDb page}

The Mystery of Edwin Drood (2012)
I'm not actually a very big fan of this one.  But it was a new BBC period drama with interesting costumes and recognizable actors, and that pleased me.  It's not as good as your usual Dickens, because only part of it was made up by him; this is his unfinished novel.  And I'm really not sure how much was Dickens and how much was... whoever wrote the script (and I'm too lazy to look it up).  It was still interesting enough... although some of it was a bit too gruesome for my taste.  Really, you don't need to keep showing us a decaying body, okay?  *cough*  Oh, but did I mention that it's got Alun Armstrong?

Great Expectations (2011)
First of all, I really don't like the story of Great Expectations.  I hear that you can't really know until you read the book, which I haven't, but judging from the two versions I've seen (three, if you count Wishbone :P)... I don't like it.  It's really weird, and really dark.  And though this one seemed to play up the weirdness rather than try to make less of it, it did have some redeeming features and--like I said about Edwin Drood--hey, new period drama! :D  Haha.  I've only seen this once so far. (Really, by the way, my choices for 7-10 can kind of be switched around depending on my mood and what I feel more like watching at the time.)  Some of this movie has a few parts in the violence department where I don't really want to look too closely, I remember.  Anyways, I guess what I did like of this one was more for the period drama than the story itself. Sorry, any fans.  I don't really even like hardly any of the characters; I think that's the main problem.  Herbert Pocket is my favorite, if I remember correctly. ;D

David Copperfield (2000)
I did enjoy this version of David Copperfield, but unfortunately I could only get it on YouTube (the library doesn't have it, sniff) and it wasn't the greatest quality.  In the 1999 version (which I'll be talking about in a bit), David actually annoyed me quite a bit, as did Dora, aside from their characters... it was the actors.  So there were some things I liked better about this one. (Although Hugh Dancy really need a haircut.) Also it's just fun to have a fresh take on it.  And Anthony Andrews... although if you ask me, he just doesn't suit a villain-ish character very well.  His laugh still sounds too nice. ;)

Martin Chuzzlewit (1994)
It took me a bit longer to watch this one since it's sort of an 'older' one and not as well-known... really, though, it's only made the year before my favorite version of Pride and Prejudice, and in the end I'd kind of put it in-between an older BBC miniseries and a newer one as far as how well-made (and not slow-moving) it is.  The story ended up being really interesting, though.  I didn't expect quite as much from it since I hadn't heard quite as much about it.  And it was hilarious seeing Julia Sawalha in another giggly role-- she did sound just like Lydia Bennet.  As I mentioned in the recent villains post, a couple characters in this one really boil my blood... and then there's Tom Pinch who is SO nice that it kind of balances things.  (I always feel sorry for him at the end, though.  He deserved some great reward for his niceness. *sniff*)

Nicholas Nickleby (2002)
I really do like this movie.  It's one of the few actual Charles Dickens movies I've seen (that is, most of them are miniseries) but at least it's long-ish for a movie.  It has a host of recognizable actors, music by Rachel Portman, tons of quotables, a lot of funny stuff and a lot of touching stuff, exciting bits, romantical bits... what more do you look for in a period drama? ;) It does have a slightly different feel to it than most Dickens, and I can't speak for the accuracy to the book but I do know it must be pretty condensed.  However, I've heard from whose who have read the book (or have tried) that that's not necessarily a bad thing...

David Copperfield (1999)
A lot of the acting in this miniseries is marvelous.  I do so love Maggie Smith as Betsey Trotwood.  And Alun Armstrong in his role, obviously.  Pretty much everything about the miniseries is really good, actually, and that's why it gets fourth.  It's still not my favorite story as a whole (David can be so STUPID sometimes) but it is really engaging.  Like I said earlier, a major drawback is that a couple of the main actors annoy me a lot and obviously that's a little hard to ignore, but... :P

Our Mutual Friend (1998)
THIS STORY IS BRILLIANT.  Okay, just had to get that out there.  But really.  :D  It's one of those huge stories with a whole bunch of characters... that is, your classic Charles Dickens, heehee.  A lot of variety in social classes, too, and that's always interesting.  There is one scene that I always skip, but was fortunately informed where it would be and I just covered the screen for that part.  It's nothing bad in the actual plot (if you want more details, I'd be happy to supply them).  This is one of those long ones... nearly six hours, I think?  But very worth it.

Bleak House (2005)
This story is also brilliant, and very complex and mysterious-- I guess the reason I was all-in-caps-ing about the last one is because it seems to be less well-known and watched.  But anyways, if you haven't seen this one, you really should.  It's great.  It can be a bit heavy and dramatic, yes, and as a true and proper Victorian novel, people tend to die off (one of them is even murdered, muwahahaha), but the whole thing is not bleak.  Beware its length, however; it's eight hours long but you might be tempted to devour it all at once regardless because it keeps you right at the edge of your seat. ;)  (Did I mention Alun Armstrong is in this one too?)

Little Dorrit (2008)
And my top pick probably just surprised you all greatly.  (Ha.  Sarcasm.  I do not hide my love for this miniseries.)  It's amazing.  If you are a period drama fan and haven't seen this, I pity you greatly.  Again, tons of characters, some of them extremely annoying, but some very endearing, and the rest crazy; brilliant plot, weird names, mystery, just... Dickens in a nutshell.  A big nutshell, though.  This one is also about eight hours.  Truly a miniseries, people, and it's not meant to be watched all at once.  (Unless you're my mom.)  Now me, I like the length.  When good things are too short it makes me sad. ;)  (On a side note... Alun Armstrong.  Again.  He likes Dickens.) There are a few scenes I choose to skip, but more information can be found about that in my review which should be linked to on the sidebar.

So there you have it, everyone!  Oh, other adaptations I've seen:
~Nicholas Nickleby (2001)-- I also only watched this one on YouTube, and there were some things I like about it, but some things I really didn't (like some inappropriate content... the other version was much better that way).  
~A Tale of Two Cities (1980)-- It's just quite old, but I enjoyed it anyways at least somewhat... I read the book and wanted to watch an adaptation afterwards.  And it has David Suchet, but I actually saw this before getting into the Poirot series so that didn't mean much to me at the time. ;)  (Same story with Great Expectations 2011, actually.)
~Oliver! (1968)-- Musical for Oliver Twist.  I did like it, just not enough to be in the top ten.
~Great Expectations (1998)-- This version was all right, too... I still just don't much like the story.  And there were only two funny lines in the whole thing... and sadly both were left out of the 2011 version.  Sniff.
~The Old Curiosity Shop (2007)-- Boy, this was depressing!  I don't remember much about it other than that, though.

Okay, now I'm done.  (For pity's sake, don't cheer so loudly...)

February 6, 2014

Period Drama Addiction: My Story

How about a post explaining how you got interested in period dramas and the Regency era in the first place? 
That was one of the post suggestions, so I figured I'd just stick it at the top here so you all know where I'm coming from. :)

First of all, I'm not the first person in my family to be interested in this sort of thing.  Both my older sisters would watch Jane Austen and some other based-on-classic-literature movies; but by the time I was old enough to understand them, neither sister lived at home anymore.

I started young with some of them, though, like Anne of Green Gables and the sequel.  For years I held those as my two favorite movies in the world, and they're among the top.  I've basically always been drawn to old-fashioned things, so it was only a matter of time before my interest in the genre blossomed.  Other movies I remember watching before learning about Jane Austen were A Little Princess (this one), The Secret Garden (this one), we watch some version of A Christmas Carol every Christmas Eve (usually this one or this one); I was somewhat acquainted with the TV show Road to Avonlea although didn't grow to love it until later.  Let's see, what else... a couple different versions of Heidi... Caddie Woodlawn, The Sound of Music (who doesn't watch that pretty early on?), episodes here and there of Little House on the Prairie.  I know there were others I can't remember right now, and I watched bits and pieces of some other things my parents or sister were watching, but those didn't have any significance for me.

So, my love of period dramas, and of course all things Jane Austen and Regency, began with my first viewing of Sense and Sensibility (1995).  One of my older sisters did introduce me to that, when she found out I'd never seen it; I was fourteen at the time. After that it was all uphill.  (The only thing that hindered me here and there was "Oh, I should probably read the book first..." I didn't usually end up having the patience to wait that long. :P)  I started by exploring most of the other JA adaptations, and started talking to both my sisters about various other period dramas to see if they could recommend them, so I'd watch those... there were some, like North & South and Cranford, that I remembered my mom watching sometime within the last year or two but for some reason I hadn't been interested. (Silly me.) After I started my blog, which was/is mainly about Jane Austen, I of course got into reading other similar blogs, and there found out about lots of other period dramas and through all this my knowledge of classic literature and authors also increased a lot. ;)  The same sister who introduced me to S&S kind of latched on to my interest and she'd have me over for sleepovers and we'd watch various adaptations after her kids were in bed... I remember one particular time I went over for a two-night caper and we watched Great Expectations (1999) one night and The Moonstone the next, and I was amused because the first had Molly (Justine Waddell) and the other had Cynthia (Keeley Hawes) from Wives and Daughters.  That was around the time the whole "Ooh, I recognize that person, they were in such-and-such!" was beginning. :D

The Moonstone

And now I've pretty much exhausted the available period dramas that don't contain something I object to... whenever I do find a new possibility, or a new one comes out, it is SO exciting.  Like, even when I found Death Comes to Pemberley on YouTube and I was all skeptical because, obviously this isn't going to be very Jane Austen-ish-- but inwardly I was kind of bouncing and going "newwww period dramaaaa! squeeeeeeeee!"

So yes.  I guess you could say I've been "hooked" for a while now. :)

Oh, and allow me to elaborate a little more on the Regency bit of the question... like I said, my interest in the time period came with my interest in Jane Austen, and finding out more about her life.  In fact, I've never actually studied the Regency period when it didn't have to do with Jane Austen-- and it usually does. ;)

So there you have it!

February 5, 2014

The Perfect P&P

Today I'm supposed to talk about what my dream casting for a new adaptation of Pride and Prejudice would be; not by finding certain actors, but just talking about what I think they should be like.  It's a very good idea but I must admit at this time I do not have much enthusiasm for writing about it.  Sooo I'm going to be kind of minimalist and just talk about five of the characters.

Also, I'm going to be boring and not include any pictures.  We're supposed to be picturing the characters for ourselves, after all.  ;)

Elizabeth Bennet
We must start with her, mustn't we?  Let's see now.  My perfect Lizzy Bennet would be between the ages of 19 and 24, not very tall in height (Mr. Bennet refers to her as "my little Lizzy", and Lydia is the tallest of the family; her figure is also not supposed to be perfect and in S&S JA mentions height as an 'advantage'-- those are some things that brought me to that conclusion), have dark brown hair and eyes, and be on the lighter side but not skin-and-bones like Keira Knightley.  Her eyes really should be striking, and very expressive.  Her face in general should be expressive when she's animated, so that it's interesting to watch her talk and display emotions.  She needs to have a very good smile.  She should be pretty but not perhaps in a very usual way.  (Jane should be more regularly pretty.)  Like, the more you get used to her looks the more you like them.  

As for acting... the actress herself needs to admire Jane Austen and Elizabeth Bennet, because I really think that makes a big difference as to how an actor portrays a character.  I really have hardly anything to complain about when it comes to Jennifer Ehle's acting... there are a few lines I might say in a bit of a different way if it were me, but... yeah.  So basically she needs to be as good as Jennifer Ehle and that might be difficult. ;)

Mr. Darcy
Heh, heh, heh. ;)  Okay, so.  Yes, Colin Firth made an excellent Mr. Darcy.  Buuut I think it could be improved upon, I really do, and please don't kill me, fellow P&P95 fans.  He does need to smile from time to time, at least in a small sort of way, and maybe say things so that those who have an ear for a more dry kind of humor would recognize it as such.  (Because he CAN be funny sometimes... more on that if I EVER get my post about Mr. Darcy written!)  To be honest, I'm not exactly sure what he should look like.  I often have a harder time picturing male characters.  The book does describe him as tall and handsome, and at first everyone decides he's handsomer than Mr. Bingley.  So he needs to be those things. (Not overly tall, though. Just on the taller side.) He has to have dark hair, okay, he just does.  

I think a trap most of the actors fall into is that of being stoic.  Darcy should not be stoic.  His displayed emotions should be subtle, yes, but that is not the same thing.  For instance, he needs to be able to look offended at jabs Mr. Bingley makes at him.  He needs to look like he's trying to hide what he's feeling rather than like he's not feeling anything at all.  (Cough cough, David Rintoul, cough.)  Does that make any sense?  He should be able to maintain a feeling-awkward-in-social-situations-and-not-having-a-good-time look that can be misinterpreted as proud, but only to people who are predisposed to take it that way.

I really don't want to ramble on all day about it, though... let's make this into a discussion.  What do YOU think?  Then I can tell you whether or not I agree, and you'll know what I think. :P

Jane Bennet
Jane needs to have that aura of quiet sweetness about her which only certain actresses can actually pull off. She should have a classically pretty face-- one that could be considered beautiful now and then, haha, so as to avoid the Susannah Harker argument. ;)  She does not need to have blond hair, in fact I wouldn't mind seeing that stereotype broken and giving her a dark brown.  I'm particularly partial to blue eyes with dark hair, but it wouldn't break my heart if that didn't happen. ;)

The Other Bennet Sisters
I'll just group them into one here and not be too detailed... basically, I'd like them to all LOOK like they could be sisters, and not be way older than they're supposed to be.  (No, this really is not a criticism of P&P95.  Shhh.  Don't look at me like that.)  Other than that, have them act exactly like they do in the book (and it doesn't seem like it's very hard to figure out for them) and I'll be happy.   Mary should be plain, but they don't need to go overboard with that.  I think something like giving her complexion problems would be accurate.

One more... whom should I choose... 

Georgiana Darcy
Emilia Fox came close to the mark on this one, but she didn't quite make it... for me, Georgiana's always been a character who is subtly intriguing, and I would want a new adaptation to show that.  They should not, however, try to make her different personality-wise.  None of this bubbly-perky stuff.  Also, she should look like she could be Mr. Darcy's sister... and she needs to look like she's about eighteen, I think.  Yes, she's supposed to be sixteen, but she's supposed to look and act mature, and after all, this is a girl who was thinking about getting married when she was fifteen-- and not the Lydia type, either.  She should be a little taller than Lizzy, but not overly so.  (To match the book. ;) )

Now, it's your turn... how do you think these characters should be portrayed?  What about some others?

February 4, 2014

Double Identities: Actresses in Pride and Prejudice

I got a request for a post about "anything to do with P&P95".  That should be easy enough, but the thing is, being co-authoress of The P&P95Forever Club, I usually write anything to do with that subject over there.

But today I'll just be a little different.  One thing I love about watching period dramas is recognizing the actors.  Pride and Prejudice (1995) was one of the first 'real' period drama mini-series I ever watched, so I didn't recognize any of the actors in it-- that came later on with other movies.  So just for fun, I'm going to ramble a bit about my favorite role in another period drama for each applicable actress in P&P95. (I'm leaving the men out, just because.  Well, mainly to make the post shorter, haha.)  Ones who are not applicable don't have any period drama role that sticks out to me, if I have seen it at all, and obviously I'm not going to talk about ones I haven't seen for myself.  However, be aware that I probably do know they were in such-and-such movie, because I've done all the research.  Speaking of that, if you want a full list of the period dramas the actors from P&P95 were in, see here.

Anna Chancellor

Caroline Bingley

I don't actually have a character to talk about here, I just wanted to point out that she is the narrator in the excellent documentary about Jane Austen, "The Real Jane Austen."  She is a {long line of great's}-niece of Jane Austen which just makes everything fun.  For that reason I love that she was in P&P95.  And as is obvious in the documentary, she seems to appreciate the fact.

Barbara Leigh-Hunt

Lady Catherine de Bourgh

She plays Lady Cumnor (the elder) in Wives and Daughters (1999).  Similar to Lady Catherine in some ways... they both have the title, haha; they both don't have much tact and say whatever they please, but Lady Cumnor is less humorless and seems more old and infirm... also she talks with a lisp.  Don't ask me why. But it's fun to mimic.  Hers really isn't a huge role in W&D, but it is noticeable.

Emilia Fox

Georgiana Darcy

Mrs. Gardiner (Joanna David)'s daughter in real life. ;)  That's actually how she ended up being considered for the part.

The other role I've seen her in was in David Copperfield (1999) as David's mother, Clara.  She looked quite similar-- in fact, look, she even wears the same coat/pelisse.  She was really good in this role... I liked her a lot.  Especially when I watched the 2000 version and compared her with the annoying girl there, hahaha.  The character herself... not really my favorite, because sometimes I just want to slap some sense into her.  I can't talk much about it, though, in case you don't know the story... we can't have spoilers. ;)

Joanna David

Mrs. Gardiner

Her roles in Bleak House and He Knew He Was Right were both rather small, so I'm going to shoot for a main character and mention that she was in another JA miniseries as Elinor Dashwood.  Way back in 1971.  For a 70's BBC piece I actually liked that version of Sense and Sensibility okay... better than the 1981 version, actually, and Joanna was one of the reasons.  Her hair and makeup were annoying but she did make a pretty good Elinor.  I still don't like her better than Emma Thompson or Hattie Morahan, but given the same opportunities they had, she'd probably be a decent competitor.  It's not her fault the BBC was not on top of period dramas yet at that point.

Julia Sawalha

Lydia Bennet (right)

It's hard for me to just choose one character to talk about here because I've seen her as three other notable characters.  My favorite, though, is her most recent role as Dorcas Lane in the TV series Lark Rise to Candleford.  She's just brilliant.  It took me a little while to get used to her acting in that role, not because I was used to seeing her as Lydia Bennet (she was just so totally different it was actually hard to put the two together in my mind), but partially because the way she speaks is sometimes a tiny bit... well, not quite stilted, but this certain kind of clear and precise way of speaking, with a bit of an almost artificial lilt in her tone.  I did get used to it, though, and it totally goes with her character... and I tend to love listening to her talk now.  Just the way she says words.  She makes me like names I didn't even think about before.

Anyways.  There's much more to Miss Lane than the way she talks, but you can't just sum it up when it's a TV series.  LRTC never seemed like anything particularly great to me when I'd just seen a little of it, but eventually I started watching the episodes one after another and got totally hooked.  (You can see my review of it here.)  Dorcas Lane is one of those characters who tends to be endearing before you really realize you like her... and you can be on her side almost without quite agreeing.  She can be both frivolous (because frivolity is essential, and when we begin to take ourselves too seriously, we are headed for trouble) and down-to-earth.  People often come to her for advice and sometimes she advises people when she isn't asked, but sometimes that's what they need.  She has a sincere love and loyalty for her community and really does seem to understand people very well.  She has many weaknesses, however.  Or should I say, many one weaknesses. :D
Okay, now I have to share this video with you.  Heehee.

As you can probably guess, it's very easy to quote.
And... quotes are my one weakness.

Anyways.  Some people like Miss Lane a lot right off the bat... it took me a little longer, but now she's definitely one of my favorite characters in the series.  Besides the few times she drives me nuts.

Lucy Robinson

Mrs. Louisa Hurst (Mr. Bingley's other sister)

She plays Mrs. Elton in the 1996 A&E version of Emma, and although my favorite Mrs. Elton is Christina Cole end-of-story, Lucy Robinson is my second-favorite... she has her own flair, and nobody can make this face like she can.

You should all know who Mrs. Elton is (and if you don't--for pity's sake, acquaint yourself with Emma! Now!) so I won't ramble about her.

Victoria Hamilton

Harriet Forster (left)

Here's a character who is often left out of P&P altogether, or isn't at all noticeable... but she's the whole reason Lydia ends up going to Brighton which is kind of a major part of the story.
She was in two other Jane Austen films, but my favorite of her roles is Ruby Pratt in Lark Rise to Candleford.  Occasionally when watching Ruby and Dorcas Lane interacting in the TV series it strikes me as quite amusing to think of how the same two actresses giggled uproariously together in P&P.  "Thick as thieves, the pair of them." ;)

Ruby is the younger sister of Pearl Pratt, and the sisters are dressmakers and support themselves by running a shop.  In the beginning of the series they are both really annoying and snooty, but as it goes on and they develop the characters more, Ruby emerges to be a lot more tenderhearted than her older sister, and generally nicer.  She leaves the series for a time and when she comes back she's rather... different... but I think everything would have returned to normal between her and her sister (it was on the right track) if the series didn't end half-way through the fourth season.  (Don't get me wrong, it's not like they just randomly stopped... they did try to finish it as best they could, but the season was still only half as long, and there were a few loose ends and definitely more story material.)

Before I close this, I am happy to say that all the characters I featured here are from period dramas I can recommend.  I have a fewww problems with some things in Lark Rise from time to time, especially for a younger audience, but you can find more details about my thoughts there by checking out the review I linked to under Julia Sawalha. :)

If you'd be interested in seeing more posts like this one (taking actors/actresses from a particular period drama and talking about their roles in other ones), let me know!
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