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2007, ITV (BBC)
I’ve seen a lot of different opinions about this movie – and for me, there are some things I really like, and some things I don’t like. Some of the things I dislike: Anne’s hair is very annoying the whole time, so that it’s actually distracting. The camera work is a little odd, and the music seems spacey and doesn’t quite go. The movie was too short; they rushed through everything and stuffed things together so that some things were taken out of context almost. There were a few things added in just for the sake of drama (such as Anne thinking – because of a letter written by Charles Musgrove – that Captain Wentworth and Louisa are engaged, which was totally made up.) Probably the biggest, at least the most objected to by viewers, was the ending where Anne is running from place to place in Bath trying to find Captain Wentworth, after Captain Harville gives her the letter, which isn’t at all how it happened in the book; but at least the letter was in there and they didn’t change it much. The part at the very end with Kellynch was made up, too.
Okay, now for some things I did like. Anne kept a journal, and a lot of the things she wrote in it came directly out of Jane Austen’s novel, only made first person. It was great to know what Anne was thinking. I liked Captain Wentworth pretty well; nice and melancholic. In general it gave me a feeling of elegance which – I’m comparing a little too early here – the 1995 version did not. I could sympathize easily with Anne. And is the fact that Anne played Moonlight Sonata allowed to count as a point for this version? ;-)
Miss Anne Elliot: Sally Hawkins
Captain Wentworth: Rupert Penry-Jones
Length: about 1 ½ hours
1995, Sony Classics/Masterpiece Theatre
As with the version previously mentioned, there are things I like about this one, and things I dislike. The main drawback to me was the person chosen for Captain Wentworth, who, to me, is quite unappealing in looks and manners, and is not how I would imagine him to act or speak. But I did like Anne quite well. There was something that bugged me about its Elizabeth and Lady Russell. There were some things very similar to the book, but then they did things like changing some character’s first names – Henry Hayter instead of Charles Hayter, and Phoebe instead of Fanny Harville (they might have even changed her last name to Hubble, if I remember it right). At the end another war was beginning, and I don’t think there was supposed to be another war in the book. I thought the movie was a bit slow-moving in some spots, and some of the music didn’t go. However, in general it was pretty close to the book, and of course I admire that.
Anne: Amanda Root
Wentworth: Ciaran Hinds
Length: about 1 hr. 45 min.
1995 & 2007 comparison
Okay, here I’m going to insert a partial and (hopefully) short comparison, because I am always trying to decide which one I like better. I like them both in different ways, and I prefer some parts of each to the other one.
1995: Everyone complaining to Anne about everyone else was spot on. Anne improved in looks as the movie went on, which was like in the book. A lot of things that took place in Bath were much closer to the book – including the part where Anne gets the letter. This movie seemed more detailed in general.
2007: I thought the 1995 one started out too slowly, but then this one rushed through everything too much. As I mentioned above, I thought it was a really good idea to have Anne keep a journal so the viewer can know what she’s thinking, as if they were reading the book. I liked the settings (houses, scenery and so forth), hair, and costuming better in general. I liked Louisa’s fall better; in the 1995 version, they did a slow-motion thing while she was falling, which I thought really took away from the moment. It was supposed to happen very suddenly. Character representations in this version I preferred to the 1995 version are: Captain Wentworth, Louisa and Henrietta Musgrove, Sir Walter Elliot, Mrs. Clay, Lady Russell, and Mrs. Smith (although she wasn’t supposed to be able to walk in the book, and she did on here).
(With Mary [Elliot] Musgrove, I really liked them both; they each had a different technique for being Mary, and I really can’t decide which I like better. As for Elizabeth Elliot, my favorite is actually probably from the 1971 mini-series.)
A couple things they both did:
A whole bunch was missing with the story of Mr. Elliot, and likewise the story of Mrs. Smith. Mrs. Smith was barely touched upon in both these movies; she had a much bigger role in the book. The stuff about Mr. Elliot was confusing because so little was explained, but I think the 2007 version probably hit closer to the mark.
The concert was, in both, not quite like the book, although the 1995 one got closer. They both had Anne talk to Captain Wentworth before they went into the concert room (which happened in the book), but in the book Anne and Capt. Wentworth have some conversation during the concert before he decides to leave and tells her goodbye. She gently tries to encourage him to stay, but he just walks out. In both the movies, she ran after him and persists in trying to get him to stay. (She follows him all the way out into the hall in the 2007 version!)
Have you ever heard about the cancelled chapters in Persuasion? Jane Austen decided to write the last couple chapters differently before she published the book, but the other ones were saved. In the cancelled chapters, Admiral Croft, assuming along with everyone else that Anne and Mr. Elliot are to marry, asks Captain Wentworth (for some reason) to ask her if she’d like the Crofts to give up their lease of Kellynch Hall. After Anne tells Captain Wentworth that there is no truth in the gossip, they come to an understanding and renew their engagement. The funny thing is, both these movies took the cancelled chapters and stuck them in, along with the real ending where Captain Wentworth writes a letter to Anne. And in both of them, Captain Wentworth meets with Anne alone in a room, and Lady Russell interrupts them, and he leaves. Looks to me like the 2007 version did a little copying there… but it could be coincidence.
Persuasion 1971 (BBC)
As always for these mini-series from the 70s and 80s, it is very slow-moving and seems like a play because of the filming, acting and lack of music, but they do give you the advantage of a more complete story. I only have a few comments to make: the actress who did Anne was around 38. The people who play Jane Austen heroines are almost always older than the character is supposed to be, but I think Anne Elliot, the oldest heroine (27), should be an exception. 25-30 would probably be good, but 38? Wow.
Near the beginning Anne kept saying it was ‘seven years’ since Captain Wentworth was there, which annoyed me a bit. The book said “more than seven,” and it’s generally referred to as 8: 1806-1814, Anne’s age 19-27. Later on in the book, Captain Wentworth says ‘eight years and a half.’ Couldn’t she at least have said ‘almost eight’?
The costumes are never spectacular in these, but all the guys had bow-ties! I’ve never seen bowties in Jane Austen movies, it’s always cravats.
Compared to the other two movies, I liked the Elizabeth from this one the best.
Anne: Ann Firbank
Wentworth: Bryan Marshall
Length: 3 hr. 45 min.
Do you know, I still can’t decide. Buuuut, in general, I think I enjoy watching the one from 2007 most, and if I didn’t care about accuracy to the book, it wouldn’t be a very hard decision. In any case, I like its trailer better than 1995’s, so that’s the one I’m going to put here:
This link will take you to a similar but longer trailer.
Which is your favorite? (Feel free to comment as well!)