Sunday, August 14, 2011

Persuasion: The Movies

Click here for the summary of the actual story

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.

My favorite
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!)
Which is your favorite version of Persuasion?
1971 (Ann Firbank)
1995 (Amanda Root)
2007 (Sally Hawkins) free polls

  Now that I’ve read the book I can understand why Persuasion tied for second with Northanger Abbey on my poll about which Jane Austen novel most needed another movie. When I think how much someone could do with this novel!!

Here are a few ideas I had:
--It could begin in 1806, when Anne and Captain Wentworth first meet each other, and then the engagement is broken. Oh, the drama! And then there could be a few scenes for the years in-between, with things happening like Mr. Elliot slighting Sir Walter and Elizabeth, James Benwick’s relationship with Fanny Harville, and other things that normally have to be explained later.
--I’d like to see more things from other people’s point of view, or what’s going on with them when their somewhere else – like when Captain Wentworth goes to visit his brother Edward, and most particularly when Louisa is recovering at Lyme, and she and James Benwick form an attachment. I always dislike how after Louisa’s fall we never see her again! More about Henrietta and Charles Hayter might be interesting, too.
--I think it would be fun for the three engaged couples (Anne and Wentworth, Louisa and Benwick, Henrietta and Charles Hayter) to somehow be all shown together near the end. (I remember in the A&E version of Emma, Emma & Knightley, Jane & Frank, and Harriet & Robert were all shown dancing at the end and I thought that was cute.)
--Lastly, I think a splendid addition would be to have an alternate ending like I’ve heard some movies have. You watch the movie with the main one, but then you can watch the other one and decide which you like better. I say this, because Jane Austen wrote an alternate ending – the cancelled chapters. That way, instead of trying to stick it in where it doesn’t belong, it can be just like reading the cancelled chapters after the real ending, which is fun.

   So, instead of a less-than-two-hour-movie, we can have a wonderfully complex mini-series! Another task for BBC and perhaps screenwriter Sandy Welch (Emma [2009], North & South, Our Mutual Friend). That, and Mansfield Park; and someone needs to do another Northanger Abbey! But those are beside the point.
   What do you think?


Miss Elizabeth Bennet said...

I think of the 1995 movie and the 2007 movie, I liked the 2007 one a little more. I really liked Sally Hawkins's Anne, though I must admit her hair did catch my eye every so often (not sure in a good way or a bad way). During the concert, Elizabeth Elliot's hair really bothered me: it looked like something from the 1830s! I would like to see another version, though, preferably a miniseries. With a miniseries, there can be more time to get into more details.

Oooh! I also just bought Mansfield Park the book! Haven't seen any of the adaptations of Mansfield Park, but maybe when I finish the book, I'll watch the 80's version and see how it compares.

Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm said...

Melody, You don't have to post this comment.

I've really been meaning to comment on this lovely post and I will do very soon!

Thanks so much for participating in Anne Elliot's Birthday Party and Giveaway and for linking to me! I am SO excited to let you know that you won a copy of Jane Austen's Persuasion! I'm also hoping to send something extra, so if you send me your full name and mailing address I will send your prizes out to you!

~Miss Laurie :)

Melody said...

That's a good idea! I definitely think it's great to read the book first. I just didn't. ;-) Well I was planning to, but then I didn't like the feeling of knowing nothing about Mansfield Park, so I watched the 80s version. The books was a lot better of course, but at least that version got the story right.

Maria Elisabeth said...

Sorry for not responding to your comment sooner. I thought the Gwyneth Paltrow version was best, but that was before I watch the 2009one. Oh, and we got the movie from the library and we're going to watch the 3rd episode tonight.

Ella said...

I liked The 2007 version of Persuasion,but it felt gloomy at times.

Miss Dashwood said...

Randomness, did you ever show me the copy of Persuasion that you won on Miss Laurie's blog? Tootuz I don't remember that, and I know I should have liked to see it if I'd thought to ask you. o.O

Anyways, long ramble here. First off, I think I need to rewatch both versions of Persuasion, so *cough* if you're up for doing that over Skype sometime I totally would be. Just sayyyyyyyin'.

UGH ANNE'S HAIR IN 2007 UGH UGH UGH. The Regency era had so many pretty styles and a few weird ones... WHY couldn't the movie peeps focus on the purty ones? Pet peeve. :D

You are going to be shocked at this. But, um, I kind of LIKE the dramatic element of Anne thinking that Captain Wentworth and Louiser are Engaged. Even though JA didn't write it that way. I KNOW I KNOW I'M HORRID.

And as I've said before, Rupert Peanutbutter and Jelly definitely LOOKS like Capt. Wentworth, but I'm just not sure he IS the character. I prefer Ciaran Hinds. You can't stop me.

I do adore that scene where everyone's complaining to Anne about everyone else. Ehehehehehehe.

We went over a lot of this stuff in the guest posts, of course, which I just went back and reread for fun, so I don't fink I have anyfing else to say... la de dah, la de dah....

I'm kind of thinking maybe someday I should just watch all the 70's and 80's JA miniseries. The problem is that they look boring and do not interest me. SNORT.

Lovely post, dahling. :D

Melody said...

No, I don't think I ever showed it to you, although I'm sure you saw it residing on my bookshelf. ;)

Ohh, I'd love to watch them with you! And I now have 1995 on DVD so that one would be easy. ;)

Haaa. Well, if I were Anne and I thought he was engaged to Louisa, I'd be kind of like "he's pretty stupid, good thing I didn't marry him after all." SNORT.

Waait, you actually PREFER Ciaran Hinds??? Ugh! How could you?? :P I mean, sure, Rupert wasn't perfect, but good grief, both looks AND way-of-acting were wrong with Ciaran Hinds. He was so... Ciaran-Hinds-ish. Kind of gruff and vulgar and not like how I like to picture Regency Gentlemen. ;P

You know, watching the 70s and 80s miniseries sound like a good thing to do together WWFHOC, don't you think? ;D (I love acronyms.) Of course, there are some I think you should definitely watch before that if it ever happened... like P&P 1980. ;) But Emma is SO. BORING. I don't know how they make such a brilliant story boring, but they do. :P

Katie Hanna said...

Do you know what? I would love to see a Persuasion movie where Claire Foy played Anne Elliot. I think she would make a beautiful Anne--after all, if she can do Amy Dorrit that well, Anne Elliot should be easy. I know Anne is supposed to have brown eyes, and Claire doesn't--but Sally Hawkins didn't either. So that doesn't matter.

Would you rather hear the story...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...