2017 Jane Austen Rewatch: Mansfield Park

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Moving on with our grand Jane Austen rewatch. Mansfield Park (1814) was Jane Austen’s third published novel and her first to be conceived and written when she was an adult. The story follows the growth of poor Fanny Price, who is de facto adopted by her wealthy relatives and transported miles away from her family.

Jane Austen Rewatch Mansfield Park

Here is a map provided by JASNA for tracking the physical locations of the story:

JASNA Mansfield Park Locations map-mp-1200

Map of locations in Mansfield Park. Jane Austen Society of Australia, via JASNA.

We only had access to two movie versions: one from 1999 and the other from 2007. I’d also like eventually to see the 1983 miniseries, for I see several familiar names among the cast.

Unfortunately, both adaptations have some issues. The 2007 Mansfield Park (screenplay by Maggie Wadey, directed by Iain B. MacDonald) casts Billie Piper (Rose in Doctor Who) as Fanny Price, and she does a good job. However, I don’t like Blake Ritson, so this Edmund Bertram remains uninteresting to me. There are also some pacing issues and an odd scene or two.

If you like Hayley Atwell as Agent Carter, you might want to check this one out, though, for she’s very good – a believably lively and charming but wily Mary Crawford. The rich but simpleminded Mr. Rushworth is expertly played by Rory Kinnear (who also performed Tanner in the three latest Bond movies).

What I really like, though, are two supporting characters: first, Fanny’s dear brother William is included (which the 1999 movie doesn’t do); second, Jemma Redgrave’s interpretation of Lady Bertram makes it believable that someone would’ve wanted to marry her (whereas the 1999 Lady B. is almost implausibly lethargic).

The older of these two Mansfield Park movies (written and directed by Patricia Rozema) is based not just the novel but also some events gleaned from Austen’s letters. It’s an interesting choice, and had we a dozen or so adaptations I’d probably appreciate it more, but as Mansfield isn’t often filmed I think it creates more missed opportunities than not. Another miss is Fanny Price’s wardrobe – bleah.

This movie is a treat for me in other respects: one of my favorte actors, Jonny Lee Miller, plays Edmund Bertram. He’s more recently – and deservedly – starred as Sherlock Holmes in the series Elementary. Lead actress Frances O’Connor projects Fanny’s vulnerability beautifully. The rest of the cast are great, too. For example, Lindsay Duncan gives an excellent, excellent double performance as both Fanny’s mother Mrs. Price and aunt Lady Bertram (even though I disagree how the character was written), and Hugh Bonneville’s Mr. Rushworth thoroughly demonstrates the actor’s genious and range.

Favorite fleeting moment: Hugh Bonneville’s Mr. Rushworth wiggles his pinky in his ear (presumably) to clean it while walking outdoors with his new fiancée, Miss Bertram. You can see it in this official trailer:

Mansfield Park | Official Trailer (HD) – Frances O’Connor, Jonny Lee Miller | MIRAMAX

How… quaintly… charming (not!) of the character, and a simply brilliant piece of acting!

Read more about this Jane Austen rewatch project.

2017 Jane Austen Rewatch: Pride and Prejudice

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Pride and Prejudice (1813) followed Sense and Sensibility to become another commercial and critical success. It was also published anonymously (“by the author of ‘Sense and Sensibility’”). The focus of the story is witty Elizabeth Bennet, one of five young, unmarried Bennet sisters with little economic incentives to entice suitors.

Jane Austen Rewatch PandP

JASNA again provides a handy map for tracking the physical locations of the story:

JASNA Pride and Prejudice Locations map-pp-1466h

Map of locations in Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen Society of Australia, via JASNA.

Just like Sense and Sensibility, there are several adaptations. We watched five: the 1995 P&P miniseries, the movie from 2005, modernized tales Lost in Austen and Bride and Prejudice plus the zombie action flick Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

I’m really not interested in most modernizations like The Lizzie Bennet Diaries or Bridget Jones’s Diary simply because P&P isn’t my favorite story. That’s also why I’ve decided to skip the 1980 miniseries. I confess, however, that I’m a little curious of the 1940(!) movie with Laurence Olivier as Mr. Darcy, but pretty much only for his sake. (I don’t think I’ve ever seen him perform.)

The Pride and Prejudice miniseries from 1995 (adapted by Andrew Davies, directed by Simon Langton) is my go-to version. This iteration stars Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet and Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, and is well-known in part because of the (in)famous wet shirt scene:

The Lake Scene (Colin Firth Strips Off) – Pride and Prejudice – BBC

I don’t much care for the wet shirt myself. This added scene does, however, add weight to Elizabeth’s thinking that she had essentially walked in on the Darcy family when they expected privacy, and clearly feeling the inappropriateness of it.

This version does have my favorite ever Mr. Bennet, played wonderfully by Benjamin Whitrow. I’ve long dismissed Alison Steadman’s performance as Mrs. Bennet, quite wrongly as it turn out: I happened just recently to see her in a Miss Marple adaptation, and her range blew me away. I clearly need to re-rewatch and pay special attention to her alone!

Besides the acting, the music is lovely and the story flows on smoothly. If there’s something missing, it’s a clearer picture quality and subtitling on the DVD.

My favorite scene: After Wickham and Lydia’s marriage, Elizabeth politely but decisively shuts down another attempt by Mr. Wickham to turn her against Mr. Darcy.

There are many fun and funny details in the Lost in Austen miniseries (2008, adapted by Guy Andrews, directed by Dan Zeff). Unfortunately, I find the lead (Jemima Rooper as Amanda Price) unconvincing and spiritless. The rest of the cast is simply superb, though, and given a lot to play.

Hugh Bonneville excels at delivering Mr. Bennet’s restrained wit, expertly foiled by Alex Kingston’s easily-agitated Mrs. Bennet. Christina Cole (whose Mrs. Elton in the 2009 Emma is perhaps my favorite) does fantastic work as Caroline Bingley, as does Lindsay Duncan as Lady Catherine de Bourgh. The latter I’ve long admired for her performances in the 1999 Mansfield Park and Doctor Who special episode “The Waters of Mars”. I like her Lady Catherine surprisingly much; this version is clearly sharp as a tack. Guy Henry delivers a both shoddy and sleazy Mr. Collins, who for some reason has gained three brothers in this version.

My favorite dialogue:

Mr. Bennet [introducing his wife to the Collins brothers]: “[…] and Mr. Cymbal Collins, enlivening a dull Tuesday evening with his amusing trousers.”

Mr. Cymbal Collins: “I trust, madam, you shall come to call me Tinkler.”

Mrs. Bennet: *speechless and flabbergasted*

Mr. Bennet: “Mrs. Bennet will dedicate herself to that end.”

Shriek! Snort! Guffaw!

The only recent movie-length version comes from 2005 (screenplay by Deborah Moggach, directed by Joe Wright). The adaptation has a lot to like: the lively ball scene in the beginning, a stunningly beautiful Jane (Rosamund Pike), a very realistic depiction of a family’s little everyday messes, Mr. and Miss Bingley that actually do look like siblings and sets dressed to perfection, among others. Too bad that Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) and Mr. Darcy (Matthew Mcfayden) don’t have any spark at all. (And Knightley’s pout is sulky rather than sexy.)

Where this particular P&P fails most is pacing. (Oh, time constraints, the foil of every Austen movie adaptation!) The beginning is slower, but especially towards the end director Wright basically just has to run through the plot.

My favorite scene:

Meryton ball scene in the beginning – it’s wonderful to see how much the people enjoy themselves!

P&P 2005 Movie Scene – Meryton Assembly (The Dance) via JV Rañopa

I’m not a fan of zombie stories in general, but I did want to see Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (written and directed by Burr Steers) when it first came out in 2016 and again for this rewatch.

I have mixed feelings. The movie does kick ass, and does so splendidly! However, there’s not much more than that there.

Jane Austen Rewatch PPZ

Lily James’s Elizabeth Bennet and Lena Headey’s Lady Catherine de Bourgh are ok, but most of the rest of the cast leaves me lukewarm. This Mr. Collins (Matt Smith of Doctor Who fame) didn’t have much of anything to do or say. The character of Mr. Darcy has never had much of an appeal to me; if I cared for him more, I might actively dislike Sam Riley’s version, although he probably did not have much to say on how the poor character was written. Mr. Bennet, however, is marvelous. His portayals tend always to be rather sarcastic, of course, but Charles Dance’s version takes it to an extreme: he is (to borrow Husband’s apt phrase) dry as the Sahara.

I guess PPZ really is a straightforward action movie with a side of Jane Austen, not a Jane Austen movie with a side of action – and the latter really is what I’d like it to be.

The 2004 Bollywood version, Bride and Prejudice (screenplay by Paul Mayeda Berges, directed by Gurinder Chadha) is a really fun take. The script omits many plot points and even characters – for example, there are only four “Bennet” sisters – but what is included makes a coherent whole. And the dances and colors! Wow!

Jane Austen Rewatch BandP

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is great as Lalita Bakshi (Elizabeth Bennet), but I’m seriously underwhelmed by Martin Henderson as William Darcy. Nitin Ganatra’s interpretation of Mr. Kohli (Mr. Collins), on the other hand, is as magnifient a performance as every other Mr. Collins I’ve seen.

Read more about this Jane Austen rewatch project.

2017 Jane Austen Rewatch: Sense and Sensibility

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Getting back to the Jane Austen rewatch mini reviews! Sense and Sensibility was Jane Austen’s first commercial and critical success. Published anonymously (“by a lady”) in 1811, the novel focuses on two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, and their very different approaches to life and love.

Jane Austen Rewatch SandS

JASNA provides a handy map for tracking the physical locations of the story:

JASNA Sense and Sensibility Locations map-ss-1200

Map of locations in Sense and Sensibility. Jane Austen Society of Australia, via JASNA.

As befits a well-loved story, there are several adaptations. We had access to the 1995 movie and miniseries from 1981 and 2008. I might eventually want to check out Kandukondain Kandukondain (I Have Found It, 2000) and possibly Scents and Sensibility (2011); I think I’ll skip the 1971 miniseries.

The 1995 Sense and Sensibility movie written by Emma Thompson and directed by Ang Lee is excellent; in fact, it used to be my go-to version. Unfortunately it’s tripped up by the same problem that pretty much every Austen movie adaptation suffers from: time constraints. Miniseries fit Austen’s nuanced storytelling so much better. Even with that in mind, Thompson’s screenplay is perhaps the most skilled movie-length adaptation I’ve ever seen. And Ang Lee’s direction is visually beautiful, at times breathtaking.

If there’s a problem with the movie, I’d say it’s the age of the actors: almost every main actor is older than their novel counterparts, from Emma Thompson’s Elinor to Hugh Grant’s Edward and Alan Rickman’s Colonel Brandon; only Kate Winslet’s Marianne and Greg Wise’s Willoughby are even close. All performances are fantastic, there’s no mistake about it. They’re just too old: Elinor and Marianne are supposed to be 19 and 17, respectively, Edward and Willoughby in their mid- to early 20s and Brandon in his mid-30s.

My favorite scene: As Marianne is singing and playing the pianoforte at Barton Park, Colonel Brandon walks in and is stopped breathless by her performance and beauty.

Sense & Sensibility – “Weep You No More Sad Fountains” via waningautumn

The 1981 Sense and Sensibility miniseries (adapted by Alenxander Baron and Denis Constanduros, directed by Rodney Bennett) has the same primary problem as the Thompson movie: the actors are too old for their roles. In addition, the plot is rushed through at quite a clip. The series theme music is rather nice, but parts of the dialogue are lost due to the poor sound quality (with no subtitling on disc). Finally, there are some odd directorial choices (angles and cut-offs); the version definitely shows its age there.

I understand the omission of Margaret, the youngest Dashwood sister, from the point of view of time constraints, but I think it’s a failing. Also, very unfortunately, Irene Richards doesn’t convince as Elinor Dashwood. Tracey Childs as Marianne is better, and Bosco Hogan’s Edward is very personable and friendly once his reserve is broken through. I could imagine someone falling for a considerate man like him.

Peter Woodward, who played Willoughby, is the only actor I knew beforehand from his role in the Babylon 5 spinoff series Crusade. Like Hogan, he does a great job. It’s so very nice that the actor sings, too – Willoughby and Marianne are able to sing together like in the book. Other adaptations don’t really do that, sadly.

My favorite dialogue:

Elinor: “[Colonel Brandon] is a sensible man, and sense will always have its attraction for me.”

Marianne [astonished]: “Elinor!”

Elinor: “Yes, Marianne, even in a man over thirty.”

LOL! 😀

My favorite of the three adaptations, though, is Andrew Davies’s 2008 miniseries (directed by John Alexander). It stars Hattie Morahan and Charity Wakefield as Elinor and Marianne. Both were new to me, but I was familiar with the significant male actors: Dan Stevens (Mr. Edward Ferrars) is in the first few seasons of Downton Abbey, David Morrissey (Colonel Brandon) portrays the confused faux-Doctor in the Doctor Who Christmas special “The Next Doctor”, and Dominic Cooper (Mr. Willoughby) as young Howard Stark scratches science to see if it bleeds in Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Captain America: The First Avenger and Agent Carter (and rules as King Llane Wrynn in the Warcraft movie).

It was a gutsy choice of Davies to begin the series with Willoughby’s explicit seduction of a 15-year-old girl, an event which happens very much off-screen in the novel and most adaptations, but becomes the crux of the plot.

Another interesting scene that Davies lifted from between the lines is the duel between Willoughby and Colonel Brandon. It was nice to actually see how seriously the society took the former’s transgression. I also prefer Stevens’s livelier Edward to Grant’s monotonous interpretation.

The series does have some issues. For example, the Devonshire “cottage” that the financially strained Dashwood ladies had to accept was turned into a literal cottage instead of a good, solid house from the novel. The events are condensed, sure, but their pace doesn’t feel rushed like in the movie versions. Most of the writing, acting, propping and costuming are solid to excellent.

Acting-wise, Morrissey’s Colonel Brandon has one too many clunky “I’m not intruding?” moments, and his furrowed brows are a-plenty, but otherwise I like his performance. Mark Williams (father Weasley in the Harry Potter movies) is a simply fantastic Sir John Middleton! And I just adore Margaret (Lucy Boynton) in this version, although she is a much more outspoken character here than in the novel. I can’t wait for the new Murder on the Orient Express for more Boynton.

My favorite line:

Margaret [dryly observing her expected role in the society]: “Girls just sit and wait for things to happen.”

Read more about this Jane Austen rewatch project.

2017 Jane Austen Rewatch: Northanger Abbey

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Our grand Jane Austen rewatch continues. Northanger Abbey (c. 1798-1799, posthumously published in 1817) parodies the wildly popular gothic novels of the time.

Jane Austen Rewatch Northanger Abbey

The 2007 movie version (screenplay by Andrew Davies, directed by Jon Jones) is the only one I’ve ever seen, although apparently there’s a version from 1987 as well. (Note to self: find it! That one has Cornelius Fudge er, Robert Hardy!)

The story covers a young naive heroine’s adventures first in Bath and afterwards at a remote country estate with a dark secret. JASNA provides a handy map for tracking the physical locations of the story:

JASNA Northanger Abbey Locations map-na-1200

Map of locations in Northanger Abbey. Jane Austen Society of Australia, via JASNA.

Felicity Jones stars as Catherine Morland, and Mr. Tilney is portrayed by JJ Feild (elsewhere e.g. Captain America: The First Avenger). Felicity Jones has also appeared in the brilliant Agatha Christie Doctor Who episode “The Unicorn and the Wasp” and later in Rogue One.

Both leads are top-notch, especially Felicity Jones as the wide-eyed and innocent Catherine, but the supporting cast is thoroughly excellent, too. I have no qualms with the adaptation; it’s a solid job through and through.

My favorite scene:

In the beginning, Catherine is actually shown running outdoors playing with her siblings instead of replacing her active, unladylike childhood with a voiceover introduction.

Unfortunately no-one’s uploaded a clip of that online, so here’s the PBS trailer instead:

NORTHANGER ABBEY | Official Trailer | PBS

Read more about this Jane Austen rewatch project.

2017 Jane Austen Rewatch: Lady Susan

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Starting off the mini-reviews for our grand Jane Austen rewatch with Love and Friendship!

Lady Susan is one of Jane Austen’s earlier, less mature works. She started it circa 1794 and finished in 1805 when Austen was about 19; it was posthumously published in 1871. To my knowledge, it hasn’t been adapted to screen before Whit Stillman wrote and directed Love and Friendship, which was released in 2016. (I fansqueed about the production earlier.)

Jane Austen Rewatch Lady Susan

The original epistolary novel feels rather hastily wrapped up, as if Austen became less and less satisfied with letters as the sole plot-carrying devices. The adaptation naturally takes liberties, but the added dialogue and most of the scenes feel convincingly Austenian.

One successful change is the introduction of all major characters with almost still vignettes upon their first appearance. Kate Beckinsale’s Lady Susan Vernon is impeccably nuanced; a glorious performance of an odious character.

However, a new-to-me actor, Tom Bennett, completely steals the show as the rich, kind, thoroughly good-natured but unfortunately dim-witted Sir James Martin. Check out a glimpse of his cluelessness in the trailer – look for the “tiny green balls” and “Churchill” scenes:

Love & Friendship Official Trailer #1 (2016) – Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny Movie HD via Movieclips Trailers

Sir James Martin [at a dinner table]: “How jolly. Tiny green balls. What are they called?”

Reginald de Courcy: “Peas.”

**

Sir James Martin [while visiting a country estate by the name of Churchill]: “Churchill? That’s how you say it – all together like that. I’d heard ‘church’ and ‘hill’ but couldn’t find either. All I could see was this big house.”

There’s unfortunately some clumsiness in transitions (maybe due to cutting decisions?) and in a few scenes. The supposed appeal of Lord Manwaring also totally escapes me. I don’t think he was even given any lines at all in the screenplay (as opposed to a completely redundant country curate who did get to speak).

All in all, though, it’s great to see the story finally on screen.

Read more about this Jane Austen rewatch project.

A Jane Austen Rewatch Project for the 200th Anniversary of Her Passing

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Exactly 200 years ago today, July 18, 1817, my favorite (deceased) author Jane Austen died. In honor of the bicentennial, Husband and I rewatched all of the screen adaptations that we could easily get our hands on.

JASNA Truth Universally Acknowledged Book Always Better

Screencap from the JASNA (Jane Austen Society of North America) web page.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that the book is always better than the movie, but what fun it can be to watch those movies!”

In addition to the versions we own, which are delightfully many…

Jane Austen Rewatch Owned Adaptations

…I hunted down three versions through the local library:

Jane Austen Rewatch Adaptations from Library

All in all, we saw 17 adaptations. In the weeks to come, I’ll post some mini-reviews. I’ll treat them in clusters based on the original Austen work; in other words, every adaptation of Emma we saw is discussed in one post, etc.

And here is the publication / written in order of Austen’s major finished works:

The links lead to my mini reviews.

We wanted to stick with versions of Austen’s novels instead of just anything Austen-related. That meant that the biopic-ish Miss Austen Regrets (2008, with the excellent Olivia Williams as Jane Austen), the fun Death Comes to Pemberley (2013) and Austenland (2013), for example, were out.

Unfortunately, I still missed a few. For example, there’s apparently a Welcome to Sanditon (a modern version of the unfinished novel Sanditon from 2013) that I haven’t seen at all. This time I also skipped a Pride and Prejudice version from 1980 that had some great moments, if memory serves. Ohwell – more to watch another time! 🙂

Please feel free to follow along and comment on your favorites!

Getting into Austen Frame of Mind

Movies & TV, Thumbs Down

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a lady about to face the opening night of a brand new Jane Austen film adaptation must be in want of even more things Austen.

I was getting in the mood for Love and Friendship by reading this Buzzfeed list of online dating ads for Austen’s characters when I found out that I won’t be able to go see it tomorrow. Because the opening is a limited one. And apparently the greater Boston area is provincial enough to not merit even one single location of L&F. Not one! Arrgh!

This calls for lots of tea, and probably a good book. What would Jane do?

Tea Library Rabbit Mug

It’s been a long wait already. A year ago when I first found out about L&F, filming had already ended. Then it was supposed to be released on April 27, but the date got pushed to May 13. Now we have to wait even longer for an indeterminate general opening date.

Fortunately, L&F sounds well worth the wait. Like I wrote on my geeky hobby blog, I haven’t had any real idea of what it’ll be like, as I’ve never even heard of the writer / director Whit Stillman before, but the movie looks absolutely hilarious on the basis of the trailer.

Now I just need to sit tight for only a few more weeks. We hope!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Sanditon: Another New Jane Austen Screen Adaptation

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According to ScreenDaily.com, a film adaptation of Jane Austen’s last work Sanditon is underway. Austen finished only the first 11 chapters of Sanditon before she passed in July 1817.

Fluidity Films Sanditon 2016 Poster

Fluidity Films.

The movie is based on a completed version of Sanditon by Marie Dobbs; the screenplay was written by Simon Reade. It’s to be directed by Jim O’Hanlon, known for his 2009 Emma miniseries starring Romola Garai. At this writing, Charlotte Rampling is slated for the role of Lady Denham, with additional casting underway.

Simon Reade and Guy de Beaujeu of Fluidity Films state:

“This is a brand new, never before seen Jane Austen. Her legions of fans worldwide will be thrilled with Sanditon’s romance, comedy, sardonic wit and its clever take on the modern obsessions of health and wealth that is quintessentially Jane Austen.”

Visit the Fluidity Films Sanditon page for more, including a synopsis.

Thoughts: On one hand, yay, more Austen!

On the other, umm. There are polite hints (like this book review or this one) that while Marie Dobbs’s ending for Austen’s beginning starts well, it veers off into the decidedly non-Austenian. I haven’t read Dobbs’s version, but if the Fluidity Films synopsis follows it, I’m very dubious. (An on-screen abduction with attempted rape? For no better reason than being in the wrong place at the wrong time?!?) I guess we’ll see.

In other related news: the release of Love and Friendship has been delayed a little. The current release day given by IMDB is May 13. Two months to go!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Bloody Lovely: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Movies & TV

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies opens tomorrow!

imdb-ppz-poster-lizzy-darcy

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Via IMDB.

Now, I don’t typically go for horror or zombies, but I’m actually looking forward to this one: the trailers and clips make PPZ look kick-ass. Check ’em out:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies | official trailer #1 US (2016) Lily James Matt Smith via moviemaniacsDE

“My daughters were trained for battle, sir, not the kitchen.” – Mr. Bennet

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Official Trailer #1 (2016) – Lily James Horror Movie HD via Movieclips Trailers

(There seems to be a bit of perv cam action going on. I hope this is as much as there is.)

I know nothing of the 2009 novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, but I do love some of the movie adaptation’s stars: Lily James as Elizabeth Bennet (James is no stranger to elegance based on her work in Downton Abbey) and Matt Smith (of the 11th Doctor fame) as Mr. Collins, and, finally, Charles Dance and Lena Headey (most lately, in genre interest, of the Game of Thrones excellence) as Mr. Bennet and Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Movie Clip – Admire via Sony Pictures Entertainment

“I do not know what I admire more, Elizabeth Bennet, your skill as a warrior or your resolve as a woman.” – Lady Catherine de Bourgh

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – Bloody Good Sneak Peek via Sony Pictures Entertainment

Ugh, pretty gruesome. Then again, it is a truth universally acknowledged, that to see and enjoy Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, one must be in a suitable frame of mind.

showbizjunkies-bennet-sisters-pride-prejudice-zombies

Bennet sisters in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Via Showbiz Junkies.

There will be murder and mayhem, surely…

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Movie Clip – Enviable Talent via Sony Pictures Entertainment

…aaand apparently everything ends in a double wedding:

ew-ppz-pride-and-prejudice-and-zombies-2zz

Double wedding in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Via Entertainment Weekly.

Seems like a combination of very silly and very kick-ass – “hopefully magnificently so,” to quote Husband. 🙂

Images: Poster via IMDB. Bennet sisters by CTMG Inc. via Showbizjunkies. Double wedding by Jay Maidment via Entertainment Weekly.

Cross-posted from Co-Geeking.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Favorite Dance Scenes?

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Propelled by the discussion on Frock Flicks, I’ve been thinking about my favorite dance scenes in genre (including historical) productions. Here are the four most memorable ones for me:

4. ballroom scene from the Labyrinth

Henson puppets and the Carnival of Venice masquerading as fantasy. The scene unfolds in a very dreamworldly way, and David Bowie’s performance is amazing. Mostly because nostalgia.

3. underground dance party, The Matrix Reloaded

Even if I have issues with the movie, I find it believable that people in a miserable, dystopic world would relieve their angst with rave-type dances.

2. Ship’s Cook from 2009 Emma miniseries

(Can’t find a YouTube clip from the production to link to, so here’s a vid with melody and stills.)

I just love the tune – and of course, this is the scene where Mr. Elton thoroughly reveals his pettiness and Mr. Knightley his perception and kindheartedness. Mr. Knightley is my favorite of Jane Austen’s male leads, and Jonny Lee Miller’s is my favorite version of Mr. Knightley. It’s all win! 🙂

1. Meryton village ball, 2005 Pride & Prejudice

Dancing is so much FUN, but that’s rarely shown on screen, especially in period pieces. This scene is not stuffily elegant at all but joyful! And noisy and crowded and full of people of all stripes, as an unfashionable, confined and unvarying little village might well be.

Bonus entry: all the dance scenes from Bride and Prejudice

The colors, gorgeous interiors and exteriors, the rhythm, the good humor… How is that not awesome!

What are your favorites and why?