April 25, 2016

Jane Austen Adaptations :: Part 3 {Pride and Prejudice & Mansfield Park}

Y'all, I'd completely forgotten that I never finished my posts on all the Jane Austen adaptations I've watched! Life got a bit crazy and then I've been trying to catch up on all my reviews and yeah, I just forgot. But! Never fear, here I am with P&P and Mansfield Park. (As if y'all were fearful. You'd probably forgotten all about it too, right? :) I saved P&P for last since I think I've watched the most adaptations of it (I think it's probably the most popular of her stories, or at least it's been adapted in some form or other the most times). (Also, here's Part 1 and Part 2, in case you missed them.) So without further ado....

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice - 1940
This one is just cute! The costumes may be wrong (Lizzie wears a hat at one point that's just....yeah, not a fan of it myself), there may be some added scenes and several other scenes changed, some characters react different, but even with all the differences it's still a fun movie. If you're an Austen purist, this film won't be for you. But for those of us who just love Austen, no matter the form and no matter the changes, go forth and watch! It'll make you grin. For an old Hollywood movie, they do a pretty great job of keeping the general themes and overall feel of the book, which is a big plus in my opinion! :)

Pride and Prejudice - 1980
Like a lot of the 70s and 80s adaptations, this one can be a bit dry and unexciting. But for some reason I still love it! I think it has to do with the fact that it was one of the very first versions of any Austen book that I watched. For a small period of time, it was my favorite! But it soon got upstaged by the more recent versions. Still, I think it's wonderful. It sticks pretty close to the original story and David Rintoul as Mr. Darcy is rather handsome in my opinion! (Always a good thing, yes? :) Plus I do think that Lizzie and Darcy have pretty good chemistry here. Which is important! For those who've seen the newer versions, you probably won't enjoy this one, but for me, it's one that I like to bring out once in a while and smile my way through. 

Pride and Prejudice - 1995
This version is amazing!! Since it has six hours to tell the story, it's definitely a pretty faithful adaptation! There are so many opinions on whether this is better than the '05 version, or vice versa. For me, it's this one. For all it's dated feel by now (it is over twenty years old), I think that the fact that I saw this one first sealed the deal for me. I love Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, I love Jennifer Ehle as Lizzie, I love that Lizzie gets plenty of time for walking....I think I just love that we get six whole hours with the characters the best! :) One of my favorite scenes is where Darcy looks out the window at Rosings and sees Lizzie playing with his dog. Such a sweet moment! Thinking about it is just making me want to watch it again. What a great idea! ;)

Bridget Jones's Diary - 2001
I confess to not being 100% certain whether I should include this one under P&P, but ultimately decided to. While it's not a direct adaptation, it's definitely got most of the usual elements (including Colin Firth as Mark Darcy! :). The overall storyline of this movie is quite fun! (It's just the language and some of the scenes that bother me.) Quite possibly my favorite scene of the entire movie is when Mark tells Bridget (Renee Zellweger) that he likes her, just as she is. That moment never fails to make me swoon! Of course, it gets interrupted much too quickly, but for that split second or so where they just look at each other....my fangirl heart does a *happy dance*. :D Overall it's a really sweet story, if you ignore some of the other stuff.

Prideprejudice.jpgPride and Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy - 2003
This one is cute. Not amazing or fabulous, but cute. Lizzie and Darcy are Mormon, so they attend church and a few other things happen that I didn't quite get, that I assume is part of that particular faith. It wasn't a turnoff for me though, so I was able to enjoy the sweetness. There are some ridiculous parts that I struggled to understand, but overall I like this version. They adapted the story as a modern take and did a pretty good job of it! I've watched it a couple times and while it's not a favorite and I doubt I'll ever own it, I'm still glad I watched it. Good but forgettable.

Bride and Prejudice - 2004
I love it!!! The filmmakers did a fantastic job of relocating the action to India. Not having seen a whole lot of Bollywood movies, this was my introduction to the culture. And it's hilarious! And fun! And the music....I own the soundtrack for this movie as well and it just makes me dance in my seat (when no one's looking at me ;). The colors, the costumes, the characters, the set, it all comes together to create this awesome film and it simply makes me happy when I watch it. Aishwarya Rai is perfect as Lalita/Lizzie, and Martin Henderson as Will Darcy just.....yeah. (ALL the heart eyes!) The clash of their strong personalities, of their cultures (Lalita is Indian, Darcy is American), of their attraction for each other....ah it just makes my heart happy to watch them! It's a fabulous adaptation and I definitely recommend watching it.

Pride and Prejudice - 2005
To say that I'd been looking forward to this movie for many months prior to it coming out in theaters would be putting it very mildly! I was SO excited to see it and was not disappointed at all. Kiera Knightley is wonderful as Lizzie! And so too is Matthew Macfadyen as Darcy. They have glorious chemistry together, which is always, always a happy thing! :) The cinematography is gorgeous. And the family dynamics! I read every article I could find about this movie while I was waiting and somewhere mentioned how the actors and actresses of the Bennet family spent a good deal of time together before and during filming. I think it shows, they feel like a real family who love and annoy each other. I also love how Longbourn is depicted, how real and messy and lived in it feels. While that may or may not be true to the time period, I still love it! :) Also the music for this movie is wonderful too! One of my favorites is the short piece from the Meryton ball. All Austen addicts should watch this one if you haven't! :)

Lost in Austen - 2008
I remember being intrigued by the synopsis of this when I first heard it. A modern woman enters the fictional world of P&P? What's not awesome-sounding about that?! The end result is a mix of things. On one hand, I really love it! Jemima Rooper does a fine job as Amanda, being thrust into her favorite story and wanting to experience all the swoony moments. (One particular moment at the very end is very, VERY swoony! ;)  What fangirl doesn't dream of such an experience?! And Elliot Cowan as Darcy is pretty handsome and swoonworthy. On the other hand, there are lots of changes. Amanda's entrance in the storyline causes many, many things to be different and while that's not all bad, the direction of some of the storylines disappointed me. I think this was originally supposed to be a TV series, and if it'd been able to continue there may have been things that would have smoothed out and helped me like it better. Lizzie Bennet's storyline was one of those of which I wished to see more. So I wouldn't consider this a favorite, but certainly one I enjoy watching periodically, so long as I have the ability to fast forward through some parts. :)

Lizzie Bennet Diaries.jpegThe Lizzie Bennet Diaries - 2012
This little webseries is quite simply perfection! In my opinion anyway. :) I discovered it soon after it first started and was immediately intrigued. I've gushed about it before, so I won't bore you with all same stuff again. Just know this. The sisterly relationships and the friendships on this show were depicted perfectly. For all the swooniness involved (and there's loads of that, let me tell you! ;), the best parts were Lizzie and her relationships with her sisters, Jane and Lydia (especially Lydia), and her best friend, Charlotte. Watching as they frustrated one another, hurt one another, loved one another, and got through all the hardships together is just beautifully portrayed. I loved how those relationships became the core foundation of the show. But of course, Darcy (and all the Dizzie Day chaos and awesomeness) and Lizzie's journey to finding each other was amazing as well! I squee-ed at the Pemberley Digital videos, desperately waited through the Lydia crisis, and did my *happy dance* for episode 98!!! :D This adaptation is delightful and remains one of my absolute favorite adaptations of any book ever.

Death Comes to Pemberley - 2013
I have gushed over this adaptation before, so I'll just make you go read that post if you want all the details of my FEELINGS for this miniseries. But suffice it to say that I love this one! (As if you can't tell, right? :) I love all the actors and actresses in it, I love seeing Darcy and Lizzie's married life together, I love that Georgiana gets a cute romance, I just love the whole thing! I haven't read the book yet, but as I've heard good things, and as I've recently found a copy at a library sale!, I hope to remedy that someday soon. Even if you're not a huge fan of mysteries (like me), I think most every Austen fan will enjoy this one. :)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies poster.jpgPride and Prejudice and Zombies - 2016
Y'all should already know how eagerly I anticipated this movie! And how happy it made me! I LOVED it. :) Lily James and Sam Riley were so fab as Lizzie and Darcy! And that first proposal scene? Hilarious and perfect! Their chemistry was great and their banter back and forth was just a delight. I laughed, I cringed (it is a zombie movie you know), I swooned at the way he looked at her, and that final proposal scene was just....ah my heart! It's got its crazy and ridiculous parts yes, but somehow it all just works. This particular version is definitely right up there with the '95 and '05 versions on my list of favorites! In fact, it may just bounce right over them....? Not sure on that, I need to watch it again. Purely for research purposes, you know. ;) YOU SHOULD WATCH IT.

Whew! Still with me? That's a lot of P&P, right? So many fun ones! MP should be much shorter though. :)

Mansfield Park

I struggle with liking the actual plot of Mansfield Park, to be honest. Thus I have not read the book yet, but I have it on good authority from fellow bloggers/readers that the book is worth reading! I happened to purchase a copy of it from the same library sale where I found Death Comes to Pemberley, so perhaps some day. Until then, I'll just wait for a good adaptation, because I'm not a huge fan of any of these truthfully.

Mansfield Park (BBC 1986)
Mansfield Park - 1983
Another one that I skimmed my way through. I got the gist of the story and wasn't really that impressed. It's not bad, it's just a bit too dry for me. But interestingly enough, Sylvestra Le Touzel, who plays Fanny, is in the '07 version of Northanger Abbey as Mrs. Allen. AND she and Nicholas Farrell, who plays Edmund Bertram, play a married couple in the movie Amazing Grace (with Ioan Gruffudd, 2006). So while I don't really like this film, I do enjoy seeing them together in that one! :)

Mansfield Park - 1999
I like this version pretty well. I particularly like Frances O'Connor's Fanny. And she and Jonny Lee Miller (Edmund) play off one another really well. It's been a good while since I've watched this one, but I do recall that there are a couple scenes that are kind of strange (one in particular is between Fanny and Mary Crawford). I did like this one better than the '83 version for sure! So while I don't love it, I don't regret watching it either. Perhaps I should try watching it again? It's been ages since the last time, maybe I'd like it better now....

Mansfield Park 2007 DVD Cover.jpgMansfield Park - 2007
Of the three versions I've seen, this one is probably my favorite. Blake Ritson is definitely my favorite Edmund! That moment that he first starts to realize his feelings for Fanny is so well acted. I confess to rewatching that scene a few times just to see his facial expression again. And then when he's so adorkably awkward around her later? Be still my heart! :) So while I still don't love the story as a whole, if I have to choose a version to watch, this one would definitely be it. Billie Piper plays Fanny pretty sweetly as well, but Edmund's my favorite. :D

Well then! You've finally reached the end! There's going to be at least one more post because there's a couple other movies out there that are Jane Austen-based but aren't a particular adaptation of one of her stories. I figured I should list them separately. And who knows? By then I might remember another movie or two that I've forgotten here. :)


  1. I'm kind of ashamed that the only two adaptations on this list that I have watched are the 2005 Pride and Prejudice, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. But I loved both! The 2005 P&P is one of my all-time favorite movies. Though, I do really want to watch the 1995 version someday, too. I enjoyed PPZ! I'm not much of a zombie person, and some of the gunshots made me jump in my theatre seat, but I so loved the parts that stuck with the original story. I don't know anything about Mansfield Park, other than that it's a Jane Austen book, but I really would like read it and watch some adaptations of it someday.

    I love this list, Kara! It's always exciting to see posts dedicated to all things Austen, and your writing makes it even more fun!

    1. Miranda: No need to feel ashamed! That's a lot of miniseries/movies to watch up there! :) The '05 P&P is definitely wonderful. Another P&P&Z fan! Yay!!! I'm so glad to know you loved it too. And yes, I jumped a few times as well. Also, I hope you enjoy MP whenever you read/watch it. I'll be eager to hear what you think!

  2. This may sound a little funny so bear with me. I'm Mormon, but I usually steer clear of "Mormon" movies because they're often very cheesy and preachy. I'm not sure if Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy was like that because I haven't seen it. But, if you have questions, I'm more than happy to answer them for you. No pressure at all, though. I just thought I'd offer.

    I adore the Kiera Knightley P&P. I love that it's short and sweet. Plus Matthew MacFadyen in that movie is just yummy. I do love the BBC version too. I just hate that you have to take 6 hours to watch it.

    I haven't seen any of the other P&P adaptations yet. Once I FINALLY read P&P&Z, then I'll definitely see the movie. I'm SO excited about it!!!

    Mansfield Park was my first Austen novel. It was hard for me to get through, but that was because I wasn't sure what to expect. Now, having read four of Austen's novels, I actually like it better than Persuasion. (Blasphemy?)

    I know I've seen a Mansfield Park adaptation, but I can't remember if it's the 1999 one or the 2007 one. They both look familiar. I think I saw the 2007 one and I've been eyeing the 1999 one. But, it could just be that Billie Piper is really familiar from Dr. Who and I haven't seen that one at all. GAH!!! I know I couldn't get through the 1983 one. It was TERRIBLE.

    1. Jenni: I get that, I really do. It's actually a similar reason for why I'm a little leery of Christian movies in general. So often I end up disappointed. I appreciate your offer! I'd have to watch the movie again to remember what parts I was confused over, but I'll definitely keep you in mind in the future. :)

      YES. Matthew MacFadyen is most definitely yummy in that movie! And six hours is a lot of time. I admit to not watching the '95 version that often for that very reason. But I do still love it!

      I can't wait to hear what you think of the book and movie both! I'm still not planning to read the book, but I keep seeing other friends who gush about it, so maybe I should change my mind? Hmmm....

      Oh no! Better than Persuasion?! Jenni! Say it ain't so! Well then, I guess I should keep an open mind when I finally read it. Who knows, maybe I'll end up agreeing with you! (Can I admit I hope not though? Because I'm just so fond of Captain Wentworth! :)

      Yes, the '83 version is pretty awful, I completely agree. I haven't watched any of the versions for several years now, I think I should try one or more of them again and see what I think now...

  3. Oh wow Kara! Great post! Loved reading all of your thoughts on each adaptation. I too have seen several P and P adaptations my favorite being the 1980 version since it was the first version I ever saw. I read the book first and then saw this and fell in love. And David Rintoul? Oh my yes!! I'm just not a fan of the 2005 version, but I know that it is a very popular version. I think that I was so used to the epic long BBC and PBS productions that I was disappointed in the length of it. Too fast! The 1940's version was tolerable(tee hee) but really, the costuming was awful! I absolutely adore Bride and Prejudice! The colors! The music! The snake dance! I explode into giggles every time I watch it! Lost in Austen...oh my! While it had laughable moments I too was disappointed in the way the storyline turned. I love Jemimah Rooper's role, and she played it well. And yeah, the pond scene was entertaining :) I have not seen Pride and Prejudice and Zombies but I must! Nobody would go see it with me :( I read the book and enjoyed it very much so now I must get the movie(I just went and pre-ordered it!). As for Mansfield Park, I've seen the 1980's version, but none of the others. I have read the book, but yeah not really a favorite Austen read. And truly the movie adaptation that I saw was boring. Oh well. Again, great post!

    1. Thanks, Julie! :)

      Another fan of David Rintoul?! Yay! Most people seem to either overlook him or dislike him, but I like his Mr. Darcy. A whole lot actually, so this news makes me SO, so happy!

      Yes, I know just what you mean. I had gotten so used to having six whole hours of the story to watch, so only two hours or less was a bit sad for me. Things definitely happen pretty rapidly because of time restrictions. :(

      Nice use of "tolerable", my friend! :D

      Bride and Prejudice for the win! The colors and the music are glorious, aren't they? Oh my, that snake dance! I cringe every single time, yet I'm weirdly fascinated at the same time. :D

      Jemimah Rooper did a fabulous job, I agree. I liked her Amanda. And that pond scene was hilarious and sweet all at the same time! I think Amanda just reacted the same way all fangirls would.

      I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the book version of P&P&Z. I haven't been planning to read it actually, but I keep seeing all my blogging friends who like it, so perhaps I should rethink my stance...?

      Thanks for your thoughts, Julie! I love connecting with fellow Austenites! :)

  4. I love both the 2005 and 1995 P&Ps, and the 1940 is really funny ("Perhaps we should have drowned some of them..."). I loved Bridget Jones' Diary when I was in college, though I haven't watched it since.

    1. Hamlette: Yes! The '40 version is hilarious! So many great lines in that movie. :D I haven't watched Bridget Jones' Diary is several years myself. Not sure what I'd think if I saw it again...

  5. Wow, if you look at this list, you do realize that there are a LOT of P&P (inspired) adaptations. Talk about a powerful story, right!
    I myself have not watched any of the older (pre-90s) Austen adaptations, but I do want to give some of them a try. Not the Mansfield Park one though, I tried that one out a few years ago, but got sooo bored I stopped halfway. I really love MP the novel, but I think it must be a difficult story to adapt, because I don't totally love any of the adaptations. Apart from the webseries From Mansfield with Love, which strangely got the character of Fanny the best of all in my opinion, even though it was set in modern times.

    1. Birdie: I know, right? It's definitely had an impact on storytelling. I've noticed a lot of other movies/miniseries that have similarities, though they aren't really connected to P&P in any way. Clearly a lot of people have been impacted by Austen, whether they realize it or not. :)

      Yes, the '83 MP is really hard to watch. I haven't seen the webseries yet. I'll have to check it out!


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