Austen Movie Throw-Down: Mansfield Park

It's time for
AUSTEN MOVIE ADAPTATION
THROW-DOWNS!

Who did it better? Which cast nailed the chemistry? Which director clearly did their Austen homework? Which soundtrack was cringe-worthy? 

I'm breaking down the best-known Jane Austen film adaptations for you, one novel at a time.

Let's dive into the (usually least-popular but nonetheless very realistic) Austen novel of morals and kissing cousins:
Mansfield Park

Production date: 1999
Type: Movie
Runtime: 112 min

Best moment:
Fanny's reality check when she's sent back to Portsmouth and endures mealworms on the table, biting insects in bed, too-rowdy siblings, and her mother's "I married for love" line (ouch, and also, yes).

Worst moment:
Throwing over all historical social convention and practice for the sake of modern-day tastes. In other words, catering to the lowest-common denominator to convey the messages in the book. 
Also, completely changing Fanny as a character (she's a novelist now?).

Overall:
This is a prime example of using cinematography to convey what's inner dialogue in the novel.
This movie definitely takes liberties with the novel, but I think it stays true to the concepts (although not the characters), exaggerating things for a modern audience. 



Production date: 2007
Type: TV Movie
Runtime: 120 min

Best moment:
Edmund's moment of realization that he loves Fanny. It's very Merchant Ivory in the filming, but the look he has on his face, and the look his mother has, is priceless.
And the scene right after, although it takes liberties with propriety and the novel, Edmund is just adorable.

Worst moment:
Fanny and Edmund are given a flirtation that I'm fairly certain didn't happen in the book. It seems out of character, to say the least, her being all propriety and honesty and not at all coquettish. I mean, the whole "next morning" sequence is adorable, but I believe it's entirely fictional in every way.
Also, Fanny's sequined wedding dress (and spontaneous 'new dance'?).

Overall:
This one stuck more closely to the novel (what I recall of it, anyway), and of course sad Billie Piper face makes me cry faster than anything. The costuming detracted in my seamstress' opinion (the women's clothing looked a bit too old for 1806), but the inclusion of so many scenes (and characters) from the book made up for that (let's just gloss over the "Fanny doesn't get sent back to Portsmouth" thing, OK?).


Production date: 1983
Type: Mini-series
Runtime: 261 min

Sadly, I couldn't dig up a copy of this to watch. 
Have you seen it? What did you think?


WHO WON?
Well, to be honest, I'd much rather see a mini-series done where the director finds a way to keep Franny Price as written. 
But between the two, for my farthings, the winner is:


Looking for a modern adaptation?









Labels: , , , , ,