Deborah Yaffe

Blog

By Deborah Yaffe, Feb 11 2016 04:37PM

You remember 1995, right? The beginning of that halcyon eighteen-month stretch during which six Jane Austen film adaptations, ranging in quality from pretty good to totally classic, were released on big and small screens? Happy days.


Well, it’s beginning to look like happy days might be here again. As I reported previously, already this year we’ve seen the Sundance Film Festival premiere of Love and Friendship, Whit Stillman’s adaptation of Lady Susan; the Hallmark Channel screening of Unleashing Mr. Darcy, based on a fan fiction update of Pride and Prejudice; and, just last weekend, the release of the movie version of the best-selling 2009 mashup Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.


And now comes word that a UK production company is getting ready to shoot a film based on Sanditon, the novel Austen left unfinished at her death. Charlotte Rampling, currently up for a Best Actress Oscar, will star as Lady Denham. This is great news: except for the extremely uneven web adaptation Welcome to Sanditon, the sophomore-slump effort of the folks who brought us the fabulous Lizzie Bennet Diaries, no one has ever tried to film Sanditon, whose seventy-five-ish pages tantalize with the promise of another great novel.


So far, it must be said, this current film boomlet hasn’t lived up to the high standard set by its1995-97 predecessor, which included the immortal Clueless, the iconic Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle Pride and Prejudice, and the sublime Emma Thompson/Ang Lee Sense and Sensibility. While Love and Friendship has earned excellent reviews, P&P&Z got a decidedly mixed reception and looks to be a financial failure. I haven’t seen either of those yet, but I can attest that Unleashing Mr. Darcy was execrable.


Still: Sanditon! Can’t wait. And as long as we’re mining lesser-known Jane Austen, do I have any takers for The Watsons? This seems like the time to do it.


By Deborah Yaffe, Jan 18 2016 02:00PM

We Janeites fondly remember the years 1995-1997, when no fewer than six Austen adaptations hit the big screen in the US. The next few weeks won’t deliver quite such a bumper crop, but with three new Austenesque films on their way, perhaps we can call it a boomlet.


First up is Whit Stillman’s Love and Friendship, an adaptation of Lady Susan, which will premiere on Saturday at the Sundance Film Festival. As far as I know, Lady Susan has never before been adapted for the screen, and this deliciously cynical novella about misbehavior among the landed classes has the makings of a great movie. Fingers crossed! No national release date yet, but I’ll be first in line for tickets when it comes to my town.


And then of course there’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which opens on February 5. As blog readers know, I’m skeptical about this one, but I’m an Austen film completist, so no matter how bad the reviews, I’ll be seeing it and adding the DVD to my collection.


You will recall that I mentioned three Austenesque movies. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this, but on Saturday night, when luckier souls will be settling in for the Sundance premiere of Love and Friendship, I will probably be curling up with Unleashing Mr. Darcy, a TV version of a truly mediocre Pride and Prejudice update set in the dog-show world.


It’s on the Hallmark channel. I don’t usually watch the Hallmark channel. But like I said – Austen completist.


Quill pen -- transparent BookTheWriter transparent facebook twitter