Monday, January 28, 2008

The Complete Jane Austen - Mansfield Park

I think Mansfield Park is my favorite so far of the new adaptations (Pride and Prejudice will always be my favorite, I think). The fact that I have read the book only once, over ten years ago, helps, I guess, because I wasn't constantly comparing one to the other like I did last week, with the re-reading of Northanger Abbey still fresh in my mind.

I did miss certain parts of the book, namely, Fanny's visit home which makes her refusal of Mr. Crawford so much harder, and the development of certain characters -- e.g. Aunt Norris didn't seem that annoying here and Lady Bertram was much less boring and turned out to be a great observer (at least of Fanny). Like other bloggers have commented already, I cannot fathom why all the new adaptations (except for Sense and Sensibility that'll be broadcast in two parts) need to be only 1 hour 20 minutes long!! Wouldn't the viewers be able to "endure" at least 2 hours? Is it just so much cheaper? (I can hardly think so because production costs wouldn't be increased, I'd guess, for 40 minutes more of film) or do they think that today's viewer's attention span has just decreased so much?

I also couldn't help comparing this adaptation to the 1999 film by Patricia Rozema which was well done, if bit controversial, with its politicized insertion of more information about the British colonizers' behavior in the West Indies than what appears in the book. Here's an interview with Rozema that I found while writing this post. I got that film for Christmas two or three years ago, but I haven't watched it since, so I don't know if I like it best than the new adaptation. I really liked Mary and Henry Crawford in this new one, oh yeah [SPOILER for 1999 film ahead], and Maria and Henry's betrayal in Rozema's film is much more "in your face" with Fanny finding them out in bed Mansfield. All in all, the present adaptation is much more "faithful" to the novel than the movie.

I'd be very curious to find out what my friend Nelia thought of it. Mansfield Park is her favorite Austen novel, and Fanny, her favorite heroine. She hated the movie because she thought Fanny was too forward and misrepresented, so I have the impression that she'd like this new Fanny.

What did you think of it? I'm very curious about next week's Miss Austen Regrets.

1 comment:

Dawn said...

I was disappointed not to see your update last night so I'm glad you posted it today!! I didn't get a sense of Fanny AT ALL from this version. I thought she was too understated and uninteresting. So that was frustrating for me. On the other hand, it made me really want to reread the novel. (Well, they're all making me want to go on an Austen kick!)