Jane Austen,  TV and Film

Austen links

Talking about the new Pride and Prejudice movie (and Jane mania in general!) has sent me in search of the most interesting sites featuring our favorite author. Here are just a few:

http://www.philosophersguild.com (A wonderful site, full of all sorts of fascinating literary doo-dads! My favorite here is the Little Thinkers line of dolls. I don’t have the Austen doll yet–Christmas gift, anyone???–but I do have the Frida Kahlo and Emily Dickinson models)

http://www.museumofcostume.co.uk (The Museum of Costume in Bath. They are having an exhibit that runs through the end of the year which features costumes form various Austen films, including the 1995 P&P, both the Paltrow and Beckinsale Emma versions, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility. I would dearly love to see this, but I guess I have to be content with the photos!)

http://www.pemberly.com (The Republic of Pemberly, a great repository of All Things Jane)

http://www.janeausten.com/uk (The Jane Austen Centre in Bath. I went here on my last trip to England, and it’s great fun. I can vouch for the excellence of their gift shop, too!)

http://www.jasna.org (The Jane Austen Society. I’ve been a member for many years, though I’ve never had the chance to attend their annual general meeting. Their newsletter and “Persuasions” are great perks)

http://www.paperdolls.com/dolls/janeausten1/htm (Jane Austen paperdolls!!!)

http://www.chawton.org (The official website for Chawton Cottage)

http://www.basbleu.com (they have a whole section of Jane products, including a Pride and Prejudice board game that I’m dying to play!)

And more movie info: It seems that in 2006 we will get a film called “Being Jane,” starring Anne Hathaway as Jane (I’m a bit mystified by this, but then again I doubted Keira Knightley until I saw P&P). I couldn’t find a whole lot of info on it, but you can see bit at http://www.imdb.com

These are just a few! Let us know what some of your favorites are.

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Cara King
17 years ago

Amanda, I saw the Austen movie exhibit at the Museum of Costume in Bath — very interesting! Entertaining, too. I highly recommend it.

I did have two problems with it, though:

1) I thought they tended to flatter the productions in which they managed to talk to the production costumer; and

2) They totally didn’t understand that the purpose of a television or cinema adaptation isn’t to slavishly reproduce every detail of the period (heck, Austen’s NOVELS don’t do that, so why should the movies?) The earlier BBC adaptations tended to do that, and some of them were DEAD BORING. For instance, I much prefer the Ciaran Hinds/Amanda Root PERSUASION to the earlier BBC adaptation, which is soooo slowwwww and sooooo deary……

As to my complaint No. 1: They really harshed on the Paltrow EMMA. They kept complaining about how anachronistic the costumes were, and how that was obviously due to the HOLLYWOOD system trying to make a HOLLYWOOD ACTRESS look good for a HOLLYWOOD MOVIE. (I don’t actually think the film was a Hollywood film, to start with — it was made by Haft Entertainment and Matchmaker Films, and if they were Hollywood production companies, I think I’d have heard of them. Just because it was distributed by Miramax doesn’t mean it was a Hollywood film; if that were true, then “Zatôichi” and “La Meglio gioventù” would be Hollywood films, and I don’t think they are.) 🙂

Okay, I was saying… they really harshed on Emma, but they said NICE things about the recent movie of MANSFIELD PARK. Yes, the movie with the RIDICULOUS COSTUMES!!!! Why? The costumer talked to them. So they didn’t say anything harsh about a movie that had costumes like this:


(Scroll down to the picture of Embeth Davidtz)

Whereas they complained about a movie that had costumes like this:


Okay, sorry, rant over. As I said in the beginning, for the most part, I REALLY liked the exhibit. 🙂


Cara King
17 years ago

Why do my links always get munched???

Okay, for the MP link, try this, but you’ll need to
cut and paste, I’m afraid:


(And scroll down to the Embeth Davidtz pic)…

And for the Emma link, try this:



Amanda McCabe
17 years ago

Thanks for that great exhibit review, Cara! I would love so much to see those costumes in “real life,” but I could do without the irksome bias toward movies with costumers that gave them interviews! 🙂 (I can’t believe they said the costumes in MP were “more” authentic than “Emma’! The Emma costumes were at least way more attractive…)

Cara King
17 years ago

BTW, Amanda, the Anne Hathaway movie is actually titled “Becoming Jane” (not “Being Jane”) — and supposedly it’s mostly fiction (about that Irishman she apparently fell in love with — there’s almost no info known about him or them, so it’s going to be highly invented…)

Also, it’s spelled “pemberley”… http://www.pemberley.com
(Great site!)

Cara, being finicky today I’m afraid 🙂

17 years ago

Costuming for a movie is always a vexed problem, I think, because fashions of earlier times can look…well…strange to modern eyes. Even the lovely Regency dresses can sometimes look like all the women are running around in their nightgowns.

In a similar way, some of the hair styles of the Victorian era (especially those very severe central parts) look quite unattractive to a modern eye. And I think modern audiences also have a hard time taking seriously people wearing big floppy wigs and high heels.

So I don’t blame costumers for taking a few liberties with strict historical accuracy. Though they should, as far as possible, keep it within reason.


Elena Greene
17 years ago

I liked the costumes in Emma, even if they were perhaps a bit fancy for some of the occasions and made for a romanticized atmostphere. But a little romanticism is fine. I expect to enjoy some of the realism in the new P&P too, whenever I get to see it (pout, pout).

I always thought that slinky black gown in MANSFIELD PARK would be something Megan might have worn then. Maybe Mary Crawford was just extremely fashion-forward?

Elena 🙂

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