JANE AUSTEN MOVIE CLUB: Northanger Abbey (1986)

Welcome to the Jane Austen Movie Club! On the first Tuesday of each month, we at Risky Regencies discuss a different Jane Austen adaptation.

This month: the 1986 BBC version of Northanger Abbey!

As I mentioned last month during our Jane Austen Novel discussions, Northanger Abbey is one of my favorite Austens. The wit, the liveliness, the Bath background — I love to read it again and again.

(That is, I love to read the first half of the novel. Sometimes I stop there. Sometimes I go on. I do like the second half, but for me, it comes nowhere near the exuberantly silly Bath bits.)

So… Have you ever seen this adaptation?

If so, what did you think?

To aid the discussion, here’s the cast (etc) info on the movie, courtesy imdb, plus a few interesting cast tidbits (in green):

DIRECTOR: Giles Foster

SCREENPLAY: Maggie Wadey


Katharine Schlesinger … Catherine Morland

Peter Firth … Henry Tilney

Peter Firth played Joseph Andrews in 1977 — I’d love to see that!

Robert Hardy … General Tilney

Robert Hardy played Sir John Middleton in the Ang Lee Sense & Sensibility, and more recently has portrayed Cornelius Fudge in the Harry Potter movies.

Googie Withers … Mrs. Allen

Geoffrey Chater … Mr. Allen

Cassie Stuart … Isabella Thorpe

Jonathan Coy … John Thorpe

Jonathan Coy played the Prince of Wales in the Richard E. Grant versions of the Scarlet Pimpernel, and was also in one of the Gruffudd Horatio Hornblowers.

Ingrid Lacey … Eleanor Tilney

Greg Hicks … Frederick Tilney

Philip Bird … James Morland

Elvi Hale … Mrs. Thorpe

Helen Fraser … Mrs. Morland

David Rolfe … Mr. Morland

So…good, bad, or ugly? Did you like it, or did you not?

Two notes: first, I will be out most of today; I’m seeing the Rose Parade this morning (first time ever!), and in the evening I’ll be attending a going away dinner for my mother, who’s setting off on a round-the-world cruise. But I’ll check in whenever I get a moment!

Note 2: In the US, PBS will start showing the new Jane Austen adaptations this month. And on the Tuesday following each of these new Austens, we’ll have an extra Jane Austen Movie Club here, to talk about it! So the January schedule will be:

Persuasion: airs January 13; discussion January 15
Northanger Abbey: airs January 20; discussion January 22
Mansfield Park: airs January 27; discussion January 29

So… What did you think of the 1986 Northanger Abbey?

Cara King, who thinks this will be a very exciting January

About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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