Screen Time: Best Adaptations?

Hoo, boy, it’s Friday again! And I’ve been trying, valiantly, to find time to write, but the day-job, the other day-job, the Son, the Works-All-The-Time Spouse–well, it’s been hard to find time to match socks, much less get creative.

I don’t know how writers with full-time jobs–I’m looking at you, Carolyn and Janet–do it.

Over at my first day-job,, we’ve been talking about book-to-movie adaptations, and discussing which are the Worst Ones Ever.

Eventually, of course, we’ll ask which films are the Best Adaptations? So, as Regency fans, I’ll be more specific: Which historical period films are the best adaptations of Regency (or Georgian, or Victorian–can’t be that specific, or all we’ll talk about is Austen)-era novels?

Off the top of my head, I’d say:

North And South
Clarissa (with a totally foxy, but evil, Sean Bean)
Wives And Daughters
Pride & Prejudice (what–like that wouldn’t be here?)
Persuasion (ditto–but not the Rupert Penry-Jones spittle one. Ugh!)

So what would you choose?


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Jane George
11 years ago

Ang Lee’s Sense & Sensibility. It’s Emma Thompson’s screenplay, I say, and not Alan Rickman’s Brandon that sways my opinion here.

Was I convincing?

11 years ago

Which Persuasion? The Amanda Root one? Because I actually prefer to 1970s version staring Anne Fairbanks and Bryan Marshall.

I heartily agree about Wives and Daughters and I thoroughly enjoy the Johnny Lee Miller Emma that just recently came out…last year I think.

I also really enjoyed The Way We Live Now. David Suchet amazes me as an actor. To me he is Hercule Poirot, but he is such a chameleon and I think he’s great at this role.

Megan Frampton
11 years ago

Ooh, Sense & Sensibilty, yup. Alan Rickman, double yup.

The Amanda Root one, Rachel; I don’t know the 1970s version! Will hunt it down.

And yes, the Way We Live Now. I haven’t finished it, but Suchet is brilliant.

Beth Elliott
11 years ago

Jonny Lee Miller is always excellent and he deserved a better Emma than Romola Garai with her Yahoo symbol gobby gape at everything. Hah!
The recent ‘Northanger Abbey’ was a little gem, with Felicity Jones making a marvellous Catherine and JJ Field as a mischievous Henry Tiney. The villains were good as well.

Louisa Cornell
11 years ago

North and South


Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility

the Amanda Root Persuasion

Jane Eyre (the Timothy Dalton version, actually)

The Duchess

Amazing Grace

Pride and Prejudice (the Keira Knightly version and the Colin Firth version each for different reasons)

The Way We Live Now

11 years ago

“Aristocrats” (1999) — The story follows the four aristocratic Lennox sisters (daughters of the Duke of Richmond) from young womanhood through marriage. Beautiful costumes, fascinating characters, all in all a lovely introduction to the Georgian period.

Sharpe series — Not nearly as good as the books, but they have Sean Bean as Richard Sharpe, and he makes up for anything and everything.

Diane Gaston
11 years ago

I’ll just be negative here….

Rachel, I couldn’t get beyond the ’70s hair and makeup in that adaptation of Persuasion.

Louisa, I did not think The Duchess was a good adaptation at all. Keira Knightly did not at all look like Georgiana and they left so much out….Granted it is hard to put everything from a book into a movie, but this one did not work for me.

11 years ago

Diane, yes, yes the hair is very Victorian in the 1970 Persuasion, but I guess I like how it has more of the story and I think Bryan Marshall is just a perfect Wentworth. Have you ever seen my Persuasion all time team? It’s on my blog, which I have sadly given up.

But I will shamelessly link to now. Maybe I should take up JA again. It was quite a bit of fun.

Regina Jeffers
11 years ago

Brideshead Revisited for the scope and the scenery. Of course, looking at Matthew Goode is an excellent way to pass the time.

North and South
Persuasion 1995
Cranford Chronicles
The Way We Live Now
The Thornbirds
The Pillars of the Earth
Ethan Frome
An Ideal Husband

11 years ago

I just caught up with this blog and had to say that Megan, you made me laugh with your ‘Rupert Penry-Jones spittle one’comment. Everyone I know absolutely loves this version, but I just can’t warm up to it because of the scene where Anne runs after Capt. Wentworth and she looks like she is desperate for a glass of water!

Thanks for the chuckle!