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Welcome to the Risky Regencies JANE AUSTEN MOVIE CLUB!

Today we’re discussing the new BBC adaptation of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY.

Or, at least, we’re discussing the first half of it. We’ll discuss the second half next Tuesday!

So…what did you think of the casting, costumes, carriages, country-dances, or anything else?

To aid the discussion, here are the major credits:

Screenplay: Andrew Davies

Director: John Alexander


Marianne Dashwood: Charity Wakefield

Elinor Dashwood: Hattie Morahan

Margaret Dashwood: Lucy Boynton

John Dashwood: Mark Gatiss

Fanny Dashwood: Claire Skinner

Mrs. Dashwood: Janet McTeer

Colonel Brandon: David Morrissey

Edward Ferrars: Dan Stevens

The non-horrific-looking Dan Stevens has recently appeared in television adaptations of both FRANKENSTEIN and DRACULA.

Robert Ferrars: Leo Bill

Lady Middleton: Rosanna Lavelle

Mrs. Jennings: Linda Bassett

Sir John Middleton: Mark Williams

Are you wondering why Mark Williams looks familiar? He plays Arthur Weasley in the HARRY POTTER movies. He was also seen in the recent TRISTRAM SHANDY (a.k.a. A COCK AND BULL STORY.)

Charlotte Palmer: Tabitha Wady

Miss Steele: Daisy Haggard

Lucy Steele: Anna Madeley

Mr. Palmer: Tim McMullan

Willoughby: Dominic Cooper

Fans of BECOMING JANE’S James McAvoy may have seen Dominic Cooper in STARTER FOR TEN; Cooper also gained notice in HISTORY BOYS. Later this year he will appear alongside Keira Knightley in THE DUCHESS.

Eliza: Caroline Hayes

Mrs. Ferrars: Jean Marsh

So…please let us know what you thought of it!

All opinions welcome!

(And if you’re interested in finding out which Austen adaptations we’ve already discussed, and adding your point of view, just click on the “Jane Austen Movie Club” link below!)

Cara King, who has more sense than sensibility…and more hair than wit…

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Welcome to the Risky Regencies JANE AUSTEN MOVIE CLUB!

Here we dish, dissect, debate, deride, and drool over various dramatic adaptations of Jane Austen’s works.

Today: the ITV/A&E version of EMMA from 1996. (You may have noticed there were actually two Emmas in 1996 — this is the Kate Beckinsale version.)

To aid the discussion, here are the major credits (with trivia in green):

DIRECTOR: Diarmuid Lawrence

Lawrence directed the 1987 BBC miniseries of VANITY FAIR.

SCREENPLAY: Andrew Davies

The much-celebrated Davies wrote the screenplays for the 2008 SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, the 2007 NORTHANGER ABBEY, the 1998 miniseries of VANITY FAIR, and (most famously) the 1995 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.


Kate Beckinsale — Emma Woodhouse

Mark Strong — Mr. Knightley

Bernard Hepton — Mr. Woodhouse

Hepton played Sir Thomas Bertram in the 1983 miniseries of MANSFIELD PARK.

Samantha Bond — Mrs. Weston

Bond is another veteran of the 1983 MANSFIELD PARK; she played Maria.

James Hazeldine — Mr. Weston

Samantha Morton — Harriet Smith

Morton played Sara Coleridge in the movie Pandaemonium (2000); Sophie in the 1997 television miniseries of TOM JONES; and Jane in the 1997 JANE EYRE.

Olivia Williams — Jane Fairfax

Williams recently played Jane Austen in the television movie MISS AUSTEN REGRETS.

Prunella Scales — Miss Bates

Here’s one I haven’t seen, but wish I could! Prunella Scales played Lydia in the 1952 BBC miniseries of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. (Has anyone ever seen this version? It starred Peter Cushing as Darcy!)

Sylvia Barter — Mrs. Bates

Raymond Coulthard — Frank Churchill

Dominic Rowan — Mr. Elton

Lucy Robinson — Mrs. Elton

Robinson appeared in another Davies-scripted Austen: she was Mrs. Hurst in the 1995 miniseries of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

Guy Henry — John Knightley

Dido Miles — Isabella Knightley

Peter Howell — Mr. Perry

Judith Coke — Mrs. Goddard

Alistair Petrie — Robert Martin

So….what did you think??? How did the script work for you? The casting? Or anything else?

All opinions welcome!

And join us next Tuesday, when we discuss the new adaptation of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY!

Cara King, who rarely scolds puppies, and never talks about her caro sposo in public

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AUSTEN TREK: or, if Jane Austen wrote Star Trek…

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single captain in possession of a starship, must be in want of a tribble.

However little known the feelings or views of a captain may be on his first entering a space station, this truth is so well fixed in the mind of a con-artist like Cyrano Jones, that the captain is considered the rightful property of some one or other of the tribbles.

“My dear Captain Kirk,” said Cyrano Jones to him during his first day on Deep Space Station K7, “have you heard that I possess a miraculous cure for high blood pressure?”

Kirk replied that he had not.

“But it is true,” returned the trader; “for Doctor McCoy’s tricorder has just been here, and confirmed it beyond all doubt.”

Captain Kirk made no answer.

“Do you not want to know how I cure it?” cried Cyrano Jones impatiently.

“YOU want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it.”

This was invitation enough.

“Why, my dear captain, you must know, I have in my possession a rare and invaluable creature, the like of which none but the wise ancients of Organia have ever before possessed.”

“What is it called?”


“Is this tribble a group, or a single creature?”

“Oh! Single, my dear Captain Kirk, to be sure! A single tribble, but with a large capacity for reproduction: it will yield four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for your crew of four-hundred and thirty!”

“How so? How can it affect them?”

“My dear James Kirk,” replied the trader, “how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of you purchasing a tribble for them.”

“Is that your design in speaking to me?”

“Design! Nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that you MAY fall in love with one of them, and therefore you should look over my stock carefully.”

“I see no occasion for that. You may send the tribbles away, or you may choose to accompany them, which perhaps will be still better, for inasmuch as you are as annoying as they are silly and ignorant, I am less likely to end by striking you if your face is not in the same room as my fist.”

And the question for today is: Do you like Austen Trek? Hate it? Do you want to see variations on it (e.g. Bronte Trek, Heyer Trek, Austen of the Lost Ark, etc)?

And if you want to read previous installments of Austen Trek, just click on the words “Austen Trek” at the bottom of this post!

Cara King, going where no Regency writer has gone before…

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Welcome to the Risky Regencies JANE AUSTEN MOVIE CLUB!

Here we meet on the first Tuesday of every month (“and sometimes oftener,” as Wilde would say), to discuss TV and film adaptations of Jane Austen’s works.

Today: the 1940 film of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE!

First, let me say — Wow. What a poster.

“Five love hungry beauties in search of HUSBANDS!!” (And we think our back-cover blurbs occasionally lack in subtlety!)

While we’re on the subject of the poster…note how Olivier’s hair and clothing differ from what he’s wearing in the film (shown below) — the poster shows him in a 1940’s tuxedo! (And the sidewhiskers are gone!)

I know some folks love this film, and some hate it…and many have mixed feelings. So hopefully we’ll have some interesting discussion!

As usual, to aid everyone’s memory, here are the major credits from the film (courtesy IMDB):

DIRECTOR: Robert Z. Leonard

SCREENPLAY: Aldous Huxley and Jane Murfin
(based on the “dramatisation” by Helen Jerome)

(By the way, this wasn’t Huxley’s only screenwriting credit — He also co-wrote the screenplay for the 1944 JANE EYRE.)


Greer Garson: Elizabeth Bennet

Mary Boland: Mrs. Bennet

Maureen O’Sullivan: Jane Bennet

Edna May Oliver: Lady Catherine de Bourgh

Laurence Olivier: Mr. Darcy

(Fans of films set during the Regency and 18th century may also have seen Olivier as Lord Nelson in 1941’s THAT HAMILTON WOMAN, MacHeath in the 1953 BEGGAR’S OPERA, and as the Duke of Wellington in the 1972 LADY CAROLINE LAMB.)

Ann Rutherford: Lydia Bennet

Frieda Inescort: Caroline Bingley

Edmund Gwenn: Mr. Bennet

Karen Morley: Charlotte

Heather Angel: Kitty Bennet

Marsha Hunt: Mary Bennet

Bruce Lester: Charles Bingley

Edward Ashley: George Wickham

Melville Cooper: Mr. Collins

Marten Lamont: Mr. Denny

E.E. Clive: Sir William Lucas

May Beatty: Mrs. Philips

Marjorie Wood: Lady Lucas

Gia Kent: Anne de Bourgh

So: what did you think? What are your feelings on the casting, the costumes, the script, the music — anything?

All responses welcome!

And join us again on March 25, when we discuss the Kate Beckinsale version of EMMA, and on the first Tuesday in April, when we discuss the first half of the new SENSE & SENSIBILITY!

Cara King, author of MY LADY GAMESTER, who would be constantly dragging her sleeves in her dinner if she wore what those women were wearing!

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I beg your indulgence today. I’m going to sound a little bit grouchy, so please forgive me, and assume it’s all because

(1) Johnny Depp, Amy Ryan, and the green dress didn’t win the Oscars they deserved;

(2) I spent so long caring for my sick husband (days! maybe even a week!) that my mind has irretrievably gone;

(3) I’ve secretly been a grump all along, and have finally lost my ever-so-thin veneer of niceness due to normal wear and tear;

(4) I’m suffering from severe lack of tea; or

(5) I’m currently being forced (by a secret government agency) to read a book lacking in either proper grammar or any respect for history, and am the worse for it.

My post today is, you see, on how to be sharp.


SHARP WRITERS don’t develop a pathological fear of either adverbs or the past perfect tense. And if they do, they don’t start using the simple past tense in place of the past perfect, or adjectives in place of adverbs.

SHARP WRITERS never write any of the following: alot, alright, “he drug her down the stairs” (believe it or not, I’ve seen this nonexistent verb tense several times recently, in published books!), Jane Austin, Lizzie Bennett (Austen spells it “Lizzy Bennet”), or “here here!”

SHARP WRITERS find out what words actually mean before using them. (Yes, words like literally, embark, pigtails, castle, and unique do have actual meaning.)


SHARP JANE AUSTEN MOVIE FANS may enjoy learning that the following actresses, all of whom have appeared TV or film versions of Austen’s works or of other Regency-interest works, were all just nominated for Olivier Awards (the most respected award for London Theatre):

Kelly Reilly, who played Miss Bingley in the 2005 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, was nominated for playing Desdemona in OTHELLO at the Donmar Warehouse.

Anne-Marie Duff, who played Louisa in the TV miniseries ARISTOCRATS (1999), was nominated for playing Joan in SAINT JOAN at the National Theatre.

Penelope Wilton, who played Mrs. Gardiner in the 2005 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, was nominated for playing Ella in JOHN GABRIEL BORKMAN at the Donmar Warehouse.

Fiona Shaw, who played Mrs. Croft in the 1995 PERSUASION, was nominated for playing Winnie in HAPPY DAYS at the National Theatre.

Speaking of Austen adaptations, please join us next Tuesday (March 4) to discuss the Olivier/Garson version of PRIDE & PREJUDICE, and March 24 to discuss the Kate Beckinsale EMMA!

There you have it!

Question for the day: What would you like to add to my “Sharp Writers” list? (All answers welcome!)

Cara King, who once saw Fiona Shaw play Richard II

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