Sunday, 8 June 2008

Persuasion is on the ABC tonight

Last Sunday night it was Emma, tonight at 8.30 it's Persuasion...if you're going to watch it, I'll love it again if you drop in here afterwards, or tomorrow, to debrief.

Doesn't matter whether you've read the novel or not - in fact I would like to hear what you make of this show if you have no previous notion of what Persuasion is, is about, or should be. (Although, if you haven't read it, and you don't like the show, try not to let it put you off the book for ever.)

This week's pre-emptive whinge concerns Captain Wentworth's complexion. If a gentleman has been at sea since well before his voice broke, I think his face should be just a little more browned and creased than the Standard English biscuit-dough visage of R P-J.

33 comments:

Tim said...

I am not going to watch it, nor Google the cast, so that I can continue to imagine that R P-J stands for Ray Parker Junior.

Miss Schlegel said...

Eighteen minutes in and I'm already finding it a squillion times better than Emma.

Ampersand Duck said...

I've missed the first 30 mins, thanks to dining with in-laws, but will attempt to catch up (and watch it fully tomorrow).

Miss Schlegel said...

I just can't even try to be funny or too-cool-for-school or nothing like that. I loved it. I loved it from the opening titles to that little dance they did at the end. I really, really loved it. I loved it.

lucy tartan said...

Ray Parker Junior would make a very interesting Frederick.

"Who you gon' call? Captain Wentworth!"

lucy tartan said...

Miss S, that's good. It's good you liked it. It is a very good story.

Ampersand Duck said...

Worst. screen. kiss. eva. I understand the agonising slowness, but the jerky jaw was just painful.

But other than that, I liked the bits I saw. Captain Wentworth had some good crows feet, and he had been away from the sun for a while, so I guess he could be excused for the complexion. I thought Anne's father was superb.

lucy tartan said...

Duckie I agree Sir Walter was not bad. All the actors were IMO hamstrung by a script and by direction very heavily indebted to the 1995 Persuasion. The actor playing Sir Walter managed to find his own way of rendering the character without too closely following (or over-reacting to) Corin Redgrave's performance.

He was less amusing than Redgrave but watching him it was possible to see that for all his idiocy the Baronet had been an attractive and charismatic enough man for Anne's mother to have fallen for him.

Ampersand Duck said...

I love the way you think about the different screen versions with the same seriousness that you regard the various illustrations in different editions. It's a fabulous way of approaching Austen in general.

Didn't you love the rugged and violent seawall at Lyme when the men were having a heart-to-heart?

lucy tartan said...

I don't know what to think about the water slopping around at Lyme. I thought it was a bit over the top perhaps....

Look. I should say. I really don't like this version, at all. I think the 1995 one is superb, and this one doesn't really justify its existence coming so soon after. There was a lot of public criticism of these adaptations in the UK last year. It was pointed out over and over again, rightly, that other people besides Austen had written novels that could be adapted if that was what was wanted.

But it doesn't kill me to acknowledge that they did some things in it well. I agree that the kiss was silly - sooo mannered! - but it does seem to release or convey some real emotion as well.

Miss Schlegel's pleasure in the show is terrific to hear about.

Pavlov's Cat said...

I too love the 1995 one with a passion -- this Wentworth was a little milk-fed lambie compared with Ciaran Hinds (though I must say he improved on acquaintance), and I thought Emma Thompson's sister did a better job with the impossible part of Mary. Also, Amanda Root's Ann was less wimpy. That said, all the cast memebers in this one improved as it went along, I thought.

Wasw it just my ancient telly and crap ABC reception, or was it, visually speaking, excessively dreary?

lucy tartan said...

Hard to say - there is none of the beautiful white sunlight in this one that illuminates some parts of the 1995 version - but the settings and dresses and furniture are very similar: austere but not dreary. The main visual difference is probably that the actors are prettier in this one - which should make it less dreary in theory, but might have the opposite effect.

I did notice a few times that Sally Hawkins (Anne) was lit so badly that her teeth appeared grey. The sort of thing that happens when a film shoot is done in a hurry.

boynton said...

The 95 version is one of my favourite films

In comparison, Ciaran has the complexion and the command. And the chemistry.

This one was condensed to chocolate-box and a contorted kiss that was as sexy as a dental examination.

Another Outspoken Female said...

Being ABC-less at present I youtubed the ITV version this weekend and have to say I found it a most unlikable version of Anne. I really wanted to slap her for being such a martyr. Right from the first moment with her whirlwinding through the house, obedient servants waiting with inkpots - I disliked her. I'm sure I remember her as being more witty and perky than this grey creature.

It's a long time since I read Persuasion at high school, so I can't remember if Anne actually ran through the streets of Bath, let alone kissed Wentworth out on the pavement but it would have been scandalous if she had.

Oh there were so many things that annoyed me about this production - so that if they'd done a total rewrite and half the cast had been washed into the see at Lyme I wouldn't have been too disappointed.

Another Outspoken Female said...

err sea :)

Susoz said...

I saw the past version but I'm not enough of an Austen aficionado to remember it in detail so it didn't cloud my view of this one. I really enjoyed it! I felt that the focus was very strongly on Anne's sense of confinement and regret and although the climactic running-hatless-through-Bath scene was very unlikely, it made emotional sense in this film.

Mindy said...

Bazlotto!

Apart from that I thought that perhaps she was attempting to work up the courage to take a chunk out of him for the kiss scene, but mostly it was all right. I will have to find the 1995 version. Anne did come across as a bit of a wet blanket.

Did they leave large bits of the other characters out? I'm pretty sure the book had more about Anne's sisters in it.

Janine & Steve said...

Yes, her teeth looked green and slimy in the s-l-o-w closeup to the kiss. She looked as if she was about to transform herself into a vampire and clamp them straight into his neck.

Her sister Elizabeth looked very old. In fact, all the men in this production seemed prettier than the women.

lucy tartan said...

Elizabeth did look old didn't she? Older than twenty-nine. She looked about the same age as both her father and Lady Russell.

William Walter Elliot was a strange one. He spoke peculiarly.

Congratualtions on your bazlotto Mindy! I hope you anre enjoying the glory and honour etc, because that's all the prize there is.

lucy tartan said...

The Crofts were a bit of a let-down after being so fabulous in the 1995 version, and of course in the novel - in this one there's not much sense that they are real friends to Anne.

Hil said...

II also love the 95 adaptation. I'm thinking of this as "the emo adaptation'. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't good.

I liked Sir Walter, and got some amusment from the fact that he is the Prime Minister in Little Britain. Wentworth and Eliot were agreeable; Mary was dreadful; Charles not likeable enough; and I agree the Crofts were not engaging enough. I liked the Lyme atmospherics, but I wondered why they didn't have Louisa jump off the Grannies Teeth themselves if it was filmed on location? Anne's Bath Marathon and the kiss were awful - we just laughed.

I think the worst, though, was the way the scripting spoilt or left out subtle but important tensions. The most obvious example was giving away the line about constancy to the scene with Benwick, instead of it being said to Harville and overheard by Wentworth, prompting him to write the letter in secret even with the family buzzing around. There were others, too. And they left out my favourite hazelnut speech - humph.

lucy tartan said...

Yes, when something like the breaking up of the ending & random particles relodged elsewhere happens, you have to conclude that maybe they just didn't get the novel. Or they were less interested in it than in what they could do with it, or something. I think they wanted the running bit so much that they thought the cancelled chapter ending would be good enough. Yet the running made little sense. He was coming back to look for Anne anyway.

It was intensely emo, you're absolutely right. Anne writing in a diary and all.

R.H. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beth said...

I totally enjoyed it - my favourite kind of Sunday viewing, when I'm at my lowest critical ebb. I'd buy a chocolate box with RPJ on the lid *any day*. Thought Sir Walter was a crack up (esp thinking about the actor as the librarian from Buffy) and the sea wall was scary. Mostly, I just enjoyed being reminded of how much I love the novel, the cool surface and underlying torrents of emotion. Gorgeous.

genevieve said...

LT, I just found this in my blogfeeds and thought you might like to know - via the NYT BookBench,
on Jane
That link looks dodgy...

genevieve said...

Um, the New Yorker, that is. Off to warm up frozen soup now.

dover_beach said...

Missed this version, but most recent adaptions of Austen have been underwhelming, so I'm not fussed in the least. I do however want to dust-off the excellent 95 version I have in my stacks which I loved and still do. Hinds and Root, and the rest of the cast really, where cast to a T; and I'm not ashamed to admit I had a crush for a Amanda Root for at least a year afterwards. The scene which includes Anne reading Cpt. Wentworth's letter in the Crofts apartment in Bath is breathtaking.

Jason said...

OT, but I need to clarify something - does it count as a Bazlotto win if one of the pictures is the screen capture of your Bazlotto win? Have I gotten some kind of Meta-Bazlotto? Does that warrant a prize?

Yours &c.

Jason.

lucy tartan said...

Hmmm, I'm not sure it's appropriate for me to comment on that, because the whole social contract of teh bazlotto is predicated on a striclty two-part ritual:

A: blog reader shrieks bazlotto

B: blog owner issues congratulation

I don't know that we should go into the whole slippery slope of what does and doesn't constitute a baz. Other people have alleged that four baz's and a frankie is just as good. There is also the fortunately rare, yet chilling and uncanny anti-baz to consider.

On the whole it's perhaps best if readers just take the initiative in this matter.

Pavlov's Cat said...

I've had an anti-baz. It was nasty.

What is a frankie?

librarygirl said...

Did you see the review of all the telemovies in today's M magazine in the Sunday Age. Melinda Houston writes:

"We know if Austen's families were around today, they'd be living in Balwyn, driving Japanese four wheel-drives, buying frocks at David Lawrence, and holidaying in Noosa."

Was wondering how you felt about this statement.......

Mindy said...

A Frankie is when you are just about to shriek "Bazlotto" then realise that one of the cats doesn't quite look right, and when you look closer it's Frankie, arch nemesis of Baz. Or at least he was. They might be friends now.

Mindy said...

Apologies, Bobsta is the arch nemesis, Frankie was a cat with a black and white face.