Sunday, March 18, 2007

'This is not a very promising beginning' ... So true, Mrs Norris, so true

So ITV's Jane Austen season kicked off tonight with an airing of Mansfield Park, starring the toothsomely pretty personage of Billie Piper as Fanny Price.

However, to quote Mrs Norris from the tele-film, 'This is not a very promising beginning', in my humble opinion - of which I will give lots more tomorrow, once I have run through my notes and got some sleep.


silverine06 said...

Utter Utter rubbish and disappointing to the core. It might as well have been a different book that they were adapting. Having rushed through the first half of the book in half an hour without having established any of the characters and leaving you little able to care about any of them I wondered what they were going to fill the next 11/2 hours with. They managed to do so but utterly painfully.

Main gripes

1. Billie Piper as Fanny Price NO NO and NO again. Mary I might have believed - Fanny no way. Fanny was quiet and a little plain with a silent determination. Billie was none of these (and generally I rate her as an actress).

2. The relationship between Edmund and Mary. How confused could they have made this!! There was no establishment of the relationship. It appeared quite odd that Edmund would even be attracted to this Mary. And the fact that he announced within 10 minutes of meeting her that he was committed to the clergy was absurd. The point was that Mary and Edmund grew attracted to each other and then he drops the bombshell. Mary’s feelings are too engaged to let go entirely. She would never have allowed herself to become close to Edmund had she known straight off.

3. Fanny doesn’t go to Portsmouth. Big Big mistake. This is a part in the book where you realise how different her life could have been and its here that Henry almost redeems himself. Henry, hitherto having behaved appalingly in coming to Portsmouth and behaving with gentility towards Fanny’s impoverished family redeems himself in Fanny’s eyes to a point. In fact it appears that Fanny is almost tempted to tie herself to this Henry. She is his redemption. Where was any of this in the adaptation? The adaptation went no further than making Henry appear as if he was quite into her and then when she wouldn’t play he goes off to get Mariah. Totally not the point.

I could probably point out another dozen areas of this adaptation which meant that the script writer had entirely missed Austen’s point. Her strength lies in the relationships between people and how their characters can be formed or reformed by these relationships. The only strength in this adaptation was the pretty location

Gallivant said...

Yes I agree this was utter tripe of the highest magnitude. You make so many excellent points! I'm not one for fidelity's sake when it comes to adaptation, but if you make so many glaring omissions and changes from text to screen, the narrative loses shape, dynamism and coherence. This version of Mansfield Park was guilty of that on so, so many counts. I can only hope the rest of the 'Jane Austen Season' improves.