We are two part-time academics. Ellen teaches in the English department and Jim in the IT program at George Mason University.

A Review of _MP_ and more on Sex in Austen films · 9 July 05

Dear Fanny,

A friend replied to my blog, "Sex in Austen films," and by so doing reminded me I had been meaning to put my original review of Rozema’s MP up on my site for ever so long.

So I put it up today: Rozema’s adaptation of Austen’s Mansfield Park and Juvenilia. I’ve followed that with a reprint on my website of said blog, "Sex in Austen Films," plus my friend’s considered reply.

And if you go over there, you’ll find some stills of the MP film, one, my favorite from this film, of Jonny Lee Miller as Edmund Bertram kissing Frances O’Connor as Fanny Price (for this you must scroll all the way to the bottom). One still is linked into a still from the 1995 BBC Persuasion: a silhouette of Amanda Root as Anne Elliot kissing Ciarhan Hinds as Frederick Wentworth, a scene whose arrangement and visibilia parallels a silhouette of Frances O’Connor as Fanny Price kissing Alessandro Nivola as Henry Crawford.

As an intriguing question I’ve included a picture of an actor who has not yet shown up in any Austen film, probably because his psychological "baggage" to the popular audience projects a framing of him as working class: Michael Caine. He is one of my favorite actors. My favorite actress is Emma Thompson, and of all the actresses who have played Austen heroines, she is the only one who has for me fulfilled the imagined ideal selves I’ve conjured up and cherished. She is for me Elinor Dashwood. (That is, the imagined ideal selves except for Austen’s Emma, for I’m one of those readers who prefers Jane Fairfax and wish we had been given much much more of Jane.) I also find myself allured and influenced by: Fiona Shaw as Mrs Sophia Crofts; Ciarhan Hinds as Frederick Wentworth; Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon, and Jeremy Northam as Mr Knightley. Though I don’t think she fits Austen’s intentions, I also liked Juliet Stevenson as Mrs Elton. Stevenson could go far to make that woman almost endurable (had the movie been written to permit this more fully). But all this by-the-bye.

And of course there are also my series of essays in the form of postings as a reading and interpretation of Austen’s Mansfield Park, accompanied by some postings on a few critical essays on the book.


Posted by: Ellen

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