Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Spending the weekend with old friends

Image from: https://constructiveconsumption.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/rebecca-1940/
I have spent a very nice weekend in the company of Rebecca, the second Mrs de Winter and Elinor and Marianne Dashwood.  I watched the black and white film of Rebecca on Saturday afternoon - perfect for this time of year with its atmosphere.  'Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again...' Judith Anderson as Mrs Danvers does a wonderful job with the psychological torture of poor little Mrs de Winter. I then just had to dig out my old copy of the book and start re-reading it.  It is such an easy book to lose yourself in and to then have to reluctantly come back into the real world again.

I  also watched the BBC adaptation of Sense and Sensibility (with the cast above, image from http://www.bbc.co.uk/drama/senseandsensibility/) on Sunday afternoon, which is my favourite adaptation (so far).  I really enjoyed Emma Thompson's version and braved the cinema to see it, but it does miss out the interview between Elinor and Willoughby when the reader finds out why he left Marianne and what has happened to him since his marriage.  Initially, I wasn't sure about the casting of Dominic Cooper as Willoughby, but the more I have watched it, the more I can see why he was chosen for the role. Hattie Morahan does a wonderful job as Elinor, saying so much with her eyes and expressions. Here's an archived page about this adaptation.

I had seen that contemporary authors were taking part in The Austen Project, where they re-imagine the stories in modern times.  I was extremely unsure about the whole idea - the originals are just so good that they really don't need messing about with, so why develop the project in the first place?  However, I gave in and read the first in the series which was Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope. I'm pleased that I hadn't read the reviews about the book before I read it as they are mediocre.  I enjoyed her interpretation and I think she managed to update the story well - especially given that UK society is not so restrictive for women as it was in Regency times.  I also liked Nancy Steele's 'text speak' - she would speak like that if she was around now, wouldn't she?  I think it was quite a difficult thing to even attempt, so the fact that the author has kept to the story and managed to update it reasonably effectively is credit to her.  However, I don't think I shall read any of the other updated versions - the originals are so much better!


  1. You are braver than me. I don't (can't?) watch movies made of much loved books. They often take liberties and the images don't match those in my head. The same for people 'tinkering' with much loved tales.

    1. Thanks, EC. I do agree that adaptations are seldom as good as the original, although I enjoy seeing what different interpretations focus on. It's definitely not the same as 'seeing' the characters in your head as you read though. I thought I would try Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope, just from curiosity really, but on the whole I feel that if the original author had wanted prequels, sequels or different interpretations, they would have written them...
      Best wishes