Part I: Sense and Sensibility, cont’d

S&S71 stars Joanna David as Elinor, Ciaran Madden as Marianne, Robin Ellis as Edward, Clive Francis as Willoughby and Patricia Routledge as Mrs. Jennings.  Due to the presence of Robin Ellis and Clive Francis, some fans refer to this as the “Poldark S&S.” 😉

I’d seen it once before, and it’s more different from the book than I’d remembered from the previous viewing. One difference that really struck me is that, in this adaptation, Brandon knows all about Willoughby and Eliza from the beginning and Willoughby knows that Brandon knows.  The story is quite rushed, too.  For example, Willoughby tells Mrs. Dashwood and Elinor that he’s leaving Devonshire after everyone’s returned from Delaford (which is where they’d gathered for the Whitwell excursion — yes, they combined the two outings into one event) and it just makes no sense.

Despite the typically bad 1970s production values and the differences from the book, I like this adaptation.  I think that Robin Ellis does quite a good job as Edward and he and Joanna David are very cute together.  Ciaran Madden is not my favorite Marianne (she says good-bye to the curtains at Norland!), but I still prefer her to Tracy Childs in S&S81 (not that this is hard).  I also like Michael Aldridge as Sir John and I positively adore Patricia Routledge as Mrs. Jennings.  I’m not quite as fond of Richard Owens as Colonel Brandon, but he did grow on me somewhat as the story progressed.  Which reminds me — in this film, Eliza is Brandon’s niece instead of his cousin’s illegitimate daughter (making her, of course, his first cousin once removed), and we are told that she’s 18 instead of 16 as in the book.  But none of that matters.  I understand that a lot of people (particularly younger people) may have trouble getting past the antiquated production values but, for those who can, I think they’ll find plenty to appreciate about this adaptation.

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