Just over 2 years ago, I reviewed Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy.  It’s a movie I really like, and I watch it periodically because I do find it to be so entertaining.

I bought my copy from an LDS (Mormon) website and, as a result, I get emails and other promotions from that site to this day.  That site, DeseretBook.com, sent me an email this morning offering me the chance to buy the movie at the price of $9.99.  The email said that this price is good for today only (but the website itself doesn’t say that), and that it won’t ship for a couple of weeks.  But this movie is hard to find, so I wanted to make sure that everyone who wants a copy is able to order one for their own collection.

Good luck and, if you do buy a copy, please let me know whether or not you liked it.

 

Updated July 22, 2012:  the movie now costs $12.99.  It’s still less than the list price of $19.99 and less than Amazon’s price of $17.01.

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Last year, I posted the Declaration of Independence in its entirety.  This year, I give you “The Signing” from one of my favorite movies of all time, 1776.  No, the Founding Fathers did not sing and dance their way through the Revolution, but there are still enough facts in this play/movie that it cannot be called “mindless entertainment.”

This scene gives me chills each and every time I see it.  If you ever get a chance to watch this movie, I cannot recommend it highly enough.  It’s on TCM this evening at 5 Eastern time.  Enjoy!

Overnight I got an email from Amazon Canada telling me that they are offering a special for Harry Potter fans. It’s an amazing boxed set containing all 8 films in DVD, Blu-ray and digital editions. The set includes a total of 13 discs, and there are tons of extras. Here’s the complete description from their website. I don’t happen to have an extra $349.99 (whether it be Canadian, American or even Australian) lying around. But if I did, this sure sounds like something I’d consider buying.

It is a little odd that this new boxed set is for sale because of the announcement from Warner that no new Potter products were going to be available after December, 2011.  Who knows.  I’m not exactly “plugged in” with Warner, and I am one of the millions of fans still waiting for Pottermore to go live.  So, if you are in a position to buy this, please let me know if it’s any good.  If not, I still have the regular movies (and, of course, the books!) to keep me company.

 

Update! — For those who don’t want to/can’t buy from Amazon.ca, the set is being offered for $349.99 US.  Unfortunately, regardless of whose dollar we’re talking about, I still can’t afford it.  *sigh*

Yesterday was Jane Austen’s 236th birthday.  I did not write a post on the big day itself because I was out with my local JASNA chapter celebrating it.  A good time was had by all.

I don’t need to repeat what I wrote last year, but the fact remains that Jane is still popular with a wide variety of people.  It’s still pretty amazing that the younger daughter of a country rector is remembered (and revered) for 6 novels and several unfinished stories 194 years after her death.

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Let’s fast-forward a little bit from the Regency era to the years after World War I.  Yes, the Downton Abbey Christmas Special is due to air on ITV in the UK at 21:00 (9 p.m.) on Christmas night.  Here is the press pack: http://www.itv.com/documents/pdf/DOWNTON_ABBEY_PRESS_S2_XMAS_Lores.pdf

As you will see, Sybil and Branson will not be around.  That makes sense — they’re not fabulously wealthy and can’t pop back and forth between Ireland and Downton on a whim.

Here are some stories about what may and may not happen:

http://www.digitalspy.com/british-tv/s183/downton-abbey/news/a352893/dan-stevens-teases-christmas-downton-abbey.html

http://www.cultbox.co.uk/news/headlines/2545-downton-abbey-christmas-special-story-details-revealed

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2073906/Dressing-Downton-Abbey-What-difference-80-years-makes.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2073828/Downton-Abbey-Christmas-special-Will-cast-crew-able-wraps.html

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/3997101/Downton-Abbey-Christmas-special.html

And here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-tZVGdZoEM&feature=player_embedded) is a trailer for the Christmas special.  I am dying to find out what happens to Mr. Bates and, by extension, to Anna.

I just finished watching the last series of Spooks. After the weirdness that was series 9, I was looking forward to the show going out in a blaze of glory.

A friend told me I’d be irate at the ending, and I was.  I am very, very disappointed.  For years now, I’d wanted Ruth and Harry to live happily ever after, and for her to die like that is just so wrong.  Yes, she sacrificed herself for him, but it’s just not fair.  I got all teary-eyed when Ruth died, and then again when Harry looks at the list of names of MI-5’s dead. There was Adam, and Jo, and Ros and Ben and so many spies who I came to know and love.  Obviously Connie and Lucas aren’t there, but so many others were (one question though — I didn’t see Tariq’s name on that wall.  Did I just miss it, or was it not there at all?).

What I really found intriguing was the sight of Tom Quinn showing up at the Russian’s home just after the Home Secretary tells Harry that he knows how to deal with that particular Russian.  The idea of the Government hiring Tom to kill this man was just the right touch for the ending  of the series. It really brought things to a full circle.

Anyway, now it’s all over.  All we have now is the memory of 10 years’ worth of great television.  Next year at this time, there won’t be a new series of Spooks to keep me on the edge of my seat, and that makes me sad.  Not as sad as Ruth dying of course, but very sad all the same. Someday, when I have the funds, I want to buy a box set of the entire series so I can watch it whenever I want.

JE11 stars Mia Wasikowska as Jane and Michael Fassbender as Rochester.  It also features Judi Dench as Mrs. Fairfax, Sally Hawkins as Aunt Reed, Tamzin Merchant as Mary Rivers, Imogen Poots as Blanche Ingram and Simon McBurney as Mr. Brocklehurst.  Haddon Hall once again plays Thornfield, and it’s gotten to the point that I don’t know if I can imagine any other house as Thornfield.  This is, of course, the adaptation that inspired the Jane Eyre-athon project and, even though I still don’t love it, I am very grateful to it.

I don’t want to repeat what I said back in April, but it all still holds true.  I’m still not fond of the idea that most of the movie is a flashback. The last half hour was still terribly rushed. I still think it’s silly that Jane is an heiress but the Riverses aren’t her cousins.

I did listen to the commentary by Cary Fukunaga, and am very glad I did.  There were some interesting little tidbits, such as the fact that they filmed the entire movie in a 2+ month period (March — May) and had to add leaves to the trees digitally during scenes that were supposed to take place during the summer.  He said he really wanted to be faithful to the book and talked about scenes from the book that were either changed or omitted from the movie, and tells us why.  But he never mentioned that the Riverses are Jane’s cousins.  I really wanted to hear his reasons for omitting that information.

Given the fact that the movie is only 2 hours long, they spend a lot more time (on a relative basis) on Jane’s childhood than some other adaptations have.  Of course, Helen is not quite as devout as she should be, but I really did like the Lowood scenes (as an aside, we see a lot of Helen as a ghost in the deleted scenes). Gateshead was fleshed out more than it was in both JE96 and JE97, which I appreciated because what Jane goes through in her childhood is important to the rest of the story.  Unfortunately, there is no gypsy scene, and one speech that was otherwise taken directly from the book has been edited so that the grammar is incorrect.  Just before Edward proposes, and Jane still thinks he’s going to marry Blanche, Jane says:

I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you.

Unfortunately, hypercorrectness has set in, and in this film, Jane says “…as it is now for I to leave you.”

Ahem:

Dear Moira Buffini,

Here is today’s Grammar 101 lesson: “I” is a subject pronoun.  “Me” is an object pronoun.  The twain  never meet.  Subject pronouns are never part of a prepositional phrase; only object pronouns are.  The word “for” introduces the prepositional phrase and therefore must take “me” rather than “I.”

So, the next time you think about changing a sentence written by someone who writes better than you do, think again.  Either that, or buy a grammar book and learn what the parts of speech are.

Sheesh.

I honestly don’t think I’m being nitpicky.  After all, it seemed that Buffini’s intent was to lift the entire speech from the book, so why did she make that one change?  Did she think that Charlotte got it wrong? If so, I am not only not amused, I am also not impressed.

In the final analysis, I liked the film somewhat less this time than I did back in April.  After spending so many months with the likes of Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine, Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke, Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens, etc. I was forced to rethink my earlier impressions of the chemistry between the two leads.  This time, I really didn’t see much.  Mia’s Jane is sometimes too repressed.  Fassbender’s Edward rarely shows me that he’s tortured.  It still gets a “meh” from me.  It is beautiful to look at, but we know that beauty is often skin deep. There is just not enough substance in this film for my taste.  I know it can be done — JE70 (which is 20 minutes shorter and had a tiny budget) managed to do that without all the resources Fukunaga et al. had at their disposal.  It’s a shame, too; I had been looking forward to this version and thought it had great potential.

This is the end of the great Jane Eyre-athon.  I need to finish a bunch of library books, as well as some books I already own, and I need some downtime to figure out what my next “project” is going to be.  I’m leaning towards Wuthering Heights because, in large part, there are so many adaptations out there, and also because I’ve never read it.  I started it not too long after I’d read Jane Eyre, but I only read a couple of chapters before putting it down with no regrets. But that was almost 40 years ago, and I hope I can do better this time.  I also hope to include Sparkhouse as one of the adaptations, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

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I’m taking a break for a bit, but will be back with more blatherings in a week or so.  Ta!

JE06 stars Ruth Wilson as Jane and Toby Stephens as Edward.  Also featured are Tara Fitzgerald as Mrs. Reed, Christina Cole as Blanche, Francesa Annis as Lady Ingram, Andrew Buchan as St. John and Georgie Henley as Young Jane.

It’s only about 4 hours long, meaning it is considerably shorter than both JE73 and JE83, the only other BBC adaptations that are available for home viewing. There are commentaries for hours 1 and 4, but I did not listen to them because, for some bizarre reason, there were no subtitles. My own copy is the Region 2 version but that’s in storage, so I took out a Region 1 copy from the library. Unfortunately, it was not a very good copy – lots of skipping and stuttering. I do not know if any scenes were cut, since I only saw this version once, and that was when it first aired back in 2006. I did watch some of the cast/crew interviews and was not amused that the casting director said she wanted Toby Stephens in the role because he’s so good-looking. One is left wondering if she’s actually read the book. Haddon Hall plays Thornfield once again, but we see it from different angles than we did in JE96. I don’t remember who said this in the interviews, but one woman involved in the project said she wanted to establish from the outset that Thornfield “is a place of terror.” Once again, I am left wondering how well this person knows the story. Jane does not arrive at Thornfield thinking of it as a “place of terror.”

Jane’s childhood is only given 15 minutes or so. This includes both the Gateshead and Lowood years. Miss Temple and Miss Scatchered are nowhere to be seen. I thought maybe I’d missed them, but they’re not even in the credits. Richard McCabe (Captain Benwick from P95) plays Mr. Brocklehurst. He’s scary, but not the best I’ve seen in the role. The scene where Helen’s hair gets cut was deleted (it’s in the deleted scenes), and most positive references to religion are also gone.  No surprise.

There is some dialogue from the book, but not a lot. But, oddly enough, there are some passages that I don’t remember from the book at all, but they are there, in the script. So it kept me hopping between taking notes and searching my Kindle.

For some reason, there is a red scarf hanging outside the window on the 3rd floor at Thornfield – the part of the house that is supposedly uninhabited. And Jane wears a tiny red scarf at certain points in the story – the day after the fire in Edward’s room, for example. If I’d had a chance to listen to the commentary, I’m sure I’d learn why, but the movie has to be back at the library. So maybe another time.

The gypsy scene is included, but in this version, Edward hires a woman to tell fortunes while he’s hidden away, listening to everything. It’s an interesting way of handling a very difficult scene to pull off.

Since there are no voiceovers in this version, it’s not as jarring to see scenes without Jane, and this version has a scene with Blanche and Edward where we see just how hard Blanche is working to catch him. At the house party, Mr. Eshton talks a lot about twins and the spiritual connection between them. I think they’re trying too hard to be prophetic.

Unfortunately, the “piece of string” speech is butchered. As I’ve said before, I love that speech, and was disappointed that Welch decided to change it.

After the aborted wedding, when Jane is at the Rivers’ house, we see flashbacks to what happened before she runs away. Edward has Jane pinned to the bed, and he tries to seduce her into staying with him. Yes, the scene is incredibly sexy, but it’s also very wrong. In the book, Jane won’t let him touch her because, as I have always thought, she knows she’d find it hard to leave:

“Now he made an effort to rest his head on my shoulder, but I would not permit it. Then he would draw me to him: no.

… Now that you think me disqualified to become your husband, you recoil from my touch as if I were some toad or ape.”

… “Jane!” recommenced he, with a gentleness that broke me down with grief, and turned me stone-cold with ominous terror — for this still voice was the pant of a lion rising — “Jane, do you mean to go one way in the world, and to let me go another?”

“I do.”

…”Jane” (bending towards and embracing me), “do you mean it now?”

“I do.”

“And now?” softly kissing my forehead and cheek.

“I do,” extricating myself from restraint rapidly and completely.

What the bed scene in the adaptation does, however, is to emphasize just how much chemistry Wilson and Stephens have. I really understand what this Jane and this Edward see in each other. It’s so obvious that they are each other’s soul mate and that they burn for each other with a passion that’s real and meaningful. This has not always been the case in adaptations of Jane Eyre. I just wish they could have done it more subtly, as Brontë does in the book. We’re pretty smart; we don’t need to be beaten over the head with their sexual attraction.

I really liked Andrew Buchan as St. John. I think he’s extremely good-looking, and also I thought he showed us how cold and repressed the character is. He tells Jane that he trembles when Rosamund is near, but he also says he fights the temptation because she won’t be a good missionary’s wife and he won’t give up his ambitions for her. We do learn that St John and his sisters are Jane’s cousins, and we do learn that she is an heiress but, as we have seen so many times, this portion of the film is quite rushed, as if the filmmakers are just itching to get Jane and Edward back together as quickly as possible.

The ending is sweet (except for the fact that Jane walks to Ferndean?!) if a little corny. And it all wraps up with Jane and Edward having a portrait painted of them and their extended family. Jane looks quite pretty with her hair in a less prim-and-proper style. The Rivers girls are married, and servants (yes, even Grace Poole) are included.

So, all in all, even though I know I shouldn’t like this version very much because of all the liberties it takes, I do. I really enjoyed it. Parts of it brought me to tears, and I turned off the DVD player with a smile on my face.  As I said, I own it and I can definitely see myself popping it into the player when I feel like being swept away in this wonderful story.