The Northern Echo reports that “Janeites may get a touch of the vapours” when they see Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot kiss in Persuasion:
“Everyone is desperate for Anne and the captain to kiss,” [Sally Hawkins] says. “You wouldn’t have seen them kissing in public in Jane Austen’s book, but it’s great that it happens because you need that release.
“It’s good that we’re telling a classic story in a modern way. This adaptation is pretty much loyal to the book, but I think we’re allowed a few liberties.
“Perhaps we need the kiss as a generation. I know if I was watching this at home, I’d be shouting at the telly for them to kiss.”
Two different versions of the scene were filmed: one with a kiss, and one without. (Can you say “deleted scenes” on the DVD?)
What do you think, Janeites? Are the ITV bosses a little over-solicitous of our delicate sensibilities? Does a kissing scene really give you the vapours? Or do you think a modern adaptation can be enjoyable and successful without one? (For the record, I’m on the sofa with Miss Hawkins, shouting at the telly.)
An interesting techie tidbit concerns Mansfield Park: much of it was shot with a handheld camera for a more modern look. From Billie Piper:
“The director wanted it to feel very fresh and young. Sometimes period drama can be stuffy and quite boring, I find,” she says. “He did a lot with a handheld camera so it feels like you’re spying on this family, that’s what I love about it.”
I liked several of the handheld sequences from the 2005 P&P, but sometimes this technique can go horribly wrong, leaving us with COPS … in Mansfield. For this Janeite, a wobbly camera is more likely than a kiss to bring on the vapours. Dorothy may need to add some meclizine to the Austen Season rooibos.