We’ve collected the news on the DVD front for the most recent adaptations.
A big piece of news is that the Region 1 DVD for Northanger Abbey does not restore the cuts made to the original British broadcast version. Approximately nine scenes have been cut–nearly ten minutes. It should be pointed out that North American audiences for the most part are not equipped to watch Region 2 DVDs. The percentage of AustenBlog readers might be larger, but looking at the larger Janeite diaspora, many people will buy the DVD and never know that they’re missing something. Although we were not that impressed with the films, it seems a shame to us.
The cuts made for broadcast have been restored on the Persuasion DVD. As Cinthia has pointed out, Persuasion is distributed by BBC America. Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park are distributed by WGBH Home Video. We don’t know why the cuts were made or who is at fault for perpetrating them. WGBH might not have had a choice in the matter. It’s a nonsensical decision however one looks at it. The MP DVDs, we believe, ship this week, and we’ll see if anything has been cut; it’s more than likely.
On the bright side, S&S and Miss Austen Regrets are BBC productions (huzzah!) and, like Persuasion, will be distributed by BBC America; therefore we are confident that whatever might be broadcast, the DVDs will contain the full version. There is some confusion about what exactly is contained on the DVDs. WGBH is selling a three-disc “collector’s edition” that, according to the site, has S&S and Persuasion and Miss Austen Regrets as a “special bonus.” The two-disc set has S&S and Miss Austen Regrets, as well as audio commentaries (rumor has it the Region 2 version has commentaries by Charity Wakefield, Dominic Cooper, Hattie Morahan, and Dan Stevens), interviews with producer Anne Pivcevic and writer Andrew Davies, a photo gallery, and deleted scenes (these are presumably *in addition* to a full original cut–there is no reason at present to think that the film on the DVD is cut in any way, but of course we will keep our readers informed). Presumably the 3-disc set includes these extras as well but we do not know that definitively; it makes sense that the extra disc would be Persuasion, though. Amazon also is carrying the two-disc set (we hasten to add that S&S does NOT, repeat does NOT, star Colin Firth. For crying out loud) and the three-disc collector’s edition. That’s what we’re talking about, Gentle Readers! That’s how you treat Janeites! Give us some value for our money. They wanted an Internet-savvy audience; that means a global audience, an educated audience, and it’s a little harder to pull the wool over our eyes.
Alert Janeite Julie P. sent us reviews of the Persuasion and Northanger Abbey DVDs by one Paul Mavis at DVD Talk. He likes both of them, and scolds the dried-up tar-hearted spinster purists. How special.