Devoney Looser on Feminism in the 1995 Sense and Sensibility film in The Atlantic

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Sense and Sensibility and Jane Austen’s Accidental Feminists

This is a great article and you should read it. We disagree, of course, with the quoted assertion by Louis Menand that Colonel Brandon is dull in the book. Dude: he comes thisclose to running away with his teenaged love; he finds her in a spunging-house, rescues her and her illegitimate daughter, is with her “in her last moments,” and he adopts and raises the daughter; he fights a duel for pete’s sake. How is that dull? Is it the flannel waistcoat? Marianne Dashwood is supposed to be scornful of the flannel waistcoat because she is 17 and silly. What’s your excuse?

Incidentally, we saw the People’s Light stage production of Sense and Sensibility yesterday and enjoyed it very much! If you are in the Philadelphia area, we encourage you to check it out.

REVIEW: Love & Friendship

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landfposterLove & Friendship*, Whit Stillman’s adaptation of Lady Susan, has had its premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, and with the assistance of our friend Miss W., who lives in Utah (residents get early access to tickets), and frequent flyer miles, we were able to see it. We’ve been pretty excited about this movie since we first heard about it a few years ago, because we knew with Stillman at the helm, we were likely to get a film that was literate and funny and in the spirit of the original, and we are pleased to report that’s just what happened. Love & Friendship is a fast, funny film full of sparkling dialogue and sumptuous sets and costumes. It is fully worthy of Jane Austen’s genius, and we enjoyed it tremendously.  Continue reading

Love and Friendship has landed!

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The Editrix is, at present, on her way to the Sundance Film Festival to see Love and Friendship on Sunday night! Stay tuned to AustenBlog and our Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr pages for updates. (Everything will make it back here eventually.)

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The excitement is beginning…firstly, for those wondering when everyone not struggling through blizzards and airline terminals without charging stations (seriously? Did we slip back into the 1990s unawares?) to get to Utah will be able to see the film, it will stream on Amazon in the U.S. (it is not clear to us if that means only for those with a subscription to Prime, or if anyone can pay to rent it) and we believe will also have a theatrical run, probably at your local indie cinema. We can’t speak to other countries quite yet.

Vanity Fair also has an interview with Whit Stillman about the film.  Continue reading

Team O’Toole!Darcy, Represent!

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Darcy of Arabia. We're pretty sure we've read that fan fiction.

Darcy of Arabia. We’re pretty sure we’ve read that fan fiction.

We were amused by an article by Devoney Looser in The Independent in which she talks about the various adaptations of Pride and Prejudice over the years, and the various Mr. Darcys. Olivier vs. Rintoul vs. Firth vs. Macfadyen is old news, but Devoney mentions a planned 1974 big-screen adaptation that never got made, featuring Peter O’Toole (!!!) as Darcy and… no one in particular for Elizabeth. Now, had they been making the film ten years earlier, when O’Toole was fresh off Lawrence of Arabia, he would have been the Hottest Darcy Ever™ (sorry, Colin and Larry, but it’s true). In 1974? We don’t know. After one has played Mr. Chips, however brilliantly, can one believably play Mr. Darcy?

Why “Clueless” is the Best Jane Austen Adaptation

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Why “Clueless” is the Best Jane Austen Adaptation

“…read all of Northanger Abbey…as a commentary on fangirl culture” YES.

Photos from Love and Friendship shooting

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kate_beckinsale_lafWell, that didn’t take very long! Shooting has already begun on Whit Stillman’s Love and Friendship, and the paparazzi have obliged with photos from the set. We are perfectly delighted with the ladies’ hats shown in this article. We are also charmed by Ms. Beckinsale toting about a hot water bottle as shown at left–must be chilly in Dublin! Her outfit looks quite proper for Lady Susan Vernon, who has only been four months a widow and is still in mourning–though she appears to be wearing gray, or half-mourning, underneath. There are lots more photos in this article, including photos of Chloe Sevigny as Mrs. Johnson, Stephen Fry as Mr. Johnson, and Xavier Samuel as Reginald DeCourcy (and the sort-of hero has an article of his own as well). We know there is always a great deal of interest in the hero, so we’ve included a photo in this post as well.

As a general FYI, the article states the film is set in the 1790s. According to notes in the Oxford Illustrated edition of the Minor Works, R.W. Chapman thought Lady Susan was written around 1795 and Brian Southam thought it more properly belonged to 1793-1794.xavier_samuel_laf

There has been some confusion expressed over the title of this movie, and whether Austen’s hilarious juvenile story Love and Freindship (and for those who don’t know, that’s not a typo) will be part of the film, in some sort of mashup. We stress that we have no way of knowing for sure, but we’re happy to speculate. We doubt that Austen’s L&F is included in this production in any way. It is a completely different feel from Lady Susan–it’s very broad in its humor, and is a parody of the novels of sentiment of the time. Lady Susan is not at all a parody. From what we’ve seen, the casting of this movie has only included characters from Lady Susan, so it’s safe to assume that the only story will be Lady Susan. (Unless Stillman borrows from Patricia Rozema and has Frederica Vernon writing silly juvenile stories such as L&F? We hope not.) So why the change of title? Because when you think about it, the phrase “Love and Friendship” related to Lady Susan is kind of brilliant. There is so much manipulation and deception in LS masquerading as–love and friendship.

Also, Lady Susan is not well-known to the non-Janeite general public. A character called “Lady Susan,” to the Muggles, denotes a proper, upright woman of fine character–in other words, not Susan Vernon. Love and Friendship, as a title, will be easier to market–even more so as it will inevitably be Jane Austen’s Love and Friendship. That should bring ’em in in droves!

We have some more thoughts about Lady Susan that we will be posting later this week.

Whit Stillman’s “Love and Friendship” to start filming this month

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Chloe Sevigny and Kate BeckinsaleWe are delighted to pass on the news that Whit Stillman’s film Love and Friendship (which seems to actually be an adaptation of Lady Susan–yes, we know, but Whit Stillman) will begin filming this month in Ireland, according to Variety. Kate Beckinsale will take the role of Lady Susan Vernon (replacing Sienna Miller, who was attached to the role last year when this film was first discussed) and Chloe Sevigny will still be playing “her friend and confidante,” we suppose meaning Mrs. Johnson. The two actors co-starred in Stillman’s film The Last Days of Disco, and of course Janeites know Kate Beckinsale as Emma Woodhouse in the 1997 A&E/BBC television adaptation of Emma.

In the film set in the 1790s, Beckinsale will portray the widow Lady Susan Vernon, who has come to the estate of her in-laws to wait out the rumors about her dalliances that are circulating through polite society. She decides to secure a husband for herself and her rather reluctant debutante daughter.

The cast includes Xavier Samuel as the object of Lady Susan’s affections, and Stephen Fry, who’ll play the long-suffering husband to Lady Susan’s friend and confidante portrayed by Sevigny.

STEPHEN FRY! WHIT STILLMAN! We shall run distracted!

The Playlist has yet more cast members:

The cast also includes Xavier Samuel (“Adore,” “Fury,” “The Twilight Saga”) as the object of Lady Susan’s affections, Stephen Fry as Mr. Johnson, the long-suffering husband to Lady Susan’s friend and confidante Alicia (Sevigny), as well as Emma Greenwell, Morfydd Clark, Jemma Redgrave, James Fleet, Tom Bennett and Justin Edwards.

Mrs. Johnson’s first name is Alicia, so that confirms Chloe Sevigny’s role.

Xavier SamuelOhai, Reginald DeCourcy. (Commence swooning!)

We have high hopes for this production. If you haven’t seen Mr. Stillman’s delightful Metropolitan, which is not an adaptation of Mansfield Park precisely but certainly has echoes of it, try to track down the DVD. It’s unfortunately no longer available on Netflix streaming, but the DVD can be rented, and it’s available as a digital rental (and very inexpensive purchase) from Amazon in the U.S. If anyone can produce an Austen adaptation that doesn’t insult our intelligence, it is Whit Stillman. Fingers crossed!

Thanks to Alert Janeite Cinthia for sending us the good news!