The Jane Austen Book Club to be released in New Zealand on June 25

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Gameplanet is listing a release for The Jane Austen Book Club on June 25, and TVNZ is giving away a prize pack that includes the DVD, a copy of the book, and a DVD of S&S–it’s unclear which version, but since the giveaway is sponsored by Sony we’re guessing S&S95. The competition ends July 9, so get your entries in!

Dutch Jane Austen Collection and Jane Austen Book Club to be released on April 24

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Alert Janeite Aad, who keeps us up to date on releases of Jane Austen DVDs in the Netherlands, let us know that a Just Entertainment will release a Jane Austen Collection, including Persuasion 2007, Northanger Abbey 1986, Pride and Prejudice 1980, and Sense and Sensibility 1971, on April 24. This set is, of course, Region 2 and we believe contains Dutch subtitles.

Aad also let let us know that Sony Benelux will release the Dutch edition of The Jane Austen Book Club on April 24. Mark your calendars in the Netherlands!

Mr. Darcy never wore lycra

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The Jane Austen Book Club Cast Ooooh, lookee what we found! Remember ages ago when we asked for submissions for questions to the cast of The Jane Austen Book Club? For one reason or another, we forgot to follow up on the article, but found ourself on the Redbook website for various reasons tonight, decided to do a little search, and there it is! Just in time to enjoy with your brand-new DVDs. (You did get your DVD, didn’t you?) Question 7, by the bye, was submitted by the Editrix. 🙂 We really love Hugh Dancy’s comment about this being the “meta” movie for Janeites. How true!

Jane Austen Book Club is out on Region 1 DVD (and Region 2 release date)

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The Jane Austen Book Club DVD came out Tuesday on DVD. For those new to the blog, here’s our review from when we saw it in the theater. Now all of you who complained about the movie never reaching your town, or being open for five minutes there, have a chance to see it. Let’s support this, fellow Janeites; let’s give this one a long tail and show Hollywood that Jane Austen fans will support quality Jane Austen Brand™ products. Even renting it will help; and if you like it, why not buy it? It’s also available in Blu-Ray!

Cinematical has a nice writeup:

Like any dramatic comedy that focuses on romance — especially one that does so under the mighty pen of Jane Austen — this film is sentimental and romantic, but it’s also got a heck of a cast giving great performances and characters that aren’t the normal flighty heroines.

Yay for real Jane Austen heroines! And there’s even some info about the extras:

As far as the disc goes, there’s a decent number of featurettes, and not all of them are your typical fare. You get: deleted scenes, commentary with cast and crew, a peek behind the scenes, “The Life of Jane Austen,” “The Book Club: Deconstructed,” and for you red carpet fans out there — the Los Angeles premiere.

Speaking of extras, JASNA has an exclusive clip, with Joan Ray, Claire Bellanti, and director Robin Swicord talking about Harris Bigg-Wither, which we believe is from the DVD extras.

Oh, and for those who have said that the not-so-good new films have at least interested viewers in reading Jane Austen, here’s an argument that well-made and funny films will do the same.

Speaking as a Jane Austen virgin, an expression borrowed from “The Jane Austen Book Club,” I am more intrigued by the author after having seen the film — but not enough to read one of her 18th-century sagas, despite urgings from female friends to do so to better understand their affinity for the novels.

Well, almost. 🙂

The Philadelphia Daily News (represent!) chats with Kathy Baker about Jane Austen and other things.

As for Austen, I’m assuming you read some of her work before shooting the film?

“I have read some Austen,” Baker said. “I’d always liked ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ but I think I like ‘Sense and Sensibility’ better. But there’s only six, you know, and I don’t know the others. I’m not like my sister, who reads every one of them over every year.

“There are people out there who are just so enamored of her they read her books over and over again. I am not like that. I was playing a character who did that. I was, however, the only cast member who was actually in a book club.”

Was there any type of informal book club on the set of the “Book Club” movie?

“Absolutely,” Baker said. “In fact, we all gave each other books for cast gifts. And we all read the Austen books we needed to read for our characters. And our youngest cast member, Maggie Grace, is one of those Austen-ites.”

Speaking of Kathy Baker, here’s a report of the DVD signing from the other night. Kathy and Maggie both look fabulous!

And good news for our European readers–the movie will be out on Region 2 DVD on March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day!), so drag yourself away from the pub and get a copy! Looks like you’re getting the full complement of extras:

  • English, English HOH, Dutch and Hindi subtitles
  • Cast and Crew Commentary
  • “Making of” The Jane Austen Book Club
  • “The Life of Jane Austen” Featurette
  • “Character Deconstruction” Featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Los Angeles Premiere

The film has just opened Down Under, and the Brisbane Times has a review.

This is just a partial list of the dramatis personae and their preoccupations but you can already see that the screenplay – based on the novel by Karen Joy Fowler – is doing its best to duplicate the basic recipe laid down by Austen herself. Take one village, sift through its social circles until you’ve found the characters most likely to provide incident and diversion then spice up their dramatic and romantic prospects with the addition of a few provocative newcomers – which is where Prudie (Emily Blunt wearing a Louise Brooks bob) comes in.

Sadly, we forgot to include Emily Blunt’s wonderful performance in our own review, so we will point to the others that did. (Guess we were too busy fangirling Hugh Dancy.) But both the film and the book come with the highest AustenBlog recommendation possible, for whatever that is worth.

Getting Local With Jane: Interim Edition

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Our inaugural edition of Getting Local With Jane was a big hit–so much so that we received news of a couple of events that will be taking place so soon as to not bear waiting for next week’s edition!

This is a very exciting event:

Meet the cast and director of The Jane Austen Book Club on Tuesday, February 5, at 7:30 p.m. at Barnes and Noble, The Grove at Farmers Market, Los Angeles (3rd Street and Grove Drive). Maggie Grace, Amy Brenneman, Kathy Baker, and Robin Swicord (screenwriter/director) will greet fans and sign DVDs.

Also, check out the link — jasna.org has an exclusive video clip in which Joan Klingel Ray, Claire Bellanti, and Robin Swicord discuss Jane Austen and her men, including Harris Bigg-Wither.

For those in the Seattle area, Laurel Ann of Austenprose and co-blogging duties at Jane Austen Today will host “An Evening With Jane” in conjunction with KCTS 9 at the Alderwood Barnes & Noble on Thursday, February 7 at 7 p.m.

The night will begin with a short introduction to Jane Austen, the inspiration for our series, The Complete Jane Austen, as well as other “prequels, sequels and Austen-inspired publications,” says Laurel Ann. And we will not shy away from the Janeite’s favorite activity: Discussing the history of Jane Austen adaptations, including interpretations of her novels, casting and highlights–and the history of her original book publications.

Questions and discussion by the attendees will be encouraged. Laurel Ann and hosts will be serving complimentary tea and scones, sending guests home with gift packs, and offering a drawing for books and posters.

RSVPs are encouraged–see the link for details.

Tunkhannock (PA) Public Library will host a discussion on “What Makes Pride and Prejudice an Enduring Novel?” on Wednesday, February 6 at 7 p.m. in conjunction with the Wyoming County Reads program.

Don’t forget to send us your local Jane Austen events for Getting Local With Jane!

The Jane Austen Book Club opens Down Under

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Janeites in Australia and New Zealand are finally getting to see the film adaptation of The Jane Austen Book Club. The Sydney Morning Herald has an interview with director Robin Swicord.

Now is an especially demanding time for Australian FOJs and the younger, mostly female, related species known as “Jane-ites”. This is the year for premium British TV redos of Persuasion, Sense And Sensibility and Mansfield Park.

As the American screenwriter, director and admitted FOJ Robin Swicord puts it: “They got some really excellent writers to do these versions. I’ve been keeping tabs on all this recently. And there’s quite a buzz about it in the Austen cosmos.”

You can say that again!!! When our Gentle Antipodean Readers get to see the film, let us know what you thought of it.

Austen film events in Washington, D.C., New York City, Kansas City, and Denver

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With the Complete Jane Austen gearing up on PBS, everyone seems to have Jane Austen films on their minds, and there are several events coming up dedicated to Austen film adaptations old and new.

The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., is having a special event, “Jane Austen Goes to the Movies,” on Wednesday, January 30th at 7 p.m.

Jane Austen has become one of Hollywood’s top screenwriters, with both feature films and television mini-series to her credit. Independent scholar and lecturer, Virginia Newmyer, examines the dramatization of the novels, and whether 20th-century scenarios have improved on the renowned author. The discussion, illustrated with images, interprets the ways in which Jane Austen wove the enduring questions of power, money, and social class into her romantic comedies, and how the themes have been transferred to the screen. Several films and videos are considered, including: Sense and Sensibility (1995 feature film), Pride and Prejudice (1980 BBC mini-series, 1995 BBC/A&E mini-series), Mansfield Park (1993 feature film), Emma (1996 feature film), Clueless (1995 feature film), and Persuasion (1995 feature film). In addition, both Becoming Jane, the 2007 feature film as fictional as the novels, and The Jane Austen Book Club, very different from the book, are included.

Tickets for this event are $20, but if you call and mention that you are an AustenBlog reader, you can get them for the member price of $15! La!

Alert Janeite Jen K. sent us some information about upcoming events sponsored by JASNA’s Greater New York region, kicking off this week. First is a pre-broadcast screening of the new adaptation of Persuasion, this Tuesday, January 8, at 6:30 p.m. at Wollman Auditorium at the Cooper Union. The event is co-sponsored by Penguin Books.

JASNA New York also is co-sponsoring (with Borders) post-broadcast discussions for each of the six novel adaptations on the Mondays after broadcast at several locations in New York and Connecticut.

Another very exciting New York area event (though it’s not listed on JASNA New York’s website, but Jen posted details at The Republic of Pemberley) is a screening of the 1995 adaptation of Persuasion with a discussion featuring Ciarán Hinds, who of course played Captain Wentworth in the film, and possibly Corin Redgrave, who played Sir Walter Elliot, discussing the film with Foster Hirsch of the Brooklyn College Film Department and Rachel Brownstein of the CUNY English Department. The event will be at Brooklyn College on Monday, February 4, 2008 at 3:30 p.m. at the Gershwin Theater, Brooklyn College Campus.

All of these events are free and open to the public.

We previously mentioned “Jane-uary” at the Kansas City Public Library, and as part of that endeavor the library will have a film series called “The Reel Jane Austen” featuring some of the big-screen adaptations, nicely balancing the small-screen versions on PBS. The series will include P&P 1940 and 2005, S&S 1995, and Emma 1996. (No Persuasion 95? Quel dommage!)

In conjunction with Rocky Mountain Public Radio, Audrey Sprenger of the Denver Central Library will present a film and lecture series, Jane Austen, Literature’s Posthumous It Girl.

Created to supplement Masterpiece Theatre’s winter telecast of The Complete Jane Austen, this short cinematic and academic course will chronicle Austen’s slow but steady rise in popularity since the late 1800s, compare her to other It Girls like aviator Amelia Earhart and actresses Jean Seberg and Brigitte Bardot, critique Amy Heckerling’s Clueless, a Hollywood Teen Re-Make of Austen’s Emma and finally, explore Karen Joy Fowler’s The Jane Austen Book Club, a fictional take on why Austen’s work and persona still endures.

The Denver Central Library will have a free screening of the new adaptation of Persuasion on Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 2 p.m. to kick off the series.