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Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Face Off: Mansfield Park Film Adaptations

We're down to our final Austen movie Face Off, and this time we're taking on the universally disliked* Mansfield Park. I think everyone pretty much agrees that there's never been a truly good adaptation of this, but I think part of the difficulty lies in the fact that many of the characters aren't all that likable, which doesn't play well to audiences - change the characters, and it's not a good adaptation; keep them as is and people may not like them enough to watch... Dilemma.
But that's not today's dilemma. Today we're simply choosing the best of the worst. How you vote is up to you; you can choose based on which you enjoyed more, which you thought more accurate, which makes a better drinking game - doesn't matter to me, just give us your vote and your reasoning in the comments.
And no, you don't have to have seen both, or either - you can decide based off of the trailers (though unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a lengthy trailer for the newer version, so the best I could find was the quick Masterpiece Theatre promo clip).  So:
Which one did it better?


*By universally disliked, in this instance, I'm talking about the movies. But the book is certainly low on everyone's list too, so...if you disagree, feel free to go defend it or its characters in the FREE-FOR-ALL discussion!

Last Week on FFO: Versions of S&S went head to head, with the 1995 version coming out the winner, as expected. Unfortunately, I think it was based mostly on knee-jerk response (Emma Thompson! Kate Winslet! I've only seen that one!), but I do think if viewed together, the 2008 will blow '95 out of the water, much as I do like Thompson's work with the screenplay....
Winner --------->

Click here to be taken to the Austen in August Main Page! Fab button artwork c/o Antique Fashionista!


  1. Hmmm. I've seen both and I prefer the first film to the later one. This may be because the actress in the later one is associated in my mind with too many completely un-Fanny-like roles!
    Also, the first one's grown on me over time and I think that's partly because it spices up the book with glimpses of Fanny-as-Jane-Austen.

  2. I suffered through the 1995 Mansfield Park movie. When I saw the movie poster, I couldn't figure out if is was a movie about the book or a modern day adaptation. I blinked and nearly missed the 2007 version, (way too short and condensed).

    The only one I really like in terms of content is a multi-parter done by the BBC in 1986. The content is great there but the hair, (wigs), and costumes are a bit much, but they fit in with the production values of that time.

    The 1986 version was done as part of a JA series in the 70's and 80's, just like Masterpiece did in 2007. The different books all suffer from the same clothing and hair problem except P&P. P&P had excellent hair and clothes. All of the 2007 Masterpiece series seem rushed and tossed together quickly to me, but, I still own and watch all of them and the 1995 MP train wreck.

  3. Just wanted to say real quick that I love the new blog look!!

  4. I like the 1983 version the best, even with its sub-par production values. I do not like either of these versions, but if I had to choose one it would be 2007 because it didn't butcher the story *quite* as badly, in comparison.

    1999 tried to rewrite the story and didn't even do that very well. 2007 just didn't seem to care at all. No budget, inconsistent characterizations, just all around bla.

  5. Gotta say, I actually LOVE the 1995 version. I adore most of the actors, and I like that they totally changed Fanny's personality.

    The version with Billie Piper was AWFUL. Though, to be fair, she annoys the heck out of me with her dyed blonde hair and dark eye brows. ARGH.

    I may be alone, but I declare 1995 the winner!

  6. I haven't seen the 2007 version but I adoooore the 1995. Probably because I love Johnny Lee Miller and Frances O'Connor is the cooolest.

  7. It's hard to get over the fact that she has blonde hair and black eyebrows in the newer one, why on earth they didn't just colour her hair to match I don't know. I thought the older one took more liberties with the story but I liked the casting better. I think I probably preferred the newer one, eyebrows notwithstanding

  8. I guess I'll have to choose the one with Jonny Lee Miller, as that's the only one I've seen so far. I liked it fairly well, but when I saw it I hadn't yet read the book so didn't know how "off" it might be. There seemed to be a lot of creepy sexual tension between Fanny and Mary. (Don't get me wrong, I'm not homophobic but it just seemed like Fanny was so clueless about it and it made me feel bad and awkward for her, like Mary was taking advantage of her. Am I alone here?) I liked the casting.

  9. The 1999 adaptation of MP is hands down the best one in my opinion. The cast made this film. I actually fell in love with this story because of the cast's performance of each character with the exception of Julia Bertram. Alessandro Nivola reading an excerpt of A Sentimental Journey to Fanny Price still gives me chills. To me he is Henry Crawford. Oh dear I could go on and on about this film so I'll stop here. On a completely different note, just wanted to say that I recently found your blog via twitter and have really been enjoying your posts. Nice work lady! :)

  10. While I like how the earlier version includes some of Jane Austen's own speech from her letters and kind of meshes her personality with Fanny Price's, I think I prefer the newer version for the time being as it sticks more closely to the book. I like both, but yeah, Billie Piper comes closer to nailing Fanny's timid nature.

    BUT, saying that, this movie just has not been done properly. I would like to see a BBC version done that properly casts the roles, and actually sticks to the story, instead of ruining my beloved book with meshing people and dressing the characters wrong. (I mean really, look up Regency style dress! Billie Piper's Fanny is dressed so far behind the time's fashions it's aggravating!)

  11. Eh. Once again I've seen neither. The 1999 version seems to have a better cast and better costumes, but Fanny is not nearly shy enough. The 2007 version has a reserved Fanny, and seems to be more faithful to the spirit of book; but the costumes seem wrong to me.

    I don't know. I vote for the newer version.

  12. Enjoyed the '95 version. Or number 1. The second I didn't like at all. I think the female lead doesn't come across at all right. She seems like a blond with no brains and very flighty which I don't picture Fanny as at all.


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