Friday, October 31, 2008

Love's Long Journey

If you're a fan of the Little House on the Prairie books or tv series, or if you enjoy reading Janette Oke's novels, you'll probably like the Love Comes Softly movies. [Loosely] based on the Love Comes Softly series of books by Oke, they follow the story of the Clark family in 19th century pioneer America.

Love's Long Journey, the third movie in the series, tells of the adventure newlyweds Missie and Willie LaHaye undertook when they left their families and the place of their upbringing to pursue a new life in the West. 

The plot may sound familiar and predictable, but it's quite a sweet story, and is suitable for the whole family to enjoy. There are a couple of scary scenes with some violence, but other than that I can't remember anything objectionable.

Love's Long Journey will be telecast across Australia on Channel Seven at 12 noon on Monday 3 of November.

The next movie in the series, Love's Abiding Joy, will air two days later, on Wednesday 5 Nov.

For those of you who don't live in Australia, you can watch Love's Long Journey on Youtube, or better yet, buy the dvd!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Beautiful trees

Photo from Gardening Australia

Spring has sprung; indeed the weather is already uncomfortably warm sometimes, and it will very soon be summer. . .

Some of my favourite flowering trees are currently in full bloom. The wonderfully fragrant Native Frangipani (above), of which we are blessed to have 3 in our neighbourhood - one that is very large, one that is very small, and one that is somewhere in the middle. All of them are covered in gorgeous creamy flowers at the moment.

Now, this is possibly my favourite tree - the silky oak (above). It's not an oak at all, I believe they're  called silky oaks because of the beautiful timber they produce. There you go, a tree that is beautiful on the inside and the outside!

There are silky oak trees everywhere where I live, in town, and all over the countryside, but you don't really notice them until they start to bloom in October.

None of the photos I've got here really do them justice - they're such a bright, vivid shade of orangey-gold. 

Photo from

They are beautiful from a distance or at close hand. The foliage is silvery and fern-like, and the flowers are - interesting. Silky oaks are actually a  species of grevillea, but you don't realise it until you  examine them closely.

Orange is not my favourite colour - blue is! So why are silky oaks my favourite trees? I honestly have no idea. I don't know what it is -their brightness and vivacity, their curious mixture of ruggedness and grace. . . I'm not sure what it is in them that so captures my attention, all I know is that they're beautiful and I love looking at them. . . :-)

Click here for more gorgeous photos of these trees.

And of course jacarandas. . . jacarandas are absolutely beautiful, but I'm  afraid I'm a bit sick of them at the moment. I know I'm not being fair  on the poor trees, but I've just had enough purple for now.

Maybe I'm just a bit grumpy tonight, because it's impossible to deny that they are lovely trees. . .

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Wouldn't it be loverly. . .

Some of you may already be aware of this; but for those who weren't, Kevin Sullivan has written-directed-produced a fourth Anne of Green Gables movie. It's meant to be a prequel to the 1985 miniseries. Anne will be middle-aged (gasps! Anne - old? Hard to imagine!), looking back to her childhood, and reminiscing on the troubled years she endured before moving to Green Gables. Fans of the books, brace yourselves - from what I've heard, the plot takes it's own route without making any attempt to follow L.M. Montgomery's classic series. . .

There'll be no Megan Follows, sadly enough. Barbara Hershey will be the 'old' Anne, newcomer Hannah Endicott-Douglas will play the young Anne, and Shirley MacLaine will star as Amelia Thomas.

The miniseries is set to be aired in the U.S. in "fall 2008" - so presumably sometime within the next few weeks. 

Click here to see the official website - have a look at the photo gallery, if nothing else. I was practically drooling over the costumes. . . so beautiful! It might be worth watching for the costumes alone! 

In other news, a new film version of My Fair Lady is in the works. The release date is set to be sometime in 2010. Guess who's lined up to play Eliza Doolittle? Keira Knightley! I was a little shocked when I first heard - but after the news had sunk in, Keira seemed the most logical choice in the world to play the part. Audrey Hepburn was wonderful in the 1964 version, but Keira Knightley has, in some ways, become today's Audrey Hepburn. She's stunningly beautiful, she's a tremendously talented actress, and she is fast becoming a style icon in her own right. A worthy successor to Hepburn and Julie Andrews in playing Eliza Doolittle. She even looks a bit like Audrey Hepburn, when you think about it!

It will be interesting to see whether she sings or simply mouths someone else's vocals.  At first I thought  Keira Knightley - in a musical? They'll have to dub her voice, like they did with Audrey Hepburn. . . imagine my surprise when I learnt that in fact Keira has a rather good singing voice! It's true! Have a listen to this Youtube clip of her singing whilst on the set of one of her recent films,  The Edge of Love. Who'd have thought that she would have such a sweet singing voice? True, she's not going to be the next Mariah Carey or CeCe Winans, but she can more than carry a tune. I really hope she does sing in My Fair Lady.

Daniel Day-Lewis will be Keira's co-star, playing the eccentric Professor Henry Higgins.

You might be thinking "But with such a brilliant film version of this play already in existence, what would be the point of doing a remake?" Well, apparently they're hoping to flesh out Eliza Doolittle's character a bit more. They are also going to shoot most of the film in London itself (rather than some studio in California) to create a more authentic, believable Edwardian London for the movie. Emma Thompson is writing the screenplay (whoopee! It should be good, then. She did such a good job on Sense and Sensibility), and from what I understand the screenplay will be closer to George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion than the 1964 film. (The musical My Fair Lady was based on Pygmalion, so they're actually just going back to where it all started in the first place. . .)

Speaking of Keira Knightley - there were rumours that she would play the heroine, Catherine Earnshaw, in an upcoming film version of  Emily Bronte's classic Wuthering Heights. Actually, back in 2006 it was said that Angelina Jolie would play the part. Then it was Keira Knightley then - wait for it - Lindsay Lohan, then Natalie Portman, then Sienna Miller. . . Finally it has been confirmed that Australian actress Abbie Cornish will play the part.  Of course I'm pleased to see a fellow Aussie got the part *grins*, but aside from that, I'm rather glad that they picked a relative unknown - otherwise it would have been like "Oh, there's Angelina Jolie/Natalie Portman/whoever," everytime Catherine came onscreen.  Yes, I am glad that it will be an  (comparatively) unknown face playing Cathy. At least it won't be Lindsay Lohan! Not that I have  anything personal against Lindsay Lohan, but, well, I'm sure anyone who's remotely familiar with the character of Catherine Earnshaw will agree with me on this one. . .

Another lesser-known actor is slated in to play Heathcliff - German-Irish actor Michael Fassbender, despite early rumours that Johnny Depp would take the part. 

I'm not a massive fan of Wuthering Heights myself. It's mostly Heathcliff that I don't like. I get so frustrated with him, I just want to shake him, strangle him - "Heathcliff you doof, can't you see you're destroying Cathy's life?! If you really loved her you'd go away and leave her alone, rather than persist in tormenting the life out of her. . . GNGRRNG!" I do apologise to all Heathcliff fans - but I honestly just can't stand the man.

Wuthering Heights will be released sometime in 2010. What is it with all these 2010 films?! *Sighs* it's such a long time to wait! It will certainly be a year of (hopefully) good movies - Wuthering Heights, My Fair Lady, and, most importantly, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader!

Photo by Pete Barnes, from his blogspot

Oh, and while you're in a cinematical mood, have a look at's list of the best animated films of all time. You might be surprised to see which one comes in first!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Here's my new favourite recipe for gingernuts, taken from A Cook's Book of Baking: Butter, Sugar, Flour from Murdoch Books.


Makes 50

250 g (9 oz/2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon mixed (pumpkin pie)spice
125 g (4 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, chopped
185 g (6 1/2 oz/1 cup soft brown sugar
60 ml (2 fl oz/ 1/4 cup) boiling water
1 tablespoon golden syrup or maple syrup (I use treacle)

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F/Gas 4). Line two baking trays with baking paper.

2. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and mixed spice into a large bowl. Add the butter and sugar and rub into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

3. Pour the boiling water into a small heatproof jug, add the golden syrup and stir until dissolved. Add to the flour and mix to a soft dough with a flat-bladed knife. 

4. Roll into balls using 2 heaped teaspoons of mixture at a time. Place on the prepared trays, allowing room for spreading, and flatten out slightly with your fingertips. Bake for 15 minutes, or until well-coloured and firm. Cool on the trays for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining mixture. When cold, store in an airtight jar.

Also check out this recipe for banana bread - I tried it this week, and it's fantastic!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

For Robin Hood fans Down Under:

If you're a fan of the BBC's Robin Hood series, it's being telecast in Australia on ABC2 starting this Saturday (21st Oct.) at 6:30 p.m. Click here to view tv guide. It's going back to the beginning and starting with the first episode of the first series, so if you missed the first series (like we did), you could catch up now. If you haven't seen any of Robin Hood, give it a look - it comes as bit of a shock at first, seeing 21st century-isms and medievalism collide, but really it's a lot of fun and it has a good heart.

Castles, swordfights, dark forests, Richard Armitage. . . that's right, North and South fans, only this time John Thornton aka Mr. Armitage wears heaps of black leather and he's a baddie! It took me a while to get used to seeing RA as a villain rather than the hero, but thankfully he's equally good whether he's playing a cotton mill owner or an evil medieval knight.

Many thanks to my eagle-eyed brother, who happened to spot Robin Hood in the tv guide . . .

To see a child laugh is to witness joy unalloyed . . .

Check out this article. One of the more insightful opinion pieces you're likely to come across in the news these days!

"So when you next make a child laugh while feeding it crushed banana, treasure the encounter even more, for what you are witnessing is at once pure, beautiful and forever lost to you."

* * *

What are heavy? sea-sand and sorrow:
What are brief? today and tomorrow:
What are frail? spring blossoms and youth:
What are deep? the ocean and truth.

Christina Rossetti

Friday, October 17, 2008

Mansfield Park 1983

I hadn't previously bothered about what I considered the "old" BBC adaptations of Jane Austen's novels done pre-Pride and Prejudice 1995; however, viewing the great acting and quiet charm of Pride and Prejudice 1980 made me sit up and take note. Never again will  I dismiss a movie version of a favourite book simply because it's 'out-dated' or made on a less-than-lavish budget.

I recently finished watching the BBC's 1983 adaptation of Mansfield Park. I'm assuming that most of my readers are at least vaguely familiar with the plot of MP, but for those of you who aren't. . .

Jane Austen begins Mansfield Park by telling us the story of three sisters. 

Sister no.1 marries a Rev. Mr. Norris, a tolerably well-off clergyman.

Sister no.2 has the good fortune to captivate and marry the very wealthy Sir Thomas Bertram of Mansfield Park.

Sister no.3 marries a charming but penniless sailor by the name of Price, much to the consternation of sisters 1. and 2.

Fast-forward some twenty years: Mr. and Mrs. Norris are still childless. They live and work at Mansfield parsonage, very close by to Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram at Mansfield Park. Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram have four children: Tom, Edmund, Maria and Julia. Mrs Price (Sister 3) lives in poverty. Her charming sailor turned out to be bit of a good-for-nothing, and she now has half-a-dozen young children to care for. She writes to her wealthy Sister Bertram, begging for help. The Bertrams agree to help by taking on the care of one of the Price children.

And so it came to be that ten-year-old Fanny Price, the eldest girl, was sent to live with her wealthy cousins.

Fanny is a painfully shy, extremely timid child. Her relations mistake her shyness for ill manners. They simply do not understand her, and poor Fanny doesn't receive a very warm welcome. The only one who is kind to her, the one person who takes the time to listen and understand is Fanny's cousin, Edmund.

Young Fanny and Edmund walking together in the ground of Mansfield Park

Fast-forward another nine years: the four Bertram children are now quite grown-up. Tom has grown into a very irresponsible young man. Edmund has grown to be a very responsible young man. Maria and Julia are beautiful and accomplished, ready to enter the 'marriage market' of Regency society.

Fanny is now nineteen, and as quiet and timid as ever. She and Edmund are still very good friends - indeed, her feelings for him are beginning to grow into something beyond what one would normally feel for a cousin and friend. . .

Fanny Price, played by Sylvestra le Touzel

During this most interesting time in the lives of the five young cousins, several notable events unfold:

1. Sir Thomas travels to the West Indies to see to his estate in Antigua. He takes his son, Tom, with him.

2. Maria Bertram get engaged to a Mr. Rushworth, an exceedingly rich, exceedingly stupid young man.

3. Two new arrivals come to stay in the neighbourhood - brother and sister Henry and Mary Crawford, bringing with them all the sophistication and worldliness of London society.

The two Bertram girls promptly fall in love with Mr. Crawford; Maria despite her engagement to Mr. Rushworth. Meanwhile, Edmund seems to be falling for the glamorous Miss Crawford. . . Fanny is the beholder and observer of all of this. 

OK, I won't go an further - I don't want to spoil it for anyone who doesn't know the story, and I don't want to bore any who do know how the story ends.

There have been three film/TV adaptations of MP made in recent years. ITV produced a short TV movie based on MP as part of their "Jane Austen Season". It was OK for what it was, I guess. It's main flaws were a. it was too short, only 90 minutes, b. Billie Piper was entirely miscast as Fanny Price, and c. it was clearly made on a very slim budget - the whole thing was shot at just one location!

The 1999 film probably needn't even be mentioned here. Basically, the director, Patricia Rozema, took the title and the characters of the book (and the name of the author - the name of Jane Austen has become a great selling point), and twisted and changed both characters and plot to suit her own agenda. It's not a bad film, but it really isn't a proper adaptation of Mansfield Park at all.

And so we come to Mansfield Park 1983, a five hour, six-episode miniseries. Opinion seems to be divided over MP83. It seems you'll either like it, or you won't. 

Mansfield Park is not Jane Austen's most popular novel, but it is, I think, one of her best. It is a very moral book. Fanny Price is a very moral heroine. In no way could she be interpreted as a feminist (mind you, people have tried to mould her into feminist, but they couldn't so it without changing her character completely). She does not fit our ideal of a modern, independent woman. I think that all partially explains MP's lack of popularity today. If someone is going to make a film version of Mansfield Park today, they seem to feel that they have to change Fanny to make her acceptable for modern audiences. They feel they have to re-work Mansfield Park so that heroine and story fall in line with our modern sensibilities and secular worldview.

This is understandable. However, I will confess that it has been a source of some irritation to me in the past - this compulsion felt by modern film-makers to change Fanny.

All the above made me all the more appreciative of the willingness shown by the makers of MP83 to accept MP for the book that it is, and Fanny for the heroine that she is. If only film-makers today would be brave enough to do likewise. Honestly we're as bad as the Bertrams - we simply won't love and accept Fanny for who she is.

Fanny waiting. . .

The actress who played Fanny in MP83 seemed to understand Fanny's character. Her acting was perhaps less than remarkable at times, but at least her interpretation of Fanny's character was correct.

Most of the other actors were good. Jackie Smith-Wood as Mary Crawford, Bernard Hepton as Sir Thomas, Jonathan Stephens as Mr. Rushworth, and Samantha Bond as Maria Bertram were all good. Nicholas Farrell was excellent as Edmund. I do think that Blake Ritson from the more recent ITV Mansfield Park looked more like Edmund, but Farrell's acting was superior - he played the part better. (Or so I thought!)

But the actress who played Lady Bertram - ugh! She played the part as though Lady Bertram was a loony, or an alcoholic, or worse. . .I found her a bit annoying at times. Maybe she was trying to bring a bit of comic relief to this otherwise very serious production, but she only succeeded in being weird, not funny.

The other actor who I thought was seriously miscast was Robert Burbage as Henry Crawford. His acting was below par, and he wasn't nearly as charming or magnetic as Henry Crawford needs to be. This was a serious drag on the series. Crawford supplies much of the energy and momentum in Mansfield Park. Getting the right person playing the part was crucial, and here they failed.

My only other major complaint after viewing this series: the terrible, shocking, dreadful wigs! I can think of no adjective expressive enough to describe my horror of the wigs worn by those poor actors. Jackie Smith-Wood (Mary Crawford) was quite attractive, but her wig all but spoiled her appearance. The wig worn by the dude who played Mr. Yates was so bad, it was hilarious. Edmund's wig was also badly done.

Fanny riding

Other than that, I found MP83 to be a satisfying adaptation of one of my favourite books. The chemistry between the two leads was a little lacking, but performances from most of the other actors were quite good. The cinematography was  - well - hmmm. The sound engineering - ditto. But what do you expect from a low budget production made in  1983?  Really, it's not all that bad.

So, even with all my little quibbles, if I had to give this production a rating out of 10, it would be somewhere around 8. They stuck to the text of the novel, kudos to them for that. It's an earnest, faithful adaptation of a great book, and this shines through in spite of all its shortcomings.

In the end, if you've read the book, you'll appreciate this long, in-depth version of MP. If you haven't read the book - shame on you! Skip to it and read the book. Definitely read the book before you watch this or any other film or tv version of Mansfield Park.

Mary Crawford, Edmund, and Fanny eating dinner

Fun Trivia

Costume drama fans may spot a few familiar faces in MP83!

* Sylvestra le Touzel (Fanny Price), played Mrs. Allan in Andrew Davies' recent adaptation of Northanger Abbey. She also plays the part of Marianne Thornton in the movie Amazing Grace.

*Jonny Lee Miller (Charles Price, younger brother of Fanny) ended up being in two versions of Mansfield Park - he played Edmund Bertram in Mansfield Park 1999.

* Samantha Bond (Maria Bertram) played Mrs. Weston in Emma 1996 (the Kate Beckinsale one).

* Bernard Hepton (Sir Thomas Bertram) played alongside Samantha Bond in Emma 1996. He played the part of Mr. Woodhouse, Emma's father.

Click here to watch Mansfield Park 1983 online.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Bridge Over the Marne at Creteil, by Cezanne

Cezanne is one of those artists whose paintings have taken a long time to grow on me. When I first studied his works I honestly didn't like them very much. The masterpieces of Monet and the other Impressionists held more instant appeal - Cezanne's paintings seemed dull and sometimes strange by comparison. But after many months, perhaps years, of casually observing his paintings in books and the like, I am finally learning to appreciate the genius and brilliance of Cezanne. I particularly like his landscapes. Above is one of my favourites out of the many landscapes painted by Cezanne.

It is a picture of such simple, serene beauty. The exquisite shades of blue and green in the sky and the trees, reflected in the water, combine to create an image of loveliness and tranquility.

And yet, there is depth to it - this is not a painting of fleeting, superficial sparkle. As with so many of Cezanne's paintings, there is an underlying sense of solidity and strength. And of endurance - one gets the feeling that this is a painting that will endure.

A fascinating painting by one of the great masters of modern art.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Whatever it be that keeps the finer faculties of the mind awake, wonder alive, and the interest above mere eating and drinking, money-making and money-saving; whatever it be that gives gladness, or sorrow, or hope, be it violin, pencil, pen . . . is simply a divine gift of holy influence for the salvation of that being to whom it comes, for the lifting of him out of the mire and up on the rock.

George MacDonald

Friday, October 10, 2008

An unnerving experience

It happened the other night. I had just published my post about Pride and Prejudice (It was quite late - bad habit of mine, staying up late blogging), and I went to the bathroom to have a nice, hot shower. I was in a very pleasant, upbeat state of mind, as I usually am when I have just finished a new post. . .

I got into the shower and had just turned the water on, when I saw. . . IT. A remarkably large cockroach, perched opposite me inside the shower. 

I am proud to say that I did not scream - it did give me a bit of a fright, though! I calmly (yeah right! OK, so maybe I wasn't all that calm. . .) turned the water off and looked around for some large, hard object with which I could smash the darn thing. I found my large hard object. I took aim - and SMASHED!

Unfortunately I missed. The cockroach skuttled away, up to the top of the shower screen, then jumped down onto the counter below, upon which I had placed my pyjamas. I stepped out of the shower, and proceeded to carefully shake out my pyjamas, holding them at arms length to make sure no cockroaches got on me. Thankfully, Mr. Cockroach was not hiding in my PJs.

I never did find out where he went - cockroaches have an uncanny ability to squeeze through tiny nooks and crannies. . . he could be anywhere in our house now. I only hope I do not chance to encounter him again, at least not for a good while. . .

It is a true credit to the genius and creativity of Disney and Pixar that they were able to make cockroaches cute in movies such as Enchanted and WALL - E. I quite adore cockroaches in Disney films; just not in real life.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A different version of P&P

A little while ago I wrote a post in which I compared two different film adaptations of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Well, I wrote that post before I had had the pleasure of viewing a third adaptation of Pride and Prejudice - P&P80! As it turns out, the BBC produced a five-part miniseries of Pride and Prejudice back in 1980! 

I had been aware for some time that there was an ‘old’ version of Pride and Prejudice that had been done sometime in the ‘80s, but I hadn't taken it very seriously. I half-expected that it would have dreadfully historically inaccurate costumes (like the 1940s P&P with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier!) straying far from the novel, and suffering from a tiny budget.
I could scarcely have been more wrong.

A couple of weeks ago I was browsing online, and I happened to read somewhere that the 1980 Pride and Prejudice was very, very good - even (in the opinion of some) better than the 1995 one with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle! I went to Amazon to have a look at some of the customer reviews for P&P80, and much to my surprise, most of them were very positive! I was a little hesitant to buy the DVD set without first watching the series for myself, so my next stop was, of course, Youtube. After much searching, I finally found it (it won't come up if you just search for "Pride and Prejudice 1980"!). Over the course of the next few days, mostly during our recent holiday, I watched all five episodes. 

I'll try to outline my verdict below. I know I should only judge the movie against the book, but really it's almost impossible to avoid comparisons with P&P95 and '05. . .

Elizabeth Bennet (Elizabeth Garvie)

Possibly the best thing about this movie is Elizabeth Garvie as Elizabeth Bennet. Yes that's right, an Elizabeth playing an Elizabeth! But seriously, Garvie does a wonderful job playing Miss Elizabeth Bennet. I still prefer Keira Knightley in the role, but Garvie is now a very close second in my list of favourite Lizzys. In terms of outward appearance, at least, she certainly looks the part - indeed, she looks almost exactly how Austen describes Lizzy. 

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy (David Rintoul)

It took a little while for me to warm to David Rintoul as Mr. Darcy. Sure, he's much better looking than either Colin Firth or Matthew MacFadyen, but he seemed so wooden at first - I know Mr. Darcy is supposed to be cold and stiff at the beginning, but Rintoul seemed so very inexpressive and passionless. It wasn't until right at the end of the movie that I finally started to like him. (Then again, you could argue that that's the way it supposed to be - Lizzy didn't like him at first, either!) I think you really have to watch his eyes to get an idea of what he's feeling. Not easily done when you're watching a blocky, grainy Youtube video, which is one of the reasons why I'm anxious to get the DVDs - so I can actually see the expressions on each of the actors’ faces! 

Gorgeous scenery

Most of the supporting cast were excellent. For the first time in any adaptation of P&P that I have seen, they finally got Mr. Collins's character right! Mr. Collins is described in the novel as being a "Tall, heavy looking young man of five and twenty." (Volume 1 chapter XIII.) David Bamber, (Mr. Collins from P&P95) aside from not looking at all like Mr. Collins, got the character of Collins all wrong! I have a lot of respect for Bamber as an actor, having seen him in several films and BBC productions, including The Railway Children (2000), Miss Potter (2006), and Robin Hood (2006-present); but in this instance, I just don't think he nailed the personality or mannerisms of Mr. Collins. He portrayed Collins as a horribly slimy, positively evil man! Mr. Collins is supposed to be just plain stupid, not evil! OK, so he's not a very pleasant character, but he's not meant to be the villain!

Malcolm Rennie as Collins in P&P80 was, I thought, just about perfect. He looked exactly the way Mr. Collins is supposed to look, and was hilariously stupid whenever he appeared.

Judy Parfitt as Lady Catherine de Bourgh also deserves a mention. Lady Catherine is a rather nosy person who enjoys telling other people how they ought to run their lives, even down to the seemingly inconsequential minutiae of daily life. This is an aspect of her character which none of the other versions of P&P I have seen seemed to pick up on, but it was very well elaborated on here.

Moray Watson and Priscilla Morgan were also superb as Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, respectively. 

The five Bennet sisters

This particular production was made on a much lower budget than either P&P95 or '05, and, frankly, it shows.

I was aware that this would be the case before I started watching; and I braced myself, expecting the worst. In the end, though, I was pleasantly surprised. The costumes were really not that bad - many of them were very beautiful, in fact. The indoor sets were pretty basic, but by no means terrible, and the beautiful English countryside lent a richness to all of the outdoor scenes. Just don't go into this expecting the stunning, lush production values of P&P05 or Sense and Sense and Sensibility '95. Expect the worst and you'll enjoy it a whole lot more.

All things considered, this version of Pride and Prejudice probably wouldn't be as appealing for the average viewer as either of the more recent adaptations, but dedicated fans of the novel will find a lot to like here. They picked up certain nuances of the book that none of the other film or TV versions seem to have noticed. There were one or two little things that I think they misinterpreted (or should I say their interpretation of these characters/scenes was simply different than mine!). Predictably, whenever the screenplay diverged from the book, the result rang a false note. However, these issues were minor ones and did not detract from my enjoyment of the movie.

Definitely worth a look for devotees of Jane Austen's wonderful book.

For more information on this miniseries, go to - check out the "P&P80 v. P&P95 smackdown" , it's a lot of fun.

This wonderful Youtube user has posted all of P&P80 online. Click here to watch part 1 of the first episode.

Pride and Prejudice 1980 is available at for the very palatable price of $10.99 US.

And they lived happily ever after :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Top 100 books of all time?

Image from

The Sydney Morning Herald have released their list of the 'Top 100 books of all time'. Go and check it out! I was thrilled to see some of my favourite classics make the list - Persuasion, North and South, even Little Women, amongst others.

I suppose my only question is WHERE ON EARTH IS THE LORD OF THE RINGS??!!! I think it's ludicrous that they've listed Harry Potter at #1 but have excluded other children's fantasy classics such as The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings.

EDIT: Since I first posted the link above, The Sydney Morning Herald have edited the article. Apparently, the list was compiled by Angus and Robertson books. 26 000 people took a poll, where they voted for their favourite books from a list provided by A&R. The Lord of the Rings may not have been on that list, hence people taking the poll would not have been able to vote for it; in which case it was a bit unfair of me to rant about LotR being excluded from the list. I am at least glad to see three Jane Austen books voted into the top 100 - it would seem the Janeite community is alive and well Down Under.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Home again!

Hello all! I had a lovely time away (no schoolwork - yessss! I am enjoying the school holidays!) but I'm home again now, and will hopefully get back in touch with the blogosphere asap.

We all had a nice, relaxing time. Some of the others were lucky enough to see a few whales! I missed out :-( *sighs* why did I choose to stay home and not go the beach that night?! It's been several years since I last saw a whale. . . I'll see one again sometime. Beyond walking along the beach, getting my feet wet and feeling sand between my toes, I spent quite a bit of time reading. I'm blessed to have grandparents who share my love of books, and they have a beautiful collection of books old and new at their house. I'll never run out of books to read - when I finish all mine I'll still have all of my grandparent's books to enjoy! My grannie lent me a great big biography of Mary Queen of Scots -

Sorry it's a bit blurry. . . I've read the first chapter or two, and it is absolutely fascinating - I am very much enjoying it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

On Holidays

We have a couple of birthdays in the family over the next week, and to celebrate, we're having the weekend with my grandparents at the beach! We're all staying at their house in a little village on the coast - it's my second favourite place in the world, besides home.

Now, over the coming days, one of two scenarios will no doubt unfold: either (a) I will be too busy enjoying myself to post anything on here, and you won't hear from me for some time or (b) I will spend a lot of time relaxing fiddling around with my new laptop, and will write many lengthy posts during our brief holiday.

Well, we'll just have to wait and see how things go!

I've decided to give my series on Feminine Inspiration a break for now. I'll still write about art, but it will be within a different context. In fact, I haven't written so much about my favourite paintings as I may otherwise have done lately, because you've already been getting a weekly dose of "Finding Feminine Inspiration", and I haven't wanted to bore you with too many paintings! I may revive F.F.I. sometime - again, we'll just have to wait and see what happens. 

Many Blessings, 

The Editrix