Thursday, April 30, 2009

Why period drama?

Pride and Prejudice 2005

Seeing this brief comment about my blog (you have to scroll right down) set me thinking: where does my passion for period drama stem from? The person on this forum rightly asserted that I don't watch very many non-costume drama movies or TV series. That isn't to say that I don't watch any films other than costume dramas - I enjoy a wide variety of movies, from fantasy epics such as The Lord of the Rings (although technically I suppose LOTR itself is a costume movie :P) to animated films like WALL-E, etc. Having so many younger brothers and sisters, I am inevitably subjected to a great many animated movies whether I like it or not!

But the proportion of non-costume drama films I watch is far outweighed by the number of costume films that I see. Why is this so? Why is it that I (and countless other women) have this curious obsession with costume drama? I'll try to sort out my thoughts and give some kind of explanation below.

*I am without a doubt more of a bookworm than a movie buff. I have had a great love for books and, more particularly, the classics, for over ten years - that's over half my lifetime! :P (For non-regular readers, I just turned 17.) Hence it comes as no surprise that almost all of my favourite movies are adaptations of my favourite books. This is perhaps the single most important factor to consider when trying to map out the reasons for my costume drama obsession. My love of Jane Austen books and films go hand in hand. If I had never read any of Jane Austen's books, I might still enjoy Jane Austen movies, but I almost certainly wouldn't appreciate them as fully as I do now.

Lorna Doone 2000

*I am a conservative Christian - many of my values and morals are "old-fashioned", or would be considered so by many. Thus it makes sense that I should love old-fashioned movies! In modern, contemporary romance novels and chick flicks, I might love some aspects of the story and/or characters, but often there will be one - or several - jarring notes that partly spoil it for me. In books and movies set in the first years of the 20th century or earlier, innocence and purity in relationships was highly valued. Not so today! 

Sense and Sensibility 2008

*Classics are classics for a reason. They have withstood the test of time - generation after generation of  readers have thrilled to these stories. When you're making a movie based on one of the classics, you have one great advantage - the story is pretty much guaranteed to be a good one! Of course there is some work to be done in translating from the book to the screen, but unless the screenwriter has made sweeping changes to the characters and plot, you can rest assured the story will be engaging and entertaining - or profound and challenging, depending upon which author you are working from! (Jane Austen is great, George Eliot is a different kettle of fish altogether! But both authors were brilliant at what they did.)

North and South 2004

*Escapism. There's nothing wrong with this - it is partly what movies are for, after all! To entertain us, capturing our imaginations and transporting us to a world different than our own. Some costume movies are brilliant at doing this - P&P 2005 comes to mind. However, most period films are also very relevant to us today - times may change, but people don't. Fashions come and go, but themes of true love triumphing over all, good v. evil, etc. ring as true today as they did hundreds of years ago. It can be something of a revelation to see this - another one of the reasons why I love period drama. It brings different historical periods to life, making us realise that people were just the same "back then" as they are today.

EDIT: a couple of comments left by readers made me realise that escapism was perhaps not the right word to use in this instance! Consistently trying to escape from reality is not a good or healthy thing. However, simply taking a "time out" from our everyday lives to enjoy a good movie - I don't believe there is anything wrong with this. A really good movie can leave you feeling rejuvenated and inspired - Amazing Grace is a great example of this. I left the cinema with a big grin on my face, feeling so incredibly inspired by this retelling of Wilberforce's life!

Looking back to the War years and the Great Depression - it may have been a very difficult time in most people's lives, but it was essentially the "Golden Age" of cinema! It will be interesting to see how the current economic crisis affects our movie-watching and cinema-going habits. . . I dare not hope that we'll see a second Golden Age, but I think we'll definitely see a change of trends in the movies being made.

Sense and Sensibility 1995

*I'll readily admit that some of my reasons for liking costume drama are comparatively superficial. The costumes, the sweeping landscapes, the grand old castles and stately homes, the gorgeous soundtracks, the good-looking guys in cravats. . . these elements are not necessary for a good costume drama - what really matters is the acting and the script - but they certainly don't hurt, either! ;-)


Those are some of the reasons that I was able to come up with. Why do you love costume drama? Or, conversely, if you're not a fan, why do you not like it?

Current Mood: Thoughtful

Yay! - it's Andrew Davies, come to save us! *sarcasm*

Andrew Davies comes to the rescue once again, bringing one of Jane Austen's "worst" novels back from the brink of mediocrity. AD "spices it up", inserting all manner of lurid dream sequences, saving Northanger Abbey 2007 from the shame and disgrace of being G-rated and totally family-friendly. Where would we poor Jane Austen fans be without Mr. Davies to "fix up" all of Austen's books - because of course he knows, he understands what Jane Austen was trying to get across with each passage of her books, and now he does her (and us) the favour of re-interpreting her novels in a truly wonderful (read: appalling) way.

He does the same thing with Dickens, too - Andrew knew exactly what Dickens meant, even when Dickens himself didn't. Yes, Andrew Davies understands Austen's and Dickens' characters better than the authors themselves ever did. (See Miss Wade's character in the new adaptation of Little Dorrit.)

*Snaps out of sarcastic rant*

Okay, sorry if that was a bit over-the-top.

My copy of Northanger Abbey finally arrived yesterday. I bought it from someone on eBay in the UK a couple of weeks ago. Much to my annoyance, it won't play on my laptop. I've had no trouble playing region 1 (U.S.) DVDs on my laptop - but now it refuses to play my region 2 (UK) copy of NA. So, I had to watch it on the tv set with all my younger brothers and sisters. Trouble was, I couldn't remember where the more objectionable scenes were - so I ended up just fast-forwarding through all the dream scenes, which meant we missed out on quite a bit of the movie. *Sighs*. . . We watched the first half of it yesterday, and we'll probably see the rest of it today. 

BTW - I don't really dislike Andrew Davies. I think, like most Janeites, I have a sort of love-hate relationship with him. On the one hand, he tried his very best to muck up NA 07 and S&S 08 (both films turned out to be not that bad, in spite of AD's best efforts) - but on the other hand, he did a darn good job on P&P 95, where he managed to restrain himself to the lake scene, with practically no scenes of a suggestive nature.

Hope you're all having a great day! I am having a tolerably good day - I've got a cold. I hate colds. . . 

Current Mood: Sick

Monday, April 27, 2009

Poll results

Well, the results are in. Thankyou to everyone who voted in the poll! It was very interesting seeing what you all voted for. I was quite surprised by some of the results!

*More than 50% of you said you wanted more costume drama posts. Very fortunate, because I love writing about costume films!

*Only 13% voted for art posts. What's wrong with you people! Can't appreciate fine art? :P I'm just joking, of course! :-D 

*44% percent of you voted for book posts. Again, this is excellent, because I thoroughly enjoy writing about my favourite books. :-) 44% of you also said you want to hear more about me talking about myself. . . hmm. . . this is quite a broad category. What, specifically, do want to hear about?

*I was quite surprised to find that 26% and 24% of you voted for quotes/Scripture verses and links to other websites respectively. I might have to begin featuring my favourite quotes and verses again! And I'm glad to hear that you like it when I post links to other fun websites - sometimes I feel a tad lame when I post a post solely about some website or other - but it seems you don't mind. Good!

Thanks again everyone for voting! I was very pleased (and in some cases a little intrigued) with the results that came in.

Current Mood: Crazy

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thankyou! :-)

I just want to say a big "Thankyou!" to everyone who follows my blog. Today we cracked the 30 mark for the first time! 

Every time someone new starts following, I get so excited! It really does bless me to know that you enjoy reading my blog. :-)

Current Mood: Touched

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Re-labeling posts

I've been going through my archives re-labeling some of my posts. Unfortunately, the only way to do this is to edit then re-publish my posts - so for those of you who are 'followers', you'll probably get a heap of my posts on your blogger dashboard, saying they have been newly published, when in fact they are old posts. . . I'm very sorry for the inconvenience. 

Photos from the set of Emma 2009

Click here to view the photos at The Republic of Pemberley.

Romola Garai and Jodhi May are both looking gorgeous! I love the colour scheme for the costumes - very autumn-ish. The BBC are planning to air Emma '09 in autumn this year - that's in the northern hemisphere, of course.

Still no sign of Mr. Knightley/Jonny Lee Miller. . .

Current mood: Moody

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fashion dilemma. . . HELP!

How do you combine long skirts and modest tops with the fashion of today??? I've recently been going through my wardrobe, getting myself organised [edit: trying to get myself organised!] for the coming winter, trying to figure out what I need to buy and what I could get rid of.

I love the trench coats and warm woollen coats that are everywhere in stores this winter, but most of them seem to be designed to be worn with jeans. I don't wear jeans! This is the problem I'm stuck with - I like nice clothes, how do I reconcile them with "my" style?

I know many of you are young women of God who desire to please God in this area of your lives - how do you reconcile STYLE with MODESTY on a BUDGET?

Any ideas or suggestions? Any photos or links?

From your frazzled, frustrated friend,

Edit: I just realised this is the 150th post for Ribbons of Light!! Yay

Current mood: Frustrated

Friday, April 17, 2009

Emma 2009: filming started!

Chilham, Kent, currently being used as the backdrop for the BBC's new Emma adaptation.

Yep, they've started shooting! Click here to watch a video of the set. What a gorgeous setting! Perfect for Highbury. :-) What do you all think of the costumes? From what I've seen, they look gorgeous!

Current Mood: Impressed

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Emma 2009 cast update: Part III

I hope you're not getting sick of all the Emma updates. . . 

Blake Ritson (Edmund Bertram in Mansfield Park 2007) will play Mr. Elton. My first thought when I heard this was "No! He looks way too nice to be Mr. Elton!" - I wasn't overly impressed by his acting in MP07, but he was admittedly very good-looking. . . too good-looking to be Mr. Elton, I thought. . . but then, I suppose Mr. Elton is supposed to be handsome. I'm still not sure about this one, though.

Christina Cole (Caroline Bingley in Lost in Austen, Blanche Ingram in Jane Eyre 2006) will play Mrs Elton. I think she'll be perfect. :-)

Rupert Evans (Frederick Hale in North and South) will play Frank Churchill. Yes, yes, yes!! He's got just got just right balance of charm and roguishness to play Frank. Let's just hope they don't give him a horrible wig like they did to the Frank Churchills in the 1996 versions.

Laura Pyper will play Jane Fairfax. I really don't know much about this actress at all. She has a very delicate kind of beauty - quite different to the other Jane Fairfaxes we've seen. I'll be interested to see her perfermance in this production.

Louise Dylan will play Harriet Smith. She looks perfect for the part. :-)

So - I'm thrilled with pretty much all of these casting choices, except maybe Blake Ritson. Still, he might turn out to be okay as Mr. Elton. 


Current Mood: Hopeful

Victorian etiquette quiz

This is very charming and absolutely hilarious. Common courtesy doesn't change much through the years, but I did get caught on some of the questions! I managed to get 951 out of 1000 points after playing the game as a lady then as a gentleman. 

One more thing - I'm sure a lot of you have already seen this, but if you haven't, you must watch it! So inspiring - I was smiling the whole time I watched it, and I was close to tears more than once.

Current Mood: Indescribable

EDIT: I am so sorry the link to the quiz wasn't working before!! I've fixed it up now.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

My Top 10 Literary Heroes

This is inspired by the post at Lights, Camera. . . History!, a beautiful costume drama blog which I discovered just a couple of days ago.

Some of the following are guys who I've fallen completely in love with. Others are just nice guys who are very deserving heroes in their own right, even though I may not have a crush on them, per se.

Sorry if I was a little bit cheeky in this post! :-D With so many handsome heroes around, it can be hard for a girl to stay sensible and sober all the time. . . 


#1: Henry Tilney by JJ Feild in Northanger Abbey. My favourite Austen hero. Henry Tilney is, of all the heroes I have ever come across, the most charming, adorable, funny, kind, good-natured. . . etc. etc. What's more, he's a pastor - he may be a bit of a tease at times, but one thing he does take seriously is his Christian faith  - he loves God. Henry is the nicest guy imaginable - but he isn't nice in a boring or bland way. Even my parents would approve of him! I'm not sure what my family would say if I brought home someone like Rochester. . . or Boromir. . . nah, I'm just kidding - I think pretty much all of the characters listed here are good and honourable enough to meet with even Mum and Dad's approval! Well, back to Henry - I heart Henry Tilney big time! Catherine Morland is a very lucky girl.

#2: Colonel Brandon by David Morissey in Sense and Sensibility. I always have trouble choosing between Colonel Brandon and Henry Tilney. I  think I would be more likely to fall for Henry - he's a lot younger, funnier, and better-looking than the Colonel - but every time I read or watch S&S, I just fall in love with Colonel Brandon all over again. :-)

#3: John Thornton by Richard Armitage in North and South. Every woman's favourite HCMO (Handsome Cotton Mill Owner). Richard Armitage gave an amazing performance as Mr. Thornton, giving Mr. Darcy a run for his money as the world's favourite brooding, handsome hero. Thorton isn't as snobbish as Darcy - he isn't an aristocrat, rather, he worked his way into his position. He is an honest, earnest, hard-working man with a good heart underneath the gruff exterior. Plus he's got a gorgeous Northern accent. What's not to love?

#4: Fitwilliam Darcy by Matthew MacFadyen in Pride and Prejudice. I could very easily have included all of Austen's heroes here, but I limited myself to just three. Charity will probably be a bit miffed with me for not including Mr. Knightley/Jeremy Northam. ;-) I know I'm in the minority here, but I prefer MacFadyen's Darcy over Colin Firth's. I've always been partial to blue eyes. But seriously, I just prefer MacFadyen's interpretation of Darcy's character.

#5: Boromir by Sean Bean in The Lord of The Rings. Possibly my favourite character from LOTR. Boromir is the closest thing to a romantic hero that LOTR has to offer. Brave, fearless in battle, with a good heart - but he is also very vulnerable, with a fatal weakness that will eventually lead to his demise. Plus he's played by Sean Bean. Need I say more? :-D I must have a thing for big noses, LOL - first Richard Armitage, now Sean. . .

#6: Edward Rochester by Timothy Dalton in Jane Eyre. Timothy Dalton is by far my favourite Rochester. I never really liked Edward Rochester that much in the book or the other movie adaptations I've seen, but I loved Dalton's portrayal of Rochester. He brought so much passion and charisma to the role - the chemistry between Dalton and Zelah Clarke (Jane Eyre) was amazing. Just goes to show, you don't need graphic love scenes to get the air crackling with chemistry! All you need is good acting! Duh! Modern film-makers, take note. . . 

#7: Caspian X by Ben Barnes in The Chronicles of Narnia. First let me make one thing clear: I loved Caspian in the books, but I don't like him nearly as much in the movie. With all the early hype surrounding Ben Barnes, I went in to the cinema expecting to be swept off my feet by this handsome prince - it didn't happen. But I still like the Caspian of the books. Handsome, brave, a bit cheeky, and a born leader.

#8: Daniel Deronda by Hugh Dancy in Daniel Deronda. A sensitive, caring, compassionate gentleman. In fact, he is so sensitive and kind that he was almost in danger of becoming a goodie-two-shoes - thankfully Hugh Dancy's wonderful performance ensured Daniel's likeable-ness. He is also remarkably gorgeous, and quite a good singer - one of my favourite scenes in the movie is the river scene, when he rescues Mirah. . . 

#9: Gilbert Blythe in the Anne of Green Gables series. I'll readily admit I've never had anything like a crush on Gilbert. He is awfully nice, though, and he is the perfect match for Anne. He isn't my favourite L.M. Montgomery hero - but unfortunately none of her other books have been made into decent movies. Still, Jonathan Crombie as Gilbert seemed quite huggable and adorable, and he and Megan Follows (Anne) were so sweet together.

#10: Roger Hamley in Wives and Daughters. The first time I watched Wives and Daughters, I wasn't particularly struck by any of the male leads. Over time, however, I've grown to like Roger a bit more. I always get annoyed with him when he falls for Cynthia, but he is so sweet and kind towards Molly, that by the time he finally wakes up and realises that it's Molly he loves, I am more than willing to forgive him.


Who are your favourite heroes? Tell me in the comments, or, if you have a blog, write your own post! I won't make this into an official tag, but if you'd like to write a post listing your favourite heroes, please go ahead, then let me know so that I can have a look at your list!

Current Mood: Mischievous


I hope you are all having a blessed and holy Easter. Every year, I am again blown away by the depth of God's love for us. It's so easy for me to get off-track and lose my perspective - I'm so thankful we have this special time of the year to take time out and reflect on God's amazing love and the sacrifice his son Jesus made for us.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Emma 2009 cast: Update

Have a look at this press release from the BBC. It announces the casting of:

Jodhi May as Mrs. Weston

Robert Bathurst as Mr. Weston

and Tamsin Greig as Miss Bates.

I am delighted with the casting of Jodhi May as Mrs. Weston. I thought she was amazing - and absolutely beautiful! - as Mirah Lapidoth in Daniel Deronda. As for the other two actors - I can't say I've ever heard of either of them. . . although apparently Robert Bathurst plays one of the characters in an old version of Wind in Willows that I've seen. . . not sure if that really counts, though. Anyways, they both look right, which is good, of course. BUT JONNY LEE MILLER TOTALLY DOESN'T LOOK RIGHT AS MR. KNIGHTLEY!!! *Sulks* Why? Why, why, why did they cast him as Knightley. . . :-(((

For a more complete, comprehensive, coherent post about this, head over to Old Fashioned Charm.  You could also check out the post at Austenblog.

Current Mood: Angry
(angry with the BBC for casting JLM.)

Recipes, recipes, recipes. . .

I have a second blog! Sort of. I am now an author on the blog Recipes from the Attic, a blog formed by several girls from the Rebelution forums. Last year, I started a thread on the forums for sharing recipes - the thread grew to be 11 pages long. . . recently, someone suggested that we started a blog for all the recipes we had collected - and so the Recipes blog was created!

Quite a few of you have voted in my poll asking for more recipes on my blog. Well, feel free to check out this new blog - I've already posted one or two of my favourite recipes on there, and I plan to post more soon.

Current Mood: Contemplative

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Emma 2009: Cast announced!!!

Well, some of the cast anyway.

*Romola Garai (Daniel Deronda, Amazing Grace) will play Emma Woodhouse

*Jonny Lee Miller (Edmund Bertram in Mansfield Park 1999)  will play Mr. Knightley

*Sir Michael Gambon (way too many movies to list here) has been cast as Mr. Woodhouse, Emma's father.

My thoughts: Romola Garai - yes, yes, YES! A perfect casting choice! I think she'll be absolutely wonderful as Emma, and I'm sure Michael Gambon will be lovely as Mr. Woodhouse; but I am DECIDEDLY UNDERWHELMED with Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightley. I am really extremely disappointed. :-((((

So, what do you all think???

Romola Garai, Jonny Lee Miller, and Michael Gambon in Cast of Emma 2009 | AustenBlog

Romola Garai to play Emma in BBC's latest Jane Austen adaptation |

Current Mood: Disappointed

Friday, April 3, 2009

S&S 2008 on TV in Australia SOON!

CHECK THIS OUT!!! I was browsing on Fishpond, which is basically the Australian equivalent of Amazon, and I did a search for "Sense and Sensiblity". Look what came up! It would appear that the ABC is finally going to air Sense and Sensiblity 2008 in Australia! Fishpond says this DVD will be released on 7th May, so presumably it will be on TV in late April/early May.

Not that it really matters to me, since I bought it on dvd from America ages ago. I'll probably still watch it on TV, though. The more ratings the ABC gets for these costume drama programs, the more they're going to air these sort of shows, right?? :P

Current Mood: Excited!!

For Australian readers

Target stores are currently having a nation-wide DVD sale - including several BBC costume drama titles! Here are the dvds that I thought might be of interest:


* Mansfield Park 1983

* Vanity Fair 1998

* Lorna Doone 2000!!!!

* Jane Eyre 2006 

* Emma 1972


*Sense and Sensibility 1981

+ Pride and Prejudice 2005 ($8.99), Pride and Prejudice 1995, Lost in Austen, and several others.

There are a couple of dvds there that I am thinking about buying. I don't have Jane Eyre, or S&S 1981. A friend (who happens to read my blog) read in one of my posts that I was keen to watch this version of S&S. She very kindly lent me her copy! Which I was thrilled about, of course. :-) (Still haven't got round to writing a review. . . I'll do it soon!) In fact, I liked it so much that I am considering buying my own copy.

Also, I am almost tempted to buy myself a second copy of Lorna Doone. You see, the cover of it is different to my copy - it would be nice to have both dvd covers to look at and admire. Plus, it would mean that I could lend one copy to friends, and still have the other copy for me to watch whenever I like! I suffer from Lorna Doone withdrawal symptoms whenever I lend my copy to someone else. It would be very convenient to have a spare copy on hand. *Sighs*. . . you know you're addicted to a movie when you watch it almost every weekend, and think about it every weekday. :P

Anyway, I just thought I'd let you know about this. It's a great opportunity to get these movies at a decent price - you won't get them cheaper in Australia, unless you manage to pick up a copy on eBay.


Current Mood: Calm

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Deborah Drapper

Hey everyone. . . sorry for the delay in posting. . . 

Have a look at this documentary, aired in the UK a couple of weeks ago. It's about 13-year-old Deborah Drapper - one of eleven children, living with her family on their farm in Dorset, England. They homeschool. Deborah is passionate about God and telling others about Him. She shows incredible courage when witnessing to others about Jesus - I felt very challenged after watching this!

A lot of Christians have been saying that Deborah seems to be lacking in the "joy of the Lord" - but people, please bear in mind that the BBC captured over 100 hours of footage to make this 1 hour documentary! They would have ruthlessly edited the footage to make Deborah and her family appear as "weird" and religious and joyless as possible. This is disappointing, but it is only to be expected, I suppose - especially from the BBC.

To get a more rounded picture of Deborah's life, you might want to have a look at her blog. She's just an ordinary 13-year-old girl who loves God and loves her family.

Many thanks to Alex and Brett from The Rebelution for posting about this program.