Thursday, April 30, 2009

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


Enbrethiliel said...


Isn't he the guy who mucked up the latest Brideshead Revisited??? This does not bode well . . . =(

On the other hand, regarding the insertion of lurid dream sequences in Northanger Abbey: I once took a paper on genre conventions which focussed on Romances, the Gothic novel and the Detective Story, and one of the lecturers loved that Catherine dreams of General Tilney and Captain Tilney that way. She said that Catherine probably feels more desire for these elder Tilneys than for Mr. Tilney himself; she just isn't conscious of it.

I've always felt that such a spin makes Northanger Abbey more Gothic than it actually is--not to mention totally kills the satire. My own opinion is that novel reader Catherine might like to be attracted to the more dangerous General Tilney, but is drawn to the more "beta" Mr. Tilney anyway. Most Romance readers seem to be that way.

Miss Jen said...

I am SO sorry you are not feeling
good! :( Colds can be quite nasty!!
Praying and hoping that you have a swift recovery!!!

Many Blessings~ Miss Jen

The Editrix said...

Enbrethiliel: I've recently finished reading NA, and there is really no hint in the book of Catherine's being attracted to either General Tilney or Captain Tilney. She acknowledges that Frederick is more conventionally handsome than Henry, but beyond that, there seems to be no clue of Catherine harbouring any kind of feelings for Frederick or General Tilney.

And I agree with you - Northanger Abbey is supposed to be a parody of Gothic literature! In both adaptations (1986 and 2007) of Northanger Abbey, they seem to have done their best to transform NA itself into a Gothic romance! They just miss the point entirely. . .

Jen - thankyou! :-) I don't think it's a very nasty cold, but it's still enough to make me feel quite miserable. :-(

Alexandra said...

Aww, did he ruin Little Dorrit? I wanted to see it so of my fave Dickens books. We don't have BBC on our TV so I was waiting for it to come out on DVD to see it.

I agree about Andrew Davies. I love P&P95, and I think he managed to do a good job with Bleak House. But from what I've heard, he butchered the new version of A Room with a View (I love the old 1985 version so I'm not even going to touch the new one). And after reviews of Northanger Abbey, I'm not sure I want to tackle it.

I've just avoided S&S08 for the very important reason that S&S95 is my favorite Jane Austen film period. I'm just leery about watching another version...especially since Willoughby looks so...ICK. ;-)

The Editrix said...

LOL, no, he actually made a pretty good version of Little Dorrit in spite of himself. ;-) There are few slightly creepy scenes, but overall it's quite good, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. :-)

I felt exactly the same about S&S08 - and the first time I watched it, I was not very impressed at all! However, it has now become one of my favourites, even though I still don't like it quite as much as the '95 version. The same could be said of Northanger Abbey - I didn't like it that much the first time I saw it, but it 'grew' on me. I just get irritated when I have to FF through a couple of the scenes - I just feel that some of the scenes could have been more delicately handled.

Charity said...

I wasn't all that impressed with "Northanger Abbey" and thought the bathtub dream sequence was rather pathetic. (To be honest, the only good adaptation out of the slew of them was S&S.)

Loved "Little Dorrit," though, in spite of itself. Miss Wade became less "lesbian" as time went on, thankfully.

The Editrix said...

Yeah - I was also not impressed with NA the first time I saw, but like I said, it 'grew' on me. :-) I though Persuasion 2007 was okay - IMO, Mansfield Park 2007 was the only truly terrible movie from ITV's Jane Austen season.