Archive for June 10th, 2014

Bernadette (Kathy Baker) reading Emma (from Robin Swicord’s The Jane Austen Book Club)

Dear friends,

In the last few weeks I’ve been slowly returning to my book, A Place of Refuge: The Jane Austen Film Canon. The Jane Austen film canon is a rare coherent body of work which uses female narrators, looks at life from a woman’s perspective, and contains a number of film masterpieces and a variety of kinds of films. 

For the record (handy list) important years which include influential and great films have been:

1995: Andrew Davies’s Pride and Prejudice; Emma Thompson and Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility; Nick Dear’s Persuasion; Amy Heckerling’s Clueless
1996: two Emmas, ITV/Meridian by Davies; Miramax by Douglas McGrath
2007: Mansfield Park by Maggie Wadey; Northanger Abbey by Davies; Persuasion by Simon Burke; A Room with a View by Davies; Becoming Jane by Hood; Jane Austen Book Club by Swicord
2008: Lost in Austen by Guy Andrews; Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility by Davies; Miss Austen Regrets by Gwyneth Hughes

PrudieMP2 (1)

PrudieMP2 (2)
Prudie (Emily Blunt) reading Mansfield Park

I have decided to make A Place of Refuge a tryptich with the first panel about the importance of the screenplays (shooting scripts, scenarios) underlying, structuring, giving rise directly to the Jane Austen films. It’s my view that the screenplay adapted and worked up into a visual and auditory experience capable of absorbing an audience has been paid insufficient attention to, is wrongly overlooked, its role underrated. I’ve thought I could study how the Austen films often defy, ignore, subsume the tripartite goal-oriented or restorative male conventions for screenplaysDeath comes to Pemberley has the restorative three act structure, but within that moves as a gothic cyclical play; The Jane Austen Book Club has no linear structure nor Lost in Austen (among my choices to study for this chapter). My fourth choice, Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan reminds me of the structures of Ingmar Bergman’s movies.

Allegra (Maggie Grace) reads Sense and Sensibility

Dreaming meditation: center is Sense and Sensibility:

Part 1: 2008 Lost in Austen: no intermediary book and P&P reconfigured as source
1990 Metropolitan: no intermediary book and MP and Emma as source.
2007 The Jane Austen Book Club: intermediary book and all six novels as source
2013 Death Comes to Pemberley – intermediary sequel with close source in P&P

Part 2: S&S: 1971, 1981, 1995, 2008; also 2000 I Have Found It – with apologies for not including 2011 From Prada to Nada? or rewrite the chapters to include it. I examined how and what elements in the text were transferred to a group of film adaptations, and then compared the transference of these elements among these films. It’s been my experience that close comparative film adaptation studies enable the reader to reach deeply into the archetypes and workings of a text more than any other method. This novel’s exploration of sexual awakening and coming of age (hard lessons about real world) is especially relevant today.
Part 3: Emma, the great challenge, NA (mixed genres) (books with problems for film makers).
Coda: 1995 and 2007 Persuasions and 2008 Miss Austen Regrets the autobiography

Jocelyn (Maria Bello) reading Pride and Prejudice

What I’m putting here tonight is simply a list of the screenplays, shooting scripts and scenarios I own in some form or other in the hope that anyone reading this might cite other screenplays, shooting scripts or scenarios you’ve come across somewhere somehow in print or on-line. If you would like to help me on this project, please let me know if you have access to and can lend me some version of a screenplay, script or scenario of another item in the canon:

Sylvia (Amy Brenneman) reading Northanger Abbey

What I have on hand:

List of published screenplays from Austen

All have a Jane Austen novel as an ultimate and controlling source

1995: Sense and Sensibility: by Emma Thompson, directed Ang Lee, complete with prefaces, deleted scenes and diary (notebook with extensive notes on audio-commentary plus typed breakdowns)
1995 Emma: by Andrew Davies (with preface and scenario)
1995: Persuasion by Nick Dear
1999: Mansfield Park: by Patricia Rozema
2005: Pride and Prejudice: by Deborah Moggach, directed Joe Wright, (revisions by Emma Thompson)

List of published screenplays for appropriations

None have intermediary book, all but one an Austen novel as ultimate source

1990: from MP: Stillman’s Metropolitan (with preface, and critical book)

1993: from NA, Victor Nunez’s Ruby in Paradise

1998: from P&P: Nora Ephron’s You’ve Got Mail

1995: from Emma: Heckerling’s Clueless (an on-line version, done by someone else but lovingly done with much included) (you have notes on Clueless in sten if you can read them)

2007: Composite, but also heavily from P&P: Hood’s Becoming Jane

List of scenarios
Davies’s Pride and Prejudice 1995 (and note books filled with specific scenes and lots of notes, much of it legible and findable with effort) — a The Making of book by Birtwistle and Conklin
Davies’s Emma 1996 (with screenplay, and a notebook attempt to capture scenes, left unfinished) a The Making of book by Birtwistle and Conklin

List of shooting scripts in print form (on-line both)


2001 From P&P: Helen Fielding and Andrew Davies’s Bridget Jones Diary (found on-line but most of it clearly there, such a slug lines, and stage direction).

2007: from all 6 novels: Robin Swicord’s Jane Austen Book Club (minimally — someone took down the words as she or he watched)

Grigg reads Persuasion — late in the movie the men are photographed reading Austen’s books

List of shooting scripts taken down by hand or typed.

S&S: 1971 Denis Constanduros (and typed analyses)
1983 S&S: Alexander Baron (and typed analyses)
2000 I have found it by Rajiv Menon (and typed analyses
2008 Davies’s Sense and Sensibility (extensive notes on audio-commentary and typed analyses)

P&P: 1979 Fay Weldon (and typed analyses bare outline)
2009 Lost in Austen by Guy Andrew
2012 Death Comes to Pemberley by Juliette Towhidi

1983: MP: Mansfield Park by Ken Taylor (and typed analyses of bare outline)

Emma: 1972 by Denis Constanduros; 1996 by Douglas McGrath; 009 by Sandy Welch

2007: Persuasion by Simon Burke

2008: Composite: Miss Austen Regrets by Gywneth Hughes

(I’ve thorough notes on 1987 Northanger Abbey by Maggie Wadey, and, with excerpts of scenes on 2007 Northanger Abbey by Davies but would dearly love a screenplay or shooting script.)

Dean (Marc Blucas) reads Persuasion with Prudie in his arms asleep


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