We all know about Colin Firth emerging from the lake. (Right???? If not, here’s a little primer on “the scene that changed everything.”)
Mr. Darcy and his soggy shirt are the stars of what is probably the most popular Jane Austen adaptation out there, the 1995 miniseries that also starred Jennifer Ehle as Lizzy Bennet. And, hey, you’ll get no argument from me. That series is a delight from start to finish.
But how about some lesser-known Austen adaptations and Austen-inspired movies and TV shows? Without further ado, I give you my four favorites.
- The 2007 version of Persuasion, starring Sally Hawkins as Anne Elliot and Rupert Penry-Jones as Captain Wentworth. Interestingly, PERSUASION isn’t my favorite Austen novel. But this adaptation! It is glorious. I’m particularly fond of the last scene, where Anne goes running after Captain Wentworth, tearing though the streets of Bath in a most unladylike manner as the camera jiggles around like crazy. Oh, my heart!
- The Jane Austen Book Club, a 2007 Hollywood movie about a group of friends who start a Jane Austen-reading book club to cheer up one of their members, who has just been dumped by her husband. If I recall correctly, this movie was not a huge critical success when it came out, but honestly, what’s not to love? A bunch of people sitting around talking about Austen’s novels? I mean, come on.
- Lost in Austen, a 2008 TV show in which our modern-day, Austen-obsessed heroine accidentally falls through time and switches places with Elizabeth Bennet from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. The expected fish-out-of-water shenanigans ensue, in both the 19th and 21st centuries, and Amanda, our modern girl, tries to keep the plot of her favorite novel from derailing even as she falls for Mr. Darcy herself. There’s even a Colin Firth soggy shirt homage.
- 2007’s Northanger Abbey movie (why the heck was 2007 such a good year for Austen adaptations?!), which, funnily enough, stars Carey Mulligan and Felicity Jones before anyone had heard of them. I don’t know of any other NORTHANGER ABBEY adaptations, and my sense is that it’s not Austen’s most popular novel, though I don’t know why because it’s hilarious. The film keeps the book’s satirical tone. And, let’s face it, given its heroine’s obsession with Gothic novels, it’s eminently relatable. (That is, unless you don’t know what it’s like to be unnaturally obsessed with books and unwilling/unable to distinguish them from reality?)
So there you have it. I have discovered that all of these, with the exception of The Jane Austen Book Club, are on YouTube. So I’m not really sure why you’re still reading this—you’ve got your work cut out for you!
About Jenny Holiday
Jenny Holiday started writing in fourth grade, when her awesome hippie teacher, between sessions of Pete Seeger singing and anti-nuclear power plant letter writing, gave the kids notebooks and told them to write stories. Most of Jenny’s featured poltergeist, alien invasions, or serial killers who managed to murder everyone except her and her mom. She showed early promise as a romance writer, though, because nearly every story had a happy ending: fictional Jenny woke up to find that the story had been a dream, and that her best friend, father, and sister had not, in fact, been axe-murdered.
From then on, she was always writing, often in her diary, where she liked to decorate her declarations of existential angst with nail polish teardrops. Eventually she channelled her penchant for scribbling into a more useful format. After picking up a PhD in urban geography, she became a professional writer, spending many years promoting research at a major university, which allowed her to become an armchair astronomer/historian/particle physicist, depending on the day. Eventually, she decided to try her hand again at happy endings–minus the bloodbaths.
About VISCOUNTESS OF VICE
Secrets and lies, scandals and spies.
All Lady Catharine, Viscountess Cranbrook, wants is a little excitement. Bored of playing the role of the ton’s favorite slightly scandalous widow, she jumps at the chance to go undercover as a courtesan to help with an espionage mission. After all, beneath her outrageously low bodice beats the heart of a patriot.
Social reformer James Burnham is conducting a study of vice in England’s capital. Driven by his own secrets, he is methodical, intelligent—and wickedly handsome. Catharine is the last sort of woman the upstanding James should want. But want her he does, though she stands for everything he opposes.
When Catharine and James are forced to band together to advance their causes, they’ll be drawn into a web of secrets and lies that endangers their lives—and their hearts.