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|MP2 - a travesty.
Written by Rachel G
(10/25/2010 9:42 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, If you got 'em, watch 'em., penned by Carol
Though it is stated that Henry is a rake, we get no real sense of his heartless, compulsive behaviour with women, and he seems pretty harmless until the moment Fanny finds him in bed with Maria. Mrs Norris is de-fanged and sadly reduced. (I mean to watch MP1 again later this week and have high hopes of Anna Massey - if anyone can bring the Norris to life she can!)
Sir Thomas, a fundamentally decent character with strong moral principles is morphed into a lecherous hypocrite - why? Mary Crawford looked the part, but played as salacious with lesbian overtones - why?
Crucially, Fanny bears no resemblance to the character JA wrote - no sign of her timidity, her physical frailty, her profound humility or her internal struggles to do and think as she ought according to her strong religious and moral principles and her duty to those around her. Instead we get a lively, vigorous young woman who is channelling Jane Austen!
Much the same happened with Billie Piper's version of Fanny in MP3, which I simply cannot bring myself to watch again. Why is Fanny Price as written by JA so unacceptable to the makers of adaptations? I suppose she is the antithesis of the modern ideal female, and her qualities are perceived today as weaknesses or faults. If the supposed target audience can't relate to the heroine they won't pay to watch the movie, and films don't get funded unless there is a reasonable hope of them making a profit.
I imagine much the same considerations were behind the decision to use slavery as the evil of the piece, rather than sexual wrongdoing. Most modern audiences just wouldn't see the wrongness of an easy-going attitude to sexual impropriety without major education in the social mores of Georgian era, which would be too much like hard work. Sigh!.
One thing I will say in praise of MP2 is that Jonny Lee Miller as Edmund was pretty near perfect. His Edmund, and the fact that Kirby Hall, the location for Mansfield Park, is in Northamptonshire are the most authentic elements in MP2.
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