Quick Index Board Index Home FAQ Site Map
Written by Robbin
(11/4/2005 8:05 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, P1, penned by Cheryl
I finally got to see P1 and I watched it twice since Wednesday. First of all I must say that I could find much to like in it, but I also found much to be troublesome. However, I can safely say that I do not despise it as a movie and even enjoy it, but as an adaptation of Persuasion I have some problems because although more of the text is kept it lost a lot of heart as the theme’s of the novel such as constancy, taking your life in your own hands, going through changes, admitting you are wrong are just barely there—crudely put, but this is my biggest complaint. First, I must cover the troublesome but I will go on to give it what praises I can honestly do from my heart, if interested, please bear with.
The indoor studio sets, were horrible in every detail, very garish and fake, except for the concert scene. The sets reminded me a great deal of the old campy soap “Dark Shadows” which I actually enjoy, but was rather put out to find such cheapness associated with JA. I know everyone criticized the polyester costumes and I must too. They were truly horrible, I think the only person with worse costumes than Anne was Mrs. Clay. I think they also were not well constructed, many of the costumes were supposed to consist of separates, dress and jacket, but they looked as if they were made as one piece outfits you pull on over your head. The men’s clothing gave me the distinct impression that they were all starving Bob Cratchet escapees from Mr. Scrooge’s counting house and the neck scarves on the men were all just clip-on instead of being really big and long enough to tie—I think this especially made their dress look a lot poorer. Some of the men’s breeches appeared to be pink and I just cannot accept that except for Sir Walter. However, I will submit that this was not a highly financed production and was probably no worse than other period movies made for television at the time. If I had seen it back when it was made a lot of my complaints about scenery and costumes would probably not be felt, I think it may be my modern eyes which make the difference. I will also admit that by the time I got to the second viewing of Part 2, I did not mind these horrors as much.
Most of the characters have been cast with what appear to me very inappropriate actors and actresses, with the only exceptions being that of Mary and Charles, Mrs. Smith, and Mrs. Harville. Anne to a certain extent is not correct and I have some complaints about her but if the acting or the script had been better I think she would have satisfied me more. They all seemed too old, especially Anne and Captain Wentworth, except again for Mary and Charles, Mrs. Harville and Mrs. Smith. I thought all the acting was a little dead pan, there was no passion and not even the mirror speech by Admiral Croft could make me laugh even though he actually jumps away from a large wall mirror before he says “there is no getting away from ones self.”
In 1971, the date on the DVD, I understand that the appearance of Ann Fairbank was very fashionably pretty—even that hair was fashionable, which I swear was in some old “Hair-do” magazines that my grandmother gave me around 1977, I liked some of the very intricate wig and up-dos so much that I practiced portrait drawing from their photos—so I can safely say that it is not actually the hair that I disliked but that it seems so very inappropriate to the period. I feel the same about the no-makeup, makeup look which is used—that very pale lipstick mostly—but I grant that it is probably better than some of the other makeup looks of the time. I found Anne’s look very odd because she had the most ugly and drab costumes but the fanciest hair-do. My son, Dave, who has watched all the JA flicks that I own, watched P2 with me this week as well as P1 when I received it in the mail on Wednesday. He only made it half way through Part 1, however, insisting that I come to a computer to view a poster for the 1968 movie, Night of the Living Dead, saying that if you removed all the black makeup from around the eyes of the girl zombie it looked just like Anne. He asked me to tell all that he supports P2 as the best movie of the two.
As others have said, Anne has this ridiculous grin on her face no matter what she is talking about, almost as if she is feeling sarcastic about what other people are saying and though Anne disapproves of some of her family’s habits, attitudes, and behavior I do not think Anne in the novel is ever sarcastic. She is also not angry—in early conservations with Lady Russell, Anne seems to be very angry in her tone and I do not think Anne is ever really angry and certainly never shows it that I can recall in the novel. I think there is a little snobbishness in her speaking voice, maybe in the tone mostly; like a high-faluting butler talking down to some lower servant. When Lady Russell drops her off at Mary’s she says, “Goodbye and thank you” and is this how you say farewell to your excellent friend? I am want to say, other than the tone, what exactly it is that makes me feel this way for I believe that Anne in the novel, uses English correctly, so it hardly sounds fair to say she spoke too properly all the time. I am not sure why Anne is played this way, but I really do not appreciate it.
P1’s Elizabeth may look better the part than in P2 but she is made too nice, all the bite has been taken from her personality and it really impacts on Anne, making her less vulnerable. This, along with the fact that Anne is played as more angry than depressed really nullifies the changes that Anne goes though to finally enable her to precipitate the reunion with Captain Wentworth. As a matter of fact Anne goes though no change in this movie. Lady Russell is also played too nice, she looks almost doddering and not like a lady obsessed with new journals and intellectual pursuits at all. A lot of the back-story is told by creating conversations between Lady Russell and Anne from the narrative voice which eliminates the silence and aloneness that Anne has lived with for many years. Between the change in Elizabeth and Lady Russell, Anne is reduced to just another woman who regrets a past decision and not the undervalued elegant and intelligent woman, struggling against cruel family and situations to find happiness. I really disliked this line by Anne at the end of the movie, “No one will ever persuade me to do anything again except you.”
All of the naval men look inadequate to stand on the deck of a heaving ship without their twig legs breaking and being washed overboard—ok—I admit that this is very mean of me but I just do not see any of them as right for the parts at all. Captain Harville is by far the most handsome and I can just see him and maybe Benwick as active sort of people but not even they are the hearty manly persons I have come to expect in these characters. The P2 Wentworth and Admiral are so navy, there is no doubt they can stand and direct men in battle and rough sea. Admiral Croft looks like Santa Clause and Wentworth looks like a villain—maybe I have seen him in something else that gives me this impression. I am afraid that in something like the words of the irresistible Admiral, they are all too piano for me. You also never see the love and companionship of the Crofts which so captivates Anne in the novel, Mrs. Croft seems too soft until the party at Camden Place to be ever envisioned sailing the seas with her husband. Sir Walter is pudgy and has not any peacock in him. Mrs. Clay is too matronly and hardly seems able to seduce anyone, let alone Sir Walter or Mr. Elliot.
“Having now relieved my heart of a great deal of malevolence, I will proceed to tell you…” of what I thought was good from P1. * As a movie it is enjoyable and I apologize in advance if some of my praise comes with addition criticism. To repeat what has been said many times, P1 is longer and more of the story was intact. A lot of the narrative, especially in the beginning, was incorporated into conversation—hopefully making the back-story of Anne’s and Captain Wentworth’s broken engagement clearer to those who have not read the novel. I would prefer the back story be told in flashbacks—maybe from Captain Wentworth’s point of view. I also loved the fact that more of Admiral Croft’s and Sir Walter’s speeches were included, but they were so badly acted they do not come off as well as they should. I heard at least one quote from JA’s letters in Anne’s conversation but I have forgotten which letter it was from, but I liked it. All of the outdoor sequences were really great with regards to staging and location. I think Lyme and Bath were very lovely and even managed to make the hideous costumes appear less hideous as there was something of more interest for the eye to examine. The staging of the concert scene was lovely also; I really liked the above and over the balcony view—is this actually a really good stage or was this actually filmed on location—I just do not know?
I liked Mary more than in P2 but I think the ideal Mary is somewhere between the two, and P1 does not show the ridiculous Mary any more than P2. I think her insistence on staying in Lyme instead of Anne is not meant to be funny in any way, it is meant to show the problems a character like Mary can cause, but I am convinced JA meant Mary to give some comic relief in the rest of the novel. I am thinking especially of Mary disapproval of Captain Benwick and scissor dropping conservation at Lady Russell’s and Mary’s flip-floppy letter to Anne in Bath which is also not in P1. I also like Mrs. Smith better in P1, she is the only person who ever shows any emotions at all and the only problem I have with her is that she does not seem very ill, where as the Mrs. Smith from P2 does seem very ill, even to the point of seeming to go cross-eyed every once in a while with a very limp wrist. Mrs. Rook is P2 was more believable though.
Although very noisy, it was very nice to have the ill behaved and sometimes uncontrollable boys of Mary and Charles underfoot in a few scenes at Uppercross. I especially liked the hoop rolling scene when they are walking to the main house and how both Charles and Mary’s complaints about each other and child rearing are told to Anne at this time. I loved the scene with Charles chopping off the tops of nettles and chasing after the weasel and continually dropping Mary’s arm coming home from the long walk. I like that he brought the dogs, it seems like something he would do and also pretending to shoot at birds. Actually, I liked all the scenes with enhanced Charles participation; when he claims Mary for the first dance at the Uppercross diner party, rolling his eyes on their first visit to Camden Place when pulled away from Anne to view boring china and drawing rooms, his teasing of Mary about attending the theater alone instead of the party. I believe I may be turning into a Charles Musgrove fan. The reunion and what they did right IMO: I liked the fact that the letter was read in Captain Wentworth’s voice but I am not sure it was read exactly. I also adored that they walk though Bath and discuss their past as in the novel, but I acknowledge there was too much posing and the Camden Place party was really nice even though it was done a little different than in novel because no one knows of the engagement and I do not think Mr. Elliot and Mrs. Clay had run off yet in the novel.
Groupread is maintained by Myretta with WebBBS 3.21.