An Austen Project
I read an article recently that rated Jane Austen’s leading men (in the movies). It was a light-hearted and funny look at the good guys and the bad guys. But it got me thinking. I’ve read all the novels but seen only a few of the various movie adaptations. Suddenly I want to see the films – all the films! Of course Pride & Prejudice on it’s own, has 13 films (including modern adaptations). This could be a very LOOONG project. But it sounds like fun. I thought I’d start with the book with the least number of film adaptations.
Lady Susan was published after Jane Austen died – it’s short and it is written in the form of a series of letters. It has exactly one film adaptation which borrows the title of one of Austen’s juvenile writings, Love and Freindship (2016) (but not the storyline).
Northanger Abbey is Austen’s first completed of the six main novels she wrote. It’s a fun satire of Gothic novels of her time period. There are two film adaptations released in 1987 and 2007.
Mansfield Park contains Austen’s most controversial heroine, Fanny Price. There are three film adaptations (all titled Mansfield Park): 1983, 1999, and 2007.
Persuasion (probably my favorite of Austen’s novels) is about second chances. There are also three film adaptations released in 1971, 1995, and 2007.
Sense & Sensibility follows two sisters who take different approaches to love. Here we see the popularity of the novel in the number of period adaptations (4) and also three modern interpretations of the storyline. The four period adaptations were released in 1971, 1980, 1995, and 2008.
Emma, Austen’s most oblivious heroine, has inspired five period films, released in 1972, 1996, 1996, 2009, and 2020. There are three modern versions of the story.
Pride & Prejudice is probably the best well known of Austen’s novels and has inspired both period film adaptions (8) as well as five modern interpretations (Bridget Jones’ Diary among the most well known). One of my favorites of the modern films is a Bollywood version Bride & Prejudice. The period adaptations were released in 1938, 1940, 1952, 1958, 1967, 1980, 1995, and 2005. Not all of these adaptations are even available to view so I’ll have to content myself with what I can get my hands on.
The big question is – who wants to join me on this project? Maybe even just for one novel? We could have a Jane Austen book & film club! Just think of the debates we could have over which Darcy is the most obnoxious and which one is the most swoon worthy. Or whether we like Captain Wentworth or Colonel Brandon more.
Or maybe not …