> Chapter1-Take1: July 2017

Before Dunkirk there was Weekend at Dunkirk starring Jean Paul Belmondo #book2movies

My brother and I were sharing our mutual enjoyment of the film Dunkirk directed by Christopher Nolan today—I've been chatting up Nolan's The Prestige over the last couple of days—and he told me that back in the 1960's there was a French language take on the historical incident: Week-end à Zuydcoote (Weekend at Dunkirk) starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Catherine Spaak. 

The film is based on the 1949 novel of the same name by Robert Merle, and won France's highest literary prize, the Prix Goncourt. The story of a small group out of the thousands of French soldiers stuck on the coast along with the Brits as the Germans close in on all sides, the book is available in English language translation.

While it looks as though the film captures the grimness of that day—400,000 men left on the beach like sitting ducks—it also appears to have some light moments. Including a female lead (Catherine Spaak) who gets to be slapped around as well as share some affectionate and sexual moments with Belmondo.

 It is a 1960's French film, and it is Belmondo, and while I can do without the violence, I'd be disappointed if I didn't get a little male/female interaction. Did I mention the movie stars Jean Paul Belmondo?

It's been noted that Nolan can be excused for the lack of women in Dunkirk — there are a few nurses, tea ladies, even a couple of civilian boat captains but they are mostly glorified background actors. For the British director, the push pull of the male/female dynamic was not what his movie was about.

Dunkirk (2017): No sex please, we're British

I found a trailer for Weekend at Dunkirk (Week end a Zuydcoote)—sadly sans English subtitles—but I don't think you need them to get the gist of what's going on. A small group of French soldiers going through hell and trying to decide whether to evacuate with the British or stay and fight the Germans—which would mean almost certain death. The British faced no similar moral dilemmas. France, after all, was not their country.

I'd love to see the movie but it's not easy to find—more easily in France, I would imagine—but try EBay here in the states.

Connect with Dreaming of France where fans of all things French gather weekly at An Accidental Blog.

Movie Quote: The Prestige #book2movies

You never understood why we did this. The audience knows the truth: the world is simple. It's miserable, solid all the way through. But if you could fool them, even for a second, then you can make them wonder, and then you ... then you got to see something really special.  Your really don't know? It was ... it was the look on their faces ...

Watching the film again, it's easy to see that The Prestige is a metaphor for movie making and Chris Nolan's work as a director. The Prestige starring Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine & Scarlett Johansson and is absolutely worth watching and re-watching. 

Saturday Matinee: The Prestige starring Hugh Jackman & Christian Bale #book2movies

Dunkirk, not being based on a book, isn't in Chapter1-Take1's wheelhouse but it's an extraordinary film and once you've seen it, you'll want to roll back through some of director Christopher Nolan's other works. 

Director Chris Nolan with Christian Bale on the set of The Prestige

I liked Inception, as baffling as it is at times, and his Dark Knight movies are among my favorite of the genre BUT the film I'd go back and re-watch right now is The Prestige. The bad news is that while I've seen it, I'm not sure whether I can recommend it. Seeing as it stars Christian Bale, using what I think is his own natural speaking voice—a rare pleasure—and Hugh Jackman offering up his best American accent, I'm sort of a fan by default. My personal bias aside, I'm all for re-watching it regardless of its cinematic value. Basically, I'll forgive a film all kinds of sins if the actors are actors I like. 

I can imagine Jackman and Bale in their early days, sifting through the bookshelves of Samuel French for those tapes and instruction manuals that used to come in slim plastic bags: Accents for Actors (Middle American). Once upon a time in an acting class long long ago I picked up one of those tapes to learn a Russian accent for a scene. I like to think of Jackman, Bale and all those actors who have mastered the magic of being someone other than themselves, sitting in a quiet room and playing those tapes over and over again, like I did, practicing, practicing, practicing. Or perhaps they just have the gift of mimicry. As for me, I can still pull my Russian out if I need to. 

Michael Caine and Scarlett Johansson also star 

The film features David Bowie as Nikola Tesla.

Tesla was regarded in the Victorian age as a magician more than as a scientist. Not a bad role for a magician like Bowie.

The cinematography by Wally Pfister was nominated for an Oscar, as was the art direction. You can see how gorgeous the period film looks here and in the trailer below.

Based on eponymous novel by Christopher Priest, The Prestige is the story of two stage magicians  Jackman and Bale) competing to create the ultimate stage illusion. 

Here's the skinny on the story
In 1878, two young stage magicians clash in the dark during the course of a fraudulent séance. From this moment on, their lives become webs of deceit and revelation as they vie to outwit and expose one another.

Their rivalry will take them to the peaks of their careers, but with terrible consequences. In the course of pursuing each other's ruin, they will deploy all the deception their magicians' craft can command--the highest misdirection and the darkest science.

Blood will be spilled, but it will not be enough. In the end, their legacy will pass on for generations...to descendants who must, for their sanity's sake, untangle the puzzle left to 

Be warned: Roger Ebert, who reviewed the film on its release in 2007, was not a fan. But he was a huge devotee of magic tricks, and in fact in his review talks about how he spent years practicing magic as a kid. Maybe for those of us a little less savvy when it comes to magic trickery, will be more enthralled. The film is literally about magic but for master director Nolan, the magic that matters is the magic of movies.
In the end each member of the viewing audience has to decide for themselves whether they've been fooled into finding that the film's reality is one that replaces their own, transports them to another world. A world they believe in. Magic. 

The Prestige is available to stream on Showtime, YouTube, iTunes, Vudu, GooglePlay, Amazon and Netflix (also via their DVD by mail service)

Happy 151st Birthday Beatrix Potter: A Feminist Before There was a Name for Feminists #book2movies

Happy 151st Birthday Beatrix! 

Seeing how some of you are looking forward to next year's star-studded live action/animated Peter Rabbit starring Domhnall Gleeson as Mr. McGregor and Rose Byrne as Bea with the voices of James Corden as Peter Rabbit along with Margot Robbie, Rose Byrne and Daisy Ridley, I thought I'd pay tribute to Peter's creator Beatrix Potter by sharing the trailer for Miss Potter from 2005. 

Labeled a proto-feminist (a feminist before the movement was born) Beatrix Potter was a self taught naturalist, painter and artist. After writing a paper called On the Germination of the Spores of Agaricineae which was rejected by the all male Linnean Society—probably because she was a woman—Miss Potter seems to have turned more seriously to her drawing and painting efforts.

I love this photograph of Beatrix with her brother, Bertram

When her first Peter Rabbit book—based on illustrated letters she wrote to the children of her governess—was also rejected, she decided to publish it herself in 1902. She was in her mid-30's at the time.

When the book did well, Potter returned to the publisher who agreed to take it on if she would add some color to the pages, which she did. Here we are, over 114 years after she created the classic still reading Beatrix Potter' creation The Adventures of Peter Rabbit to our kids and grandkids. Not bad for a girl.

Look, I'll be honest Miss Potter starring Rene Zelwegger and Ewan McGregor didn't exactly get raves when it was released in 2006. The New York Times called it too nice for its own good and called Zelwegger's accent into question, scorning her chipper Mary Poppin's behavior. On the plus side, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association nominated her for a Golden Globe, the movie also stars Ewan McGregor and Emily Watson and is set in England. What else could an an British-born Anglophile desire? 

You can catch Miss Potter on Showtime On Demand, YouTube, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu, & Amazon.

Connect with fellow Anglophiles at Joy's 
British Isles Friday meme.

The Dark Tower: Easter Egg Hunt #book2movies

You have to love these two teaser trailers for The Dark Tower with their nods to Stephen King classics. This is some serious multilevel marketing with the story's tentacles reaching into King's imaginary worlds including the upcoming IT which hits screens in September. 

Hopefully diehard fans will have heeded the warning that the film can't possibly even begin to cover the territory of the books—a series of eight. I wonder if the movie could be seen as a pilot of sorts? The Dark Tower books—inspired by Robert Browning’s “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”—would make for a long running television series to rival George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones—which may be running out of gas as Martin struggles to complete the books.

Here's the official logline for the movie 
The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O'Dim, also known as the Man in Black, determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.

The Dark Tower starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey hits screens August 4th.
Are you planning on seeing the movie?

Michelle Richmond's newest book headed to the screen. Read the first chapter here. #book2movies

Michelle Richmond, best selling author of the award-winning The Girl in the Fall Away Dress must be in big time celebration mode today. Not only does her newest novel The Marriage Pact hit the shelves today, but 20th Century Fox & Chernin acquired the film rights to the book. And they've already hired the screenwriter to handle the adaptation. Justin Haythe, author of the Man Booker Prize nominee The Honeymoon and scripter of Revolutionary Road, A Cure for Wellness, The Lone Ranger and the upcoming adaptation of the novel Red Sparrow

Here's the lowdown on the book from Penguin/Random House

Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.
The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense. Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . . 
Never mention The Pact to anyone.
Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples.
And then one of them breaks the rules.
The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life. And The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule.
For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.

Image via Wikipedia/Creative Commons

I've read the online sample and now I want to read the rest, partly because I'm familiar with the California locations. Lovely little Half Moon Bay, where a friend of mine lives and San Francisco where I lived a long time ago (and the setting for the novel I'm currently writing. It's my first, wish me luck!)  

Here's the first chapter of The Marriage Pact:

I come to on a Cessna, bumping through the air. My head is throbbing, and there is blood on my shirt. I have no idea how much time has passed. I look at my hands, expecting to see restraints, but there are none. Just an ordinary seatbelt looped around my waist. Who strapped me in? I don’t even remember boarding the plane.
Through the open door of the cockpit, I see the back of the pilot’s head. It’s just the two of us. There is snow in the mountains, wind buffeting the plane. The pilot seems completely focused on his controls, shoulders tense.
I reach up and touch my head. The blood has dried, leaving a sticky mess. My stomach rumbles. The last thing I ate was the French toast. How long ago was that? On the seat beside me, I find water and a sandwich wrapped in wax paper. I open the bottle and drink.
I unwrap my sandwich—ham and Swiss—and take a bite. Shit. My jaw hurts too much to chew. Someone must have punched me in the face after I hit the ground.
“Are we going home?” I ask the pilot.
“Depends on what you call home. We’re headed to Half Moon Bay.” 
“They didn’t tell you anything about me?”
“First name, destination, that’s about it. I’m just a taxi driver, Jake.”
“But you’re a member, right?”
“Sure,” he says, his tone unreadable. “Fidelity to the Spouse, Loyalty to The Pact. Till death do us part.” He turns back just long enough to give me a look that warns me not to ask any more questions.
We hit an air pocket so hard my sandwich goes flying. An urgent beeping erupts. The pilot curses and frantically pushes buttons. He shouts something to air traffic control. We’re descending fast, and I’m clutching the armrests, thinking of Alice, going over our final conversation, wishing I’d said so many things. 
Then, suddenly, the plane levels out, we gain altitude, and all appears to be well. I gather the pieces of my sandwich from the floor, wrap the whole mess back up in the wax paper, and set it on the seat beside me.
“Sorry for the turbulence,” the pilot says.
“Not your fault. Good save.”
Over sunny Sacramento, he finally relaxes, and we talk about the Golden State Warriors and their surprising run this season. 
“What day is it?” I ask.
I’m relieved to see the familiar coastline out my window, grateful for the sight of the little Half Moon Bay Airport. The landing is smooth. Once we touch down, the pilot turns and says, “Don’t make it a habit, right?”
“Don’t plan to.”
I grab my bag and step outside. Without killing the engines, the pilot closes the door, swings the plane around, and takes off again.
I walk into the airport café, order hot chocolate, and text Alice. It’s two p.m. on a weekday, so she’s probably embroiled in a thousand meetings. I don’t want to bother her, but I really need to see her
A text reply arrives. Where are you?
Back in HMB.
Will leave in 5.
It’s more than twenty miles from Alice’s office to Half Moon Bay. She texts about traffic downtown, so I order food, almost the whole left side of the menu. The café is empty. The perky waitress in the perfectly pressed uniform hovers. When I pay the check, she says, “Have a good day, Friend.”
I go outside and sit on a bench to wait. It’s cold, the fog coming down in waves. By the time Alice’s old Jaguar pulls up, I’m frozen. I stand up, and as I’m checking to make sure I have everything, Alice walks over to the bench. She’s wearing a serious suit, but she has changed out of heels into sneakers for the drive. Her black hair is damp in the fog. Her lips are dark red, and I wonder if she did this for me. I hope so.
She rises on her tiptoes to kiss me. Only then do I realize how desperately I’ve missed her. Then she steps back and looks me up and down.
“At least you’re in one piece.” She reaches up and touches my jaw gently. “What happened?”
“Not sure.”
I wrap my arms around her.
“So why were you summoned?”
There’s so much I want to tell her, but I’m scared. The more she knows, the more dangerous it will be for her. Also, let’s face it, the truth is going to piss her off.
What I’d give to go back to the beginning—before the wedding, before Finnegan, before The Pact turned our lives upside down.
Intriguing right? John Grisham's The Firm comes to mind, and I can already see it on screen. I don't have a sense of the character's ages yet but there are lots of candidates in that late 20's/early 30's age range.

You can read the rest of the excerpt at the Penguin Random House site

"Alias Grace" based on the book by Margaret Atwood: First Trailer #book2movies

I'd rather be a murderess than a murderer, if those are the only choices.

If you loved The Handmaid's Tale based on the book by Margaret Atwood, you'll love the next adaptation of Atwood's work. Inspired by the historical true story of convicted murderer Grace Marks, Alias Grace is coming to Netflix in November. The series was written by Sarah Polley (Away from Her, Stories We Tell) and directed by fellow Canadian Mary Harron. 

Based on the true story of Grace Marks (Sarah Gadon) a housemaid and immigrant from Ireland who was imprisoned in 1843, perhaps wrongly, for the murder of her employer Thomas Kinnear. Grace claims to have no memory of the murder yet the facts are irrefutable. A decade after, Dr. Simon Jordan tries to help Grace recall her past.
How awesome does this trailer for Alias Grace look?

Have you read the book by Margaret Atwood?

First Trailer for Ready Player One based on the Best Selling SciFi Book by Ernest Cline #book2movies

To get right to the point, here's the first trailer for Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One introduced yesterday at ComicCon.

We first wrote about Ready Player One based on the book by Ernest Cline back in November of last year. It's not really my thing but the cast list is intriguing: Mark Rylance—who we loved in Wolf Hall and just the other day, in Dunkirk, Ben Mendelson—the black sheep in BloodLines, Simon Pegg and Tye Sheridan, the young star whose voice over begins the trailer.

Any sci-fi fans in the house? The novel is set in a dystopian America in 2044. For me, the video game like visuals aren't a draw but I'm likely in the minority. Plenty of time to get the book under your belt first. Ready Player One hits theaters in March of 2018.

Clint Eastwood & Meryl Streep Ooze Chemistry in The Bridges Of Madison County: Let's Go Behind the Scenes #book2movies

There's no way Clint Eastwood approved this heavily retouched promotional photo for The Bridges of Madison County. Clint looked much older in the actual film, the wrinkles folding down onto his neck. And yet still sexy. Go figure!

My husband walked in while I was watching this week's Saturday Matinee, 1995's The Bridges of Madison County. It was a coolish, foggy day so I only felt faintly guilty that I actually was watching a movie in the middle of the afternoon. A movie I didn't clear ahead of time. Didn't bother asking anyone, do you mind if I—? I don't know what came over me. I figured if I was interrupted, the Amazon rental is good for 30 days, I could always go back to it later. But I also knew he was doing a little prep work for some reshoots he's doing next week, chances were pretty good I'd be able to watch the whole thing.

And then he walked in, stood watching the screen for a few moments. Already hooked, I felt a little guilty about hoping he was still tied up with his work project. I really wanted to finish the movie.
"What are you watching?"
"A Clint Eastwood movie."
"That is not a Clint Eastwood movie."
"Yeah, it is. Directed it and stars in it."
"A Clint Eastwood movie if he was making 'em for Lifetime!"
 I had to laugh.
"It's that Bridges movie isn't it?"
"Yep. Bridges of Madison County. With Meryl Streep." 
I could hear his eyes roll.
"Like I said. Not a Clint Eastwood movie."
He came over, gave me a kiss on the top of my head. "Enjoy" he said and left the room. I put a pillow on the coffee table and put my feet up. Before he went back to his iPad, I could hear him in the kitchen, pouring himself a glass of iced tea.

There's a fair amount of iced tea drinking in The Bridges of Madison County. Iced tea and cold beer and hot weather which is always sexy. And dancing. I was right when I said Clint still had it at 65. 

In this scene Francesca, lying in the tub, is thinking of Robert who has just had a shower. Staring at the dripping shower head she realizes the water would have poured right over his skin. She reaches out with her hand as though by feeling the water, she can feel him. She says she finds this thought very erotic, that she finds everything about Robert erotic. As do we Meryl, as do we. 

Meryl herself, is stunning. I love the way she moves her arms, the way the back of her hand flutters to her face, her mouth. Her resistance to her own thoughts, her weakening, giving in. She's brilliant, but then she always is. Nominated for best actress, she lost to Susan Sarandon for Dead Man Walking

It's definitely a love story for grown-ups; an old-fashioned romance about a couple of older people, people who've lived a little, or a lot, and had their share of disappointments and dreams that didn't quite come true. People who know where this will go too. Meryl was forty-five, the same age her character Francesca was supposed to be but the studio thought she was too old. They wanted to go with a younger woman. Schmucks. Our man Clint said no way, insisting she get the part. Thank God, because I can't imagine anyone else playing her. The resulting movie is unapologetically romantic, dripping with chemistry, and an ending to make you weep. 

Seeing that I've already gone on too long, I'll wind it up with my hope that the romantics among you had a chance to get reacquainted with The Bridges of Madison County. You can stream it on Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Vudu and Google Play. It's not currently available to stream on Netflix but you can get the DVD in the mail. 

If you enjoy it, I think you'll also love this behind the scenes video featuring Clint, Meryl, Clint's longtime cinematographer Jack N. Green and his editor, Joel Cox, along with screenwriter Richard LaGravenese talking about the making of the movie. 


Leonardo DiCaprio & Martin Scorsese to take David Grann's "Killers of the Flower Moon" to the screen. #book2movies

Great news for my fellow book2movie buffs: director Martin Scorsese and muse, Leonardo DiCaprio, are developing a screen adaptation of David Grann's most recent book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.  

Oscar-winning screenwriter Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) is penning the script. It will take awhile, Scorsese, in preproduction on the Irishman, wants to finish that film first.

Here's the lowdown on Killers of the Flower Moon from the people at Penguin/Random House/Doubleday
In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.
      Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances. 
      In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the “Phantom Terror,” roamed—many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation, the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection.  Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history. 
      In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward American Indians that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly compelling, but also emotionally devastating.

Plenty of time to read the true crime story before it hits theaters which reminds me, weren't Leo and Scorsese going to adapt The Devil in the White City? Whatever happened to that? We started talking about that one back in 2015!

Grann, a staff writer at The New Yorker is also the best selling author of The Lost City of Z. The screen adaptation from James Gray is available to stream on Amazon now. His article The Old Man and the Gun is currently in postproduction right now but we'll be watching for it come 2018. The film stars Robert Redford, Elizabeth Moss and Casey Affleck, the kind of star power I can't resist.  

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins: My Take on the Book #book2movies [review]

Updated: July 19
Welcome to my frustrating life! My original review, which I posted this morning and shared on google+, twitter and facebook, mysteriously reverted to an earlier incomplete version later in the day. I've tried to recreate the post but I'm sure it's not the same as the earlier published version. But I'm frustrated and exhausted, so I'm leaving it as is for now. Thanks for your understanding.

About halfway through reading Into the Water by Paula Hawkins I was so confused about who was who, I went back to the beginning of the book & leafed through the pages, writing down all the character's names along with a brief description of who they were. Even then, the novel—about women who jump, fall, are pushed to their death; or even, in the old days, dunked as witches, into the drowning pool—was pretty convoluted. 

The novel opens with Julia (Jules) talking to her dead sister Nel Abbot, the latest victim of the drowning pool, a still and quiet section of a river near her home . A writer/ photographer, Nel's death comes while she is in the midst of working on her passion project, a book about the river and the women it takes. As for Nel, we don't know whether she tripped and fell, jumped or was pushed. The two sisters haven't spoken in years but Nel, a single mother, leaves behind a teenage daughter and Jules comes to attend her sister's funeral and to help take care of her niece in the aftermath of the event.

Expecting a fast-paced mystery along the lines of Hawkin's best selling The Girl on the Train, I wasn't just confused, I was disappointed. While Girl on the Train speeds along, Into the Water meanders slowly, like a sluggish stream, filled with muck and debris, taking forever to get to the point. 

Along the way we discover and are expected to believe the reason Jules hasn't talked to her sister dates to an incident from their teenage years. It's a revelation that defies belief, but we're expected to buy it. I didn't and I don't think you will either. 

There are other things like that, clues and misdirections, so many cloudy characters, flashbacks but for you avid mystery readers, I doubt they will fool you. They didn't fool me, and while the last page is the very best page of the book, I have to say, not only is it the ending I expected, but I couldn't help think it didn't make the rest of the 385 pages worth reading.

Who dunnit? You'll see.

Dreamworks optioned the film rights to the book just prior to the publication this past May—I'm sure they saw a copy—with Marc Platt set to produce. Platt, who produced The Girl on the Train, has given us some terrific films (LaLaLand, Legally Blonde, Into the Woods) and I have no doubt with the right screenwriter on board, he'll do the same with Into the Water.

Have you read Into the Water? Do you agree? Or am I all wet?

Winter may be here but the Snowman doesn't arrive until October! We'll wait right here. #book2movies [Trailer]

Michael Fassbender stars as Harry Hole in The Snowman based on Jo Nesbo's best seller. Coming in October with Rebecca Ferguson, Val Kilmer, Chloe Sevigny, JK. Simmons, Toby Jones, Charlotte Gainsborough, James Darcy and author Jo Nesbo himself, in a cameo. We'll wait. In the meantime here's the new trailer.

Have you read Jo Nesbo's thriller?

20 Movies in Celebration of the Genius of Jane Austen #JaneAusten200 #book2movies

This is it. Tuesday, July 18th marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death. Or as some call it, her immortality. Two hundred years and her novels—Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1815), Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818—are just as popular as they ever were. Her novels have rarely been out of print, with new adaptations and re-imaginings constantly in the works. Yet when she died in 1817, she died without fame or fortune from her work, her genius for biting social commentary not widely recognized. This year Austen fans around the world have been celebrating the author with all sort of special events and in September Austen's face will appear on England's new £10 note. I wonder what she'd make of that!

From Pride & Prejudice and Zombies to Austenland, from Death Comes to Pemberley to an episode of Wagon Train in 1959 and even the children's show Wishbone—about a dog, no less— in the 1990's, Jane Austen is credited with over 73 productions on imdb.com. Her reach extends far and wide, a source of inspiration for writers and a treasure for film and television fans.

The creme de la creme for me remains the 1995 production of Pride & Prejudice starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy with Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet. The six hour mini-series is my #SaturdayMatinee, available to stream anytime on Hulu, Amazon and YouTube. Do I need to tell you how faithful to the book, how witty and wonderful it is?

But there are so many different Austen adaptations and inspirations to watch. Netflix DVD has 20 titles in their library, many of which are available to stream on Netflix too.

I know, I know, there are others. The Cate Morland Chronicles is the most recent, a British television series about a young grad student, based on Northanger Abbey. I read that back in the 70's but sorry, I don't remember a bloody word! Beyond the novels are the novellas like Lady Susan which was made into Love & Friendship in 2016 with Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny. 

Elliot Cowan & Jemima Cooper in Lost in Austen 

I've just discovered Lost in Austen a comic work inspired by Austen's work. With four episodes to watch on Hulu, I'm giving it a go. The 2008 miniseries has a cast that includes Hugh Bonneville as Elizabeth's father, Mr. Claude Bennet, immersing the modern day Amanda Price (Jemima Cooper) in the world of Pride & Prejudice just as we meet their new neighbor Mr. Bingley. From Hammersmith, her presence throws a bit of a hammer into the works. I believe you will find it most amusing! 

In Lost in Austen, the Pride & Prejudice obsessed Amanda Price says even Colin Firth isn't Colin Firth.
She makes Mr. Darcy (Eliot Cowan) take a dip to see how he measures up to her fantasy. Does he?

And you? What's your favorite Austen adaptation?  

20 Adaptations on Netflix

  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
    Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
  • Pride & PrejudicePride & Prejudice
  • Masterpiece Classic: Pride and PrejudiceMasterpiece Classic: Pride and Prejudice
  • Pride and PrejudicePride and Prejudice
  • Death Comes to PemberleyDeath Comes to Pemberley
  • Mansfield ParkMansfield Park
  • Masterpiece Classic: Jane AustenMasterpiece Classic: Jane Austen's Persuasion
  • Masterpiece Classic: Northanger AbbeyMasterpiece Classic: Northanger Abbey
  • Becoming JaneBecoming Jane
  • PersuasionPersuasion
  • EmmaEmma
  • Sense and SensibilitySense and Sensibility
  • PersuasionPersuasion
  • Masterpiece Classic: Mansfield ParkMasterpiece Classic: Mansfield Park
  • Mansfield ParkMansfield Park
  • The Jane Austen Book ClubThe Jane Austen Book Club
  • Lost in AustenLost in Austen
  • AustenlandAustenland
  • CluelessClueless
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