Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sense and Sensibility Comparison: Part 2

The continuation of the Sense and Sensibility Comparison by Miss Elizabeth Bennet from Elegance of Fashion and Melody from Regency Delight ~ Jane Austen, etc.

Margaret Dashwood
Emilie François (1995)
Miss Bennet: Emilie François's Margaret was a couple of years younger than she should have been (Margaret is 11 in this version, but in the book she's 13). There was more of her in the movie than there was in the book and they developed her relationship with Edward more than they did in the book.
Melody: Margaret is a character who wasn’t much talked about in the book. In this movie, they made Margaret be almost tomboy-ish, with her sword-fighting and climbing trees. In the book, she was supposed to be rather like Marianne only younger, and I can’t say this Margaret was. Rather than being a tomboy though, I think she just had an interest in the outside world…she was always looking at the atlas, and pretending to go different places. During the movie she said she was going to be twelve soon; in the book she’s supposed to be thirteen at the beginning. She’s very funny though, and has some very quotable lines.
Lucy Boynton (2008)
Melody: Again, since there wasn’t much said about Margaret in the book, they pretty much had to make up their own stuff for her. This Margaret had some of the same traits as the other – hiding and sitting in trees, but she had very different interests. I’m glad they gave her more lines and such – I wish there was more about Margaret in the book. The 1971 and 1981 versions left her out altogether; how sad!
Miss Bennet: Lucy Boynton's Margaret seemed to be closer to Margaret's age. They seemed to develop her character more than they did in the book and in the 1995 movie (she aspires to be a writer). And (as with the 1995 movie), her and Edward develop a friendship that wasn't in the book.
Miss Bennet: Though they were both very similar, I liked Lucy Boynton's Margaret a little better; she was a little more mature than Emilie François in the role of Margaret.
Melody: I prefer Miss Lucy’s Margaret. She seems more of what I’d imagine from reading the book.

Mrs. Dashwood
Gemma Jones (1995)
Miss Bennet: Gemma Jones's Mrs. Dashwood was older than she is in the book (I believe Mrs. Dashwood was supposed to be in her forties, while this Mrs. Dashwood had grey hair). Her Mrs. Dashwood was emotional, which is how she is written in the book. Other than that, I don't have much to say about Gemma Jones's Mrs. Dashwood.
Melody: Now the book doesn’t say much about her, but sort of said that Mrs. Dashwood is like Marianne only older. I think she did a good job. I love the part where one by one everyone goes into their room to cry and Elinor is left in the hallway to drink the tea…
Janet McTeer (2008)
Melody: This Mrs. Dashwood seems different than the other one. She was younger, for one thing. (She still wasn’t 40, like the book says. Although, since Elinor was supposed to be older in the 1995 version, she wouldn’t have been 40 anyways.
Miss Bennet: Janet McTeer's Mrs. Dashwood seemed to be the right age for Mrs. Dashwood. I liked her performance, but maybe she could have been a little more emotional (although there were scenes in which her actions were emotional, like when she wanted to write a letter to Edward to get him to visit Barton Cottage).
Miss Bennet: This is tough! I liked both... I think that I liked Janet McTeer's Mrs Dashwood a little bit more, but it's a very close call.
Melody: I really don’t have a preference; I like both. If I had to choose, I guess I’d pick Janet McTeer.
Anne and Lucy Steele
Imogene Stubbs (1995)
Miss Bennet: It was a little disappointing that they didn't include Anne in the 1995 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility.  Imogene Stubbs was a good Lucy Steele, though: she got (for lack of a better term) the whole "I'm nice to Elinor but I'm really gloating at her" thing well.
Melody: I like this Lucy. I mean, I don’t like this Lucy…I mean, she does a good job. She seems very sly and…Lucyish.
Daisy Haggard and Anna Madeley (2008)
Melody: Since this Lucy has a sister, it makes the whole thing different…and they make quite the interesting pair. Anne (Nancy) Steele with her constant chatter about “beaux” and then of course she is the one who tells the Farrarses that Lucy is engaged to Edward…”It just popped out!”, it makes it quite comical. As to Lucy herself, she seems to act more quiet towards the beginning, probably because she has an older sister who talks a lot. She seems to present herself as more demure than Imogen Stubbs.
Miss Bennet: Ah yes! Anne is finally here! Daisy Haggard was really funny as Anne Steele! The way she rambles on is very humorous and the way it was acted would be something that Jane Austen would have written. Anna Madeley's Lucy was good, but to me it seems that there should have been something more to her... I just can't place what...
Miss Bennet: Well, I really like that the 2008 version included Anne, but I like Imogene Stubbs's Lucy a little better... If I had to pick one, I would probably pick the 2008 version since the inclusion of Anne really stood out to me, but this was a really close call for me.

Melody: I like both Lucys, although my favorite is the one from 1995. There’s just something about her that really catches her…villainess-ness. However, I really like the fact that they included Anne in the 2008 version, so that's a few more points for them.

Mrs. Jennings
Elizabeth Spriggs (1995)
Miss Bennet: Elizabeth Spriggs's Mrs. Jennings was how I would have pictured her in the book: jolly, silly, and a matchmaker. Mrs. Jennings was one of the characters that Jane Austen used for satire, so she had to be silly. Between Mrs. Jennings and Sir John laughing trying to guess Elinor's beau and her attempts at trying to set a match between Colonel Brandon and Marianne towards the beginning, Elizabeth Spriggs was a great Mrs. Jennings!
Melody: Loud, laughing, and robust, this woman makes quite the impression. I love the scene where they’re all sitting at the table, and from Margaret’s unwise hint, are trying to guess last names that start with ‘F’.

Linda Bassett (2008)
Melody: Mrs. Jennings is always a funny character, only the worst actress could un-funny her, so naturally I liked this Mrs. Jennings, too. However, there seemed to be a little something missing…
Miss Bennet: Linda Bassett's Mrs. Jennings was caring and silly enough to annoy Marianne, but I think she could have been sillier. Mrs. Jennings is supposed to be a comical character, but here she was portrayed as being more dignified than she was in the book. 

Miss Bennet: Elizabeth Sprigg's Mrs. Jennings. Her version was closer to how I would have pictured Mrs. Jennings in the book.
Melody: Elizabeth Spriggs is my favorite. She seemed to be the best as the funny, teasing, slightly meddlesome woman in the book. Side note: When I read the book, I remember laughing at a part where Mrs. Jennings thought that Elinor was engaged to Col. Brandon – it would have been so funny in a movie, and none of them included it!

Fanny Dashwood

Harriet Walter (1995)
Miss Bennet: Harriet Walter's Fanny was very good! I thought that she captured Fanny's condescending personality well with the way her voice was and the way she said it.
Melody: Annoying Fanny. She did it well. Both the Fannys seem to have curls plastered on their heads that look like sliced olives…especially with her though, because her hair is dark.
Claire Skinner (2008)
Melody: I have no negative comment to make—they are both very good at being annoying. This one seems to act especially snobbish and thinks herself is really great.
Miss Bennet: Claire Skinner, to me, sort of missed the mark with Fanny. There were some parts in which I thought she was more of a comical character than a condescending one. I never thought of Fanny as being a comical character, just an uncaring one.
Miss Bennet: I much prefer Harriet Walter's Fanny to Claire Skinner's. Harriet Walter seemed to capture the Fanny that I pictured better than Claire Skinner.
Melody: This is a hard decision. They are both very irritating, snobby, and controlling—but I suppose if I had to go with one, I’d go with Harriet Walter.

Navigate to the Different Parts of the Sense and Sensibility Comparison!
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4


Hayden said...

I'm really enjoying these! Any plans to do more comparison posts in the future?

Mimic of Modes said...

I have to admit, I mostly like the 2008 version better, but Elizabeth Spriggs's Mrs. Jennings does it for me. She just seems like a total bawdy, loud Georgian! Whereas I don't think I can see Linda Bassett as anything but nice.

Melody said...


I very recently thought of doing a comparison between the 1980 and 1995 Pride and Prejudice (mostly to see which one is closer to the book), but it is still very pending in my mind.