Thursday, June 14, 2012

Persuasion Comparison: Part 3

This is the 3rd post of the Persuasion films comparison by guest posters Miss Amy Dashwood of Yet Another Period Drama Blog, Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm, Miss Melody of Regency Delight and Miss Elizabeth Bennet of Elegance of Fashion. In this part they compare four of the major scenes from the 1995 and 2007 adaptations of Jane Austen's Persuasion.

Anne & Captain Wentworth Meet Again

Miss Amy Dashwood: Sally Hawkins did an admirable job of conveying Anne’s nervousness and awkwardness in the 2007 version of this scene. Rupert Penry-Jones’ Wentworth is again a little too stiff, and seems completely unfazed by meeting Anne again. In the 1995 version, both actors clearly show the characters’ feelings after meeting again, without overdoing it—and Captain Wentworth isn’t rude. It was in this scene that I began to like Ciaran Hinds’ portrayal tremendously. Coincidentally, it was in this scene that he first appeared, but that is immaterial.
Miss Laurie: The 2007 film's cinematography is gorgeous with the colors and movement of Anne staring out the cottage window. There is much excitement from Henrietta and Louisa like in the book, but I dislike that Captain Wentworth's face falls from friendly to cold and a bit resentful when he sees Anne.  The 1995 version includes more details from the book and Captain Wentworth is open and friendly during the call and is not at all resentful in his looks. The touches of Anne gripping the chair and her eyes growing ever wider perfectly fit her quiet character. Overall I prefer the 1995 version of the scene because it is happier and follows more closely to how Jane Austen wrote the scene in the book.
Miss Melody: In the 1995 version, this scene failed to impress me as much as I would have liked it to — it needed something else with the filming, perhaps — though I did, as always, enjoy Amanda Root’s acting. In the 2007 adaptation there was also something lacking, and the music was kind of spacey and distracting and didn’t go with the scene at all. Overall, I think I liked the 2007 scene better — probably just because of Captain Wentworth — though they are mostly equal.
Miss Elizabeth Bennet: Both scenes had their high points. I liked how in the 1995 movie, Anne is clutching the chair behind her to show that she was nervous as Mary is introducing Captain Wentworth to her, but I don't think Ciaran Hinds's Captain Wentworth had enough emotion in that scene. The 2007 version was more emotional. You can tell that Captain Wentworth was very much affected and so was Anne. I think I'll have to go with the 2007 version's scene since the emotion is more present in that scene.

Louisa Musgrove's Fall

Miss Amy Dashwood: In the 2007 version, Louisa’s fall happened so fast—and off-camera—that I had hardly noticed it before it was over. In contrast, the 1995 version slowed it down a bit too much, putting Louisa in slow motion as she came down, which was slightly creepy. Anne’s reaction was well-played in both—collected, quick and ready to help. Captain Wentworth’s reaction, however, was much better in 1995, where he was horrified at what had happened and immediately blamed himself. In 2007, he seemed hardly more upset than an uninvolved passer-by might be. I definitely preferred the 1995 scene, as it showed how well Anne and Wentworth worked together under pressure.
Miss Laurie: I like how in the 1995 version even though the scene runs quickly but there is time for Captain Wentworth and the others to give Louisa a few warnings and for him to start running back to try and catch her before she jumps. It's nice her jump and the shot of her "lifeless" on the pavement is slowed down so you get the full idea of what has happened and after her fall the other character's actions and words are very faithful to the book, they react quickly and to Anne's directions. I find that in the 2007 version the actual jumping flies so quickly by that it's difficult to understand what has happened to Louisa, then the focus shifts to Captain Wentworth taking off his cravat to press against her wound and ends with he and Anne staring melodramatically into each other's eyes. I infinitely prefer the 1995 version of the scene because it follows the book almost to the letter.
Miss Melody: I hardly ever like the slow motion effect, and it annoyed me in the 1995 scene. I think the fall should happen all of the sudden, as that’s how it was in the book; when it’s slow motion, you know that something big is happening. I liked the 2007 scene, but it wasn’t as good as the book either. (We need Mary’s “She is dead! She is dead!” scream to be present and noticeable.) Overall I prefer the 2007 one.
Miss Elizabeth Bennet: In the 1995 scene, we see Louisa in slow motion falling towards the ground before she is knocked unconscious. The angle that they had it during her fall, I thought, would have been better if it was at a different angle, like a side angle or something. The 2007 fall did not actually show her falling and it was very quick; the scene would have been a little better if they actually showed her falling. Since the accident was supposed to happen quickly, I'm going to have to go with the 2007 version.

Captain Wentworth's Letter & Proposal

Miss Amy Dashwood: I’m beginning to sound redundant, but I liked the 1995 version of this scene so much better. In 2007, Anne’s race through the Bath streets following her receipt of the letter was downright indecorous, not to mention the fact that the scene with the letter itself was much less dramatic and moving than it could have been. But in 1995, I was actually tearing up during Anne’s reading of the letter (don’t you dare judge me) and then openly crying as Anne and Captain Wentworth kissed in the street with the convenient circus parade going by. Like I said, don’t judge me. It’s Jane Austen, peoples. It’s gorgeous.
Miss Laurie: The 2007 scene is a frenzy of movement that sees Anne Elliot, a genteel Regency woman, actually running after reading Captain Wentworth's letter, and her running down one street only to have to turn around and run all the way back hardly makes sense! The proposal scene is strange and drawn out, too breathy and they take such a long time to reach each other's lips that the kiss is actually pretty gross. I greatly prefer the 1995 scene because it follows the book very closely and includes sweet things such as Captain Wentworth listening to Anne talk about constancy, him writing the letter and calling Anne's attention to it, him taking her hand in his when they meet in the street and even their gentle kiss isn't too out of keeping with Jane Austen's story. I love how it ends with the couple walking away arm in arm and only wish they had included a scene where we could hear what they were saying!
Miss Melody: The 1995 version is pretty good up to the point where Captain Wentworth gives Anne the letter, but I disliked the ‘reading voice’ changing from Wentworth to Anne and back again as Anne was reading the letter, and the following scene, where Anne and Wentworth come to an understanding, I would have liked better if that noisy parade wasn’t going by. The 2007 version struck me as more romantic and I liked the voice we were hearing for the letter better. Although Anne running around Bath after Captain Wentworth does not annoy me as much as it does some people, I didn’t appreciate that, because it wasn’t how the book had it and wasn’t very in character for prudent Anne. I enjoy watching the 2007 one better (especially the bit when Anne and Captain Wentworth are actually talking—“and nothing, you may be sure, will ever persuade me otherwise!”) but I’m going to have to choose the 1995 version, just because accuracy to the book is very important to me as a devoted Janeite.
Miss Elizabeth Bennet: I had my issues with both letter/proposal scenes. The 1995 version was probably closer to the book, but when Anne and Captain Wentworth kiss, there's a parade going on behind them? Would that have passed in Regency England? However, the 2007 version featured "Anne's marathon through Bath" *Cue slow motion running song*. The one that I prefer? Probably the 1995 version since it was more realistic.

Ending Scenes

Miss Amy Dashwood: Frankly, the 2007 ending scene made up for all the little bits and pieces that I disliked in the rest of the film. Maybe I’m just a sentimentalist, but I found the spinning hug utterly adorable, though the whole blindfold-Anne-and-bring-her-back-to-her-own-house a bit confusing. Captain Wentworth didn’t buy Kellynch Hall in the book, did he? The 1995 ending scene was sweet as well—I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Anne’s horrid family get their comeuppance when Wentworth asked Sir Walter for her hand, and when the happy couple sailed off in their ship together… well, I melted. Again.
Miss Laurie: I love that the 1995 film includes a scene of Captain Wentworth publicly asking for Anne's hand in marriage because it gives us a chance to see their friends and family's reaction to their engagement. And the ending with Anne on board ship with her Captain sailing off into the sunset is very sweet and but simple. The 2007 ending with Captain Wentworth surprising his wife by buying Kellynch and then dancing an impromptu waltz on the front lawn is very romantic and always makes me smile but unfortunately unlikely to have happened since the house was part of the baronetcy and probably couldn't be sold. I think the 1995 scene of Anne sailing with her Naval Captain husband is more in keeping with the way Jane Austen ended the story.
Miss Melody: I liked how the end of the 1995 version gave us a glimpse of what was to be in the future for Captain and Mrs. Wentworth, and that she was to sail with him. Very sweet. The 2007 version was likewise very sweet, though the thing about Kellynch being Anne’s wedding present has always been hard to decipher. And while it’s cute to have them waltzing in the lawn, waltzing was not the fashion yet and they probably wouldn’t have known how to do it, if I am not much mistaken. As for my favorite, I just can’t choose! I think each was nice in its own way, and fits very well with the version it belongs to.
Miss Elizabeth Bennet: I liked both endings. The 1995 version had Anne on the ship that Captain Wentworth was commanding that was sailing out to sea, and the 2007 version had Captain Wentworth giving Kellynch to Anne as a wedding present. Probably out of the two, the 1995 version was more realistic. The 2007 version is not clear whether Captain Wentworth now owns Kellynch or if he is just letting it, but nevertheless it would be fairly difficult for him to do either (with convincing Sir Walter to allow him to buy/let it). But at the same time, I found the 2007 version sweeter. I think I may have to say the 2007 version, but only by a hair.

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