Saturday, June 30, 2012

Phantom Tollbooth

Author: Norton Juster
Genre: Fantasy, kids
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 256
My overall opinion: It was really fun! I picked it up randomly at the library the other day, knowing I’d heard of it somewhere, and figuring that if I needed something to read, this would suffice. But I was pleasantly surprised when I started it and really enjoyed it! It’s very fantastical, ‘tis true, but in a smart kind of way, so to speak. There are people who are born with their heads in the air at their height (and their legs grow down to the earth), there is the Humbug (just what he sounds like), the king of Dictionopolis (Azaz), a boy who’s part of an average family (he has two siblings, and is only .58 himself – yes, just over ½ a boy), and a variety of other intriguing creatures and places.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Cover Focus: Making Waves

Making Waves by Lorna Seilstad

Book blurb from Google books : Sun, summer, and a scrumptious sailing instructor. What more could a girl want?
When spunky Marguerite Westing discovers that her family will spend the summer of 1895 at Lake Manawa, Iowa, she couldn't be more thrilled. It's the perfect way to escape her agonizingly boring suitor, Roger Gordon. It's also where she stumbles upon two new loves: sailing, and sailing instructor Trip Andrews.
But this summer of fun turns to turmoil as her father's secrets threaten to ruin the family forever. Will free-spirited Marguerite marry Roger to save her father's name and fortune? Or will she follow her heart--even if it means hurting the family she loves?
Full of sharp wit and blossoming romance, "Making Waves" will whisk you away to a breezy lakeside summer holiday. “
Why I like this cover: I know you’ll agree when I say that it’s rather eye-catching. Marguerite’s expression alone is enough to make you look! She looks slightly frazzled. With her hair a mess, her hat ribbons hanging all over the place (maybe they’re supposed to though…), and that parasol held just so…yup, definitely frazzled. But at least her white frilly dress is still all white, and the background is so peaceful! Pretty white sail boats on the azure water. :) La, I wax poetic! I’d better shut this one down…but isn’t it an interesting cover?
Incidentally, this was a book I enjoyed, but didn’t love. See my review above.

Birthday: Katherine Jenkins

Katherine Jenkins

Birth: June 29, 1980
It’s her 32nd birthday!
You know her because – she sings beautifully. I love a lot of her songs, and have reviewed several on here. Definitely check her out (my reviews might help…see link above). See also below (and excuse the Japanese or whatever that language is...).

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Birthday: King Henry VIII

King Henry VIII

Birth: June 28, 1491
Death: January 28, 1547
It’s his 521st birthday!
You know him because – he had six wives. He killed some, loved one, and had three children. The wives are also famous.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth – Tolkien’s World from A-Z

Author: Robert Foster
Genre: Ummm…yeah…it’s like a dictionary. I kid you not.
Series: Ties in completely with Lord of the Rings.
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9
Type: Fiction, well, no, non-fiction, sort of…oh dear. I really don’t know. I mean, all of LOTR is fiction, but this is a non-fiction guide to the fictional books…am I making ANY sense?
Number of pages: 555
My overall opinion: It truly is set up as a dictionary! You can look up any word from LOTR, Hobbit, or Silmarillion, and it’s almost certain to be in here! I haven’t found any yet that aren’t, so. Names, locations, battles, objects, all categorized alphabetically. Page numbers for each item are also included, but even though my books are DelRey, same as this guide, the numbers don’t work – my books came out rather later, so. I have found it to be quite helpful, thought I still love the Atlas more – it would take an unbelievable amount to beat that. J If you can get a copy, and you love LOTR, I recommend it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Movie: Amazing Grace

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.75 (we’ll round to a 9)
Genre: Adventure, biography
Primary actors: Romola Garai, Michael Gambon, Ioan Gruffudd
Length: About two hours
Based on: William Wilberforce’s life (you also meet John Newton!)
Time period: 1700's and 1800's
Quote(s): We are too young to realize that certain things are we will do them anyway.
Year it came out: 2006
My overall opinion: I didn’t love it as much as I’d hoped to, but it was still a very moving movie. Wilberforce did an unbelievable amount of work against slavery! I had no idea that he’d spent as many years as he did working on that. It was very eye-opening.
There were some wonderful recognizable actors in here…see the post about the Doubles for this movie that comes out later today. :) They included Romola Garai (2009 Emma), Michael Gambon (with Garai in the 2009 Emma and in a lot of other period dramas, among others), Ciaran Hinds (if you don’t know, you have to wait and see!), and Bill Paterson (same as the latter).
I did enjoy Romola Garai’s dresses! Absolutely stunning. I want one.
I think Amazing Grace is rated PG – there is some heavy material. A little swearing, and some rather disturbing images too. I wouldn’t recommend for anyone under 13, though of course, it depends on the child. However, if you are a period drama lover – check this one out!

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Winter of Our Disconnect

Author: Susan Maushart
Genre: Life
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8
Type: Non-fiction
Number of pages: 278
My overall opinion: It was interesting! The story of a family who completely cut all electronics (cell phones, computers, TV, DVD’s, game systems) in their home for six months. It’s a single mom and three teens. Quite the story! There was some swearing, but Maushart’s writing style was very fun. She may well make you laugh out loud! As my mom pointed out, the entire book really could have been put into a long article. Therefore, some parts were a little long-winded and not quite so interesting. Overall, though, it was interesting.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Guest Post: Emma (1995) Soundtrack by Miss Laurie

Charity: Before I give the floor over to Miss Laurie, let me encourage you to check out the guest posts she did earlier this month with some other bloggers! Comparisons of Persuasion movie versions...truly delightful. Make sure you read them! Also, watch for two more guest posts coming from Miss Laurie later this summer.

Now, here's Miss Laurie:

CD: Emma (1996)
Another of my favorite Jane Austen film soundtracks, this one features beautiful flowing music and even a dance song!

1. Main Titles
2. Harriet's Portrait
3. Sewing & Archery
4. Frank Churchill Arrives
5. Celery Root
6. Mr. Elton's Rejection
7. Emma Tells Harriet About Mr. Elton
8. The Coles Party
9. Mrs. Elton's Visit
10. Emma Dreams Of Frank Churchill
11. The Dance
12. Gypsies
13. The Picnic
14. Emma Insults Miss Bates
15. Emma Writes Her Diary
16. Mr. Knightley Returns
17. Proposal
18. End Titles

All music was composed by Rachel Portman and some of the songs sound similar to the Nicholas Nickleby (2002) soundtrack which she would compose later. The track The Dance is an English Country Dance called Auretti's Dutch Skipper which is danced in the film during the scene where Mr. Knightley asks Harriet to dance at the ball. My favorite songs on the CD are The Coles Party, Emma Dreams of Frank Churchill, The Dance and End Titles because they are all a bit more lively.

Some of the Tracks above are linked to YouTube videos of the music and here's a music video I made a while back with photos from Emma (1996) and End Titles song:


Emma 1996 - End Titles

This soundtrack is a bit more dull than some other Jane Austen soundtracks because the songs to me aren't as upbeat or as easy to identify, there's only about two or three themes that are played in different ways. The music is gorgeous though and nice to listen to while you're reading or doing homework. It's a must have for anyone who enjoys the film. It can be found at some local libraries and can be bought at Amazon.

Very Truly Your's,
Miss Laurie

Old-Fashioned Charm

Miss Laurie is the author of Old-Fashioned Charm where she blogs about Jane Austen, period dramas, classic literature and everything old-fashioned under the sun.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Chasing Mona Lisa

Author: Trica Goyer, Mike Yorkey
Genre: Suspense, just a touch of romance
Series: It’s a sequel to Swiss Courier, but I think you could fully enjoy this one without reading that one.
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 325
Time period: 1940’s (end of World War II), World War II
My overall opinion: It was very exciting, and very fun! Really neat to read about the same characters as in Swiss Courier, plus some new ones. And a great World War II adventure! I found the whole section in the sewer to be very interesting. And yes, they really do go in a sewer! It was a riveting book, and if you enjoy suspense, this is a good book for you!

Birthday: Josephine


Birth: June 23, 1763
Death: May 29, 1814
It’s her 249th birthday!
You know her because – she was married to Napoleon.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Cover Focus: A Flight of Fancy

A Flight of Fancy by Laurie Alice Eakes

Book blurb from : Cassandra Bainbridge has twice set aside her scholarly pursuits--once for the London Season and once for her wedding preparations. Love seems a wonderful alternative to study, until disaster strikes. When an accident brings an end to her betrothal, she heads for the country to recover from both her injuries and her broken heart. There she pursues her love for ballooning and envisions a future for herself as a daring aeronaut. But when her former fiancé slips back into her life, what course will she choose?
Filled with the mystique of London society and the charming beauty of the English countryside, A Flight of Fancy explores what it means to find the true source of happiness and love amid the distractions of life. Readers will love the next installment in this rousing Regency series from accomplished author Laurie Alice Eakes.

Why I like this cover: If you ask me (which I know, you didn’t), it looks exactly like a flight of fancy to me. Cassandra’s fanciful expression and dark curls go perfectly with it all. And that dress is so pretty! The pink frills and rosette are adorable (and definitely flighty), and the dark pink skirt section that appears to mostly just cover the back is perfect. And the gloves! What I wouldn’t give for a pair of gloves just like that… Even the way she’s holding her arm contributes distinctly to the overall effect! And of course, the balloons in the background are perfect for the flight theme. I love those balloons, by the way…especially the blue and gold one. The fancy capital F’s are beautiful – and not the same, but they go together! I don’t quite like the aqua blue that is behind Laurie Alice Eakes’ name…seems to me a pink or gold would have been better. Other than that, I love it! Looks like a fun and even funny book. :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Author: Karen Kingsbury
Genre: Life
Series: It ties in with the “Above the Line” series. In that series, the characters are making a movie based on the book Unlocked, and much of that series centers on their struggles as they make it.
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 323
Time period: Present
My overall opinion: Wow. This was quite the book! It’s about an autistic boy. I learned a ton from this! I admit, that prior to reading this book, I really didn’t know much at all about autism – now I feel much more like I understand it at least a little more. It was moving and sweet. As I mentioned above, in the previous series, this story was being made into a movie. So I feel like I’ve read a behind-the-scenes book about the making of this movie, except…it isn’t actually a movie, since that behind-the-scenes was fiction too. I really want to see the movie now, though! Oh well. Maybe someday they will make it. J Anyway, awesome book, do read it!

Birthday: Dario Marianelli

Dario Marianelli

Birth: June 21, 1963
I’ve posted about him: No, but here’s my review of the film for which he wrote music:
It’s his 49th birthday!
You know him because – he wrote the wonderful music for the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice. FYI, I’m not endorsing this version – but the music is wonderful. Read Miss Laurie's guest post review of the CD here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Movie: Ben-Hur

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9 (actually 8.85)
Genre: Adventure
Primary actors: Charlton Heston (he was also in a Moses movie…Ten Commandments, I think it was called)
Length: About 3½ hours.
Based on: Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace
Time period: Bible times – around the year 29 or 31, I believe, A. D.
Year it came out: 1959
My overall opinion: This is truly an epic film. I think that at the time of its making, it was the biggest film of its kind! Some of it is very awful (from a film-maker’s standpoint, probably a lot…but some was just a little rough to me). But overall, they did a good job with it. It’s exciting and moves fast! A little gory for younger kids, I think. Overall, great movie!

Read my review of the book: Ben-Hur.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Spotlight: Vizzini

Vizzini (Princess Bride)

The most hilarious character (other than perhaps Miracle Max) from a most hilarious movie. Vizzini, played by Wallace Shawn.

I love those guys. :) Note that I've also done a Spotlight on Inigo Montoya, which you can find through a link on the Spotlight Series page.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Shades of Blue

Author: Karen Kingsbury
Genre: Life
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: 331
Time period: Present
My overall opinion: It’s a book about abortion. It’s not a romance, but rather, it’s people dealing with the after-math of having an abortion – the impact on the parents of the dead child. Yes, it’s a fictional story. It was a moving story, and a great book.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pictures of Hollis Woods

Author: Patricia Reilly Giff
Genre: Childhood
My rating on a 1-10 scale: 7.5
Type: Fiction
Number of pages: About 160
Time period: Present
My overall opinion: Didn’t love it, didn’t hate it. That about sums it up. It’s about a foster child, and a few of the homes that she lives in.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Birthday: Stan Laurel

Stan Laurel

Birth: June 16, 1890
Death: February 23, 1965
It’s his 122nd birthday!
You know him because – he was a vital part of Laurel and Hardy. He’s the thin one, not exceptionally bright, but occasionally prone to mysterious magic trips – using his thumb as a match without apparent problems, pulling full glasses of water out of his trouser pockets (and when sarcastically asked why he doesn’t have ice, adding some, also from his pocket), etc.

Persuasion Comparison: Part 4

This is the 4th and final 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 music, scenery and costumes from the 1995 and 2007 adaptations of Jane Austen's Persuasion and tell which film version they prefer and why.

Miss Amy Dashwood: The 2007 theme, though hauntingly lovely, was a bit repetitive and I got tired of hearing it after about half an hour. However, it did have several variations and the harp/piano arrangements were quite pretty. I did prefer the 1995 theme music (sigh. I sound like a broken record) because it was more varied, and I loved how it was sweeping and dramatic one moment and quiet and soothing the next
Miss Laurie: The 1995 soundtrack is mostly pieces by Frédéric Chopin and Johann Sebastian Bach with a couple compositions by Jeremy Samms and each piece seems to whisk us away into the Regency world, I especially love the pieces that play during the scenes at Lyme because they perfectly capture the rolling feeling of the sea. Most of the 2007 soundtrack was composed by Martin Phipps especially for the film and each piece is very moving and just brilliant. It's hard to choose a favorite here but the 2007 music is almost a bit repetitive and how can you compare a new composer to the old masters? So I guess I like the 1995 music best.
Miss Melody: A lot of the music in the 1995 film were Chopin pieces rather than a fresh soundtrack, and while I liked some of it, other times it seemed out of place and rather took away from some of the scenes’ significance or continuity. Some of the 2007 music was all right, but a lot of it was too modern-sounding, and didn’t really seem to go. Though Anne plays Moonlight Sonata briefly, which for some reason or other scores a lot of points with me—though I should ignore it, because that’s not part of the soundtrack. Overall I think the 2007 music went better with its movie than the 1995 soundtrack went with that one, if that makes any sense. (Whether or not I have purposefully avoided declaring a particular preference, I shall leave you to determine.)
Miss Elizabeth Bennet: There are two different tones that each adaptation uses. The 1995 version's music has a bouncier tone while the 2007 version has a much slower, sadder tone to it. To me, Persuasion isn't that sad of a book (maybe more serious, but not sad), so I'm going to have to go with the 1995 music.


Miss Amy Dashwood: The scenery in 2007 can be summed up in one word: bleak. Shades of gray and green and more gray, predominantly. I’m not saying it’s not beautiful—it is!—but the outdoors seemed to be constantly shrouded in mist, whether the story was taking place in Lyme, the streets of Bath, or the countryside near Kellynch. The interiors were better, but the colors were still soft and muted—appropriate for the quietly charming story. The 1995 scenery was nothing to write home about, but at least it wasn’t quite as gloomy as in 2007. One complaint I did have was that the interiors were often poorly lit and it was hard to see the actors’ faces—overall, both versions had their good points and bad points.
Miss Laurie: The composition of the 2007 film's scenes are visually stunning, so filled with color and light that they are quite like works of art. There are picturesque country houses, storm swept walks in Lyme, views over rolling hills and the view of historic Royal Crescent in Bath is very impressive. But overall I prefer the 1995 scenery because the country houses, Bath scenes and even Lyme just look like real place where real people are living. I also think the 1995 film was shot using a wider lens because the country houses look grander, the walks through rambling country fields are more vast and the scenes of strolling on the seashore and Cobb at Lyme are just gorgeous!
Miss Melody: The 1995 scenery was quite nice, and seemed quite Jane Austen Adaptation-ish (which, obviously, is a good thing to me). The general feel of the 2007 scenery, colors, and filming of this one seemed to be more dark; not the old-fashioned, happy feeling I like Jane Austen movies to have, so I believe I favor the 1995 scenery.
Miss Elizabeth Bennet: The scenery in both are almost nearly opposites. The 1995 movie had very colorful scenery, while the 2007 version had darker and -- dare I say it? -- more washed-out colors. I have a preference for more colorful scenery, so I'm going to have to say that the 1995 scenery was better.

Miss Amy Dashwood: Hands down, I preferred the costumes in 1995, as I’m assuming that we’re including hairstyles in this comparison as well. Anne’s severe updo in the 2007 version left me wincing whenever she moved her face (it must have been pretty painful, so tightly pulled back!). Many of the characters in 2007 wore unflattering clothes, and I preferred the slightly older (that is, they looked well worn) outfits of the 1995 version. (Anne’s dress at the concert was especially lovely.)
Miss Laurie: I'd never really thought about which costumes I've prefer until recently reading a costumer's thoughts on how the 1995 costumes are amazingly period correct down to the tiniest details. And even though the customs regarding when navy officers were allowed to wear their uniforms were not always observes the uniforms are so dashing that you don't mind any historical mistakes. The 2007 costumes are richer in the fabrics and more jewelry and accessories are worn but I find that the colors, fabrics and accessories often don't suit the character who is wearing them so that most characters are dressed to extravagantly. I prefer the simpler styles of the 1995 film with it's earthy color palate because the costumes truly suit the characters who wear them.
Miss Melody: I liked the costumes in the 1995 version depending on the character; for instance, I really liked most of Anne’s, but Lady Russell’s never impressed me favorably. One thing I liked about the 2007 costumes was that there weren’t as many low necklines as many Jane Austen movies have, but other than that they weren’t really very interesting, though I did love Louisa’s hat. I suppose it was stained beyond washing after her fall – what a shame. ;-) Anyways, I suppose I’ll go with 1995.
Miss Elizabeth Bennet: I liked both sets of costumes. One of the good things about the 1995 version was that the costuming was very accurate to the Regency era. While I did like most of the costuming for the 2007 version, I did not like how during the concert scene Elizabeth Elliot, Mrs. Clay, and Lady Dalrymple had hair that was reminiscent of 1830s hairstyles (and hairstyles that have been taken to an extreme). Because of that, I'm going to have to go with the 1995 costuming.

Miss Amy Dashwood: In case you haven’t noticed yet, I preferred the 1995 version by far. It seemed to me to capture the very essence of Jane Austen’s lovely novel, and made me want to re-read the book—the highest praise I can give any literary adaptation! The 2007 version felt rushed: I didn’t have enough time to get to know the characters as well as I would have liked, and if I hadn’t read the book first, I might have been confused by some events. Definitely, the 1995 version was superior. Poignantly beautiful, occasionally hilarious, moving and all-around wonderful, Persuasion 1995 was a real treat to watch. I will look forward to seeing it again—and may I add that 1995 was an excellent year for Jane Austen adaptations.
Miss Laurie: Each film version is very sweet, beautifully filmed and are lovely period dramas in their own right. But taking the good points and the bad together Persuasion 1995 has so many more strengths and is so much closer the the book. To me the 2007 version seemed to be focused on making a pretty and romantic film instead of being faithful to the spirit of Jane Austen; the cast were popular modern choices and the scenes are written with a flair for the sappy romanticism. The 1995 film to me is like a peek into what Jane Austen's world was really like and it's to the story and the spirit of its author. And if you couldn't already tell Persuasion 1995 is probably my favorite Jane Austen adaptation of all time! 
Miss Melody: To say the truth I can’t decide which I prefer, and I don’t want to try. I know I should like the 1995 version better because it pays the most attention to detail/how things were in the book (except for changing a couple of the minor characters’ first names), but I don’t enjoy it more than the other, and tallying up all my favorites from everything else would make the 2007 version win. Really I don’t think either one holds a candle to the book, and there are things I like and dislike about each of them in different ways. I must mention that I liked how Anne kept a journal in the 2007 version, because it relayed what she was thinking in the book.  In short I think it all comes back to Captain Wentworth— he wasn’t the greatest in 2007, but frankly I just can’t stand him in the 1995 version, and I hope that Certain Other Bloggers won’t kill me now that I’ve said that.
Miss Elizabeth Bennet: There were things that I preferred in the 1995 version over the 2007 version and vice versa. While there were a lot of things that I very much liked about the 1995 version, I still think my favorite is the 2007 version. I found that the 2007 version had better actors/actresses for their characters.

Navigate to the Different Parts of the Persuasion Comparison!

Charity: Well, readers, you've reached the end of these wonderful guest posts! I just finished reading them through for the first and enjoyed them so much. Thanks, Miss Elizabeth, Miss Melody, Miss Laurie, and Miss Amy! I know you put an amazing amount of work into these posts, and I greatly appreciate that. I loved these posts! Most interesting. Thank you again, ladies!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Cover Focus: Heart of Gold

Heart of Gold by Robin Lee Hatcher


Book blurb from Google books : When Shannon Adair accompanies her minister father to the western gold rush town of Grand Coeur, she's certain she'll never be happy away from her beloved Virginia, even though the South is still gripped in civil war.
Wells Fargo driver Matthew Dubois isn't sure the lovely Shannon belongs in Idaho Territory either, but he is a desperate man. His widowed sister is dying and leaving her young son, Todd, in his care. Matthew wants to return to driving coach for the express company soon-so he'll have to find a wife to look after the boy when he's away.
Shannon is determined not to lose her heart to a man who is neither a Southerner nor a gentleman. But love stakes its claim. Now, will her heart survive learning the truth behind the courtship?”

Why I like this cover: In my opinion, you have to actually look at this one for a little while before you realize how pretty it is. For example, Shannon. My first impression of her wasn’t anything to mention…a passable girl. But actually, she’s very pretty! She’s got that bright-eyed expression (for lack of a better word)  and she really looks happy. I love the color of her dress – that blue is so pretty! The puffed sleeves, the black lace around the top of the bodice and sleeves… *sigh* She looks like she’s verbally sparring in a witty manner with someone; I think it’s the hands on the hips. And then that guy. Matthew. You know, he looks like a Wells Fargo driver. A little moustache and 5 o’clock shadow, that red shirt, and the muscles. Not to mention the hat! I’d better hurry up here…the whole wagon (come on, what’s the word…) and the horses – they add a wonderful part to the whole cover! When you’ve looked at it for a little while (in my case), you notice that little gold heart over the title. Perfect!

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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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Movie: Persuasion

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9
Genre: Romance, classic, life
Primary actors: Amanda Root, Ciaran Hinds
Length: About one hour and 40 minutes
Based on: Persuasion by Jane Austen
Time period: 1800’s
Year it came out: 1995
My overall opinion: This version of Persuasion is the only one I’ve seen, but I must admit that I’m quite happy with it. A few quick thoughts about the characters are below, and I’ll do a comparison after I see the 2007 (?) version. Anne is sweet and just like Anne should be, Captain Wentworth is rather nice as well, and I especially think that Mary was well-casted. The music isn’t something that stands out at all in this movie, but it does in the scenes at Lyme, where it is very pretty! If you like period dramas, watch this one. :)