Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Period Drama Montage "It's Raining Men" (REDO)

Period Drama Montage "It's Raining Men" Redo from You Tube

This You Tube video made me smile as it has clips from so many great adaptations.  This works on so many levels.  The fact that this song was in the first Bridget Jones film (you know, the part where Hugh Grant and Colin Firth are having the most ridiculous fight over Bridget-grabbing clothes and kicking etc) makes you instantly bop your head and think of a couple of British cuties right off the bat.  That and the wonderful editing of many of my favorite swoon worthy scenes really keeps me coming back to play this one again and again.
How many men did you recognize in this montage?  I will start you out with JJ Field as Henry Tilney in Northanger Abbey.  So cute with that little smirk.

Next, in quick succession we have my personal fave right now, Richard Armitage as Mr. Thornton in North & South.

Then Jeremy Northam as Mr. Knightley in Emma 1996 (Emma, try not to kill my dogs).

 Then we have  the adorable newcomer Dan Stevens as Edward Ferrars from the new Sense and Sensibility 2008.

Then, of course, we must show the smouldering Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy from the new Pride and Prejudice.

Followed closely here from the same film, shy guy Mr. Bingley (aka Simon Woods).

And then we have Anthony Howell as Roger Hamley in Wives and Daughters(oh, teach me some Biology, Roger).

We then have a peek at Rupert Penry-Jones as Captain Wentworth in the new Persuasion (I am half agony, half hope), and then I have to stick my neck out here and guess, JJ Field again in The Shadow in the North?  Apparently, I have some shopping to do on Amazon!  I love JJ, as does the creator of this video apparently.

Then on to Welsh cutie Ioan Gruffudd as William Wilberforce from Amazing Grace, although some of you will recognize him more as Horatio Hornblower.

If I only mention new faces at this point, we move on to the iconic Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice 1996 who we have in most of his best looks and ending in the tub with him (although no wet shirt scene?!?!)

We move on to Mr. Willoughby from Sense and Sensibility 1996 (otherwise known as Greg Wise/Mr. Emma Thompson).

And then on to the new Colonel Brandon, David Morrisey from Sense and Sensibility 2008 , very hot and understated.

We then of course have to give a nod to the original Colonel Brandon, the silky voiced Alan Rickman from the classic Sense and Sensibility 1996.

And then we have Mr. Willoughby from the latest Sense and Sensibility 2008, Domenic Cooper, who just about loses his head in this video (perfectly timed with the lyrics).

If I have missed any cuties from this absolutely addictive You Tube video, please leave a comment.  I think I missed David Tennant from the TV miniseries Cassanova, but this is not the Heath Ledger version of Cassanova also from 2005.  This is another one I have to order, as I only know David Tennant from Doctor Who. 

Feel free to comment on what you love about this video, or what you would have added.  I think this was done a few years ago, so there have been many great period dramas released since then.  Have fun with this one and please share it with whoever you think it would bring a smile to.
Thank-you to the creator of this You Tube video, DreamyViper (aka Jiab).  She has lots more stuff so check out her other videos via this link.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Girl in Bath

I have been to Bath, the gorgeous city in England, twice in my lifetime. The first time was with my husband before we had kids.  I had begged him to take me to England as I was pregnant with my first child and wanted to do something exciting before I got tied down with a baby.  Good plan.  Unfortunately, we were a bit naive in the trip planning department and only booked 8 days in London through a travel agent.
Fortunately, the agent booked us into a hotel on Curzon Street in Mayfair, London.  Oh, had I only known at that time the literary history of that address.  I now know that Curzon Street is where the social climber Becky Sharpe from Thackery’s novel Vanity Fair went to live after her marriage to the dashing Rawdon Crawley. That tony address where they could not afford the rent, but where Becky wanted to live and be seen giving all of her fabulous parties.  It was also the address of Lord Henry Wotton of The Picture of Dorion Gray and the address of Jeeves' club The Junior Ganymede Club for gentleman’s gentleman (valets).  After my husband (the Squire) and I stumbled into a cab after the red-eye flight from Toronto and were taken to our lovely (and amazingly affordable) hotel on fairly swanky Curzon Street, we had no real idea where we were.  After a well needed nap, we stumbled out on the street again, looking for a place to have supper.  Thinking we should walk around first, we walked for about ten minutes through a beautiful  park (Green Park) and then looked up to find (holy crap!), Buckingham Palace.  Good travel agent.
Anyhow, we ended up on the next day doing what most travelers do in a strange city, and that was to book a few bus tours.  OK, that is what clueless travelers in 1991 did in a strange city.  These are the kind of crazy tours where they take you to as many places possible in one day.  One of these took us from London to Oxford, Stratford and Warwick Castle all in one day, and on another day we did Bath, Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral. Whew!  At that point in my life, Bath was only a beautiful city with graceful Georgian architecture and a well preserved Roman bath.  But even then, I felt ripped off with the mere 2 hours before we were piled back on the bus.
My second visit to Bath was much more satisfactory.  This was in 2005 with my husband and 2 boys (then 13 and 10).  We had all chosen something special to do on this trip (planned entirely by me this time) and my choice was to have 2 days in Bath. This was after I had spent the previous decade reading 19th century literature and watching many adaptations of said novels on screen.  So Bath was a different and more familiar place to me.  It was where Anne Elliot finally hooked up with Captain Wentworth.  It was where Catherine Morland got her first taste of the delights and disappointments of society.  And it was where Jane Austen spent many unhappy years not writing, but storing up many studies of various characters for future reference.
So, of course, I dragged my family around the Royal Crescent, through Royal Victoria Park, around the Roman Baths (well worth seeing a second time) and into the Abbey. We walked back to our hotel via Pulteney bridge, after tasting the disgusting sulfurous water at the Pump Room.  Basically, I wore the poor things out.  So after dropping the 3 of them back at the hotel for a late afternoon rest, I went back out alone, determined to squeeze the most enjoyment out of my time in Bath.  I trotted off to the Jane Austen Centre at 40 Gay St. to immerse myself in all things Austen.  I started to really regret not having my sister with me, when I saw a poor young dude dressed like Mr. Darcy outside the museum, meant to pull the lady tourists in.  She and I would have laughed our posteriors off at that, but I only managed a smirk before I ducked into the building.  (Apparently there is now a mannequin dressed as Miss Austen out front.)

After soaking up as much as I could there, I headed off to the Assembly Rooms.  Not much time left, as the sun was getting low in the sky, but I had to see them.  I had to picture the crush of beautifully dressed dancers described in Northanger Abbey.  I had to imagine the parading of characters around the ballroom and the tea room.  Then down in the basement I went for a look around the Museum of Costume.  At this point, I was half in heaven (as they had real Georgian gowns as well as costumes from various Austen films on display) and half in hell (as I was inwardly screaming for my sister to be at my side).  In any case, after pressing my nose to the glass to study the antique gowns and then getting as close as I could to Jennifer Ehle’s red dress from Pride and Prejudice without drooling on it:

(yes, the one in which she teases, “A man without fault?”), I made my way slowly back to the hotel for dinner in a pub with the guys.  I think it was the Thursday night curry special at the local pub, which was delish, and I was full of the wonders of Bath for a few years more, at least.
Moral of the story?  I have now realized that if and when I return to the wondrous curved city, I will have my sister with me.  And no men.  My men are very relieved to hear this, as apparently I am a one woman bus tour!

Accessibility of Classic Novels

I think that one of the greatest things about these adaptations is that they make the novels so much more accessible.  I just finished reading Mrs. Gaskell’s North and South for about the third time and was in tears again on the last few pages.  Not only do I know that I wouldn’t have read this novel but for the adaptation, I also know that I enjoy it more because of the adaptation.  It is as if I need a bridge to the “other world” of the 19th century and the adaptation gives me that.  I am not an English scholar so I need a bit of a leg up, to picture the world and the relationships in my mind before I tackle the book.  I usually then actually enjoy the book better than the film, although there are usually ways in which the films are as good if not superior to the original novel.
North and SouthNorth & South In the case of North and South, which is quickly becoming my favourite novel/adaptation combo, the final scene with Margaret and Mr. Thornton is done equally well in novel and adaptation, even if the kissing at the train station is a bit unrealistic for mid-Victorian times.  It is delicious to those of us watching in the 21st century so we can suspend our disbelief that Margaret would have been so indiscreet.  But the much more discreet scene in the book makes me cry even more than the one in the film.
In any case, I think we can all agree that the readership of these old novels has surged in recent years because of all these lovely adaptations and the fact that some of us want the feeling we get from the films to continue, so we read the books.  And we are rarely disappointed.  So thank-you to the BBC and all the other filmmakers and screenplay writers for lighting a fire under those of us less likely to pick up a Classic novel without a little nudge.

Only 30 British Actors?

My sister came up with a theory a few years ago which sounded very credible at the time.  Apparently, there are only really 30 British actors and they rotate them through the roles as they are needed.  OK, there are a few more than 30 but sometimes it seems really plausible.  I mean Judi Dench, Helen Mirren and Hugh Grant alone can account for an alarming number of roles.  My sister took this one step further and made up the game two degrees of Judi Dench.  

Kind of like 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon, but if you use British actors, you can connect Judi in two degrees.  Try it.  It is scary.  Ok, here goes.  I picked a name that I thought hadn’t worked with Judi-Emma Thompson. Nope, one degree here.  They did Kenneth Branaugh’s Henry V together in 1989.  I will use Blake Ritson, Mr. Elton in the new Emma.  He has worked with Michael Gambon in Emma who worked with Judi Dench in Cranford. Yowza!

So you see, if you watch enough BBC and British films, you will see the reuse of actors and you will have to try to forget that Hugh Bonneville was the scary Mr. Grandcourt in Daniel Deronda if he is to be believable as sweet but neglectful Mr. Bennet in Lost in Austen or dopey Mr. Rushworth in Mansfield Park 1999.  

So they really have to be good actors if you have seen them many times before in other roles.  Thankfully, most of them really are good actors and they make us forget and they make us believe.



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