Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

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

Friday, December 16, 2011

Jane Austen's Birthday Soiree- The Gift of Film and A Giveaway

Today, December 16th, is Jane Austen's Birthday. In her 41 short years she was able to make such a mark in the literary world that here we are celebrating her birthday 236 years later. I think I speak for many of us when I say that she has enriched our lives immeasurably and for that we are truly grateful. In this spirit of gratitude, 30 other bloggers and I will be offering some gifts in the first ever Jane Austen's Birthday Soiree.

In order to honour our esteemed author, I would like to give her The Gift of Film to demonstrate how her beloved books have been dramatized over the past 20 years or so. She liked going to the theatre and had put on amateur productions with her siblings as a child, so I will show her what the world has done with her novels 200 years later.

Pride and Prejudice 1995
I would love to show her Andrew Davies's adaptation of her favourite heroine Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice from 1995. Although she might think that Mrs. Bennet is a bit shrill, I think she would approve of the rest. I would hope that she would swoon over Mr. Darcy come to life on the screen. I would try to explain the wet shirt scene and the thrill that this gave to women worldwide. I think she would understand, don't you?

Mansfield Park 1999

I would show her Mansfield Park 1999 but with qualifications and apologies. I would try to explain that the filmmakers thought that if they injected a little of Miss Austen herself into Fanny Price, that the character would appeal more to a modern audience. I would also explain that her true fans are still waiting for a really faithful and satisfactory film or miniseries to be made of Mansfield Park. I would not show her the bottle blonde abomination of Mansfield Park from 2007. I know some people liked it but not me.

Northanger Abbey 2007
I think she would get some enjoyment out of Andrew Davies's adaptation of Northanger Abbey from 2007. The mischievous Mr. Tilney would appeal I think, as would the wide eyed portrayal of Catherine Morland by Felicity Jones.

Emma 2009
Although she may find Romola Garai's Emma  from 2009 a little too likeable, I think this is the best screen version of Emma and I love all the characters in this miniseries. OK, I especially love Jonny Lee Miller and I hope that the author would approve of his Mr. Knightley. Actually, I should probably show her the Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow from 1996 and the Emma with Kate Beckinsale from 1996. It would be a lively discussion afterwards, as to which version is truer to her original vision and which version she liked best (and they may not be one and the same).

Persuasion 1995
I think she would love Persuasion 1995  with it's nautical music and filming locations of Bath and Lyme Regis. It might amaze her how little has changed in 200 years. I would love to watch her taking in the magical scene of the letter...“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope...I have loved none but you.”

Sense and Sensibility 1995
Lastly, I would love her to see the masterpiece of Sense and Sensibility 1995 adapted by Emma Thompson and Directed by Ang Lee. I think she would be impressed by how well her novel springs to life on the big screen. I would point out how the music in this production stays with you long after the film is over. I might even show her Emma Thompson's Golden Globe acceptance speech afterward, although it might require some explanation!

None of us know what Jane Austen would think of what modern society has done with her "darling children". But I hope that she could appreciate the way her novels so easily adapt to the screen, and the fact that we love to see them acted out as much as we enjoying reading them after all these years.

Happy Birthday Miss Austen! We only wish you were around longer so that we might have more of your "darling children" to enjoy.


Please post a comment below about your favourite Jane Austen film adaptation to be entered into my giveaway draw for a DVD copy of Northanger Abbey 2007. I am opening the giveaway worldwide (draw closes December 23) and I will announce the winner here. The winner can choose a region 1 or region 2 DVD. Don't forget to add your email address!

Please also visit the rest of the participants in the Jane Austen Birthday Soiree. The list is so extensive, it may take you a week to enter all of the giveaway draws. But please do. There are so many wonderful websites on this list and lots of great gifts!


  1. I love the uniqueness of your giveaway, Jenny. Of course books are my favorite way to enjoy a Jane Austen...but I love the movies made from her novels. Have to say that I wasn't a fan of Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow and I'm glad it's not one you highlighted. My favorite (which has been difficult to choose, btw) is Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson. For the beauty of the whole thing...for the gorgeousness of Emma's acting...for the music and all the cast. I loved this movie and I watch it over and over.
    I haven't seen your Northanger Abbey giveaway, and I'd love to have a copy. That's why I stopped by, and happy I did or I wouldn't have read all the other things you've shared. Thanks!
    I'm a new follower, too! :]

  2. Rats! Forgot to leave my email address:

    Thanks, again!

  3. My favourite adaptation is Pride and Prejudice 1995, but I also love Northanger Abbey. Wonder what Jane would have thought.

  4. Emma 09 edges S&S 95. The music, the dance, Ramola and Jonny Lee Miller, etc

  5. I love Persuasion 1995. The scene with the letter was so good! arianne(dot)hartsell(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. My favorite film adaptation is the 1999 version of Mansfield Park. I cry every single time I watch it, the emotion of the characters just leaps out of the screen. Absolutely a must see. It has a special place in my heart.

  7. Danielle

    I would have to pick the 2007 adaption of Persuasion from BBC. That is my favorite book and that was the best adaption of it.

    (For some reason I can't post with my Google so I am using anonymous)

  8. Oh, can I come to the screenings of the adaptations with Miss Austen present? I agree with your assessments, although I am quite partial to the more recent S&S. I really enjoyed the most recent NA and would love to own a copy of it so that I can swoon over Mr. Tilney whenever I wish!

  9. Your "Gift of Film" is a lovely summary of the best of Austen films. There are two I have missed, and shall have to watch.

    One of those is the 2007 version of Northanger Abbey. What a coincidence.

    It would be wonderful to be included in your drawing. It is hard to choose, but Persuasion from 1995 is my favorite. They waited so very, very long!

  10. 1995 BBC Pride & Prejudice is my absolute favorite! (Jane would SO approve of Colin Firth!)I also love Sense & Sensibility with Emma Thompson. I like the newest Emma adaption as well, although the Kate Beckinsale version is my favorite of the two.

  11. So hard to decide on a favorite! I do think the 2007 Northanger Abbey could be my favorite. Tilney is certainly my favorite Austen hero! I do own the NA2007 DVD, but if I win it, I would give it to one of the women in my book club!

  12. for me it is the 1995 Pride and Prejudice

    kissyjensen at gmail dot com

  13. I am constantly switching between Persuasions 1995 and 2007 version.

    My favorite of all time film version is 1995 Pride and Prejudice version

    Happy Birthday Jane

    Patricia Finnegan

  14. I love both P&P '95 (and I have a little crush on Mr. Darcy), and Persuasion '95. I will have to watch one this afternoon to celebrate Miss Austen's birthday.

    I would love to own Northanger Abbey, so thanks for the chance to win!
    danae (dot) kannely (at) gmail (dot) com

  15. Having traipsed all over Lyme Hall, having my soon to be husband snap pics of me wherever Darcy or Elizabeth had stood, swam, emerged from etc(which I must say scared my non-cultural cousin, who lives in Derbyshire), it most certainly has to be the 1995 Pride and Prejudice.

  16. Oh my to decide! I love so many of them for different reasons. The 1995 pride and prejudice for it's "ready wit," but the 2005 for he beautiful music and intensity. Northanger abbey 2007, is delightful, as is the 1995 Mansfield park. I adored the 1995 Persuasion, but have been won over by Sally Hawkins in the newer version. The 1995 Sense and Sensibility is still my favouite. And as for Emma, I didn't think there could be a better Mr. Knightly than Jeremy Northam, but I'd have to say that Johnny Lee Miller along with Romola Garai have changed my mind. So if I had to decide, I would have to say that the newest Emma, with it's wonderful supporting cast, from Mr. Woodhouse to Miss Bates, is my favouite. Happy birthday Jane and thanks for leaving us with such fascinating characters, friends one and all. ps. I had to select anonymous otherwise I couldn't post. My email address is

  17. 1995 BBC Pride & Prejudice is my favorite; I love Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy!!
    Lia Freitas

  18. I love Persuasion 1995!!!


  19. Gosh I love them all. I especially like Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow. I find it to be very witty.


  20. My favorite film adaptation is the one of Sense and Sensibility with Alan Rickman. He is a superb Brandon and I love his delivery of Brandon's lines. Happy Bday, Jane!

  21. persuasion1995 is my favourite, NOT the new version.
    I look forward to many more adaptations and watching them with my daughters.

    yarn yenta at yahoo

  22. I think we would all LOVE to get Jane's opinion of the films and the actors! A DVD collection would be a great gift for her.

    My favorite, and the only one I currently own, is the 95 P&P, followed very closely by Emma Thompson's S&S. I cry every time. I enjoyed both versions of Persuasion as well as the Mansfield Park with Jonny Lee Miller. (I havent read MP yet but Ive gathered Fanny in the book is a lot less likeable than the film). I liked the 07 NA, but the older one is terrible. I have yet to see an adaptation of Emma.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  23. That sounds like a lovely way to celebrate Jane Austen's birthday with her! I think a Jane Austen Marathon sounds like such a wonderful idea! I think Jane Austen would like The Jane Austen Book Club, I think it would be fun to watch it with her too! My favorite adaptation is Emma with Paltrow/Northam.

  24. Without a doubt 1995 pride and prejudice. Due to the fact it was so long, we were able to get as close to the book as possible without cutting too much. Colin Firth as mr Darcy makes any girl fall in love.
    This version of northanger abbey is a close second though. Catherine is portrayed so well that you get a better feeling of how young ladies were when they were getting married and falling in love, instead of an older actress pretending to act like she was a teen madly in love.


  25. Happy Birthday Miss Jane! And thank you for the giveaway! AH, I simply must choose the Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth "Pride and Prejudice." I watch it over and over again, and always love every minute of it!


  26. I am quite taken with the Amanda Root version of Persuasion.

  27. A tie between 1995 S&S and the 2005 P&P (although the 1995 P&P is a very close 2nd)


  28. Hello fellow Soiree host! I just wanted to chime in about your Mansfield Park assessment. I couldn't agree more!

    I've been waiting for a good/quality Mansfield Park mini-series to be released and was hopeful when BBC put out all those new Austen adaptations a few years back, but only to be disappointed. Another chance to get Mansfield right and they failed! I've become so desperate for film-makers to do it justice, I spent months researching and writing what I would consider the perfect mini-series adaptation. Now if only some big wig producer would come knocking on my door...LOL

    Thanks so much for sharing--and happy birthday Jane!

  29. Can I just say I love them all? It's true! If I had to pick just one though I'd have to say... Clueless. Hey, it's the first JA adaptation I ever saw. Does it count? After watching the movie, I read Emma. Then I went on to read all the rest. =D

    lcsieck at gmail dot com

  30. It would be hard to choose my favorite movie adaptation, but it would either be P&P 2005 or '95. I love the cinematography, costuming and music of '05, but I like the casting of '95 better. Colin Firth is the BEST Darcy, so I guess '95 would be my ultimate pick between the two.

    Laura Hartness
    CalicoCritic at gmail dot com

  31. I love all the adapatataions, but I always come back to Northanger Abbey with JJ is definitely my favorite. :)
    araminta18 (at) gmail (dot) com

  32. Even though it is now sixteen years old, the 1995 BBC mini-series of Pride and Prejudice is the still the definitive Austen film for me.

    However, I also adore the Paltrow/Northam version of Emma. I have always been mystified by those who say they do not like it. To each his own, I guess.

    Thank you for participating in this lovely soiree in honor of Jane's work. I do so hope she knows about all the films which have been made from her work!



  33. You want me to pick just one?!? Well the, probably the Hinds and Root Persuasion. Love the cinematography, the music, the actors....

    Second would be BBC's latest version of Sense and Sensibility. Love the casting of that, and the ages of the actors is generally match my mental picture of their ages

    booklove at sawcatsverse dot com

  34. Only one??? I love the Ciaran Hinds/Amanda Root Persuasion and the new BBC Sense and Sensibility, but my favorite is the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice has got to be first in my heart. It was the first Jane Austen adaptation I ever saw and it was what got me interested in the books. :)

    Thank you for the giveaway!


  35. If I had to pick only one it would probably be P&P with Colin Firth. My first adaptation and I can easily loose myself for hours!


  36. I liked the film Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet . I remember watching it long ago and really enjoyed the characters and the film .

    tumblemumbo at

  37. Tough one - but I'd have to go with 1995 Pride and Prejudice. 1995 Sense and Sensibility is hard upon its heels though. Huge fan of Northanger Abbey too - Henry Tilney is probably my second favourite Austen hero.


  38. Thanks for joining the party, Jenny! Lovely post, as usual.
    My favourite Austen adaptations are Emma 2009, S&S 2008 and S&S 1996, P&P 1995 and 2005. But I love them all, actually.
    No need to enter me in the giveaway. I collect adaptations of classics and Northanger Abbey couldn't be missed.

  39. Lovely post! My favorite JA adaptation would have to be the 2009 Emma. It was actually this movie that started my wild adventure with our beloved Jane. So this movie holds a very special place in my heart! And Jonny Lee Miller will always be my Mr. Knightley!!=)

  40. Wonderful post! That's a hard question to answer, there are many wonderful adaptations. It would be easier to name the two I don't like-however I'll refrain. :)So, I'd say absolute favorite would be 1995 Pride and Prejudice.


    felicialso @gmail. com

  41. the ones I watch the most are BBC's Sense and Sensibility 2007 and Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley.
    I would watch Northanger Abbey just as much if I own a copy

  42. My favorite will always be P&P 1995 BBC version.

  43. My favorite film adaptation would have to be Pride and Prejudice 1995. It's quite an unequaled masterpiece! Although close behind it comes Emma 2009, which I adore exceedingly.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  44. My favorite adapation is Emma Thompson screenplay written Sense and Sensibility. She was able to act and write all the feelings that I believe Jane Austen would have wanted us to feel. I cry every time I see the film. I love it with all my heart :D Sue bromiegirlatgmaildotcom

  45. I'm not sure anything will beat the '95 miniseries of Pride & Prejudice. For watching something Austen in one sitting, the Gwyneth Paltrow version of Emma.

    Thanks for the giveaway :)
    reader047 at gmail dot com

  46. Great idea, Jenny! :) I would love to know which adaptations she likes. Persuasion 1995 is my absolute favorite. And yes I agree the recent Mansfield Park is terrible.
    Thank you for joining us on the Soiree. No need to enter me in the giveaway.

  47. Oh what fun -- Persuasion 1995 is my favorite adaptation. I will always adore the Pride & Prejudice miniseries. I think of it as the adaptation that started Jane fervor in all its glory.

    Patrice Sarath

  48. Showing Jane her movies is a great idea- I had forgotten that she put on little plays herself. Other than the P&P of '95, I love the Emma Thompson/Ang Lee adaptation, it seems to be rather faithful even without following it to the letter, and it has a lot of the fun that other adaptations seem to have forgotten.

    melorabrock {at} gmail {dot} com

  49. I think Jane would have lots of fun watching these adaptations :D

    I have a few favourites of my own: first of all, I would never even know about Jane if not for BBC's "Pride and Prejudice" of 1995, so that would always be my number one. But I also love "Sense and Sensibility" with Emma Thompson, "Emma" with Gwyneth Paltrow and "Mansfield Park" of 1983.

  50. I love these adapations! I love the BBC adapations of Emma but love the Emma Thompson version of Sense and Sensibility.

    Jennifer W

  51. i think she would have a huge crush on darcy get out of the pool !! and perhaps be very touched to see that people still remember her and her stories are still adapted :)
    films are a way to discover jane austen's book when you don't live in a english-speakeing country , i discovered jane austen with "pride and prejudice " 2005 :)

  52. I would love to see next to Jane 1995 adaptation of "Persuasion" would be a wonderful dream. It would be great to have "Northanger Abbey" 2007.
    Happy Birthday Miss Austen and congratulations to all who celebrate it like a dear friend's birthday.
    My e-mail address is

  53. Oh! I could not be more excited about your choice of's one of the few adaptations that I don't have in my collection! My favorite would have to be the (1995) Sense and Sensibility which was so expertly done with the P & P "Firth" mini-series running a close second! Thanks so much for the lovely giveaway and a Happy Happy Birthday to Miss. Austen!

    stilettostorytime at gmail dot com

  54. Sounds like great fun! I have many of the Jane Austen movies and BBC productions.
    lvsgund at

  55. Wow! Thank you so much for this great giveaway:) I haven't as yet watched Northanger Abbey, but I've absolutely fallen in love with the recent Colin Firth and Keira Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice. Loved it!

    Thanks for this great opportunity:)

    I think Ms. Austen would have been pleased and proud to see all her daring children on the big screen:)

  56. My favorite is Pride&Prejudice BBC/A&E production. I would love to win this because I have never seen a film of North Anger Abbey. Thanks for the giveaway!


  57. Pride and Perjudice 1995 without a shadow of doubt.

  58. The Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice is my favorite.




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