Friday, September 14, 2007

Jane Austen on Film: Or How to Make a Hit (by Ellen Moody)

To the reader: This is a somewhat modified version of the review-essay which was published in The East- Central Intelligencer: The Newsletter of the East-Central/American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, N.S. 12 (Sept. 1998), 12-17. I have since writing that essay done more research whose results I now include in the form of small revisions of the text, added notes, and a select bibliography on film.

The thesis of the essay is:

A careful and pragmatic (looking at what's actually on screen) comparison of a three of the post-1995 film adaptations of Jane Austen's novels with the film adaptations made between 1971 and 1995 reveals the post-1995 films differ not so much in historical accuracy (the importance of apparent accuracy in "costume drama" has been appreciated since the early 1970s), but in the use the post-1995 films make of sophisticated camera and sound work, alluring well-known stars, and publicity -- they are known in the trade as "high profile" films. These are the really measurable differences between the pre-1995 films since 1971 (the year of the first of the modern BBC films available on videocassette) and post-1995 films.

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