This is a review of the original hardback edition of 1995. This square book is dedicated by the author to Jane Austen, Monty Python, and the Magic Roundabout for their services in developing Emma Thompson's sense of humour. The circumstances of its production, of course, revolve around the adaptation of Jane Austen's novel for Ang Lee's film of `Sense and Sensibility'. This was one of the best films of the 1990s and a multi-Oscar winner, although being an excellent film and winning an Academy Award rarely go together.
The book consists of (i) a nine-page introduction by film producer Lindsay Doran, in which she describes the fifteen year process of getting to the stage when filming finally commences; (ii) Thompson's full screenplay; and (iii) Thompson's dairy entries during the production process, in which she was both star and screenwriter. As you would expect, the diary is erudite and witty, and extremely informative about the filmmaking process, probably more so than any book of film theory. Gemma Jones, who played Thompson's mother in the film, expresses the hope that the diary's contents are not going to be libellous. Alas, they are not. I particularly liked the entry for Sunday 18 June: "Watched `Blind Date' and picked my feet."
The book comes with many colour plates of the characters, stars, and settings in the film, as well as a list of locations and full credits.