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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious Austen - Glorious Emma
This delightful offering was made in 1972 - right in the middle of what plenty of people remember as a golden age for Classic Drama on telly.

This adaptation of EMMA is no exception. It's one of the finest pieces of work of its kind. Yes, it's studio-based - but it's none the worse for that. For a start, the sound is better!

Please remember that...
Published on 18 Sep 2008 by Green Knight

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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This BBC production leaves you ultimately unsatisfied.
First, despite it being an old 1972 BBC production, the film quality was a lot better than other BBC 1970/80s Austen productions. Colours were bright and fresh.

The problem is with the two leading characters, Mr Knightly and Emma. It's true that Mr Knightly is supposed to be an older gentleman but he still needs to be handsome and debonair for the whole...
Published on 11 Sep 2006 by Mordechaiipa


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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious Austen - Glorious Emma, 18 Sep 2008
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This review is from: Emma [1972] [DVD] (DVD)
This delightful offering was made in 1972 - right in the middle of what plenty of people remember as a golden age for Classic Drama on telly.

This adaptation of EMMA is no exception. It's one of the finest pieces of work of its kind. Yes, it's studio-based - but it's none the worse for that. For a start, the sound is better!

Please remember that television drama was described at the time as 'electronic theatre, not poor man's cinema'. Technical resources may have changed in 40 years, but think of the resources on offer here: stunning costume, well-designed and beautifully lit sets, superb actors who not only look but sound good, delicious writing that captures so well the essence of this lovely book - I'd rather see this a dozen times than an overpolished piece of slick location filming where all you end up with is pretty pictures of a supposedly 'all star cast'.

The problem for some people of course is the fact that the series is six whole episodes that are allowed to breathe - it's given time to develop. Be glad. Take the Woodhouses and the Knightlys and the Bateses and the Westons to your family bosom and let them take root and grow. There isn't a dull moment in this little gem.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A traditional classic, 16 Dec 2009
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M. Salmon (York England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Emma [1972] [DVD] (DVD)
My wife and I enjoyed Doran Godwin in 'The Irish RM' so we thought she'd be good as Emma. I've noticed some reviews say she was too old for the part but she was actually 22 playing a 21 year old. It was directed in a traditional style so there wasn't a change of scene every 10 seconds, as is so often the case nowadays. The story was given time to develop and the cast had time to develop the characters they were playing. We enjoyed this version of 'Emma' - we watched the instalments over several weeks and we were quite sad when it came to the end.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Faithful to the book, 19 Jan 2009
This old BBC version is still my favourite of all the film versions of "Emma". This book of Austen's has - thank goodness - escaped being twisted out of all recognition, as have some of her other novels recently. The Doran Godwin "Emma" is a slow, leisurely unfolding of the story and is unquestionably the most true to the book. Of course, sometimes the sets and costumes seem a bit dated and the cinematography is not as spectacular as in the more modern films; also, the acting is, in part, a bit "theatrical". That said, I find that this is the overall best characterization of the title character; most of the other persons are very well cast, too; I especially liked the actresses who played Harriet Smith and Miss Bates and the wonderful Mr. Woodhouse of Donald Eccles! He was exactly as I had envisioned him! One weak point was Jane Fairfax, who came across as very bland and colourless and had the most awful lisp. Also, her much-vaunted playing and singing talents are certainly not in evidence; her playing is hesitant and her singing dreadful; one cannot understand why she should be so sought-after as a governess. The actresses who played Jane in both other versions were much better; the best, to my mind, was in the Paltrow film. Miss Taylor/Mrs. Weston, while well-played, was perhaps a bit too chubby and not the "pretty young woman" described by Frank Churchill, but this is a quibble. Mr. Weston, on the other hand, is wonderful! And although Mr. Knightly seems a bit old for his part, he plays it very well, and the Eltons are marvelously portrayed in all their nastiness.
This is a case where all three versions (and I own them all) are enjoyable; the Beckinsale is second on my list, with the Paltrow version coming last, My biggest quibble with that is probably the total miscasting of Toni Colette as Harriet; by no stretch of the imagination does she look seventeen! And of course the truncated length, which means that many charming scenes from the book are omitted.
Yet since all Austen true believers have their own ideas about how the books should be translated into the film medium, it may be fair to say that there's no quarreling over taste. Thank heaven "Emma" has been spared the violation that "Mansfield Park" has been subjected to (the Frances O'Connor version and the one with the blowsy blonde(?), or the goshawful Keira Knightly P &P!
If you want a very faithful "Emma", this is the one to buy.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The whole story told in detail - Ms. Austen would approve, 26 Sep 2009
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This review is from: Emma [1972] [DVD] (DVD)
Some reviewers have said the actors are too old. In fact Emma, played wonderfully by Doran Goodwin, was 21 when the series was filmed, (hardly too old). Mr. Knightley is also perfectly cast. He comes over as a man of great wisdom and intuition and is attractive for more than just his physiognomy. The perfect casting is for Emma's father. He is wonderfully neurotic in his timidity. But the real plaudits for casting of the perfect actor for each role must go to Mr. Elton and his appalling wife. They are truly frightful people. However, there is no pantomime in their performance, it is measured and totally convincing. It is the casting of this series that maks it such a strong production.

Yes, the theme tune is grating and could have been more subtle and the exterior shots are obviously a little grany due to the period it was filmed (1971), however, the sets are beautiful and pretty impressive for the period.

What is most important is the depth that is afforded to Miss Austen's novel. It stays faithful to the novel throughout. This is the best dramatisation of Emma by a long shot.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How Strange, 14 April 2008
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This review is from: Emma [1972] [DVD] (DVD)
Funny isn't it. The very reason why most people didn't like this version of Emma, is the reason why I loved it. OK, so John Carson was 50ish when he played Mr Knightly, but still the dutiful but caring man came through. The part of Emma was a bit clipped, but still well acted, and the "minor characters" were excellent. This version of Mr Woodhouse is the best I have seen. Don't be put off by other comments. Give it a go.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emma, 10 Oct 2003
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HLT (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Emma [VHS] [1972] (VHS Tape)
Having viewed 3 video offerings of Austen's superb story Emma this is by far and away the best. The characters ooze personality and are faithful to both the story and days in which it was written.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emma with Dora Godwin, 3 Oct 2009
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Pat45 "Pats" (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Emma [1972] [DVD] (DVD)
For me this is the best Emma ever. Dora Godwin played the part beautifully & all the other actors brought the other characters to life so well. I would buy this one above any other, infact I am about to buy it for a second time for a friend. It is so much better than the film version with Gwynneth Paltrow.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite delightful, 18 Mar 2008
This review is from: Emma [1972] [DVD] (DVD)
Not a fan of this type of thing normally but for some reason I was drawn to Emma and found it quite delightful. Highly recommended from someone who normally watches sci-fi and action films. I have never read any of Jane Austen's books so I have no point of reference for the characters so was able to enjoy the story fresh.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This BBC production leaves you ultimately unsatisfied., 11 Sep 2006
This review is from: Emma [1972] [DVD] (DVD)
First, despite it being an old 1972 BBC production, the film quality was a lot better than other BBC 1970/80s Austen productions. Colours were bright and fresh.

The problem is with the two leading characters, Mr Knightly and Emma. It's true that Mr Knightly is supposed to be an older gentleman but he still needs to be handsome and debonair for the whole character to work. His costume was wholly unflattering showing his belly through his elasticated trousers. This Mr Knightly was too stuffy.

Emma was too stiff throughout the whole performance. The whole point of the character was that even though she made the most awful mistakes with her "know it all" attitude and meddled in other's lives, her character remains loved due to her charismatic personality and natural charm. The climax to the drama comes when Emma goes too far, insulting poor Mrs Bates and even her charm doesn't save her this time from Mr Knightly's justified anger. Mr Knightly takes her to task as only he can and it is at this point that Emma finally appreciates how much she respects him and dare she admit?, has strong feelings for him. Unfortunately my wife and I found this Emma lacking in that essential charm that she needs to pull off the character so that when she started trying to manipulate the lives of people around her, she simply appeared shamefully mean with no redeeming features.

Romantic chemistry between the two characters was non existent. In the book, Mr Knightly desperately wishes that Emma would not treat him like an older brother and see his true feelings for her. Ironically, this Mr Knightly behaves throughout as if he actually wants to be her older brother!

What a shame because the supporting cast were perfect, particularly Emma's father who was brilliantly played, as was the charming Mr Churchill. One slight oddity though. Jane Fairfax appeared to speak English with a foreign accent. Perhaps the actress was trying too hard to put on a posh accent and it came out "My Fair Lady" - "The rain in Spain..." style.

This BBC production leaves you ultimately unsatisfied. Instead, I'd go for the Kate Beckinsale / Andrew Davis production of Emma (1997). Despite the feeling that the story is being rushed, the characters have all the essential ingredients and the performance is far more enjoyable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Slow & Dull, 11 Oct 2013
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The reason it's 256 minutes long isn't because it's a mini-series (which it is), but because of poor editing and bad acting; it seems that the editors had to make it that long to stretch it out to the series length, while the actors and the director didn't seem to understand that that would also mean they fill the time wisely or at least entertainingly. I own most JA film adaptations, and I watch them gladly; but this one was so boring and slow I didn't bother to watch past the second episode. I kept wondering why the actress playing Emma had her eyes glued open as if in shock the whole time, when I realized she was trying to show the wide-eyed innocence of Emma; it just looked creepy and unnatural. Don't waste your time on this one; if you're looking for a great adaptation with length to sink your teeth into, rather choose the Romola Garai version (229 minutes), or the Gwyneth Paltrow version (116 minutes).
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Emma [1972] [DVD]
Emma [1972] [DVD] by John Glenister (DVD - 2005)
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