Emma [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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!Read more ›
This is mainly due to the actress, playing the main charcter Emma, herself: Doran Godwin. She is not a bad actress but she just couldn't catch Emma's vivacity, energy and liveliness and warm heart - she was too sedate, pretending to be too superior and sometimes she was cold and .... a tad old to play a 21-year-old young girl. No matter how much I tried I could not like her and could not get involved in what would happen to her in the course of the series. Things changed slightly for the better in the latter episodes, she turned into a more positive character, but only because the excellent Fiona Walker as Mrs Elton appeared on scene. She was absolutely brilliant as the vulgar, upstart wife of the vicar Mr Elton, she provoked an instant dislike in the audience with her pretentious "airs and graces". It was only opposed to her that Emma seems a more positive character. With her own means, D. Godwin couldn't make it, which is a great pity, for despite her numerous faults Emma IS a very likeable character in the book, just as JA herself intended her to be (and we can see this both in the Beckinsale and Paltrow version).
There were other actors that did not fit the part they were made to play. Ellen Dryden, as Mrs Weston and John Carson as Mr Knightely were way too old for their part and Robert East as Frank Churchill was slimy and his I-have-so-many-teeth smile made me cringe whenever I saw it and it happened quite often.
On the other hand, Donald Eccles as Mr Woodhouse was great, just like Timothy Peters in the role of Mr Elton.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There are a cluster of 'Emma's' and gems among them, Romola Garai and Johnny Miller; Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam. being prominent in excellence. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
The film is Brilliant, the Seller is simply smashing. Highly recommended.Published 9 months ago by Jrf Botha
If you like Janet Austen unadulterated this is the best Emma I have found.Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
It wasn't the best recording I've seen, but I chose to buy it so that's about it, but I didn't really care for it.Published 12 months ago by J.Ward
It's old, too old. I didn't like it, but somebody else mightPublished 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
To me, this is easily the best version of Emma, mainly because Doran Godwin is perfect for the role, but most of the other actors are also very well cast. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Kim