Mansfield Park [DVD]
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“There are certainly not so many men of large fortune in the world, as there are pretty women to deserve them.”
Mansfield Park is the magnificent country residence of Sir Thomas Bertram and his family. It is here that their poor relation Fanny Price is brought up. Never allowed to forget her good fortune, Fanny is ignored by her cousins, with the exception of Edmund, who alone treats her with care and affection. But will she ever be able to win a valued place in the household and the heart of the man of her dreams?
In 1983, the BBC made this 261-minute mini-series from Jane Austen's novel Mansfield Park. Austen explores the well-trodden theme of class distinction and the triumph of love, but Fanny Price (Sylvestra Le Touzel) is an original Austen creation. Fanny, from a large and poor family, is taken into the home of her wealthy uncle and aunt, the stoic Sir Thomas Bertram (Bernard Hepton) and the childlike Lady Bertram (Angela Pleasence, daughter of actor Donald). Also residing at the posh Bertram mansion are the oldest son, irresponsible Tom (Christopher Villiers), distant Julia (Liz Crowther) and the kindly Edmund (Nicholas Farrell). If you can get past Le Touzel's odd mannerism of making little chopping movements with her open-palmed hand for emphasis, this is a faithful adaptation of the novel. It's much slower than Northanger Abbey and lacks some of the passionate drama of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, but it still depicts a strong yet very kind heroine who stands up for what she believes in. When popular philanderer Henry Crawford (Robert Burbage) actually falls for and proposes to Fanny, she rejects him, much to the surprise and disdain of the Bertrams--except, of course, for our hero Edmund. For trivia buffs: Jonny Lee Miller, who plays young Charles Price (one of Fanny's brothers), has the role of Edmund Bertram in the 1999 theatrical version of Mansfield Park. --N.F. Mendoza, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The adaptations of 2000 and 2007 bear no resemblance to the character of Fanny Price from the book. The REAL Fanny is not tomboy-ish, or rebellious, she does not giggle or flirt. She is prim and prude, and steadfast in what she holds to be right.
It takes a little time to get to know Fanny Price, and perhaps a little longer to really appreciate her. I have watched all adapations several times, but by far my favourite is this version with Sylvestra Le Touzel. She understands Fanny and understands how to portray her. Her acting is impeccable, even if it seems stilted and wooden in parts. If it does, then only because Fanny Price, as I understand her from the book, behaves like this. Sylvestra makes Fanny Price believable, the other actresses (whilst good actresses) make Fanny Price appear like a stranger and their portrayal bears no resemblance to the heroine from the book.
The other actors are also excellent in this adaptation. Bernard Hepton is outstanding as Sir Thomas Bertram, Anna Massey the real nightmare as Aunt Norris, Jackie Smith-Wood sublime as Mary Crawford... the list goes on.
The more I watch this adapation the more it grows on me and the more I believe in the people.
My advice... if you want to watch a film that matches the book, then buy this adaptation and give the others a miss.
As for its length - since when has a real Jane Austen fan ever complained about an adaptation being too long!? (Rather the contrary)
(Unfortunately, some reviewers aren't any too decided about which one they've been watching.)
It all seems to hinge on Fanny Price, played here by Sylvestra le Touzel (and you can't have a better name than that!) For me, you can't play this character better, either. Ms Le Touzel is a delight from start to finish, and captures to perfection the quietly determined strength that allows Fanny to triumph in the end.
Around her moves a weird and wonderful collection of Austen types, all beautifully portrayed: (an exception being the children - but they are out of the way soon enough for their mostly terrible performances to be forgiven and forgotten quite quickly); Anna Massey's Aunt Norris underplays her clipped and lethal bitching, complementing Angela Pleasence's loopy portrayal of Lady Bertram - surely one of the quirkiest performances on screen. Lead by Bernard Hepton, there are some fine stalwart actors here - and a pug dog whose innards produce a whole galaxy of interesting noises at various sensitive moments.
Although for me the visual quality is not as good as it might be, largely thanks to the fact that it was shot entirely on location in what seems to be mostly natural light, the series - complete with its creaking floorboards and very loud crunching gravel - casts a charming spell.
All in all, this version of an Austen classic is one for the collection.
Certainly, don't dismiss it on the strength of some of the more hysterical reviews. If you can't bear to fork out a few quid on your own copy, rent it first, and see how you feel when you've seen it.
I think it's a good 'un.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Mansfield Park is not everyone's cup of tea, and many recent adaptations, most notably the one with Billie Piper in, have tried to make Fanny Price more attractive to the modern... Read morePublished 16 days ago by jennyc
A lovely recording, a wonderful cast, I thoroughly enjoyed watching it and will enjoy watching it again.Published 5 months ago by J.Ward
I was really thrilled with this DVD and story by Jane Austen. I love the way the different characters played out around Fanny Price. And the way it came together in the end. Read morePublished 6 months ago by D. Price