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Northanger Abbey [1986] [VHS]

2.9 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Katherine Schlesinger, Peter Firth, Googie Withers, Robert Hardy, Geoffrey Chater
  • Directors: Giles Foster
  • Format: HiFi Sound, PAL, Colour, Full Screen
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: BBC Video
  • VHS Release Date: 24 Jan. 2000
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CKEV
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 276,984 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

BBC feature drama adapted from Jane Austen's classic novel. When Catherine Moorland (Katharine Schlesinger), a young woman who enjoys reading Gothic novels, visits Bath with friends of the family, she meets the charming Henry Tilney (Peter Firth) and later befriends him and his sister, Eleanor (Ingrid Lacey). They invite her to their home, the mysterious Northanger Abbey, but, so engrossed in the books she reads, Catherine is certain the Abbey will be full of intrigue which leads her to imagine a fantastical story about the death of Henry's mother. After revealing her thoughts to Henry, Catherine fears she may have lost his affections forever.

From Amazon.co.uk

Jane Austen goes Gothic in this darkly dramatic rendering of her Northanger Abbey, a novel that wasn't published until after her early and sudden death. Austen pokes fun at her peers in this story, in which her heroine, Catherine Morland (Katharine Schlesinger), is hopelessly addicted to macabre romance novels that wreak havoc on her imagination. She comes from a large, but loving family, and she's taken, as a companion, to the decadent society of Bath. There, she meets the duplicitous Thorpe siblings, Isabella (Cassie Stuart) and John (Jonathan Coy), and the kindly Tilney sister and brother, Eleanor (Ingrid Lacey) and Henry (Peter Firth). The Tilneys also have an elder brother, the snobbish soldier Frederick (Greg Hicks), and an oddly eerie father, General Tilney (Robert Hardy). Needless to say, all this provides plenty of fodder for fantasies and Catherine comes up with many, even imagining all sorts of evils on a visit to the Tilney family home, Northanger Abbey. The soundtrack is more than a little melodramatic, but it's best to think of it as a humorous touch rather than a serious, punctuating one. --NF Mendoza, Amazon.com

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Northanger Abbey [1986]

Having noted all the extremely harsh reviews for this adaptation, I felt moved to submit a review in its defence. Jane Austen's novels are frequently regarded as `simply' love stories, but in all cases they are far more than this. Miss Austen had an excellent understanding of human nature, leading to some unforgettable characters, a lively and sometimes wicked sense of humour, but above all a masterful facility with the English language. Virginia Woolf said `Of all the great writers, Jane Austen is the most difficult to catch in the act of greatness', and I believe it is because her greatness is inextricably bound up with the way she uses the language. To alter even one word can sometimes be disastrous. To change that famous quotation : `It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in posession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife' to : `is in want of a wife' (as was done on the DVD sleeve notes of the excellent BBC adapatation of Pride and Prejudice) is to rob the quotation of much of its humour and all its irony. Thus those faced with the task of adapting a Jane Austen novel are faced with the problem of retaining the spirit of her language while at the same time producing an entertaining love story which will be accepted by modern viewers who expect nothing else. This is particularly difficult if they are also expected to abridge it to fit the modern conventional run-time of 90 to 100 minutes for a film.
If one analyses this adaptation in this light, it certainly deserves more than one star.
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Format: DVD
I found this film to be very dated, with inappropriate music. It skipped out most of the original book and generally left me feeling confused as to what was actually happening. If I had not already known the plot, I doubt I would of been able to follow it at all. Not worth watching at all.
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On paper, a BBC adaptation of a Jane Austen novel should be at the least watchable. This dated, miscast and disjointed adaptation not only fails to live up to expectation, but is a confusing and misleading interpretation of a remarkable novel. Stick to the book and don't waste four hours of your time on an embarrassingly poor adaptation of a wonderful book.
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Format: VHS Tape
Having seens so many negative reviews of this adaptation, I felt compelled to put in my two cents. I happen to love the traditional adaptations as much as anyone and recognize that Northanger Abbey is given a very different treatment in this version. However, I would just like to say that the dream sequences are NOT so outlandish and they do serve to provide a somewhat spooky atmosphere which helps to emphasize the theme of gothic novels and a young girl's imagination. The lead actors are great. Schlessenger is wonderful as the sweet wide-eyed Katherine and Mr. Tilney is just as he should be. I agree with another reviewer, the last scene is lovely, it is romantic and touching while echoing the mystery and excitement that permeates the rest of the production.
Give it a chance!!
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Although the dream snatches from catherines imagaination are a bit iffy this is a definately an enjoyable dramatisation. katherine schlesinger comes over very well as the over imagainative catherine and peter firth makes an excellent henry tilney. I especially love the ending when henry appears to that haunting music which certainly captured my imagination ( i actually prefer the films ending to the book! sacriledge perhaps but true)An overlooked jane austen gem.
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Format: DVD
The book is funny, romantic and leaves you with a satisfied warm and fuzzy feeling when you get to the ending. The TV adaptation? Well, I didn't get as far as the ending, after about half an hour I could bear it no longer!

For one thing, I'm really not sure that the music isn't better suited to movies about Al Capone and a lot of botox-blonde-marylin-monroe look-a-likes. I don't even think the saxaphone had been invented around the time when this drama was set and I'm more than certain that they wouldn't have had electric guitars playing corny riffs in the corner of a ballroom! Cheap, nasty and synthesized is all I can really say about the soundtrack.

As for the two leads, I always thought that that first lingering look was supposed to be a romantic and tingly affair, but I have to say that watching it, I just felt a little bit queezy.

I couldn't actually tell the difference between Isabella and Eleanor Tilney as they both looked like a mass of blonde ringlets from where I was sitting and I'm sorry to say that I just didn't find Mr. Tilney amusing in the slightest.

Stick to the novel, or if you really want to watch an adaptation of this novel, try the recent ITV version. Mr. Tilney is remotely fanciable, Catherine Moreland is actually believably attractive and you may even find yourself laughing!
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Format: DVD
I really do not understand why this adaptation is so disliked!!!! I am a huge Austen fan and have read the novel aswell as frequently watched both adaptations of Northanger Abbey, loving them both equally. Peter Firth was both amusing and hansom in his portrayal of Mr Tilney, pulling fantastic facial expressions and altogether having an exceedingly pleasing continence.

Yes the adaptation does have variations from the book, but so does the recent ITV version which everybody seems to prefer, they both concentrate on different aspects, which I must admit I feel is the whole point. There is absolutley no point in doing an exact relica of a previous adaptation.

As for comments on the music, quite personally I really do not care what is playing in the background beacuse I am far too wrapped within the story to notice anything of so little consequence.

I am also exceedingly puzzled at the comments about this adaptation being dated, it is from the 1980's not 2000, you can hardly expect blu-ray picture quality.

This version is tragically overlooked and I really wish people would just give it a chance!!!!
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