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3.7 out of 5 stars
39
3.7 out of 5 stars
Sense And Sensibility (BBC) [1981] [DVD]
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on 4 July 2006
I have read all the pervious amazon reviews about BBC's S&S miniseries, but they were mixed, so I did not know what to expect from the production as a whole. However, I was most pleasantly surprised, for I found it lovely.

There's no denying it that compared to the outstanding Emma Thompson movie the miniseries seems much more sedate and restrained -with less passion grande and display of tormented feelings-, it's like a theatre play really, but somehow it did not diminish it in my eyes. Given the length it was more leisurely, more faithful to the plot of the book.

I found the cast excellent: Irene Richard as Elinor and Tracey Childs as Marianne played their parts excellently. Diana Fairfax was a warm-hearted and ladylike Mrs Dashwood, Amanda Boxer was an excellent Fanny Dashwood: so cold-hearted, sneering and mean-spirited that you just wanted to slap her in the face really hard whenever she appeared on scene. Peter Gayle as John Dashwood also acted his part as the mean but jovial husband totally under his wife's influence. Peter Woodward (Willoughby) was dashing, Bosco Hogan (Edward) and Robert Swann (colonel Brandon) as the sisters suitors I found endearing. The Steele sisters were vulgar and shrewd, Mrs Jennings was vulgar, but kind-hearted. Characterization was superb through and through.

There were reviewers who found Irene R's Elinor too cold, but I did not have that feeling - it was rather that the scenes focusing on her feelings were just too short, we were not given the chance to see her suffer.

There is one thing however that disturbed me very much - the very sudden and abrupt ending. I couldn't help feeling cheated of the happy ending. Before I could start to enjoy the fact that all will turn out well, cut ... and over. This is why I don't give it 5 stars.

If you take my advice, try and enjoy this production for its own merits without comparing it to the movie - because they are two different worlds.
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on 15 August 2017
great quality dvd
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on 7 August 2017
brilliant
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on 12 July 2000
Having seen the praised American version of this novel I was delighted (especially by Emma Thompson ). Sometimes I had a feeling of too much drama in that film. But I had not read this novel for some years, so I did not know why.
I read the novel again and realized that film was the American way of showing Jane Austen and her time: the men always riding (like cowboys), an education full of freedom even for girls ( Margret and her hut in the tree ...), rain in every turning point or dramatic situation ....
The BBC adaption of this novel tells the story in a more careful, smooth way, true to the novel, few thrilling scenes, but more charming ones. There is time to look at the characters, to feel with them, to see Jane Austen's English humour in some scenes and her feeling for romance. Sometimes I think there are real people on the screen, not heroes. That is one more reason for liking this film as much as the big American movie, or even better. Jane Austen gave her readers time to get into the story, she did not rush her readers, nevertheless there had always been something unexpected or surprizing in the story. Sense & Sensibility 1995 is great if you want to bring the story into life for young people of nowadays who need exaggerated feelings to feel and some action to think the movie is worth watching. But if you want to feel back into history, watch Sense & Sensibility 1985 by BBC. You will be led into a world totally different from ours, enjoy it as often as you need to be entertained in a smooth way.
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on 6 September 2010
Je suis Français et ne comprends pas très bien l'anglais, mais j'aime beaucoup Jane Austen. Je trouve que cette adaptation du livre" le Coeur et la Raison" (Sense and Sensibility) est la meilleure que je connaisse (j'ai trois adaptations). Elle respecte bien le livre, et les deux personnages principaux (Elinor et Marianne) sont excellents. Beaucoup des personnages secondaires sont très bons aussi. On suit assez bien les dialogues grâce au sous-titrage en Anglais (quand on connaît bien le livre).
I am French and i undestand not well English, but i love Jane Austen. I think this adaptation of Sense and Sensibility is the best i know. It respect very well Jane Austen. Tracey Childs and Irene Richard are excellent.
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on 19 May 2006
Having just finished watching Mansfield Park adaptation of BBC, this one came as a suprise being much better. It is divided into 7 episodes that last about 25 minutes each and I watched them all in one sitting.

There is one thing in common with all older BBC adaptations and that is the actors playing the characters are not very good-looking. Here Elinor and Edward do not look like what you would call "stars" like Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant but I think it is ok, people don't have to be very beautiful to love and be loved. Marianne is quite beautiful and Willoughby is dashing.

It's been a while since I have read the novel so I don't exactly know it this is a "faithful" adaptation but it gave me that feeling. This one does not so much look like a play although it is not like a film either. But you get the feeling that it wasn't shot directly on sets.

The actors are good but I am not sure Jane Austen intended Elinor so calm and contained. She looked emotionless for most of the film but she wasnt't that bad. Marianne is very romantic and I must say she sounds like Helga from "Hey Arnold" when she gushes about love but she is a likable character. Sir John, Mrs. Jennings and Lucy Steele are very good but I found Fanny Dashwoods performance a bit over the top, especially in the scene she learns about her brother's engagement.

The costumes and places are good enough for a lower budget production and all in all this is quite a good production but it may not be for people who expect glossier productions like the big screen adaptations and the 1995 P&P miniseries.
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on 23 January 2015
purchased for studying comparing production/direction comparison with those of today , & the use of todays Technology to enhance presentation
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on 12 April 2016
I have three DVD versions of Sense & Sensibility which I am currently re-watching. I chose this one first and found it unremittingly dull. I am normally sympathetic to old films and old TV programmes and can assess them in context with the tastes and technical aspects of their times : but this production is lifeless. I don't think the short length of each episode helps and I suspect that, overall, it is fairly true to the novel. However, had I not known the story I think I would have given up halfway through. Luckily, the final episode just about brought me back to life.

My second watch was the Emma Thompson version and I am now part-way through the newer Andrew Davies BBC production. Both of these grab your interest right away but the 1981 S&S is something of a damp squib by comparison.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 15 February 2014
This BBC production was made in 1981, and it looks like it. It looks very wooden next to the thrilling Oscar-winning Emma Thomson version that hit cinema screens 12 years later, and was eclipsed again by the BBC's superb 2003 production (starring Hattie Morahan). Both offer a much more lively and colourful retelling than we get here. The 1981 and 2003 versions stay very close to the novel, though the 2003 version enacts some material that Austen alludes to in Willoughby's back-story.

The acting in this version is fine, given how classics were "done" at the time. Looking at it over 30 years later, the interplay of the characters seems jarringly stilted and prim, with actors making their speeches as if it were Macbeth. It is a thing of its time, not wrong for its time, but its treatment of the subject has long since been abandoned. The central figures - the Dashwood sisters - are so frosty and cheerless, you wonder if the script writers actually read the novel. Where is the sisterly warmth, and the humour? Indeed, where is the "comedy of manners" that is synonymous with Austen? You get none of it here. What you do get is serious moody, with hardly a grin anywhere. Even the romantic scenes are played with tense and desperate angst that seems to come from nowhere.

Tracey Childs, who was a mere 18 at the time, saved the whole thing. She played Marianne with the same simpering moodiness that depresses the whole series, but she was very attractive in 1981. It was what struck me most when I watched it back then as a teenager myself. Her constant gasping earnestness and quivering lip were certainly not in the novel, but thank goodness she did it, because she carried the series along from start to end. Gushing, certainly, but that look was pure period - it could have come straight out of a Reynolds painting.

Quite why she only did two more costume dramas after this, I can't imagine. She did Scarlet Pimpernel (1982) and Jane Eyre (1983), before settling in to appear in just about every popular British TV soap there has ever been since the 1980s. Her looks have faded since then, but in her youth she burned more brightly than just about anyone had a right to hope for.

Stars aside, this series is a worthy production, and a nice addition to a costume drama DVD collection, but it's one that you have to stick with to get into, and it makes no effort to win your affection. It also has one of the most boring opening credit sequences imaginable (the Dashwood sisters rocking very-very slowly on a see-saw, while looked very-very bored at each other). Personally, I'd watch this through, and then watch the 2003 version, otherwise you may find this older one a bit lacking.
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on 15 February 2014
This BBC production was made in 1995, and even then it looked very wooden next to the thrilling Oscar-winning Emma Thomson version that hit cinema screens in the same year. Even without that competition, this TV production looked a bit dated. Scenes are constructed in a way that will be familiar to anyone who saw The Onedin LIne series in the 1970s.
In many, we have the players plonked far apart and looking reserved; the women sniping at each other, and the men striding slowly around in masterly fashion.

The acting is fine, though the interplay of the characters is often stilted and prim. The central figures - the Dashwood sisters - seem frosty at the outset, though we do eventually get into their emotions in time. It is a worthy production, no doubt, but you have to stick with it to get into it.

The series is also eclipsed by the BBC's superb 2003 production (starring Hattie Morahan), which offers a much more lively and colourful retelling than we get here. Both stay very close to the novel, though the 2003 version adds some material that Austen alludes to in Willoughby's back-story. Personally, I'd give this one a miss and watch the 2003 version instead. It's just a better production, more in keeping with modern thinking on Austen's work.
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