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Value For Money Jane Austen Box Set
on 11 February 2017
This box set contains four TV adaptations of Jane Austen's novels - three from the BBC and one from ITV.
The most celebrated of the four is the BBC's 1995 "Pride And Prejudice". This is the 2009 Special Edition which has been frame-by-frame restored to a very crisp and clear image. The extras section illustrates with a split-screen the enhancement in picture quality from the original version to the new one. Set in the nineteenth century, Austen's iconic novel shows the prejudice that occurred between different classes and the pride which kept lovers apart. Colin Firth brilliantly portrays an upper-class and reserved Mr Darcy - it is enjoyable watching his emotions and mannerisms develop throughout as he tries to win the heart and head of Elizabeth. The striking Jennifer Ehle plays Elizabeth Bennet in a captivating and enchanting way. This adaptation is a romance for the ages, and is arguably better than the 2005 movie version with Keira Knightley.
Almost on a par is the BBC's 2008 "Sense And Sensibility" - a wonderful energetic adaptation, with stunning performances from Charity Wakefield and Hattie Morahan as the two eldest Dashwood sisters. Dominic Cooper is a convincing and roguish Willoughby, with Dan Stevens a wonderfully confused Edward Ferrars and David Morrissey the knight in shining armour as Colonel Brandon.
"Emma" from the BBC in 2009 is probably not in the same class as the first two, but has an engaging performance from the sultry Romola Garai in the title role. Louise Dylan wonderfully plays Emma's nemesis Harriet Smith - the battle between these two friends for the attentions of various male suitors develops intriguingly throughout. The interesting extras section includes interviews with the costume, location and music teams, as well as an amusing interview with actor Michael Gambon.
Possibly the weakest of the four is ITV's "Persuasion" from 2007. At only 93 minutes in duration, it is a relatively light production and does not draw the viewer in closely. Sally Hawkins is convincing as Anne Elliot, and Rupert Penry-Jones is suitably debonair as Captain Wentworth, but there is not much depth in this adaptation.
Overall, a fantastic Jane Austen box set which is very good value for money.