Monday, January 21, 2008

Northanger Abbey on PBS

The new adaptation of Northanger Abbey aired on PBS last night. The screenplay was written by Andrew Davies, who also wrote the screnplay for the '95 P&P, and he got it right for this one! While some JA fans don't like Northanger, I count it as one of my favorites. (Ok, so it gets the rank of #3 in my ranking of JA novels.) Davies got the flavor of the novel right and even in 90 minutes the story was done justice and we weren't left wondering about bits of left out plot and how characters were related. The two lead actors, Feleicty Jones and JJ Feilds, portrayed the Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney winningly. Jones was innocent but genuine. Feilds was quirky and charming. Hoepfully, we will see more of JJ Feilds, as he is a great leading man. The Gothic dream sequences fit better than the earlier adaptation from 1986--which took the Gothic novel thing a bit too literally. Here we tasted the Gothic flavor in the dreams without going overboard into a full Gothic farce. Whereas the '86 version all out poked fun of them throughout the entire film.

One small flaw --at the beginning of the film, the narrator says that Catherine is 15 and there is no distinct time lapse from when the main plotline begins. Then at the end the narrator distinctly says that Catherine is 18.

Overall, highly recommended. This adaptation deserves 5 bonnets due to a brilliant screenplay for an often overlooked JA novel.. (Even without Colin Firth. Perhaps Feilds can suffice?)

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