"EMMA" (1972) Review
I am aware of at least four adaptation of Jane Austen's 1815 novel, "Emma"
. But I have noticed that the one adaptation that rarely attracts the attention of the novelist's những người hâm mộ is the 1972 BBC miniseries, "EMMA"
Directed bởi John Glenister and adapted bởi Denis Constanduros, "EMMA"
told the story of the precocious younger daughter of a wealthy landowner that resides near the village of Highbury. Emma Woodhouse imagines herself to be naturally gifted matchmaker, following her self-declared success in arranging a tình yêu match between her governess and Mr. Weston, a village widower. Following their marriage, Emma takes it upon herself to find an eligible match for her new friend, a young woman named Harriet Smith. However, Emma's efforts to match Harriet with Highbury's vicar, Mr. Elton, end in disaster. Also the return of two former Highbury residents, Jane Fairfax and Mr. Weston's son, Frank Churchill, and her continuing efforts to find a husband for Harriet leads Emma to câu hỏi her talents as a matchmaker and her feelings for long time neighbor and friend, George Knightley.
Aired in six episodes, this "EMMA"
was được trao the opportunity to be a lot thêm faithful to Austen's novel. Many critics and những người hâm mộ would view this as an example of the miniseries' ability to delve deeper into the story's plots and characterizations. I do not know if I would agree. The 1815 novel seems such a strong piece of work that even a 90 to 120 một phút film could do justice to the story bởi adhering to the main aspects of the plot. Mind you, I have complained about Andrew Davies' adaptation of the novel in the 1996-97 ti vi movie. But even I cannot consider that a failure.
I do have a few complaints about "EMMA". The majority of my complaints have to do with the casting. But there were some aspects of the production that I found less than satisfying. Director John Glenister's direction of major scenes such as the Westons' giáng sinh party and the Crown Inn ball failed to impress me. The sequence featuring the Westons' giáng sinh party lacked the holiday atmosphere that I found in the other versions. And I failed to noticed any sense of a change in the weather that led the Woodhouses and the Knightleys to depart from Randalls (the Westons' estate) earlier than they had intended. As for the Crown Inn ball, it struck me as somewhat rushed. Dialogue seemed to dominate the entire sequence . . . to the point where only one dance was featured to the tune of the miniseries' theme song. Both Glenister and screenwriter Denis Constanduros made such a big effort in building up the ball in the trước đó episode hoặc two. But when it came to the actual execution, it simply fell flat and rushed for me. Even worse, they failed to provide the audience with the Emma/Knightley dance, which could have provided the first real hint of romantic feelings between the pair. And what happened to Jane Fairfax and Mr. Elton at the Box đồi núi, hill picnic? Where were they? Frank Churchill's flirting with Emma during the picnic had led to Jane's eventual breakdown and observations of the Eltons' quick marriage. The Box đồi núi, hill sequence played an important part in Jane and Frank's relationship. But without Jane in the scene, the importance of their storyline was somewhat robbed.
And there were performances, hoặc should I say . . . casting that seemed rather off to me. Fiona Walker made an interesting Mrs. Augusta Elton. In fact, she was downright memorable. However, her Mrs. Elton came off as rather heavy-handed . . . to the point that she seemed thêm like an over-the-top 1970s divorcee, instead of a vicar's pushy and ambitious wife of Regency England. She seemed to lack both Juliet Stevenson and Christina Cole's talent for sly and subtle humor. Belinda Tighe gave a solid performance as Emma's older sister, Isabella Knightley. But she seemed at least a decade-and-a-half older than Doran Godwin's Emma. Donald Eccles would have made a perfect Mr. Woodhouse, if he had not come off as slightly cold in a few scenes. I find it odd that many Austen những người hâm mộ had complained of Godwin's occasionally chilly performance. But Eccles seemed even thêm chilly at times, which is how I never would describe Mr. Woodhouse. At least Godwin's Emma became warmer and slightly funny in the miniseries' một giây half. It seemed as if the arrival of Augusta Elton allowed Godwin to inject thêm warmth and humor into the role. I also had a problem with Ania Marson as the reserved Jane Fairfax. I understand that Jane went through a great deal of stress and fear, while awaiting for a chance to finally marry Frank. But Marson's performance struck me as . . . odd. The intense look in her eyes and Nữ hoàng băng giá expression made her resemble a budding serial killer.
I really enjoyed Robert East's portrayal of the mercurial Frank Churchill. Although I felt that East did not seem effective in his portrayal of Frank's penchant for cruel humor and at times, his handling of the character's many traits seemed a bit off balanced, I still believe that his performance was overall, first-rate. Timothy Peters was excellent as Mr. Elton. In fact, he was spot on. Of all the characters featured in Austen's novel, Mr. Elton seemed to be the only that has been perfectly cast in all four productions I have seen. I really enjoyed Debbie Bowen's performance as the slightly naive Harriet Smith. In fact, I believe she was the perfect embodiment of Harriet. One of the funniest scenes in the entire miniseries featured Harriet's efforts to make up her mind on which color ribbons she wanted to purchase. And Constance Chapman made an excellent Miss Bates. She perfectly conveyed all of the character's likability and verbosity that made her irritable to Emma. And the scene that featured Emma's attempt to apologize for the insult during the Box đồi núi, hill picnic was beautifully acted bởi Chapman.
But I was impressed bởi John Carson's performance as George Knightley. Perhaps he seemed a bit old for the role, at age 45. But he perfectly conveyed all of Mr. Knightley's warmth, dry humor and tình yêu for Emma. And surprisingly, he and Doran Godwin had a strong screen chemistry. I also have to give credit to Doran Godwin for a first-rate portrayal of Emma Woodhouse. Mind you, there were times in the first three episodes when she seemed a bit too chilly for the gregarious Emma. But Godwin did an excellent job in developing the character into a thêm mature young woman, who became mindful of her flaws. And as I had stated earlier, her Emma also became warmer and slightly funnier upon the introduction of Augusta Elton.
There were also aspects of the miniseries' production that I enjoyed. Aside from the Weston giáng sinh party, I was very impressed bởi Tim Harvey's production designs. The miniseries' nhiếp ảnh seemed crisp and colorful, even after 39 years. I found this impressive, considering that most BBC ti vi miniseries between 1971 and 1986 seemed to fade over the years. I also liked Joan Ellacott's costume designs - especially for Emma and Jane. However, I noticed that the high ren featured in some of Emma's dresses seemed a bit theatrical and cheap . . . as if they came off outfits found in some minor costume warehouse.
Yes, I do have some quibbles regarding the production and casting for "EMMA"
. After all, there is no such thing as perfect. But the good definitely outweighed the bad. And for a miniseries with six episodes, I can happily say that it failed to bore me. Personally, I think it is the best Jane Austen adaptation from the 1970s and 1980s I have ever seen.