Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

Mansfield Park

I watched Mansfield Park (on ITV with Billie Piper) last night. I'm pretty tolerant of Jane Austen adaptations, and I don't mind too much about faithfulness to the original. But, I thought the script was utter crap. The acting was fine, I thought they generally did the best they could. It's a bit hard to say because the script messed up the characters, the plot, the morality, and lost the wit of the original. So, what was left? The bare outline of 'Fanny holds out for Edmund and gets him'. Big fat morally vacuous deal.

Mansfield Park is always a bit problematic. The Crawfords are more fun than anyone else, and while they are cruel and destructive, they are redeemable, and it is part of the tension of the story that Edmund and Fanny could redeem them, but choose not to. It's very problematic to the reader. You do find the two goodies to be priggish. You do want to say to them - get together with the baddies, you'll give them a bit of depth, and they'll give you a bit of fun for the first time in your dull self-sacrificing lives.

The novel, IMHO, does something interesting with this. You see the goodies wavering, being sexually tempted by the baddies, and on the brink of resolving into a kind of fertile match between the virile selfish side and the soft empathic side. The baddies spoil it by being too impatient, and failing at the last test. You still feel pretty annoyed with the goodies for being so priggish, but you think that given a few more prods they would have gone over to the dark side, and all the better for everyone.

But no. In this version they just cruelly turn their noses up at the Crawfords, coming across as pricks rather than just prigs. The scene of Fanny and Edmund standing grinning in the portico of the house, while everyone else is in (implied 'well deserved') misery and shame got right up my nose.

And the insertions of modern perspective into the text were stupid. Fanny 'Do you think sir that we will ever manage to do without slaves on our plantations?' and the stupid final scene where Edmund and Fanny, who have rejected fashionable urban society throughout suddenly start dancing a waltz (what was the line 'I believe Edmund and Fanny have discovered a new dance' WTF?)

The script writer is called Maggie Wadey whom I don't know.
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