Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Mansfield Park with Blake Ritson and Billie Piper

Opinion seems to be divided about ITV's Sunday night showing of the new Mansfield Park with Blake Ritson and Billie Piper.

General criticisms in the media seem to be that it was too short - agreed! - and that the beginning felt rushed - also agreed! - but with a 90 minute running time, these things were inevitable.

Billie Piper's acting and casting have come in for a variety of opinions, with some people thinking she was excellent and some thinking she was miscast, but overall, here on the blog, we liked her.
"I think it is one of JA's better books and enjoyed the tv adaptation," says Wendy. "It's very easy to criticise the costumes and such but shouldn't we stop worrying about details and simply enjoy being entertained? When all's said and done, isn't that what every tv programme and books strives to do? Having said all that, I did think that anyone unfamiliar with the book would wonder what Mrs Norris was all about. The adverse effect she had on Fanny's upbringing wasn't apparent from tv. I hated Fanny's hair and agree that she ran around too much - she was supposed to be the ultimate poor relation, after all - but I still sat spellbound for two hours"

Blake Ritson seems to have been liked by all for his portrayal of Edmund. He captured Emdund's upright qualities without making him seem preachy or a drip.
Melinda found it a bit static but says, "I think this is a very difficult book to put on screen - it is the story of two nice people, so not a lot of scope there.Maybe Ken Russell could have done better."

Ken Russell making Mansfield Park? Now there's a thought!

And for those who can't get enough of Fanny and Edmund, why not try Edmund Bertram's Diary? The hardback (left) is already out, and the paperback (right) comes out in August 2008. Experience the story through Edmund's eyes!

There are further books in the series, with Mr Darcy's Diary, Mr Knightley's Diary and Cpt Wentworth's Diary already out, and Col Brandon's Diary coming out in 2008.

More details on Amanda Grange's website.


Melinda said...

Perhaps, as with other costume dramas, it will grow on me. The problem with well-known & loved books is that one always has preconceptions. Perhaps when I have watched it a couple more times I will enjoy it more. That certainly happened with Persuasion (Amanda Root & Ciaran Hinds) and North & South.

Rachel Reed said...

Oh dear, did you lot really like it? I thought Billie Piper didn't look "regency" at all. (Mainly her hair and weird eyebrows - promise not to mention the buck teeth....ooops).

She is a good actress, but they needed someone less famous (and someone who had been through makeup!)

No chemistry between the leads either.

Not a good production. I sooo wanted to like it. Jemma Redgrave and James D'arcy were brilliant though.

Jane O said...

No adaptation is ever going to live up to the book in my mind and I was a bit disappointed. However, I thought Billie Piper did a good job despite the script and Edmund was just right. I loved the way we saw him looking at Fanny in a new light. On the whole I enjoyed it for all its shortcomings-after all, there is never enough drama on t.v.-bring on the next one!

Anonymous said...

This was far more romantic than the earlier versions, but I like billie Piper so I enjoyed it. Unfortunately for those who want something nearer the book it fell down, because it didn't have enough scope in the time. Anne H

Anonymous said...

I thought it was thoroughly disappointing. I too like Billie Piper, but she was hopelessly miscast (Fanny Price is a quiet shy mouse in Austen's book). The only character anything like the book was Mary Crawford. The plot was altered for the worse (where were the scenes in Portsmouth to highlight Fanny's fall from grace when she refuses Henry Crawford?), much humour was lost from the characters of Lady Bertram and Mrs Norris and the idiot John Yates in the theatricals, and a lot of the acting (not Billie's) was utterly wooden. Poorly scripted and directed - what a shame.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't help but feel out of breath after I finished reading the book. I've never been so anxious in getting to the romantic-part in a book for soooo long. (And it really didn't take place until at the VERY end of the book lol.)

But I liked the new adaptation, however. It's hyped... fast, like 2005's Pride & Prejudice. I like the lead actors; I thought they did a good job. Not exactly direct from the book, but it was a nice take. It was an exhilirating ride. I wish it was longer; I would've liked to have seen more of Fanny & Edmund's chemistry (though in the book, Austen didn't really show their chemistry until THE.VERY.END.)

And I thought that the new Edmund was exceptionally cute. ;)

Anonymous said...

I have to agree that no adaptation is ever going to live up to the book. I thought the script was okay but far too different from the actual book. I also felt that it missed some key elements to the actual story line. However, I thought Blake Ritson was a fantastic cast for Edmund. And yes, I loved the way he looked at Fanny at the end. I think his acting was the highlight of the show. I also must give credit to the actress who played Mary Crawford. She did a great job too!

jen said...

I was very disappointed with this. The last version (from the 80s?), though washed out and staid, was far better cast, and was more true to the book.
Billie Piper was hopelessly miscast - the eyebrows have already been mentioned, but what about the heaving bosom and the wild child of the picnic stuff? Wrong, wrong, wrong. Edmund was alright, but there was no chemistry between the two leads. I thought the actresses playing Lady Bertram and Mrs Norris should have played each other's role. Jemma Redgrave and the actor who played her husband were too young. I didn't think the actress who played Mary Crawford was right, but the guy playing her brother I think was appropriate.
Overall, very disappointing, but not as much a travesty as the version of Persuasion in this series. Horrors!