25 October 2007

Northanger Abbey (starring Katharine Schlesinger and Peter Firth)

On a long flight, with personal choice of video to watch, I opted for an adaptation of one of my favourite Jane Austen books, 'Northanger Abbey'. It was made for TV by the BBC, who are usually very good at period dramas of this kind, so I had high hopes for it.

Katharine Schlesinger plays the hapless Catherine Morland who stars in this story as a young girl longing for adventure, imagining all kinds of dreadful deeds taking place amongst even the pleasantest of homes.

Unfortunately, I did not much enjoy the movie. While much of the text was (to my memory, anyway) fairly true to the book, none of the characters was particularly appealing. Catherine is supposed to be rather annoyingly silly, but none of the others were a great deal better.

In addition, the director appear to have missed the point of the book, which was ironic, poking fun at the plethora of 'gothic' novels which were so popular with teenage girls at the time. So, instead of warmth and humour, this film seemed to glory in the gothic horror, producing some scenes that I couldn't quite bear to watch, as part of Catherine's nightmares.

The rest of it was, I suppose, pleasant enough, and told the Austen story, albeit from a perspective entirely lacking in humour. But I don't think I'll be watching this again.

Note: later on we acquired the ITV adaptation of Northanger Abbey, which, to my surprise, I liked a great deal better.

Review copyright Sue's DVD Reviews

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