Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Amazing Grace of Fanny

This really ought to be a post on lovely Fanny, Jane Austen's most maligned heroine; rather it is a short note about something I thought interesting enough to share, but not meaty enough to warrant a long post.

Jason and I just watched Amazing Grace (2006) last night. Good movie; not great, but good. I learned quite a bit about England's abolitionist movement. Thought a lot about Jane, as this moral and political battle was raging in her formative years. And, while I was watching, who should beam out on my TV screen but Miss Fanny Price! And there was Edmund Bertram, too! They were playing married couple, Marianne and Henry Thornton (two "Austen character" first names, the latter being a favorite . . . Hey! I'm drawing all the Austen tidbits I can out of this to make a longer post!). I love when they use a real-life married couple to play a married couple on stage or screen.

OK, before you think I've gone loopy, I am just teasing. But, Sylvestra Le Touzel and Nicholas Farrell were in the 1983 British mini-series of Mansfield Park (playing Fanny and Edmund respectively), which remains to this day the only screen adaptation of Mansfield Park to watch -- not so much because of its great merit, but because of Patricia Rozema's 1999 atrocity that bears the same name as, but little else of, Miss Austen's masterpiece.*

And, how appropriate is this casting decision, considering that Fanny Price is the only character in any Jane Austen novel (other than an obtuse reference by Jane Fairfax in Emma) to even refer to the slave trade, which was such a hotly debated topic of the era? I am certain that the casting director took that into account.

Anyway, I thought that was a tad interesting. Been reading a lot of J.K. Rowling, not so much Jane Austen, but Persuasion is in queue right after Deathly Hallows. Dear Anne Elliot's birthday is coming up, and I do so want to participate in Lynnae's event. Hi-dee-ho! Off I go!

*It has again come to my attention -- I had blocked it out after a disastrous night of seeing Lizzy exploited on the bookshelves of Barnes & Noble -- that there is also a 2007 British made-for-TV movie of Mansfield Park. I know I ought not to judge a DVD by its cover, but my first thought upon seeing it was, "My, that Fanny looks slutty." Needless to say, I did not rush home and Netflix it.