Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

England trip on Twitter!


I will be in England for 2 weeks (leaving in a few days) and have decided to post photos on Twitter for anyone wishing to follow along. I will be seeing a few things related to period drama such as Kenwood House in Hampstead Heath above. As well as being the real home of Dido Belle Lindsay of the recent film Belle, it was dopy Mr. Rushworth's seat Sotherton in the1999 Patricia Rozema adaptation of Mansfield Park. It was also the setting for the scene in the film Notting Hill where Julia Roberts was filming a Henry James adaptation.


Ok, I am hardly excited at all. I will also be visiting Blenheim Palace, Winston Churchill's birthplace and as long as we are talking filming locations it was used for The Young Victoria, The Lost Prince and the new Kenneth Branagh Disney production of Cinderella starring Lily James (otherwise known as Lady Rose from Downton Abbey).Can't wait to take my niece to see that one!



So I will try to make my Twitter postings as visually appealing as possible and I promise not to Tweet any inanities! Feel free to make suggestions of places I should check out in London or in Oxfordshire/Buckinghamshire. Cheers!

@JAustenFilmClub 

P.S. I almost forgot to mention that I will be seeing Richard Armitage in The Crucible at The Old Vic Theatre in London. ;)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Georgette Heyer Film Petition now over 1000 names!


So here I am, flogging my Georgette Heyer Film Petition again. However, since we now have over 1000 names from all over the world on the petition (and lots of pleading and suggestions for which books to adapt and casting ideas) it was time to thank you all for your support. And obviously to beat the bushes for more Heyer fans who are aching for a really great film adaptation of one of her charming, hilarious novels.


Now if you have never read a Georgette Heyer book, you must purchase one instantly. And I can confidently say purchase because you will want to read these over and over again. OK, fine, I suppose you can also check them out of the library again and again as well. I have one or two on my e-reader but the beautiful covers of the new editions are so lovely on a bedside table that I think all future purchases will be of the paperback variety. My sister assures me that Georgette Heyer is one of the hottest sellers at used book stores world-wide, so they may be hard to find there however!


Alison Flood of The Guardian says of Georgette Heyer, "Just picking up one of the many battered paperbacks stashed around the house is like snuggling up in front of the fire with a mug of hot chocolate. Comfort reading, times a thousand."


So if there are so many Heyer fans from all over the world that have read the books to tatters and now would really like a film adaptation, where are the BBC, ITV and even Hollywood? What the heck is going on in the world of entertainment? The novels are almost film scripts already!


Well, apparently they don't realize that we are a large group of people with disposable incomes who will gladly part with some of it to see and purchase some quality film adaptations of Georgette Heyer's books. Money on the table people!!!

I suppose my next task will be to send the petition to some executives at the BBC and ITV and try to convince them of the financial viability of a film. I wonder if the fact that the books are still under copyright protection and can't be purloined gratis has some bearing on this. Hmmmmm.


So here is the link for the Georgette Heyer Film Petition again. And if you have already signed it, you nay want to go back and read some of the comments left by other fans. Countries represented include: The UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Russia, Brazil, Spain, Germany, India, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Poland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, France, Argentina, Croatia...well, you get the idea.

Perhaps I should drop off a copy of the petition to ITV and BBC when I am in London in a few weeks time. What say fellow fans?

Cheers and have a great summer. And take a few Heyer paperbacks to the beach!!!!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Belle 2014


I finally got to see Belle a few weeks ago with a group of girlfriends. I can highly recommend the film, although it is not without it's faults. Having said that, this is a DVD which will be welcomed into my collection when it is released. And I hope there are loads of extras as my main gripe was the film was TOO SHORT!


Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay was the "natural daughter" of British Naval Officer Captain John Lindsay and Maria Belle, a West Indian slave. Born in 1761, her father brought her back to England in 1765, taking her to the home of his uncle William Murray, the 1st Earl of Mansfield and his wife Lady Elizabeth to be raised with another niece Elizabeth Murray who was about the same age (photo of the painting which immortalizes the friendship above).


Lord Mansfield apparently doted on Dido and as Lord Chief Justice was best known for his Judgement in Somersett's Case in 1772 which basically stated that a slave brought to England who left his master's service could not be recaptured and removed from English soil. This ruling eventually opened the door to the suppression of the slave trade by Parliament in 1807 and the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833.


So, obviously the story practically writes itself. It was a tale which had to be told. The acting is great and the sets and costumes are the most incredible eye candy. So what is my beef? It is TOO SHORT! At only 107 minutes long, there is not enough character development to truly pull you into the story. It is almost as if the script writer Misan Sagay feared fictionalizing too much of this amazing story, so she just stuck to the facts. Harrumph! However she did a fine job with what is there. I was just left hungering for more.


So by all means, see it and judge for yourself. Like I said, I will wait hopefully for the DVD and PLEASE may there be many deleted scenes and extras to justify the purchase. I will also go to visit Kenwood House when I am in London later this month. I'd like to see the house where Dido and her cousin were raised (as well as the Vermeer and other great art works) on Hampstead Heath.


You know Kenwood House, it's the grand white house in Notting Hill where Hugh Grant goes to see Julia Roberts filming a costume drama- I think it was a Henry James adaptation. Anyway, here is the link for the trailer for Belle:
http://youtu.be/Wtdk6owFj2o

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Cold Comfort Farm 1995


I caught the film Cold Comfort Farm on cable yesterday and now want to read the book. Always a successful adaptation I think if it makes me go searching for the book!


The film of Cold Comfort Farm is an adaptation of the Stella Gibbons novel from 1932, a parody of the doom and gloom novels of the period (DH Lawrence, Thomas Hardy, Mary Webb and even further back, the Bronte sisters). Gibbons was obviously a fan of Jane Austen, as Flora Poste is an Emma Woodhouse type through and through, and Flora even has a line:

"Well, when I am fifty-three or so I would like to write a novel as good as Persuasion, but with a modern setting of course. For the next thirty years or so I will be collecting material for it. If anyone asks me what I work at, I shall say, 'Collecting material'. No one can object to that. Besides, I shall be."


Starring Kate Beckinsale as Flora Poste (I know...no coincidence that the BBC cast her as Emma in 1996) and an all star supporting cast of Rufus Sewell, Joanna Lumley, Ian McKellen, Eileen Atkins, Stephen Fry, Miriam Margolyes and even an impossibly young looking Rupert Penry-Jones!


Flora is a well-to-do twenty year old London girl who finds herself orphaned and with only a hundred pounds a year to live on. She decides to impose on distant relatives who live on a badly run Sussex farm and who all seem to have deep rooted emotional issues which would have sent me running for the hills! Flora, in her best Emma style, sees the potential in not only the farm, but in each of the inhabitants and proceeds to drag them into the twentieth century all cleaned and polished!


So just make sure you are in the mood for some rather tongue in cheek parody as otherwise the OTT style of this might put you off. And I am a little undecided as to whether I should recommend the book or the film first. I leave it to my readers to decide. In any case enjoy. And watch out for "something nasty in the woodshed"!

I am off to order the book now!

Cheers!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

84, Charing Cross Road -1987


I am so happy to discover there are still decades of great films for me to catch up on. 84 Charing Cross Road is an absolute gem from 1987 and although looks a tad dated, it is dated in a rather charming way. Sort of like the books they sold at the antiquarian bookshop of title.


Based on the 1970 book 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff it chronicles the 20 year correspondence between Helene, a poor writer from NYC with very specific taste in books and a bookseller in London England who tracks down many of the titles she wants. Although originally just corresponding with Frank P. Doel who was the most senior employee of Marks & Co., Helene also occasionally corresponded with other staff members and even Frank's wife Nora.


This unlikely book consists of the real letters containing the transatlantic correspondence from 1949 until Frank's death in 1968. Here is a sample:

                                                                                               14 East 95th St,
                                                                                                New York City
                                                                                                October 5, 1949
Marks & Co.,
84, Charing Cross Road
London, W.C. 2
England

Gentlemen:

     Your ad in the Saturday Review of Literature says that you specialize in out-of-print books. The phrase "antiquarian book-sellers" scares me somewhat as I equate "antique" with expensive. I am a poor writer with antiquarian taste in books and all the things I want are impossible to get over here except in very expensive rare editions or in Barnes & Noble's grimy marked-up schoolboy copies.
     I enclose a list of my most pressing problems. If you have clean second-hand copies of any of the books on the list, for no more than $5.00 each, will you consider this a purchase order and send them to me?

                                                                               Very Truly Yours,
                                                                                Helene Hanff
                                                                                (Miss) Helene Hanff


Anthony Hopkins plays Frank P. Doel, originally quite stuffy in the letters and then warming up as he becomes friends with the outspoken American on the other side of the Atlantic.


Anne Bancroft plays Helene Hanff to a tee. Anne's husband Mel Brooks bought the rights to the then popular book as a vehicle for his wife. Luckily she is an incredibly talented actress who really connected with the character of Helene and gave the film it's heart.


Judi Dench plays Frank's wife Nora, with a lovely Irish lilt to her voice. A small role, but Bafta nominated all the same!


Helene: I hope 'madam' doesn't mean over there what it means here!

Helene: It's against my principles to buy a book I haven't read, it's like buying a dress you haven't tried on.

Helene: I remember years ago a guy I knew told me that people going to England for the first time find exactly what they go looking for. I said I'd go looking for the England of English Literature, and he nodded and said 'It's there'.


Cheers and enjoy the book and the film. My book is on order!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Let Them Eat Cake- French and Saunders!


Let Them Eat Cake is a delectable comedic treat from the always entertaining Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders. Letting them loose spoofing the Court of Versailles at the time of Marie Antoinette was genius. Basically we have a French Blackadder with a cast of mostly women!


Jennifer Saunders plays the Comtesse Columbine de Vache who lives at the Palace of Versailles and lets us in on the...comings and goings, shall we say, of the court! Lots of gossip and scheming behind the scenes and let's just say that Marie Antoinette was only the second most despised woman in France!


Dawn French plays her sneaky nymphomaniacal former prostitute maid Lisette and the supporting cast is "abfab" with Alison Steadman (our shrill Mrs. Bennet) as Columbine's arch rival Madame du Plonge and Adrian Scarborough as the acid-tongued manservant/wig-master Bouffant! Lucy Punch (Elaine from Doc Martin) plays Madame du Plonge's naive but knowing daughter Eveline du Plonge.

Lisette: "You'll have to have a tryst again, like you did last summer."
Columbine: "Yes! Tryst again, like I did last year."

Columbine: "Will you shut the frock up!!!...at the back there, it's undone."

 "The liaisons were dangerous. The wigs were lethal!"


Some wonderful person (thank-you, thank-you, thank-you) has put them all on YouTube. Here is the first part of Episode 1 The Pox to whet your appetite. Enjoy this frothy confection!!!!

Cheers! P.S. This one is strictly for ages 18 and up  ;)

Advanced Style- A documentary, a blog, an inspiration!


I don't even know how I stumbled upon the ladies of  the blog Advanced Style today but they have inspired me, so I thought I would share. The blog is written by a young New Yorker Ari Seth Cohen, who has great style himself and an appreciation for the gifts these ladies have to give.



The documentary film Advanced Style is wrapping up this weekend at Hot Docs, the Toronto documentary film festival and I am sorry to have missed it. Creative, artistic "Dames" (there is really no other word for them), each one of these style icons over 60 has something wonderful to share about their optimistic view on life.

Here is the trailer so you can be inspired too. Hopefully this comes soon to a theatre near you. Until then, you can continue to be inspired by the blog Advanced Style.

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