Saturday, February 20, 2016


Year 8, Day 51 - 2/20/16 - Movie #2,252

BEFORE: Well, now it seems I'm still doing things backwards.  I watched "Bridget Jones's Diary" before watching "Pride and Prejudice", and I watched "Clueless" before this one.  I really should have paid more respect to which movies are ripped off from which novels.  And here's my last indirect linking for February, as Hugh Grant links to Toni Collette via "About a Boy".  After today, I've got nothing but direct links that will take me all the way to "Batman v. Superman" in late March (or early April for me, more likely).  

Here's the TCM "31 Days of Oscar" line-up for tomorrow, February 21 (just one week until Oscar!):

Olivia De Havilland carries over from "Anthony Adverse" to:
"The Adventures of Robin Hood" with Alan Hale carrying over to:
"Night and Day" with Jane Wyman carrying over to:
"The Lost Weekend" with Frank Faylen carrying over to:
"Funny Girl" with Omar Sharif carrying over to:
"Doctor Zhivago" with Geraldine Chaplin carrying over to:
"The Four Musketeers" with Richard Chamberlain carrying over to:
"The Slipper and the Rose" with Edith Evans carrying over to:
"Tom Jones" with Albert Finney carrying over to:
"Under the Volcano" with Jacqueline Bisset carrying over to:
"The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean" with Anthony Perkins carrying over to:
"Friendly Persuasion"

I'm hitting with 6 today, the four films starting with "The Lost Weekend" and also "The Adventures of Robin Hood" and "Tom Jones".  This line-up seems very literary, with Robin Hood and Doctor Zhivago, Tom Jones and the Musketeers.  Right when I'm covering Jane Austen, very nice.  My totals rise to 76 films seen, 162 unseen and 6 on the list.

THE PLOT:  In rural 1800s England things go badly for a young matchmaker after she finds a man for another woman.

AFTER: Well, this Jane Austen may have been a great novelist, but she was a hack screenwriter.  I found this one very hard to follow, as Miss Smith turned down the proposal of Mr. Martin so she could marry Mr. Elton, who wasn't even interested in her, but then Mr. Churchill comes to town, so maybe Miss Smith could be interested in Mr. Churchill, but he turned out to be secretly engaged to Miss Fairfax, all while Emma's trying to set up Miss Fairfax with Mr. Dixon.  Wait, which one's Mr. Dixon, do we even see him in this film?  He's not even on the list of credited characters, so I feel justified.  

This sort of romantic bait-and-switch goes on for the entire story, and it's enough to make your head spin.  Plus Austen pulled this "man who's meant for Harriet but really falls in love with Emma" plotline TWICE in the same book.  That's just lazy storytelling.  Plus there's the "mysterious benefactor who sends a piano as a gift" plotline, which was also in "Sense and Sensibility"!  You just can't keep going back to the same well, at some point an author is just stealing from herself.  Another cribbed plotline - the secret engagement thing.  Really, Jane Austen, how much effort did you put into this book, didn't you just stick together pieces of your other books?  

And Mr. Weston's son doesn't have the same last name as him?  Come on, that's a contrivance to set up a case of mistaken identity, right?  And Emma and her father live with her sister's husband's brother?  Another contrivance - of course that's a sneaky way to get a man close to her that she's not really related to, for a very obvious reason.  

"Emma" definitely shows the author on a bad track, when she'd begun to repeat herself and display signs of very obvious telegraphing.  Have fun telling that to your English teacher, you'll get an "A" for your boldness (or an "F" if your teacher has no sense of humor.)

Also starring Gwyneth Paltrow (last seen in "Sylvia"), Jeremy Northam (last seen in "Amistad"), Alan Cumming (last seen in "Circle of Friends"), James Cosmo (last seen in "Troy"), Greta Scacchi (last seen in "Flightplan"), Polly Walker, Ewan McGregor (allegedly last heard in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"), Sophie Thompson, Phyllida Law, Denys Hawthorne, Juliet Stevenson (last seen in "Nicholas Nickleby").

RATING: 3 out of 10 gypsies

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