1 September 2017 Susannah

Film Adaptations of the Classics

Venice – St Mark’s Square

More filmed versions of classics we can look forward to include The Aspern Papers, a Henry James novel set in Venice, which is being made into a movie starring Jonathan Rhys Myers, Vanessa Redgrave and Joely Richardson. It is many many years since I read the book, so I’ll add it to my re-reading list. And the producers of the hugely popular Poldark series have bravely decided to make a new TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, promising a less ‘bonnety’ version that does justice to Jane Austen’s “dark intelligence”. It will be ready to screen 25 years after the iconic Colin Firth / Jennifer Ehle adaptation (oh dear, that does make me feel old!). And E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End has also been re-made as a 4 part TV adaptation due out this year, starring Hayley Atwell, Philippa Coulthard and Joe Bannister.

Just because I can’t get enough of this… here is the classic moment when Colin Firth, playing the brooding Mr Darcy, takes a plunge in the lake.


I’m looking forward to these adaptions. Are you? Tell me by leaving a comment.

  Susannah Fullerton: HAPPY BIRTHDAY – Henry James
  Susannah Fullerton: Dying Words of Authors
  Susannah Fullerton: “I have lost a treasure,” wrote Cassandra
   The Aspern Papers by Henry James
   Howards End by E.M. Forster

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Featured image credit- Venice – St Mark’s Square, from http://monovisions.com/vintage-bw-photos-of-venice-italy-in-19th-century/
Body image credit- Why the Dutch are Different. from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25860139-why-the-dutch-are-different
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Comments (18)

  1. Brian Doyle

    Ethan Frome is perhaps Edith’s most perfect novel but Custom of the Country’s characters and motives are timeless and we see endless examples of that same behaviour all around us today, greed has never gone out of fashion. Whit Stillman would do such justice to this wonderful book, I must endeavour to bring it to his attention immediately if not sooner

    • Susannah Fullerton

      She is such a wonderful writer. Have you ever been to her house The Mount! It is gorgeous, with the lovely gardens she created. I agree her books are timeless.

  2. Barbara Horsman

    That scene spoilt the whole series for me. Mr Darcy would NEVER have done anything so crass as to dive fully clothed into his lake.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Well I initially felt as you did, because it was not in the book and it did seem an unlikely thing for Mr Darcy to do, but it has now taken on such famed status and Colin Firth is so handsome, so I forgive Andrew Davies for including it. But I do know what you mean.

  3. Brian Doyle

    Why oh why has no one ever made any version of Edith Wharton’s Custom of the Country, it’s a masterly piece of writing and the characters and their story has never dated.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Wharton’s novels film so well – The Age of Innocence, Ethan Frome and The House of Mirth, so it is hard to understand why they have not done The Custom of the Country. I must re-read it – it is years since I read it and your words have inspired me to go back to it.

  4. Matthew Macfadyen will play Henry Wilcox in the new adaptation of Howards End. He is my favourite Mr. Darcy. I always have to defend myself to thinking that he is a better Darcy than Colin Firth.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Well, I have a soft spot for David Rintoul as Mr Darcy, who most other viewers seem to dislike, so am very happy to accept that not everyone is a Colin Firth fan. I think Matthew Macfadyen should be a wonderful Henry in ‘Howard’s End’.

  5. Melody

    The Aspern Papers! I read it in Venice last year… the old palazzo I was staying in had a private courtyard garden that was slightly neglected so I almost literally inhabited the novel.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Oh how gorgeous – the perfect place to read it. Doesn’t it make a difference. I read ‘The Hare with Amber Eyes’ in Vienna, where part of the story happens, and it was wonderful to come home and read about places I’d actually seen that day.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      They are very brave to try and make another ‘Pride and Prejudice’. That scene is now iconic!

    • Susannah Fullerton

      So true, and how can there possibly be another real Mr Darcy after Colin Firth?

  6. Jay Hicks

    Dear Susannah. I need a parallel life or two. So many books to read, reread, and to write; more films and tv adaptations to look out for. And now, after watching that P&P clip I must revisit the film again. Best wishes, Jay

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Oh I know that feeling so well. I keep wishing I could manage on 2 hours sleep per night. I’d get so much reading done if I could. And, like you, I also want more time for good films.

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