Jane Austen on Screen

Jane Austen (1775-1817) remains one of the most popular writers of her time.  Her novels have spawned countless films, television miniseries, plays and adaptations.  I wanted to do a brief run through of just the feature film versions of Austen novels and the corresponding music.

Sense and Sensibility made its way to the big screen after several BBC miniseries adaptations.  This 1995 adaptation was directed by Ang Lee and written by Emma Thompson.  It became a success at the box office and received several Oscar and BAFTA nominations.  The music, written by Patrick Doyle is a touching classically-styled score.  He also wrote two operatic songs used in the film.  Doyle received his first Oscar nomination for the delightful score.         

Pride and Prejudice first appeared on the screen with the MGM adaptation in 1940.  It starred Greer Garson as Elizabeth and Laurence Olivier and Mr. Darcy.  The well received film had a score by MGM studio composer Herbert Stothart.  
The next big theatrical release was Joe Wright's 2005 adaptation.  Just as the script stays faithful to the original novel, the Dario Marianelli score is musically faithful to the time period.  He had to compose several piano source cues before filming, and the score features eighteen century-styled dances and performances by pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet and the English Chamber Orchestra.  With this score, Marianelli was introduced to American audiences and was Oscar nominated.  

Mansfield Park, Austen's 1814 novel, made its big screen debut in 1999.  It altered several aspects of the novel and had a period appropriate score by Lesley Barber.  

Emma, one of Austen's most popular works, launched onto the big screen with the 1996 adaptation starring Gwyneth Paltrow.  It became a hit at the box office, with Rachel Portman's lovely string-led romantic score winning the Oscar.  For those fact lovers, Portman's win was the first woman to win the Oscar for Best Original Score.
In 2020, we got a picturesque adaptation of Emma, with Anya Taylor-Joy as Emma Woodhouse.  The film featured traditional folk songs and a charming score by Isobel Waller-Bridge and David Schweitzer.     

For Austen's posthumously released novels, Northanger Abbey has been adapted for television and radio several times, but hasn't received a full theatrical adaptation.  A first feature adaptation of Persuasion is due to be released in 2022.

Of course, a list wouldn't be complete without mentioning the updated version of Emma - Clueless (1995) with a pop soundtrack and score by David Kitay.  There's also the parody adaptation, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016) with a score by Fernando Velázquez.         

Post a Comment