By now my PBS Complete Jane Austen withdrawal symptoms are becoming serious indeed. The airing of Emma, directed by Diarmuid Lawrence and starring Kate Beckinsale is still a little over two weeks away. Until that happy event, we must "make do" and discuss various aspects about the movie instead.
Andrew Davies wrote the screenplay for this 1996 A&E adaptation. In an interview on PBS's Masterpiece website, he says of Emma:
Emma is an interesting one because Jane Austen said of the heroine, "She is a heroine who no one but myself will much like." And you can see why she said it because Emma is so arrogant and snobbish. She treats other people like toys, or pieces on a chessboard. She moves them around saying, You've got to go with that one, and you've got to go with that one as if they've got no will or taste or imagination of their own. The only person she has got any respect for really is Mr. Knightly and she never thinks that she herself will fall in love with anybody. So she has got some hard lessons to learn in the book."
Click here to read the rest of his assessment of Emma and hear his other interviews.
As with Pride and Prejudice, Davies also takes some liberties with Emma's script. According to Screen Online, "In Davies' adaptation, Emma becomes not only a reformed person, but a reformed snob. He appends a new ending, which shows Emma welcoming Mr Martin as Harriet's fiancée and inviting the couple to visit her; this is in direct contrast to the novel, where her friendship with Harriet fades."
In another interesting aside, The Loiterer awards the best Country Dance Scene to the last dance in Emma, 1996, particularly mentioning Kate Beckinsale's and Mark Strong's moves. The "Hole in the Wall" dance scene (below) is not the one that The Loiterer referred to, but it is interesting to watch nevertheless.
Read details about the movie on IMBd