Jul 222010
 

A True Treasure for Sense and Sensibility Fans

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Paperbackswap

Is there enough money and time allotted for a big opening scene to illustrate Mr. Henry Dashwood receiving a fatal hunting wound? How can Colonel Brandon’s character be made more three dimensional and effective when he is “quite shadowy” and “absent for long periods” in the novel? Should Willoughby’s anguished confession to Elinor be included, or will it “interfere with Brandon’s love story?” How can we achieve the perfect balance romance and satire in this film?

These are just several of the questions Emma Thompson pondered when writing the screenplay for Sense and Sensibility, (an undertaking that took five years, a dozen drafts, and hundreds of revisions to accomplish!) In the Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries, admirers of this adaption learn of the many important decisions Emma Thompson had to make when adapting Jane Austen’s beloved novel to a two hour feature film. In addition to the original screenplay script, this movie companion includes many still and behind-the-scenes images from the movie and Emma Thompson’s informative, entertaining, and at times shockingly candid, diary entires.

Readers familiar with the film will be able to compare it to this screenplay and perceive the alterations made between Emma Thompson’s preproduction draft and the film. It is interesting to see what was originally intended and how it is similar and/or dissimilar to what appeared on film. I would have loved it if these alterations were explained in a footnote or some other type of commentary, however. One part I loved was reading the stage directions, I found them humorous and not as formal as expected! “MR. PALMER does indeed have an the air of a man under siege.” “MARGARET is starring at Mrs. Jennings as if she were some particularly thrilling form of wildlife.” “Additional wealth has evidently encouraged FANNY sartorially and she sprouts as much fruit and feathers as a market stall.”

The diary entries by Emma Thompson begin with her first meeting with the director and producers and end with the final day of shooting. These entires range from stating which anti-stress/relaxation remedy she used that day to describing how many takes and cameras were used in a scene. Emma Thompson’s admiration and reverence for Jane Austen is very apparent in these diary entires. In addition, her dry wit and self-deprecating sense of humor reminds readers of Jane Austen and little of Bridget Jones too!

Drank far too much last night and woke at 5:30 a.m. Could’ve gone on drinking all night. Quite grateful for a hangover, it provides a bit of peace.” – June 11th.

1995 edition

1995 edition

(Warning: she swears like Bridget Jones too)

In addition to her personal feelings and thoughts, Emma Thompson illustrates what it was like to make this movie: What parts were easy? What parts were challenging? What parts were fun? And what disasters transpired? It was quite interesting to discover that factors such as weather (cloudy verses sunny) dictated which scenes were shot that day. Or that it was necessary to fire a shotgun before each take to silence the cawing crows. Or that they had to be supremely cautious while in these historic homes as many National Trust volunteers were watching them like hawks ready to pounce!

My one complaint for this volume is that the image quality for the 91photographs is sometimes a little grainy and fuzzy. But that may be because I have an older (1995) edition. I see that there are two other editions of this book, 2002 and 2007. Perhaps in these later editions the images were improved? I’ll have to check it out and get back to you… My advice meanwhile, would be to buy the newest edition.

2007 edition

2007 edition

Admirers of Sense and Sensibility, Emma Thompson, and the 1995 film starring Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Kate Winslet, and Alan Rickman will find much to appreciate and adore in this lovely tome. Emma Thompson’s Golden Globe acceptance speech (as Jane Austen) and Imogen Stubb’s letter penned from Lucy to Elinor only enhance the value of this treasure! A MUST read!

This is my third completed item for the “Everything Austen Challenge II” hosted by Stephanie’s Written Word.

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13 Comments on "The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries – Emma Thompson"

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JaneGS

I absolutely loved reading this book too, and it is one of my favorite books on my Austen-related shelves. And I agree, ET’s love of Austen shines through so strongly. Fascinating behind-the-scenes look, and a great review, Meredith.

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read

Wow, this sounds amazing! I love Thompson’s funny comments. lol

Enbrethiliel

+JMJ+

Emma Thompson has a wonderful, witty voice! But why should I be so surprised when I love Sense and Sensibility so much? This is a book I’d love to read. =)

(I have to say, though, that I’m one of those who thinks she was too old to be cast as Elinor. Not just in looks, but in gravitas, she made the character look like Marianne’s spinster aunt rather than her older sister.)

Enbrethiliel

+JMJ+

Emma Thompson has a wonderful, witty voice! But why should I be so surprised when I love Sense and Sensibility so much? This is a book I’d love to read. =)

(I have to say, though, that I’m one of those who thinks she was too old to be cast as Elinor. Not just in looks, but in gravitas, she made the character look like Marianne’s spinster aunt rather than her older sister.)

Alexa Adams

I’m so glad to hear how much you loved this! It has been on my wish list for awhile now. Thanks for another fabulous review!

You know Meredith, I wish you would review some terrible books, thereby helping me to cut, instead of add to, my TBR list! I don’t really mean that, of course. You’ve steered me towards far too many fabulous books to complain.

MARIA GRAZIA
“Admirers of Sense and Sensibility, Emma Thompson, and the 1995 film starring Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Kate Winslet, and Alan Rickman will find much to appreciate and adore in this lovely tome” And what about me, who admire Greg Wise, Emma Thomson’s husband, greatly as fascinating Willoughby? 😉 I can’t help it. I more than like Willoughby. I know I shouldn’t, but I do fancy him more than Edward or Brandon. Especially in Greg Wise’s performance. I would have added W.’s explanation to Elinor… Austen gives so much space to his words! I don’t think she wants us to despise… Read more »
MARIA GRAZIA
“Admirers of Sense and Sensibility, Emma Thompson, and the 1995 film starring Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Kate Winslet, and Alan Rickman will find much to appreciate and adore in this lovely tome” And what about me, who admire Greg Wise, Emma Thomson’s husband, greatly as fascinating Willoughby? 😉 I can’t help it. I more than like Willoughby. I know I shouldn’t, but I do fancy him more than Edward or Brandon. Especially in Greg Wise’s performance. I would have added W.’s explanation to Elinor… Austen gives so much space to his words! I don’t think she wants us to despise… Read more »
MarySimonsen

This sounds wonderful. I thought the S&S screenplay was brilliant.

MarySimonsen

Have you seen Emma Thompson’s acceptance speech at the Academy Awards? It’s a hoot.

Meredith

I am so happy to hear so many of you applaud Emma Thompon’s screenplay! To those of you who haven’t read it, I hope you do some day! Then you will be able to join us in singing its praises!

Mary: That speech is just marvelous, isn’t! It was printed in the book but it was much better to see her do it in person!

Meredith

I am so happy to hear so many of you applaud Emma Thompon’s screenplay! To those of you who haven’t read it, I hope you do some day! Then you will be able to join us in singing its praises!

Mary: That speech is just marvelous, isn’t! It was printed in the book but it was much better to see her do it in person!

Shannon

Oh, this sounds lovely. I’ll definitely have to check it out!

Lori Hedgpeth

I absolutely loved this book as the Emma Thompson version of S&S is one of my favorite films. Ms. Thompson is a hoot and I thrilled to read behind the scenes accounts.

Great review, Meredith!

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