For my very first entry in the Sense and Sensibility challenge I chose to watch Sense and Sensibility from 1981. This is a film that I owned and my memory of the film was not the greatest, I remembered feeling very bored when I watched it the first time. Luckily that was not the case this time. This version of Sense and Sensibility from 1981 is a miniseries with 7 episodes of about 30 min. each.
As with any adaption of a novel into a series or film there are some choices to make. What to cut and what not to cut. In the version of Sense and Sensibility Margaret, the youngest Dashwood was cut. She is a relative minor character and in my opinion not one of Austen’s best, so I didn’t really mind all that much. However, removing Margaret is not done very elegantly. Margaret does play a small role, as when she let the name of Mr. F drop in a conversation with Sir John and Mrs. Jennings. This simply does not happen in the series; however Sir John still teases Elinor with Mr. F regardless of the fact that he has only met Edward once, and very shortly.
Aside from Margaret not much is cut from the story. As is the case with many of the old adoptions much of the dialog is taken directly from the novel, and really no one does Jane Austen better than Jane Austen. The wish to include everything that is in the novel does seem cost the adaption some of the funniest part of the novel. Mr. Palmer and Anne Steel are both included, each gets one or two lines, too little in my opinion. Anne Steel and Mr. Palmer are very important comic characters in one of Jane Austen’s more serious works.
I was not impressed with the general level of acting. Maybe it is just the way acting was done in 1981, I do not see many films or series from that time, everything just seemed forced, or as if they were acting a play. The only actor that I really felt portrayed the character exactly right was Annie Leon who played Mrs. Jennings with just the right amount of vulgar/ridiculous and genuine caring.
Regardless of the not so good things mentioned above, I did enjoy watching Sense and Sensibility. The setting was quite lovely and the music worked as well. A good start to my Sense and Sensibility Challenge, next I will be reading a book.