Jennifer-Ehle-Pride-And-Prejudice-

Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet

[pullquote]Perhaps I didn’t always love him as well as I do now, but in such cases as these a good memory is unpardonable.[/pullquote]

The 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice remains the quintessential adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel to many fans. The mini-series format allowed for the development of plot and characters alike, it was shot beautifully and it was faithful to the book. Director Sue Birtwistle wanted her version to be fresh and lively, and she nailed it. And, of course, Lizzie Bennet and Mr. Darcy were wonderfully portrayed by Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth.
Ehle isn’t universally popular of course. Common complaints range from her age, because apparently there is a huge difference between 20 and 26 and when you were 20 in the early 19th century you were halfway to death anyway, to her weight, because the apparently the skeletal figure of whats-her-face was more appealing, to her apparent “smugness”. This is where I really need to remind people to pay attention to the title of the book.
Captivating, charming, witty and confident with a touch of vulnerability, Ehle will remain a firm favourite among fans for a long time. Who could resist those sparkling eyes?


Narnia-The-Voyage-of-the-Dawn-Treader-Eustace-Reepicheep

Will Poulter as Eustace Scrubb

[pullquote]The only consolation is everyone is finally as miserable as I am. Except for that show-off talking rat. He’s one of those annoying ‘glass is always half-full’ types.[/pullquote]

Eustace Clarence Scrubb is one of C.S. Lewis’s best characters from the Chronicles of Narnia. Eustace is first introduced in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and it’s no coincidence that it is one of the most popular books in the Narnia series. In contrast to his cousins, perfectly willing to immediately accept the presence of magic and the responsibility of saving a parallel universe, Eustace is the product of “very up-to-date and advanced people,” selfish, spoiled, spectacularly irritating and cowardly. But only at first, of course. Much of the narrative of Dawn Treader, in fact, concentrates on Eustace’s personal growth and his relationship with one of Narnia’s other best-loved characters, Reepicheep.
Will Poulter’s blustering, comical representation of Eustace when he first arrived in Narnia was flawless. The realtionship with  Simon Pegg’s Reepicheep, from their first hilarious conflict to their bittersweet and emotional farewell stole the whole show.


Peter-Dinklage-TyrionPeter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister

[pullquote]It’s not easy being drunk all the time. If it were easy, everyone would do it. [/pullquote]

George R.R. Martin’s anti-hero, Tyrion Lannister, is the ultimate underdog, despised by his own family, thwarted by his size and shunned by almost all. Tyrion’s sardonic wit, fierce intelligence and love of all things debaucherous gained him a loyal following from readers of A Song of Ice and Fire, and Peter Dinklage’s portrayal in  Game of Thrones has been no exception.
There was never an audition for Tyrion Lannister, the producers only wanted Peter Dinklage for the role and no one could ever question their judgement. Even the critics who are still stunned at the runaway success of the fantasy series adaptation couldn’t look past Peter’s outstanding performance. He has not only captured Tyrion perfectly, Peter’s acclaimed performance has earned him an Emmy, Golden Globe and Satellite award, and the devotion of readers and viewers alike.
I admit he is a bit too handsome, but let’s be realistic, portraying him with his nose actually lopped off would be far too distracting for viewers.


Harry-Potter-HBP-SlughornJim Broadbent as Professor Horace Slughorn

[pullquote]Please don’t think badly of me when you see it. You have no idea what he was like… even back then.[/pullquote]

Jim Broadbent’s performance as Professor Horace Slughorn in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has always been underrated. It’s not surprising – as a children’s book franchise the films were not taken too seriously. When David Yates took over and made them as they should have been filmed all along, we were subjected to outstandingly moronic complaints by equally moronic critics that there was “no Quidditch!”
Although his character in the books was comical in many parts, there is a pivotal moment in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when Harry was attempting to retrieve a memory from Slughorn, integral to finding the key to Voldemort’s defeat. Wizards in the Harry Potter universe can store memories in a separate vessel from their mind, Slughorn had originally tampered with and falsified such a stored memory, rendering it useless.
In the film’s most pivotal scene, Slughorn reminisces about Harry Potter’s dead mother, who was one of his favorite students. Harry finally manages to convince a drunk and emotional Slughorn to part with the original memory and Slughorn is forced to give in to guilt he had been denying for years. Jim Broadbent explored the emotional depths of Horace Slughorn and exposed a rawness and vulnerability like no other actor could have, or would have, in this heartbreaking scene, showing even the most devoted readers a side of Slughorn we hadn’t seen before, a frail old man wracked with guilt and regret.


 Anne-Green-Gables-Megan-FollowsMegan Follows as Anne Shirley

[pullquote]Mrs. Hammond told me that God made my hair red on purpose and I’ve never cared for Him since.[/pullquote]

If Jennifer Ehle had some big shoes to fill in her role as Elizabeth Bennet, then Megan Follows task was equally challenging. Anne Shirley, of the acclaimed Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery, is one of the most beloved characters in literary history. The story of Anne, the feisty red-headed orphaned girl has captivated readers since it was first published in 1908. Megan Follows’ critically acclaimed portrayal of Anne, in the 1985 Anne of Green Gables movie, captured the imagination of viewers around the world. It remains to this day the highest-rated drama in Canadian television history.

Watch Megan Follows’ audition for the role of Anne Shirley, which earned her the role over 3000 other young hopefuls.


About The Author

Olga Hughes is currently pre-occupied with fairy tales, fantasy, misanthropy, medieval history and the long eighteenth century. She has a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Victorian College of the Arts and is currently majoring in Literature and History at Deakin. She has contributed to websites such as History behind Game of Thrones, The Anne Boleyn Files and The Tudor Society.

11 Responses

  1. Underworldream

    Weeeeeell, actually, I think THIS is one of my very few complaints, (if not the only one), I have about the Harry Potter movie franchise. I think the Horace Slughorn of the book was portrayed utterly wrong in the movie. From physical appearance to personality to body language, I think they got it all wrong.
    Sure, the actor manages to show us the emotional depth of his character, but, to be honest, he does that the whole time he’s on screen. The Slughorn of the movie always looks shattered and guilty and distressed, like he’s about to flip at the drop of a pen, and burst into tears. In the book, supposedly, he’s doing a fantastic job at burrying deep down these kind of emotions, or at least at hiding them under the mask of his also vain and arrogant persona-which Broadbent almost completely fails to illustrate. Thus, he’s taking down layers and layers of personality, making his character rather unidimensional-he has a backround, but he’s more of a tool than of a story.
    All of this doesn’t help enhance the dramatic moments of the cottage, because the lack of emotional contrast of the character fails to deliver the ilussion of the spiritual journey I so much wanted to see.
    Well, I guess it is a little late to complain now…

    Reply
  2. C S Hughes
    C S Hughes

    I think you missed the point of the character, and the brilliance and subtlety of Broadbent’s portrayal, entirely. Rather than different, I think Jim Broadbent brought to the fore elements of Slughorn that were there on the page, but perhaps not fully developed.
    He was deeply touched by the evil, the absolute evil, which, he, for his own selfish reasons, his own needs, had, unwittingly (mostly unwittingly) brought to fruition. We must have seen quite different movies, because I didn’t see him looking like a pent up hysteric – shattered, guilty and distressed “about to flip at the drop of a pen, and burst into tears” at all. Perhaps you’re suffering from ‘fan blindiness’. Admittedly, there were differences in Broadbent’s portrayal, as I said I think he has developed the character further, from what was on the page, rather than reduced it. Perhaps you have reacted against those changes and then refused to give Broadbent”s Slughorn the attention he deserves.

    Reply
    • Underworldream

      Dear C S Hughes, first and foremost, I never said “hysteric”. Instead, I merely described a series of elements that, put together, would create a fragile, really fragile personality.
      And sure, he was touched by what he’s done, realising, day by day, even more that he’s created a monster but, again, I stand my grounds and say that he never made an effort to hide it from his ‘public’-be it his character’s students in the movie or the audience that watched it. You see, all the things that we learned about his past, in the book, draw a pretty clear picture about who he was, at that time and, as the storyline progresses, we discover that time never changed a thing. He’s still arrogant, craving opportunities,(never cared THAT much about the death of Aragog now, did he?), he’s still collecting. He is who he is. It’s just that he has extra baggage. And it’s exactly his personality, (the one brilliantly ilustrated in the book), that should prevent him-book and movie- to treat his mistakes and his ambitions, desires, other than as two different things. Broabent’s performance blended those two together, and the result was clumsy and ineffective, at the worst, and at the best, well…it was just not Slughorn anymore.
      As for the actor bringing “to the fore elements of Slughorn that were there on the page, but perhaps not fully developed” all I have to say is that no one asked him to complete an emotional journey towards redemption before the time was right. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way.
      Then again, you might be right about me. I might be just another crazed fan, suffering from “fan blindness”, who got cranky because one of her favourite characters didn’t turn out to be EXACTLY how she pictured him in the book, and that was it. Still, I think that a brilliant performance, like the one you claim he gave, would have made me see again.

      Reply
      • Olga

        Slughorn never tried to hide what he thought he had done (because he was not actually responsible, Riddle would have found what he wanted anyway) from the public? Most of the plot of Half-Blood Prince revolves around getting Slughorn to admit what had actually happened because he had tampered with the memory. Not only to hide it from Dumbledore, but to try and forget it himself.
        You think Jo was trying to convey that Slughorn hadn’t changed at all? You might want to read the books again.

      • Underworldream

        He never tried to hide what he had done? You said it yourself, he altered his own memories, he was ashamed, he wanted the whole deal forgotten. Of course I didn’t mean ‘hide’ literally, I never claimed he felt exposed or something in front of his students. What I meant was that, in the movie, it felt like his feelings always stood in the way of the exposure of his otherwise bubbly personality, he never seemed to manage them very well: in other words, hide them very well.
        Look, I’m kinda tired to say the same thing over and over again, but you people just don’t seem to get it and, if the things that I’m gonna say right now still don’t make much sense to you, I suggest you go and read the books again, honestly. Maybe that will help.
        Rowling treated Slughorn’s personality and his doing as to very different things, even though the latest was the result of the expression of the first. Yes, Slughorn slipped. He made a mistake. But he wasn’t evil, not before, not after he let Riddle know about horcruxes. He regreted it almost immediately, and he was never, under any circumstances, going to do something similar again. Thas was it, almost. In the state that we found him, in the book, he had a few more steps to take: to overcome his pride, facing what he’s done, once and for all, confessing, and then feeling free. This pride that I’m talking about is just a small , poisonous fraction of a whole that represents a part of his character that makes him more unique, different from the rest. This was the first time we were introduced to a character like that, lovabale yet with flaws so visible,(if you know the backstory), and the plot of Thomas Riddle and the horcruxes wasn’t intended to wash every bit of that with him. Slughorn wasn’t something to be fixed, and the hypothesis that, after confessing, he’s never gonna throw dinner parties for the elite would merely be a side-effect.
        And even if that would happen, we wouldn’t have much to compare it to, because Broadbent was not the best choice in illustrating a Horace Slughorn that was described on any of the pages of the book.

      • C S Hughes
        C S Hughes

        I hate having to quote people’s own statements to contradict their subsequent statements, but you said. “The Slughorn of the movie always looks shattered and guilty and distressed, like he’s about to flip at the drop of a pen, and burst into tears.” That is certainly the popular definition of ‘hysteric’. Also I’m pretty sure the director asked the actor to ‘complete an emotional journey towards redemption’ that’s what acting is about, afterall.

      • Underworldream

        I’m sorry, but he looked like he was at the end of it the entire time on-screen. Otherwise, there would be no excuses for such a flat, tired performance. And maybe I was wrong about him always being “shattered and guilty and distressed”. Maybe he wasn’t using a body language for the purpose of acting, but was merely showing signs of old age. Otherwise, I can’t explain.

  3. C S Hughes
    C S Hughes

    If Jennifer Ehle ever reads this, I’d just like to express my feelings with this quote, “You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

    Reply

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