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Dear Friends and Readers,

I thought tonight I'd bring together in handy index what I've written about Davies, so I and anyone else interested in these films and Davies's art can have one place to go to.  First a general summary of Davies's outlook and characteristics at Austen Reveries.

Andrew Davies

I've accompanied it with stills from three films I've watched and commented on but not written a specific individual blog-review of analysis:   1986, a Very Peculiar Practice, the mini-series, a brilliant effective satire on the UK university world as a mirror of our exclusive, materialistic society, set up not to give people any comfort or help for real (the practice is psychological support as well as physical medicine); 1998, Vanity Fair, often burlesque,  uses caricature, broad and liberal in outlook, sympathizing with highly non-ideal people (not just Becky, but Jos, Emily, George Osborne), typical of Davies.  Also about a grand sweep and the passing of time on personalities -- not that often Davies's theme (though in his Dr Zhivago) . And his brilliant technically-innovative poetic film about women's isolation and vulnerabiltiy, the 2008 Sense and Sensibility.

To begin, here is a list of the films and mini-series by Davies I've watched thus far (whether I've written on them or no) or at least read about, together with stills from A Very Peculiar Practice

From early original mini-series, 1986 A Very Peculiar Practice, Lyn Turtle (Amanda Hillwood) collides with and helps up our hero, Stephen Dakar (Peter Davison)

Dr Jock McCannon (Graham Crowden) , comic embittered disappointed head of practice [A Very Peculiar [medical] Practice]

Dr Rose Marie (Barbara Flynn), a favorite with Davies and on BBC films, the "lassie" from A Very Peculiar Practice


Obnoxious Dr Bob Buzzard (David Troughton) insults the practice nurse

Signalman 1976
To Serve Them All My Days 1980
Diana 1984
Time after Time 1986 (Molly Keane novel, episode in Screen 2, 1985--2002
A Very Peculiar Practice 1986
Mother Love 1989 (Laura Black novel)
Getting Hurt 1989 (crime thriller?! is IMDB label)
House of Cards 1990
Old Devils 1992 (Kingsley Amis novel)
Anglo-Saxon Attitudes 1992
Harnessing Peacocks 1993 (Mary Wesley novel)
Middlemarch 1994
To Play the King 1994
Final Cut 1995
Pride and Prejudice 1995
Moll Flanders 1996
Emma 1996
Wilderness 1996 (together with Bernadette Davis, a Dennis Danvers gothic)
Vanity Fair 1998
Wives and Daughters 1999
Othello 2001
Bridget Jones's Diary 2001 (a co-writer with Helen Fielding/Richard Curtiss)
The Way We Live Now 2001
The Tailor of Panama 2001
Tipping the Velvet 2002
Dr Zhivago 2002
Daniel Deronda 2002
He Knew He Was Right 2004
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason 2004 (a co-writer with Helen Fielding/Richard Curtis
Falling 2005
Bleak House 2005
The Line of Beauty 2006
The Chatterley Affair 2006
Northanger Abbey 2007
A Room with a View 2007
Fanny Hill 2007
Sense and Sensibility 2008
Little Dorrit 2008
Sleep with Me 2009
South Riding 2011
House of Cards 2012
Mr Selfridge 2013


For an ordering of the films from an Austen romance perspective:

An Andrew Davies Interlude: My Jane Austen Movies Book

His 7 Austen movies are:

P&P 1995
Emma 1997
Bridget Jones Diary 2001
Bridget Jones Edge of Reason: 2004
NA 2007
Room with a View 2007
S&S 2008

To which I'll add

Wives and Daughters 1999 (as an honorary member so like the Austen ones is it fundamentally)

The subset of romance, or psychological melodrama, very closely related which I feel would not be contested and I could deal with are:

Daniel Deronda 2002
Little Dorrit 2008


Then the blog-reviews, found on Jim and Ellen have a blog, two which has an archive where you can reach all the blogs on Davies's films I've done so far there. At the time I thought his Vanity Fair was his best and most characteristic movie. I now realize he's too varied for such a evaluation but preface the list with a few fine stills:

Natasha Little as the young Becky just out of school, visiting the Sedleys (1998 Vanity Fair)

Rawdon Crawley (Nathaniel Parker) when we first see him (Vanity Fair)

Dobbin (Philip Glenister) having experienced war, home without George Osborne (VF again mid-film)

Jane (Mrs Pitt) Crawley (Sylvestre Le Tousel) worried for little Rawdon left out (VF, late in film, Le Tousel turns up in Davies's films)

Andrew Davies's Signalman (out of Dickens) and Henry Herbert's Malachi's Cove (out of Trollope)

Andrew Davies's Middlemarch (film out of history) and his Wives and Daughters (women's film as genre)

Andrew Davies's The Way We Live Now and Daniel Deronda:  the fascination of the strange and repellent

David Lean's Dr Zhivago improved: the boldness of Andrew Davies

Andrew Davies's films:  He Knew He Was Right out of Moll Flanders (the interrogatory first-person accosting address)

Andrew Davies's Bleak House and Little Dorrit: parallel mise-en-scenes (the poetry, the filmic brilliance)

The Homoerotic DaviesTipping the Velvet, Line of Beauty, A Room with a View, Fanny Hill

An Andrew Davies InterludeOn Sleep with Me and House of Cards


From this blog, Reveries under the sign of Austen, preface with some stills from 2008 Sense and Sensibility

From early on (Signalman) Davies made astute use of filmic techniques: Mrs Dashwood (Janet McTeer) is looking down and we see a tiny image of Edward and Elinor (Hattie Morahan and Dan Steevens) deeply absorbed together (2008 S&S)

Camera draws closer (Mrs Dashwood in the same spot) as two people come by, fisherman and John Dashwood (James Fleet) (S&S)

Watching, looking down with us (Marianne, Charity Wakefield, has joined Mrs D, Janet McTeer) (S&S)

Andrew Davies's Six Austen Films 1995 P&P; 1996 Emma; 2001 Bridget Jones's Diary; 2004 Bridget Jones: on the Edge of Reason; 2007 Northanger Abbey; 2008 Sense and Sensibility

This one also has an archive for Jane Austen films: here you will find comments scattered throughout on all the Austen films, which of course includes Davies'

Jane Austen's perception of Christmas: Novels and Films

The Sexing up of Jane Austen:  stills from Davies's Bridget Jones's Diary, Northanger Abbey and Sense and Sensibility

A Sense and Sensibility Summer: on critics, translations of Austen too, film studies

Sense and Sensibility Movies:  Deep Patternings: deeply close reading all 5, including Davies's 2008 version

1995 P&P and 2008 S&S: two pairs of sisters journeying through life

Cinematic Austen: a life interwoven with these films

Falling:  a chillingly effective Film adaptation of Elizabeth Jane Howard's novel

Sense and Sensibility and Miss Austen Regrets, 2008/9:  a blend of Pivcevic and Davies' art, with description of Gwyneth Hughes's.

Room with a View: a rewrite of Northanger Abbey:  Davies's film shows the intertextuality between the two books

An Andrew Davies Interlude:  on Diana, Tailor of Panama, the archetype of the lower class young man taken in by rich aristocrats (briefly cataloguing several)

Andrew Davies's 1984 Diana: elegiac romance, social-war dramat out of Delderfield (1)

Andrew Davies's 1984 Dianamelancholy romance, spy anti-war thriller out of Delderfield (2)

Andrew Davies's 1984 Diana: a complex heroine who ends up another war victim (3)

Andrew Davies's lesser known heroine's texts movies: Wilderness, Tipping the Velvet, Harnessing Peacocks


I wrote a series of blogs on Davies's Austen films on my old blog, Ellen and Jim have a blog, too; all of these I managed to retrieve, and I conclude this list with more stills from the 2008 Sense and Sensibility

Sex in the Austen films (but especially in the 1995 P&P by Davies and the 1999 MP by Rozema) - I know think this is unfair and reductive, but know it's popular reading still, and it's not wrong.

Wives and Daughters (with Amelie Mansfield, Claire d'Albe, women's films and books)

Two of Many Emmas (Davies 1996 Meridian, and McGrath's Miramax Emmas) -- I also disagree with the idea they are alike, but again find things in it of interest and accurate

The Other Mr Knightley (on Davies's Mr Knightley played by Mark Strong)

Screwball comedy and romance:  transpositions of Austen (includes Bridget Jones's Diary)

Andrew Davies's latest:  Northanger Abbey (the first viewing and impression, British friends's comments)

Sister-Novels, but not Sister-Films (the new Northanger Abbey above, and the brilliant 2007 Persuasion)

A Spectacular, Extraordinary film:  the 1995 A&E/BBC Pride and Prejudice (sociological event, transformative)

A revealing switch or omission in Emma films (Davies's film placed in context of McGrath as well as 1972 BBC Emma)

Film adaptation typology screwed up (how Davies' 2008 Sense and Sensibility pushes the envelope of transposition so I have to redefine)

1996 A&E/Meridan Emma:  "something odd going on with Knightley" (again on Davies's 1996 Emma)

All three Northanger films (including Davies compared): on Jane Austen's World -- a special essay-like blog

Dan Steevens as Edward, his face expressing his profound warm liking for Elinor (2008 S&S); he starred in Davies's The Line of Beauty as the deeply humane gay hero, thrown out by everyone else

My favorite still of Hattie Morahan as Elinor Dashwood enduring life, looking out at and not finding consolation for her loss of Edward in natural beauty (2008 Sense and Sensibility)


There is a blog by me on Jane Austen's World (An impersonal informative historical Austen blog) too:

The Gothic Northanger: a Re-evaluation (my paper delivered at an EC/ASECS on Austen's novel and all three films linked into the blog)


Summary and Explanation

There is one more I have not as yet found: one where I summed up Davies's practice generally on Ellen and Jim have a blog, too.

I had intended to write one more Andrew Davies's blog-review before turning to write of other movies and returning to the Palliser and Trollope movies (two of which are by Davies); it was to be on one I once thought his masterpiece, and still think highly characteristic of his comedy, the 1998 BBC/A&E Vanity Fair, but I now realize I took no notes on it and have to rewatch it.  I now know my idea Davies's Vanity Fair was a or the signature film for him came from watching too few.   He can be equally brilliant at personal hurt depths, tragedy, poignant loss, and directly confront issues of sexuality.  His comedy is humane, his men often self-deprecating more obviously than in VF, and his sympathy with women, with a liking for strong women in a variety of ways.   It seems to me too soon to say what is his signature film.


Right now I'm into reading towards my review of the Politics of Gender in Anthony Trollope's Novels, edd. M Markwick, DD Morse, et aliae, which is leading me to read whole other books and bunches of essays, and then I'll see where I am. If I can, I'll go back to my book before turning to another paper on Northanger Abbey; if not, I'll do that paper first and then back to the 2008 WBGH/BBC Sense and Sensibility by Davies.

Since all this may take a few months (says she smiling) instead of a couple or a few weeks, I made this index in the meantime.

Elinor's Bepictured room (all over the walls beloved pictures), she's being asked to leave it for hard experiences in London which she thinks will do her and Marianne no good at all.  It reminds me of myself in my be-pictured room.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 18th, 2010 12:41 pm (UTC)
His wide (if not infinite) variety
Yes I did a lot of work on Davies and have learned to love his films; he still have the same flaws (so to speak), broad in stroke, popularity-seeking so not much sympathy or inner feel for the really vulnerable of his characters, but there is so much to counter this they become small things -- and it's especially when you regard his movies as a whole you see how rich he is. I also see the specific themes you might not notice and which he also tries to obscure: non-macho sensitive males; unconventional sexuality; some sharp social criticism.

I don't know which one is my favorite either. Although he's done 6 Austen movies, she is finally not in his vein in the way the male 19th century novelists. I'm torn for a favorite between Vanity Fair (after all -- the music and sense of time is so good) and Daniel Deronda, Dr Zhivago and Bleak House/Little Dorrit. I wish he had done a 11 part Palliser like these: he would have included far more comic character (Mrs Greenow) and I think heroines too (Lucy Morris) and colorful side characters.

Ellen :)
Sep. 30th, 2010 04:50 am (UTC)
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