All of Jane Austen’s completed novels have been made into films. This includes Mansfield Park, though I get the impression from reviews that in some the original plot is unrecognizable. The DVD I am commenting on here, however, is the only one I’ve watched, though I’ve ordered two more recent ones.

One of the things that came up during the Pride and Prejudice bicentennial was that as far as video was concerned, most people tended to like best the first video they saw. For me, that was the BBC version with Colin Firth as Darcy. That may be part of the reason I find the 1986 BBC video of Mansfield Park so much to my taste – it was the first I saw. Quite aside from that, it is very close to the book, with much of the dialog taken directly from Austen. The characters are very much true to those originally drawn by Miss Austen, and I particularly like Mrs. Norris, who is almost a caricature.

In reading reviews, I get the impression that people who liked the book like this video. People who find Fanny Price boring (I don’t) often preferred film versions that changed Fanny considerably from the way Jane Austin created her. I look forward to the arrival of other versions, but I doubt that I will like them any better.

I had hoped to find a film trailer for this DVD, but instead I found that the entire DVD is up on YouTube, chopped up into short segments. So I selected one of the shorter sequences, a conversation between Tom and Edmond Bertram and Mary Crawford, to give you a taste of the style. (NB: The YouTube episode says 1983, but it is clearly taken from the movie I am reviewing.)

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