Friday, April 13, 2007

Jane Austen Times Four


Jane Austen's enduring Emma Woodhouse, the titular character of her novel about an incorrigible young woman who plays matchmaker, meddling in the lives of several people around, has inspired many film incarnations, both official and unofficial.

Off the top of my head, I can think of four distinctly different film versions that, screened back-to-back, would make a wonderful little film festival on a lazy Saturday or rainy Sunday. Makes some popcorn, invites over a few friends, pour some drinks (either tea or something stronger) and lose yourself in these four for a several hours:

"Emma" (1996). Douglas McGrath perfectly cast his version with Gwyneth Platrow, plus his take on the material has a strong fidelity to the novel.

"Amélie"/"Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain" (2001). Audrey Tautou twinkled in Jean-Pierre Jeunet's quixotic, highly idiosyncratic, highly stylized French version of the material.

"Clueless" (1995). Amy Heckerling's savvy teen-beat version of Austen's story showcased the irresistible Alicia Silverstone as Cher Horowitz, a Valley Girl interpretation of Emma.

"Tammy Tell Me True" (1961). Although ostensibly based on one in a series of novels by Cid Ricketts Sumner (as were the other "Tammy" flicks), this one more closely resembles Austen's story, with Harry Keller directing button-cute Sandra Dee as the backwoods Tambrey "Tammy" Tyree who meddles in the love lives of those around with an earnest but playful mischievousness.

(Artwork: top: The cast of Paramount's "Clueless"; middle: Audrey Tautou as d'Amélie Poulain)

* * *

Anyone interested in perusing some 2060 of my film reviews, dating back to 1994, can do so by simply going to RottenTomatoes.Com

1 comment:

Janice Blake said...

Fun idea. I love both "Emma" and "Clueless," but I never thought about "Amélie" and "Tammy Tell me True," but you're right. They all essentially tell the same story.