Can The Shop Around the Corner Be Considered A Pride and Prejudice Adaption?

Two years ago I read an article on Nora Ephron and in the article she shared that she is a big fan of Pride and Prejudice and when she wrote You’ve Got Mail, she made it a loose adaption of Jane Austen’s novel. I was surprised when I read that as I don’t see the two being that much alike and last year I decided to finally review You’ve Got Mail and determine whether it:

  • Should be considered an adaption of Pride and Prejudice
  • Should be put on my Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans
  • Needs to be excluded from the Jane Austen multiverse/canon altogether?

After rewatching You’ve Got Mail I ended up deciding that it is most definitely not an adaption of Pride and Prejudice and I personally don’t feel like it should belong in the Jane Austen canon/multiverse.

But while this film is not a good candidate, what about the film You’ve Got Mail is a remake of? Could The Shop Around the Corner be considered?

Hmm…?

The Shop Around the Corner is not lifted from Jane Austen but a Hungarian play, Parfumerie. It has been made adapted many times: The Shop Around the Corner (1940) and You’ve Got Mail (1998) being only two of them. But just because it wasn’t taken specifically from Jane Austen, doesn’t mean it cannot be included in the canon. After all, The 12 Men of Christmas and Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade aren’t “official” Austen adaptions, but the similarities are close enough that I include them.

Let’s begin with a quick summary of the story of Pride and Prejudice. Pride and Prejudice is about a mother, Mrs. Bennet, wanting to marry off her daughters as quickly as possible, as with their father’s death they will have very little. Two men move to their community that Mrs. Bennet is intent on harpooning, no matter what. One, Mr. Bingley, falls for the elder daughter, Jane, while the other man, Mr. Darcy, is overheard insulting the second daughter, Elizabeth, by Elizabeth herself. (Ouch!) Elizabeth is wounded and when she hears a tale about how horrible Mr. Darcy is from a handsome charming man, she readily believes it. She later discovers there is more to both these men than meets the eye; as the story deals with the concepts of pride and prejudice, first impressions, whether you should be overt in how you feel or play it close to the heart, etc. It has amazing wit and characters.

The Shop Around the Corner takes place in Budapest in the shop Matuschek, and focuses mostly on two of the employees: Alfred Kralik (Jimmy Stewart) and Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan). Mr. Kralik is Mr. Matuschek’s oldest and best employee, the two often having more of a father-son relationship than a employer-employee. One day they are having a summer sale and a woman, Klara, comes in wanting a job as she has just been let go from her previous one. Mr. Kralik dissuades her from trying as they are not hiring, but Klara manipulates Mr. Matuschek into hiring her (she’s a really good saleswoman.) After this the two are constantly at odds as Klara is rude to Mr. Kralik, makes fun of him, and is always surly. After this treatment, Mr. Kralik does not care for Klara, and treats her with an equally surly, but professional, attitude. Meanwhile, months earlier Mr. Kralik had started writing to an anonymous woman for friendship and to to discuss literature. Over time the two have switched from literary topics to love and have fallen for each other. When Mr. Kralik goes to meet his letter lady, he discovers it is his work nemesis, Klara. When he goes in to see her, Klara dresses him down and Mr. Kralik starts wondering about his behavior. As the two continue to work side by side, Mr. Kralik tries to show Klara another side of him, hoping to win her heart as she has already captured his.

How sweet!

Even though this isn’t a true adaption of Pride and Prejudice, in every way it is so much closer to an adaption then it’s later remake, You’ve Got Mail.

First of all the interactions between the two leads in The Shop Around the Corner, is much more similar to Pride and Prejudice then You’ve Got Mail. In Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy meet at a ball and Elizabeth is very attracted to him, but later dislikes him when he says she is tolerable but not handsome enough for him. Klara also later admits in the film that when she first met Mr. Kralik she was very attracted to him, but changed her mind when he didn’t react to her the way she had hoped. Also like Elizabeth, Klara too believes lies about the male lead’s character, told to her by another employee, Ferencz Vadas.

Mr. Darcy on the other hand, didn’t really think anything of Elizabeth, as he considered all in the area to be below his notice. Later, after spending time with her when Jane is ill at Netherfield he falls for her wit and beauty. With Mr. Kralik when he first meets Klara he doesn’t like her or dislike her, he does try to help her find work by suggesting other places she could try, but he’s mostly preoccupied with his own work. Like Darcy the wit and intelligence is what gets him, as he too falls for his lady through the mind first, this case in her letters.

While there are more things at play in the film the springboard for all their fights seem to be in this moment when Mr. Kralik tries to dissuade her from applying for a job (as they don’t have any openings) while Klara not only manipulates Mr. Matuschek into hiring her, but buying worthless items they later aren’t able to sell (what Mr. Kralik had said from the beginning.)

Jimmy Stewart’s character Mr. Kralik is also more like Mr. Darcy than Tom Hanks’ Joe Fox. Joe Fox was cruel, abrasive, insulting, and rude. We see him sweet to his little kid aunt and brother but he never has a place or people he seems to fully relax, like Darcy does with Pemberley and his staff there. In The Shop Around the Corner, Kralik is very decisive, focused, has a tough exterior and can come off cold; but to those who know him, he is has a more relaxed side. We see that with his close friend Pirovitch, and then later when he hears how he is perceived by others from Klara, and tries to be less cold and curt.

Unlike Kathleen, who is not at all like Elizabeth, (having a lack of wit, obstinance, headstrongness, or initiative); Klara is very witty, strong willed, does not shy away from situations or people, is confident, and bold enough to give Mr. Kralik several dressing downs.

I really like the interaction between Mr. Kralik and Klara at the cafe. In the film the two letter writers are supposed to meet up, but Mr. Kralik ends up losing his job (a subplot is that Mr. Matuschek thinks Mr. Kralik is messing around with his wife, but he isn’t). Mr. Kralik isn’t planning on going to see her as he’s feeling depressed, but his friend convinces him to go and when he finds out it is Klara who always makes work unpleasant, he’s not pleased. At the cafe he plans to tell her his identity, her letter lover, but words are thrown around by both and Klara really let’s him know how she feels:

Alfred Kralik: There might be a lot we don’t know about each other. You know, people seldom go to the trouble of scratching the surface of things to find the inner truth.

Klara Novak: Well I really wouldn’t care to scratch your surface, Mr. Kralik, because I know exactly what I’d find. Instead of a heart, a hand-bag. Instead of a soul, a suitcase. And instead of an intellect, a cigarette lighter… which doesn’t work.

Alfred Kralik: Well, that’s very nicely put. Yes, comparing my intellect with a cigarette lighter that doesn’t work. That’s a very interesting mixture of… poetry and meanness.

The Shop Around the Corner (1940)

After hearing this, Mr. Kralik takes time to self reflect and realizes that he wants to change how he is perceived by others. Now he has no plans to see Klara again, as he’s been fired, and is not quite sure what to do with the letter writing issue (as it appears she can’t stand him). However, when Mr. Matuschek discovers that he was wrong and a different employee was sleeping with his wife, he becomes so disheartened about everything that he planned to kil himself. Mr. Matuschek is stopped by Pepe the errand boy, and decides to step back from the to recuperate, calling Mr. Kralik, and hiring him back to take over the store. Now Mr. Kralik takes what was said to him by Klara and tries to be be not so cold and distant, while at the same time he also doesn’t try to show off and convince Klara or show her he’s changed-he just makes those changes.

This is much more similar to Mr. Darcy and the way he reacts to Elizabeth’s words. Mr. Darcy too took what was said, improved himself, and also never planned to interact with Elizabeth again. They only cross paths by accident and then later when he goes to support Bingley. When Bingley and Jane are engaged and he is invited to the Bennet’s home and card parties, he never tries to show off that she should be with him, he doesn’t try to take her aside, etc. He respects her wishes and only approaches her again after Lady Catherine’s rude visit and Elizabeth’s lack of promise not to marry him causes him to hope again. But even then, he tells her still cares but if she doesn’t feel that way he understands and will never speak of the matter again.

In contrast, Joe Fox is nothing like Mr, Darcy or Mr. Kralik as he not only makes it his mission to constantly run into Kathleen, but also uses his online persona and in-person persona to manipulate her.

Klara sees this change in him and realizes that she was misjudging him; and at the same time she does her own self reflection and realizes that she didn’t treat him as well as she could and a lot of their issues were caused by both sides.

So while it’s not a perfect adaption, I feel this one definitely is more of an adaption of Pride and Prejudice than You’ve Got Mail.

But while it is better than You’ve Got Mail, should it be considered a Jane Austen adaption?

After careful consideration I think not. It was very close, but it’s missing something else to really put it in the Pride and Prejudice camp. I will, however, highly recommend it for any Jane Austen fan and it will be going on my list of Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans due to its similarities and because it is an amazing film. I love it so much, I have to watch it every December at least once.

It is so romantic and I just adore how they falling in love over letters. I cannot recommend this film more. You are guaranteed to not only enjoy it but want to keep watching it again and again.

Audiobook

So do you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments below!

For more Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans, go to You Have Thirteen Hours in Which to Solve the Labyrinth, Before Your Baby Brother Becomes One of Us…Forever.: Labyrinth (1986)

For more Jane Austen Christmas adaptions, go to Is You’ve Got Mail Really an Adaption of Pride and Prejudice?

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to Pride and Prejudice: The Game

For more Pride and Prejudice film adaptions, go to Dear William

I Always Deserve the Best Treatment, Because I Never Put Up With Any Other.

Happy New Year!

I had a hard time trying to decide what to entitle this year’s post,was there something I cared for that was having a special anniversary? After looking through the years the only thing I found was Emma (1972) is turning 50. Of course that mean I will be reviewing it (as soon as I finish the last episode of Austentatious.

With that it means a very Emma year, which has already started. I don’t know about you all but lately I tend to waffle between these two thoughts, getting ready for things and having plans fall apart due to some new COVID related issue:

And trying to maintain a good attitude in these trying times:

But no matter how bad it gets, there is always Jane Austen to make you feel better.

Or Read

I’m going to try and carry on with the attitude of Emma. Whether you love her or hate her-she knows what she deserves.

Now on to the year in review!

The Views

This year I had over 100,000 views! That might not seem like a lot to some but I’m thankful for every one.

Wow!

The Top Five Posts

Here are the top five most viewed posts of the year, although again none were posted this year. I guess whatever I post in the actual year is never popular enough? Who knows.

5) Being Friends is Good Enough: Catching Fire (2013) from Romance is in the Air II from 2014

4) Time is the Most Important Thing from 2015

3) A Real Man from 2014

2) What Happened to Ally Palmer?: The Good Student (2006) from Horrorfest VII 2018

1) Fulfilling the List: A Walk to Remember (2002) from Romance is in the Air 2013

Recipes

Who doesn’t love having a nice teatime snack to read or watch Jane Austen with?

Jane Austen Posts

It’s the name of the blog, of course we need posts on Jane Austen or her works!

Jane Austen and the Regency Era:

Sense and Sensibility:

Pride and Prejudice:

Emma:

Northanger Abbey:

Persuasion:

Tea Time Posts:

Jane Austen Birthday Tea Party

Last year I turned 29 and decided to throw myself a Jane Austen themed birthday party!

Jane Austen Runs My Life Collaboration with Madsen Creations

This year I collaborated with Madsen Creations and made some Jane Austen themed clothing and household items!

JARML collab with Madsen Creations recreating the Selena top:

JARML Spooky collab with Madsen Creations

Catherine Morland’s Viewing List

Similar to Catherine Morland’s Reading List, this is a list of gothic films I recommend for the Henry Tilneys and Catherine Morlands who are looking for something spooky to watch.

Spill the Tea, Tea Reviews

I’ve wanted to do this for a while and last year I started reviewing tea places, more to come soon!

Horrorfest X

31 reviews of horror films, mysteries, monsters, etc; and of course Northanger Abbey.

BookishFirst Bingo

On Instagram (@janeaustenrunsmylife) I try to achieve a Bookish Bingo every month. I usually read whatever I like and then see which slot it fills. I write how it fits the categories in my stories and save them for the moth and the one after, replacing it with the new month’s selections. It is a lot of fun, and I recommend trying it out.

July Blogiversary

For my Blogiversary this year my niece reviewed Northanger Abbey (2007) and on my Instagram I asked a series of questions and posted the results. I asked the following questions this year:

  • Unpopular Jane Austen Opinions
  • What Pop Culture book/film/movie/idea do you think the Jane Austen characters would be obsessed with?
  • If there was a company that allowed you to hire Jane Austen cosplayers would you? Who would you want to hire?
  • Which Jane Austen Character is the most annoying
  • What is a Jane Austen adaption you like to watch or read over and over again
  • If you could cast any actor (alive or dead) as Mr. Darcy who would it be?
  • If you could cast any actresses (alive or dead) as Elizabeth Bennet who would it be?
  • Which Jane Austen adaption needs to be turned into a film, TV show, or needs to be remade?
  • If the characters from Jane Austen lived today, what would their fashion style be?
  • Should I make some Jane Austen Runs My Life stickers?
  • Which Jane Austen hero is actually the worst? And why?
  • Who is more desperate to marry off their children: Mrs. Bennet or General Tilney?
  • If you could cast Aiden Turner, Lee Pace, Kit Harrington, or James Frain in a Jane Austen adaption, which one and which character?
  • Which Jane Austen Parent is the worst?
  • If you could cast Emily Mortimer, Natalie Dormer, Rachel Weisz, or Michelle Dockery in a Jane Austen adaption, which one and which character?
  • Which Jane Austen adaption is the worst?
  • What Jane Austen opinion will you not be talked out of and believe until the day you die

MadsenCreations Noirvember

I assisted MadsenCreations in her Noirvember and posted my reviews of the films on my tiktok. We reviewed the following films (although I still need to post the remaining few reviews). Don’t be surprised if some of these pop up during this year’s Horrorfest.

25 Films of Christmas

  • The Thin Man (1934)
  • The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
  • The Lady in the Lake (1947)
  • Backfire (1950)
  • Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
  • Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
  • Die Hard (1988)
  • Batman Returns (1992)
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
  • The Santa Clause (1994)
  • Jingle All The Way (1996)
  • You’ve Got Mail (1998)
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
  • The Santa Claus 2 (2002)
  • Love Actually (2003)
  • The Polar Express (2004)
  • 12 Men of Christmas (2009)
  • A Christmas Wedding Date (2012)
  • The Christmas Candle (2013)
  • A Cinderella Christmas (2016)
  • The Mistletoe Promise (2016)
  • Marry Me at Christmas (2017)
  • Love Hard (2021)
  • Spider-man: No Way Home (2021)

That’s it for 2021, here’s hoping 2022 will be better!

For 2020 in review, go to I Will Be Calm. I Will Be Mistress of Myself

For 2019 in review, go to The Mysterious Affair at Jane Austen Runs My Life

For 2018 in review, go to The Future is Bulletproof

For 2017 in review, go to Life Seems But a Quick Succession of Busy Nothings

For 2016 in review, go to A New Hope

For 2015 in review, go to To Boldy Go Where No Man Has Gone Before

For 2014 in review, go to Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads

For 2013 in review, go to Looking at the Past, Focusing on the Future

For 2012 in review, go to Looking Back, Moving Forward

Is You’ve Got Mail Really an Adaption of Pride and Prejudice?

Last year I read an article on Nora Ephron and in the article she shared that she is a fan of Pride and Prejudice and You’ve Got Mail is actually a loose adaption of it. (I have since tried to find that exact article, but have failed).

When I read that I was shocked? You’ve Got Mail? I mean parts are familiar but at its core I have never felt like it is an adaption of Pride and Prejudice, in fact I think the film that You’ve Got Mail is a remake for, The Shop Around the Corner, is a much better argument for a Pride and Prejudice adaption.

I had thought about reviewing You’ve Got Mail last year, but as usual with the holidays-I ran out of time and instead was only able to review one Jane Austen film adaption, Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe.

This year I ran a poll on my instagram and offered up to review Sense and Sensibility and Snowmen, Christmas at Pemberley, You’ve Got Mail, or The Shop Around the Corner; and You’ve Got Mail won. So let’s take a look!

I first saw this film when I was eight or nine and I thought it was so romantic. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan have such great chemistry, it centered around books and bookstores, and of course the “star on this Christmas tree” (more in season than icing on the cake), was that the leads fell in love over letters/email messages.

How sweet!

However, it seems like ever year I grow older I like these characters and film less and less. One part of the film that really bothers me is the way that both main characters are feeling stale in their relationships and decide to turn to emotional cheating instead of discussing their feelings with the person they are living with. And I absolutely hate the way Meg Ryan and Greg Kinnear’s characters break up. It’s so weird and awkward how they care so little for the end of their relationship. Like why are they even together? What made them decide to take that step to move in together, save on rent? And another thing I absolutely abhor about this film, Joe’s manipulation of Kathleen, But I’ll save that for later.

But I will try to put aside all those feelings for now and just focus on the film and:

  • Should this be considered an adaption of Pride and Prejudice?
  • Should this instead be put on my Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans?
  • Does this just need to be excluded from the Jane Austen multiverse/canon altogether?

Let’s begin with the story of Pride and Prejudice. Pride and Prejudice is the story of a mother wanting to marry off her daughters, as with their father’s death they will have very little. Two men come to their town that their mother is intent on harpooning, no matter what. One, Mr. Bingley, falls for the elder daughter, Jane, while the other man, Mr. Darcy, is overheard insulting the second daughter, Elizabeth, by Elizabeth herself. (Ouch!) Elizabeth is wounded and when she hears a tale about how horrible Mr. Darcy is from a handsome charming man, she readily believes it. She later discovers there is more to both these men than meet the eye; as the story deals with the concepts of pride and prejudice, first impressions, whether you should be overt in how you feel or play it close to the heart, etc. It has amazing wit and characters.

You’ve Got Mail begins with two very different people. Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan), Shopgirl, is the owner of a bookstore, inherited from her mother. She lives with her newspaper boyfriend (Greg Kinnear), but is bored in their relationship and searching for escape (when she really should just break up with her boyfriend) and enters an over 30 chat room, meeting up and creating an emotional affair/relationship with NY152.

NY152 is Joe Fox (Tom Hanks), and the owner of Fox Books, a Barnes & Noble-esque corporation. He is in a relationship with a publisher and they have zero chemistry, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that instead of ending his lackluster relationship, he too decided to search the internet for an emotional affair/relationship. While Kathleen and Joe two are “in love” online they are enemies offscreen as Joe Fox is putting up his new store near Kathleen’s and actively trying to put her out of business.

The two meet when Joe is spending the day with his 11 year old aunt and 4 year old brother. They stop at the bookstore and Joe tries to withhold who he really is. Later they run into each other again at a holiday party, Kathleen angry at his “corporate espionage” and withholding his identity; while Joe is extremely rude and insults Kathleen and her store to her face.

Back online Shopgirl/Kathleen and NY152/Joe decide to meet in person (while still in relationships). Joe brings his friend to scout out how she looks and discovers it is his nemesis, Kathleen. He goes in and harasses/insults her-ignoring her pleas for him to leave.

Afterwards, Kathleen’s store folds and Joe realizes he “loves” Kathleen. He goes to tell her how he feels, and she is rude to him (completely understandable), and he decides to embark on a plan to make her fall for him. Playing her as both NY152 he uses his knowledge for them to “accidentally” run into each other; manipulates the responses he gives as NY152 and Joe, so Joe always comes out better. By the end of the film NY152 and Shopgirl meet in person and Kathleen is ecstatic to see Joe is NY152 her “dream man”. Even though this dream man put her out if business and insulted her several times-not to mention constantly lied and manipulated her; all supposedly “ends well.”

So is this an adaption of Pride and Prejudice? I would say no. Not only does the story not really follow Pride and Prejudice but the biggest problem is Joe as Mr. Darcy. I think the first of all is that the two are way too adversarial. I know everyone says Pride and Prejudice is enemies to lovers, but I disagree. Mr. Darcy never saw Elizabeth as an enemy-he saw her as inconsequential, then interesting, then his match, then a mirror showcasing what is wrong with him and needs to be changed, etc. Mr. Darcy never purposely ever tried to hurt Elizabeth, remember when he insults her he doesn’t know she can hear him, and everything he does regarding Jane and Bingley he did not to be malicious to the Bennets, but because he was trying to act in the best interests of his friend-it has nothing to do with Elizabeth. Elizabeth was the only one who thought of him as an enemy, so the two at war like this makes no sense.

In fact if she wanted to make it more like Pride and Prejudice in a modern setting it would have made more sense to have them butt heads over a diffeeence in thought versus an all out war like this. For instance in The Darcy Monologues, one of the modern adaptions have the two working at the same school. Or in Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstring Girl they work at the same Hollywood Studio. This relationship also makes zero sense to me as I cannot see how someone who grew up in their mother’s bookshop, cared for it as their mother did, felt like closing it was burying their parent all over again; would ever be able to happily enter a relationship with the man who purposely destroyed it. If, for instance, he just opened his store there before meeting her, but wasn’t intent on closing her down I could see it-but he is so ruthless, rude, and cruel to her. And these two will live happily ever after?

Secondly, this is not a Pride and Prejudice adaption because they take the very thing that sets Darcy apart, what we love him and completely remove it from the script and do the opposite: I’m talking about the way Darcy deals with Elizabeth’s rejection. When Darcy is rejected by Elizabeth he doesn’t insult her, he isn’t snotty, he doesn’t yell at her or tell her she will regret it, etc. He listens to what she tells him, writes a letter explaining his actions, and respects her rejection and leaves her alone. After Elizabeth refuses him he has no intent on trying to win her, change her mind, or try and show her how he is the “good guy”. In fact, not only does he take what she said to him and decides to change himself, (not to impress her or win her but because he wants to), he also never plans to interact with her again. They only cross paths by accident and then later when he goes to support Bingley. When Bingley and Jane are engaged and he is invited to the Bennet’s home and card parties, he never tries to show off that she should be with him, he doesn’t try to take her aside, etc. He respects her wishes and only approaches her again after Lady Catherine’s rude visit and Elizabeth’s lack of promise not to marry him causes him to hope again. But even then, he tells her still cares but if she doesn’t feel that way he understands and will never speak of the matter again. Like I wish guys in real life were as amazing as that.

In this Joe not only belittles and lies to Kathleen, but he completely ignores her feelings or what is best for her. He never thinks of her or what she wants, but only what makes him feel good. He constantly stalks and contrives ways for them to be together, he lies about himself and his intentions, he works hard to show her “how great of a guy he is”, gaslighting her into thinking she was wrong to consider him a jerk. He uses vulnerable information gained from NY152 to make Joe seem better, using it to win her trust and manipulate her into thinking she “loves” him. The whole reason we love Darcy is that he isn’t trying to show or prove something to Elizabeth, he listened to her impressions of him, realized he didn’t want to come off as that, and actively changed himself to make him be better. In this Joe doesn’t go down to the studs and tries to fix the issues in his personality, but just slaps on a splash of paint, bribes the building inspector, and says he’s a brand new building.

Ugh…this guy

In fact rewatching the film this time, this level of manipulation and narcissism makes me feel like if Joe was any Austen character he would be Frank Churchill. And unfortunately in this, Kathleen doesn’t have a great friend like Mr. Knightley who can point out to her that the guy she thinks she could care for is nothing but a narcissistic jerk who will always put his self interest first to achieve what he wants, no matter the cost.

And thirdly, this is not Pride and Prejudice as Kathleen is nothing like Elizabeth. Kathleen is very quiet, sweet, and when it comes to retorts she often stands there uncertain what to say. Unlike Elizabeth, Kathleen only has two real witty moments in the film: her retort to Joe in the coffee shop about Elizabeth Bennet being the heroine of Pride and Prejudice and her insult to him when he visits her after shutting her business down. Most of the time when it comes to verbal wordplay, she has to be rescued by other characters. If I was going to say she is like anybody, I would have to say she resembles Harriet Smith the most. Like Harriet Kathleen doesn’t really make decisions but tends to go along with what other people think she should do. She doesn’t even want to fight Fox Books until NY152, her boyfriend, employees, etc tell her to. She is also easily manipulated and persuaded, and she only gains any type of measure to stand up for herself near the end of the story. But unfortunately for Kathleen, she doesn’t get a Mr. Martin, she ends up with a Frank Churchhill-esque Joe. I hate Frank Churchill.

Seriously!

So is this a Pride and Prejudice adaption, even as a “loose” adaption? I would say no as none of the characters in You’ve Got Mail keep the key components of those found in Pride and Prejudice. With a loose adaption there are a lot you can forgive, but at their core the characters should resemble the ones they are based off, and none do here.

Would I recommend this as a Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans? No. While Joe makes me think of Frank Churchill, and Kathleen Harriet Smith; there really isn’t enough in the themes or the characters to for me to recommend it. Plus I really don’t like it, and I hardly ever recommend a film I don’t like.

Should this just be dropped from the Jane Austen multiverse/canon? Yes, please. Gossip Girl is a more likely candidate for the Jane Austen multiverse/canon then this film.

So agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below!

I shared earlier in my post that I think that the film You’ve Got Mail is a remake of, The Shop Around the Corner, is one that I think you can make a strong agreement that it is loosely based on Pride and Prejudice. My plan is to rewatch it, as I typically do for Christmas, and post my review on the 26th. Will I actually be able to do that? I guess we will see. If not I can always save it for next year.

But whether I do or don’t, I did want to end this on one more thing:

Merry Christmas!

For more Jane Austen Christmas adaptions, go to Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe

For more on Pride and Prejudice, go to You Ever Notice That Harry Potter is Kind of Like Elizabeth Bennet in the Way He Treats Snape and She Treats Mr. Darcy?

For more Emma, go to Emma Manga

For more Pride and Prejudice film adaptions, go to Dear William

Jane Austen (Little People, BIG DREAMS)

Jane Austen (Little People. BIG DREAMS) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara

Another Jane Austen biography for children?

What can I say?

But before I start my review, let me pause and say:

Happy Birthday Jane Austen!

Yes, today marks her 246th birthday, and I thought what better way to celebrate than by reviewing a Jane Austen biography.

This year for my littlest niece’s (5 years old) Christmas gift, I bought her some tiny tea cups that she could have tea with. You see when she visited this summer I converted her to a love of tea and tea parties and want to reenforce that as much as possible.

Party time!

Of course something else I am trying to brainwash encourage in the younger members of my family is a love of Jane Austen. I had already bought this niece the Babylit books and needed something else Jane Austen related that fit her age. I thought about gifting her the same book I gave my 10 year old niece, A Most Clever Girl: How Jane Austen Discovered Her Voice, but decided to wait as that book was more advanced and designed for older children. Instead I starting searching for something suitable for a 5 year old.

Hmm…?

I started searching through Amazon (I don’t have a local bookstore) and found this biography from the Little People, BIG DREAMS series. It looked cute so I ordered it, and of course had to give it a quick read and review.

I really liked the amount of pictures to text this book had as it was a great balance for a children’s book. It gave a basic biography in easy to understand terms, while still telling a cute story that children in the age range of 4-7 years will enjoy following.

I also loved how it highlighted her playwriting and the way her family would act her works out.

But the thing I enjoyed most of all about this book is that instead of just mentioning Pride and Prejudice or Elizabeth Bennet, it actually highlights all the heroines of her novels. You hardly ever see anything that mentions Fanny Price/Mansfield Park, Catherine Morland/Northanger Abbey, or Anne Elliot/Persuasion in kids books and I’m so happy this one did. I need to lay the groundwork for Northanger Abbey.

If there are parents, or kids, who are interested in knowing more about Jane Austen, there is an expanded short biography in the back of the book.

I thought it was a cute book and a great one for kids.

If interested in purchasing, click on this link. (If you do choose to purchase through the link provided, a small percentage does go to me through the Amazon affiliate program).

For more Jane Austen children’s books, go to A Most Clever Girl: How Jane Austen Discovered Her Voice

For more Jane Austen biographies, go to Jane Austen: Her Heart Did Whisper

For more picture books, go to How the Queen Found the Perfect Cup of Tea

Have You a Stout Heart?: Northanger Abbey (1987)

Happy Halloween Everyone!

So every year I have been trying to find a way to include Jane Austen in my Horrorfest posts. I lucked out with Death Comes to Pemberley as that gave me two years, (I posted in between as three years seemed a really long break.); and I was also able to review the Midsomer Murders episode “Death by Persuasion“. Then last year I came up with one of my better ideas:

Last year I reviewed the 2007 adaption (I also watched it with my niece and recorded her thoughts), but this year I decided to take a look at the 1987 adaption:

So Northanger Abbey is probably my favorite Jane Austen book as I just love Catherine, she’s so me.

I haven’t seen this adaption in over ten years. When I first read Pride and Prejudice back at the age of 16 I then went on to read the rest of Austen’s works and then watched every adaption I could my hands on. I remember not really being into it, there’s a lady with a heavily painted face and mole (why she is focused on I don’t remember), and that is about it.

So let’s see how this rewatch goes. And also joining me is my sister (R), my mom, and my 25 year old male friend (N).

So what is up with this music? It’s a weird dramatic rock opera. With some weird chanting going on.

We start off with Catherine in a tree reading a book.

She acts out the parts of the books, making different voices, but then imagines herself in the book. It was cute, but there are way too many of these scenes in this movie. It made it feel really, really dragged out. I like that the 2007 version kept that in, but made sure to do less and have them mostly be when she is dreaming instead of just randomly all the time.

This actress, Katharine Schlesinger, has really pretty eyes but she tends to just have them go dead.

I think she was trying to go for a wide eyed innocence look, but it comes off creepy, desperate, and shark like at times.

Here I am!

So Catherine gets asked to go to Bath and on the way we have another “imagination” scene where she is captured (again) and tied to a bed (again). My friend N who had never heard of Northanger Abbey was really shocked at this.

“N: She’s got an active imagination. She’s probably into bondage.

In his defense they have showed her being tied up in a majority of her imaginings. I guess the director was trying to go for sexy gothic fiction, but it was weird and it was Harding to have the film interrupted like every 10 minutes (it was probably more time between).

One thing that is really odd about this film is that on the way to Bath they have Catherine ass Northanger Abbey and is told about. I really didn’t like this because first of all why is Northanger Abbey down the block from her house? And secondly, her knowing of Northanger Abbey before meeting the Tilneys makes her seem like a gold digger as she already knows if their wealth and is enamored of the abbey. It’s a really weird choice to make and I’m not sure why they decided to do that.

As they pass by they also play this creepy horror music that is really out of place. It also makes it sound like vampires live there.


Me: What is with this music. Definitely sounds like a vampire is in there.

N: Might as well come out Vampires, they are playing your music.

We then get even more shots close up in her face. I really, really, really don’t like it. They are too big, too unblinking, and the director gets too close.

So they wait a day to go out as they needed to get more clothes. When they do go they meet Mr. Tilney and no offense to Peter Firth but he is no JJ Feild. I mean look at JJ Feild:

And now Peter Firth:

Me: He looks…kinda…weird.

My Mom: He looks an elf.

N: He looks like a creep.

To make things worse, this Mr. Tilney is pretty stiff and lacks charm. He also likes to philosophize a lot which didn’t bother the others viewing but it made me really uncomfortable as I felt that he was insulting and trying to educate Catherine to his way of thinking; instead of getting to know her. Maybe I’m off base but that’s how I felt about it all.

The next day they can’t go out because it is raining and Catherine stares out the window angry-again looking super creepy. She looks like she wants to burn the city down.

Salt and burn it

Like she looks crazy!

It’s the eyes!

James arrives with John Thorpe and it feels like they are just flipping through this book. John Thorpe arrives and there is a clown horn sound effect, I’m not sure what it is and how it is made in the Regency era, but if that doesn’t fully encapsulate John Thorpe than I don’t know what does.

N: Here comes the Mad Hatter

R: He looks like a leprechaun.

N: He looks like a creep.

And to add to the creepiness of this scene the director decided to do lots of closeups on the face, filling the screen with them. I’m like can we back away please and give them some space.

The Thorpes are interesting characters. John is oozing creepiness and gives off that vibe of that one guy that is obsessive and controlling. Isabella is all smiles and it is all the same smile, 24/7. I think the director or actress was trying to have it be her facade, hiding her true nature; but to me it was unnerving to see her smiling all the time.

After this the two go on a ride in the gig, Catherine not being super into it, with the boys splitting up to be alone with their girls”. This scene is also weird as John Thorpe asks a few awkward questions to find out if she is rich or not but it is really strange way of questioning and he sound slike he suspects her of being a good digger. Which is odd because he IS one.

The other thing that is odd about this film is that it has been missing the Tilneys. Where are they?

The next day Mrs. Allen discovers that Mr. Tilney is there with his sister. She gets all happy that Mr. Tilney is single and goes into another fantasy.

N: Oh no, not again! Here is another bondage fantasy.

This fantasy/daydream is pretty gross as it shows a woman sewing her fingers together. Ew!

The next day Catherine and Isabella (or as the actress calls her, Isabeller) are spending time together and Isabella shares that she and James are in love and he went to ask his parent’s permission. Isabella is a little worried because her family doesn’t have money, and thanks to John Thorpe’s running of the mouth, they believe the Morland’s to soon-to-be wealthy, as they will inherit Mr. Allen’s wealth.

Catherine Morland: James and I think marrying for money is a very wicked thing to do.

My Mom: That’s because you are poor.

The next day they all go to the baths and everyone was surprised by the little wooden boards around their necks. I thought they held like bath salts or something, everyone else thought it was food. Does anyone know exactly what those are? I did a quick google search but didn’t find anything. I plan to go into more research later.

N: I like the snack tray hanging around their necks. I think it’s cool they have a little charcuterie to get their snack on.

So this scene is really weird as she hasn’t been introduced to Eleanor and just goes up to her and starts talking. It’s very much like when Mr. Collins approaches Mr. Darcy at the ball. It comes off very desperate and the in my opinion, if this film wasn’t based off a beloved book that I had read I would have thought that these people need to get a restraining order or something as Catherine comes off sooo crazy and almost obsessed with them.

So Eleanor and Catherine made plans to go walking and Mr. Thorpe does not want that at all. He wants to keep her with him, as does Isabella as they think Catherine is set to be an heiress. Catherine does not want to go with him, but he decided that would not do and cancels with the Tilneys for he. This John Thorpe is an extra creeping creep! When Catherine tried to leave he grabs her arm to force her to stay. Like he gets completely crazy

John Thorpe: I like a girl with spirit.

No, run Catherine! Run! She does, thank goodness, but when she runs she holds her skirts up really high that her knees are showing. I’m like girl, what are you doing?She runs all the way to the Tilneys and just barges in their house into their sitting room where they are together babbling about the walk and how she wants to be with them. She looks and acts crazy.

She meets General Tilney and while Eleanor explain the situation, Mr. Tilney low key tries to get an invite. Like this Mr. Tilney is trying to be sarcastic and silly, but something seems off. Like he’s a bit too grandiose and flamboyant in his interactions to me.

I really do not like this Mr. Tilney as everything he says is too mean spirited or the way he talks to Catherine feels as if he is mansplaining/talking down to her. The words aren’t bad, but the delivery he is just out there and there is no charm or chemistry between them. They share the same space but they don’t feel like they are inhabiting the same world.

So unfortunately I have not been able to finish transcribing my review from my notes. As I have to go to work I will pause her, and continue with part II tonight.

Part II

Sorry for that brief intermission. I am going to try and finish up what I can while on my lunch and then everything else tonight. Although it won’t be much as the power went out 15 minutes into my lunch and just came on.

So I have been thinking about this all day and I really think the reason why I don’t like this portrayal of Mr. Tilney is that he is too much like Mr. Collins and Mr. Elton. He has grandiose manners and a interacts (body language) like Mr. Collins and then his way of talking and uppityness (although he’s supposed to be making fun of people) is too reminiscent of Mr. Elton. One of the reasons Mr Tilney is so enjoyable is that he is different from the other Austen characters. I really feel this actor did not understand the character he is supposed to be playing.

So everything is going well, but then Captain Fredrick Tilney enters the picture. My friend N had a few thoughts about him:

N: He [Frederick Tilney] looks like the guy from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Me: Norrington?

N: Yeah

I don’t think so, I mean they both wear a wig. That’s about it.

Oh well…

N: [Talking about Captain Tilney] I can’t believe these cheesy lines.

Me: He’s like that frat guy who has his set of lines that he uses and just goes down the line of girls until it works on someone. Plus he’s the first son and rich.

N: So he’s a Regency frat guy?

Me: Hmm…basically.

Ugh…this guy

Catherine watches Frederick and Isabella together and is worried. She wants Mr. Tilney to do something but he won’t as he has tried before and his brother won’t listen. I guess if I had to choose one thing that this adaption does really well is that I like how it shows the brother’s relationship. Although, while it shows their relationship well, it doesn’t show his and Eleanor as well as the 2007 adaption. He and Eleanor have a few scenes together, but he talks more about her than spends time with her.

Catherine and Mr. Tilney then have what would have been a cute scene, Mr. Tilney sarcastically echoing her words from before telling her that Isabella has a choice and Catherine giving it back to him, except she peters out and ends her sentence with dead eyes.

She convinces Mr. Tilney and he goes to his brother where they both take snuff! Snuff! No wonder Mr. Tilney is acting so weird, he’s been up on cocaine.

You are crazy

Catherine gets invited to go to Northanger Abbey and is super excited as she thinks it will be just like in her novels she has been reading. But what is sad is that Catherine Moreland wishes she was in a gothic novel, but Eleanor is trapped in one. She’s in a dreary old home with an abusive father, stuck there alone until she gets married. She’s had a wealthy life but an emotionally poor one, in contrast to Catherine who grew up not with riches but with parents who cared more about her than what they could broker with her.

So they get to the Abbey and Catherine is told that General Tilney is very particular about time and to not dilly dally. She reads her book and is late, later getting lost/exploring the abbey. These scenes were probably the best in the film as it was nice to see her wander through the mysterious manor.

She then goes to a random room and we have the weirdest exchange I have ever seen. So Catherine is looking at a canary in a cage when Mr. Tilney comes upon her. She’s looking at a bird in the cage and Mr. Tilney tells her that it is a canary. Catherine remarks how sad it is that it is in a cage and then Mr. Tilney tells her that’s all it has ever known. He then asks her if she has a stout heart or can handle being stuck her in a really, really creepy voice.

This scene is so creepy! Mr. Tilney sounds like a psycho! Like the way the scene is done with the cage it makes it sound like he is planning on making her a permanent fixture, and not in a good way-like buried in the walls or locked in the attic. N said that he thought he was playing up the gothic points but even he agreed with me this whole scene was creepy. If I was in this situation I would run and that is what I would tell Catherine to do.

You know an adaption is bad when it makes you afraid Mr. Tilney is going to murder Catherine.

Creepy…

That night at dinner General Tilney is super controlling and gets angry when his son doesn’t propose to him over the soup.

There is a definite shift in characters when leaving Bath for Northanger Abbey. In Bath Catherine was acting all crazy, while in Northanger Abbey it is Mr. Tilney. We also have the general shifting from genial to controlling, uncouth, and rude.

N: I don’t understand why they have such a big table for just a few people.

Me: That’s because you’re poor .

N: [Laughs] You’re right, that is something a poor person would say.

That night Catherine is in her room looking through the writing desk for clues when she hears Eleanor and Tilney outside her room, Eleanor having a breakdown. I know they want to give character development, but it seems odd that they would do this outside their guest’s room.

They also sound like they are planning to murder General Tilney, it’s like Northanger Abbey became the murder house or something.

General Tilney acts like a vampire. Like I forget at times what he is saying as he looks like he wants to suck her blood.

Catherine also is super insensitive in this adaption. When talking to Elinor about her dead mother she refers to Mrs. Tilney as “the corpse”.

The Tilney have a party and Mr. Tilney sings in a flamboyant way with another girl. He looks silly and horrible, but Catherine looks worse as her eyes bore into the woman and she looks as if she would like to murder her.

The other guest is, Marchioness de Thierry, who shares the same backstory as the real life person, Jane Austen’s sister-in-law Eliza de Feuillide.

The makeup and costuming is ghastly and this character doesn’t even really add to the story.

N: She [Marchioness de Thierry] looks like Dr. Frank N. Furter.

Then we have the weirdest scene. A little servant boy leads Catherine outside during the performance WHERE HE DOES CARTWHEELS and she has another fantasy/daydream. Like what is even happening?!!

So later the General invites Catherine out riding. She agrees but after questioning the maid decides she would much rather try to investigate Mrs. Tilney’s room, she and Elinor had tried to see the picture earlier but failed. As soon as all have ridden away she snoops to the mother’s room and looks around.

Mr. Tilney interrupts her as he wanted to check on her. Again, he really creeps me out in this scene as he is angry, but says everything calm, quiet, and over the top. He makes me think of Hannibal Lector when he talks to Clarice. It also doesn’t help that he has a riding crop and blocks the door, giving even more creep vibes.

SUPER creeped

He leaves and Catherine, sad, goes to her room and destroys the book by ripping it up and throwing it in the fireplace. NOOOO! NOT THE BOOKS!!!

Catherine cries the day away and falls asleep. She is awoken by Eleanor who falls asleep. She is awoken by Eleanor who brings a letter from James? Catherine’s brother. He shares that Isabella had broken their engagement for Captain Tilney. Catherine is upset but then Eleanor shares that her brother will not marry Isabella.

Apparently, General Tilney has gambled all their money away and needs his children to marry rich people (even though Eleanor is in love with a poor man and seeing him secretly.) I felt this weakened General Tilney as a villain as him being rich and still a money grabber was worse than a degenerate gambler.

Catherine’s trip ends with General Tilney returning home and sending Catherine packing. This scene wasn’t bad but they didn’t really show the fear and the danger of her going home alone.

Then we have the “romantic” end scene. This weird ‘80s music chanting plays as fog rolls in. Mr. Tilney rides in on a dark horse, and says:

Mr. Tilney: “I promise not to oppress you with too much remorse or too much passion, but since you left us the white rose bush has died of grief.”

Not only did we all go huh, but Catherine Morland does to. Like what does this mean?! I think he has been taking too much snuff that his brain is is not connecting right.

So I think they were trying to do a storybook/gothic ending but because there are so many fantasy/daydreams it really just feels like one. I guess the director could have been trying to do her fantasy has come to life but it didn’t really work. I also did not like the freeze frame ending. As a whole, I did not like this film

Wrap UP:

Costumes: The wigs and hair are really bad. Like hardly anyone has a good one. It’s really bad. The costume colors are as well, they are accurate pieces but not as nice as in the later adaptions.

Actors: The only actors I really enjoyed was Googie Withers as Mrs. Allen and Ingrid Lacey as Eleanor Tilney. Robert Hardy as General Tilney was good but a bit inconsistent in his manner. Peter Firth as Mr. Tilney was too stiff and Katharine Schlesinger as Catherine Morland was very inconsistent as at times she was animated but other times like a sleepwalker and she had those dazed/dead eyes.

Set: I liked the set design a lot. I really enjoyed when they were in the Abbey and wish we spent more time there. I just wish they had utilized better lighting and angles.

On a while I did not enjoy this adaption, but prefer the 2007 version instead. Although this one did have a lot more horror elements as Catherine had creepy stalker vibes and Mr. Tilney gave off murder-y vibes.

For more Northanger Abbey, go to North by Northanger (Or, the Shades of Pemberley)

For more Northanger Abbey (2007), go to Storybook Ending: Northanger Abbey (2007)

For more Northanger Abbey variations, go to Rational Creatures: Catherine Morland, Eleanor Tilney, & Lady Susan

For more films based on Jane Austen, go to Sense and Sensibility (1995)

For more Jane Austen variations, go to The Matters at Mansfield (Or, The Crawford Affair)