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

Jane Austen Runs My Life Holiday Gift Guide: Jane Austen Products

So I don’t usually write one of these, but thought why not do a holiday guide this year? All the items I have put on here are items I have used in the past and enjoyed, and recommend to others.

I do not receive any money from any of these stores for promoting them, I am just honestly sharing items that I have enjoyed and think make perfect gifts. I have attached links to all the items if any of you are interested in purchasing any of these products. If you do choose to purchase an item from Amazon, by going through these links I will receive a small percentage through the affiliate program. Any item you purchase through MadsenCreations, if you use the coupon code Janeaustenrunsmylife you’ll receive 10% off your whole order!

So enough business:

It’s time for Christmas!

Yes, Christmas is coming and I thought I would put together a list of some of the best Jane Austen products I have personally come across. These items are perfect gifts for Janeites in your life OR you could always share this list with your loved one that may be struggling to find you the perfect gift. You know what I always say:

All the items are not in any particular order, although I did try to break up the apparel, that way there are not clothes one after the other.

Litographs Jane Austen Shirts

Back when I first came across this company I did a post on them. Litographs is a company that prints the words of classic books onto clothing and other items, but they don’t just reprint words-they also create beautiful designs. You can currently get products in all of Jane Austen’s completed novels, although as I have only ever ordered the shirts from them, those are the only items I recommend. (Although the Northanger Abbey products are lacking and boring, if you are a Northanger Abbey fan keep reading). I would say women’s clothes fit true to size, while unisex does run a little large.

The items came fairly quickly and they have excellent customer service. I ordered a Pride and Prejudice shirt and it arrived in the wrong size, color, and design. I emailed the company, sent them screenshots of my invoice and the item, and it was replaced immediately. If you have a Janeite who loves wearing the words of her books, this is a great place to shop.

To order from Litographs, click here.

NovelTea Tins Jane Austen Tea

NovelTea Tins is a company that makes tea and gives it a punny literature twist. I have also reviewed them in the past. Featured above is their Sense and Senchability Tea, but they make a Pride and Peppermint as well.

This tea is delicious and comes in cute containers or tins with an adorable matching bookmark. This is perfect for Jane Austen friends and family, along with any tea lovers you know. You can purchase the two Jane Austen teas individually, or get a Romantic Reads sampler that will have the two of them, The Picture of Earl Grey Tea, and three corresponding bookmarks.

They have also just added a third Jane Austen tea, Pemberley Pu-erh, but I have not tried that yet, I cannot recommend it.

To order from NovelTea Tins, click here.

MadsenCreations Henry Tilney Fanny Pack

So MadsenCreations and I have collaborated on a few things, (more below), but I’m not the only one who has been searching for an item and MadsenCreations has delivered. A while back Austen Therapy remarked about how she wanted a Jane Austen Fanny pack, I recommend she reach out to MadsenCreations, and now you too can have one. These are adorable and great for someone on the go who doesn’t want a full size purse or backpack; but does want to show off their love of Mr. Tilney.

As I have worked personally with this shop I felt they were a great person to work with. I also have not had any issues in speed of service as everything came within a week of my order. And don’t forget, if you use the coupon code Janeaustenrunsmylife you’ll receive 10% off your whole order!

To order from MadsenCreations, click here

Marrying Mr. Darcy: Pride and Prejudice the Card Game

I received this game for my birthday last year and really enjoy it. When you play you are trying to accomplish two goals at once. On one hand you want to gain cards with the attributes that will help you gain your suitor; along with trying to collect high numbered cards as those points matter in the end. This game is a lot of fun as some characters have special abilities or advantages, and even though you may acquire a lot-you also won’t know if you have won your man until the final roll-too low and he’ll say no.

This definitely is made for fans of the book or movie, although I have played it with my nieces and friends who have never seen or read Jane Austen, and they still had a lot of fun.

To order the game, click here

MadsenCreations Jane Austen T-Shirts

I wrote a post on the making of these two items, but I they came to be as I wanted the crop top from Selena: The TV Series and couldn’t find it, so MadsenCreations and I made our own! I also thought it would be cute to have a “Jane Austen Runs My Life” shirt available for any one out there who wants to declare their love of Jane Austen. Both of these shirts are comfortable, and for those not a fan of crop tops, the Jane Austen tee also comes in full size.

And don’t forget any item you purchase through MadsenCreations, if you use the coupon code Janeaustenrunsmylife you’ll receive 10% off your whole order!

For the Crop Top, click here.

For the full tee, click here.

For the Jane Austen Runs My Life tee, click here.

Six0Six Jane Austen Pencils

I wouldn’t normally be interested in purchasing custom pencils, but I won these in a giveaway. These pencils are cute and perfect for any of your Austenite friends or family members who love office supplies, writing, or would appreciate the artistry and design of these. The creator lives in Ireland, so if you are interested in purchasing them for the holidays, I would put your order in sooner rather than later.

To order, click here

MadsenCreations Northanger Abbey Sweatshirt or T-Shirt

Is Northanger Abbey one of your favorite books and are you disappointed at the lack of Northanger Abbey products out there? Well I sure was! I contacted MadsenCreations and we designed this Northanger Abbey sweatshirt and long sleeve shirt. And guess what? It also comes in children’s sizes!

This sweater is warm, cute, and perfect for any Northanger Abbey fan (or any future fan).

Also again, don’t forget that if you use the coupon code Janeaustenrunsmylife you’ll receive 10% off your whole order!

To order the sweatshirt, click here

To order the long sleeve, click here

To order the children’s hoodie, click here

Northanger Soapworks

So I am very allergic to scents and a lot of skin products and that means everything I have has to be scent-free, hypoallergenic, and boring. I thought that’s how my life would be, until I tried some Northanger Soapworks. This soap is inspired by Jane Austen works and comes in a variety of different scents. I’ve never had any skin related issues with them and the scents also don’t affect my allergies.

Every item comes wrapped in cloth with a beautiful little note card that makes this perfect for Jane Austen fans and any one on your Christmas list. I’ve ordered soaps, bath salts, and candles from her and been happy with all of them.

She also offers wonderful customer service. Once I even put the wrong address in for my order, I contacted her, and she immediately resolved it.

To order from this shop, click here

Socksmith Womens Jane Austen Socks

A friend of mine gave me these socks for Christmas a few years ago and I love them. They are comfy, cute, and the perfect Jane Austen stocking stuffer (pun intended). I don’t think the lavender is still available, but you can order these in dark blue.

To order the socks, click here

Quill Ink Magazine Cover Cards

Christina Boyd, editor of the Quill Ink anthologies, makes these faux-regency inspired notecards. They are hilarious and such fun to send to friends. If you have a Jane Austen friend or family member who loves to write and mail letters (or who loves a good laugh) you should definitely purchase these for them.

To order these, click here

I hope this helped some of you who might be searching for that perfect Jane Austen gift for your friend or loved one! I wish you all a happy holidays and I hope to have a part two with my top 10 books perfect for Jane Austen holiday gift giving.

Happy Holidays!

For more Jane Austen products, go to Jane Austen Runs My Life Spooky Collaboration with Madsen Creations!

Ghosts, Ghouls, and Gothic Fiction

So here ends another Horrorfest: 31 reviews of films and/or TV episodes that are mysteries, horror, film-noir, suspense, monster movies, thrillers, etc.

It amazes me that have been doing this ten years already.

Wow!

I only started doing this because I already would watch something for Halloween every day in October (and annoy my friends by doing so); and it was a real easy leap to blog about it. I know some people don’t think I should as it has “nothing” to do with Jane Austen. That may be true, but I do know one character who would enjoy Halloween and Horror films.

Every year I start off with a little planning: first film, last film, etc.- And everything else is just whatever I happened to watch.

I also did my second annual Celebrate Halloween with Northanger Abbey.

And of course our Annual films:

  • A movie or TV episode from every decade from the 1930s-2020s
  • Jane Austen with Northanger Abbey (1987)
  • Alfred Hitchcock with Vertigo (1958)
  • Animated Film with Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998)
  • Disney with The Cat From Outer Space (1978) and Mom’s Got a Date With a Vampire (2000)
  • Stephen King with The Shining (1980)
  • Tim Burton with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)
  • Vincent Price with “Ship of Ghouls” from The Love Boat (1978)

This year I reviewed the following:

Wuthering Heights (1939)

Ramrod (1947)

Vertigo (1958)

Munster Masquerade from The Munsters (1966)

The Cat From Outer Space (1978)

Ship of Ghouls from The Love Boat (1978)

The Shining (1980)

Labyrinth (1986)

The Monster Squad (1987)

Northanger Abbey (1987)

The Stepfather (1987)

Heathers (1988)

Ghostbusters 2 (1989)

Murder in High C” from Murder She Wrote (1995)

True Crime (1996)

Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998)

Mom’s Got a Date With a Vampire (2000)

Death on the Nile (2004)

Twilight (2008)

Turn of the Screw (2009)

Twilight Saga, New Moon (2009)

Twilight Saga, Eclipse (2010)

Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn Part I (2011)

Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn Part II (2012)

Mysteries & Meddling Kids: Austin & Ally (2015)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

The Moonstone (2016)

Kong, Skull Island (2017)

The Open House (2018)

Godzilla King of the Monsters (2019)

Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)

By the way if you love ghosts, ghouls, and gothic fiction you should definitely get this shirt that MadsenCreations and I created.

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)

You Have Thirteen Hours in Which to Solve the Labyrinth, Before Your Baby Brother Becomes One of Us…Forever.: Labyrinth (1986)

You have thirteen hours in which to solve the labyrinth, before your baby brother becomes one of us… forever.

Labyrinth is one of my friend’s favorite movies. The first time she wanted us to watch it, years and years ago, I was like I don’t think I’m going to like this movie.

Majorly

Yep, I was 100% wrong as I Loved it!

This movie is a ton of fun and is one of my favorites. I can always watch it.

It is such a great film and stars the amazing David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly.

Did you know Jim Henson originally wanted Sting to play Jareth the Goblin King? He only picked David Bowie because his kids loved him. This makes me think of Nightmare on Elm Street and the decision to cast Johnny Depp. Good thing Henson listened to his kids. I love Sting, but David Bowie was perfect in this role.

David Bowie as Jareth the Goblin King is supposed to be the villain of the film, but at the same time he channels the teenage dream/ideal of a man. I don’t know if it is his Bad Boy nature, his awesome mix of leather jacket/fantasy coat, his ‘80’s glam rock hair, or just the David Bowie of it all; but he’s amazing and every scene with him is a treasure. He makes every girls’ heart beat every time he enters the frame.

But I’m not only reviewing this film because it is a favorite and fits for Halloween, but also because it is a:

Yes, this film reminds me a lot of Jane Austen, which I will share why at the end of the review.

So our story begins with teenager Sarah, who is out at the park acting out a scene from her favorite book, The Labyrinth. Unfortunately, she keeps forgetting the last line. only to realize she also forgot how late it is.

Sarah: Give me the child. Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child that you have stolen. For my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom is as great…[thunder rumbles] For my will is as strong as yours, my kingdom as great…D***. [pulls the Labyrinth book out of her pocket] I can never remember that line. [reads] You have no power over me.

She has to run home and take care of her baby brother (half brother) who she dislikes, as her stepmother (who she hates) and father are going out that night. I always thought Sarah’s mother died, but after some googling, it turns out that Sarah’s mother was an actress who left her family for another man. As Sarah doesn’t have her mom present to be angry with, she has directed all that toward her stepmother and little brother.

Sarah is doubly angry as not only did she not get to finish recreating her favorite book, but she has to babysit while her parents are out, and she discovered one of her stuffed animals was taken and put in Toby’s room. Her teen angst has hit an all time high and she erupts, wishing her brother would be taken away by the Goblin King.

The goblins listen and do take him. When Sarah realizes that Toby is gone, she screams out that she wants him back and Jareth, the Goblin King, makes a deal with her. I always thought that Jareth saw something different about herself, a worthy opponent to face off with. She will have 13 hours to solve the labyrinth-if she does she gets the baby, if she fails he becomes a goblin forever.

Sarah begins her journey and believes she can outsmart the labyrinth and the Goblin King, but quickly things are not exactly like the stories she grew up reading. Her plan to leave a mark of the places she traveled fails, she solves the logic puzzle but falls down a hole with grabby hands, encounters fairies who bite, etc. She eventually finds Hoggle, a troll, who agrees to help her in exchange for her bracelet.

But Hoggle is working for Jareth and is supposed to lead her away, so she will lose. However, Sarah not only uses her cunning to get him to help, but Hoggle begins to like her too. This is something Jareth is none too pleased about.

Jareth: Ah, what have we here?

Hoggle: Oh, uh, nothin’.

Jareth: [removing his disguise at the last second] Nothing? Nothing? NOTHING? Nothing, tra la la?

That’s one of my favorite parts of this film. It is just so silly yet fits. Sarah then sasses Jareth and ends up losing time from her quest. Yep, not the best idea but Sarah will not give up. That’s another reason why this film is such a great one to watch. Sarah is your typical teen and she can be dramatic, whimsy, and at times can be whiny (like most teens), but she’s also a dreadful determined woman who will not stop until she accomplishes what she is setting out to do. She feels very real and is someone you can root for. I love this exchange between her and Jareth:

Sarah: That’s not fair!

Jareth: You say that so often, I wonder what your basis for comparison is?

After their encounter, Sarah sees a Wiseman who she exchanges a ring for-but doesn’t get that much wisdom in return. They continue on and Sarah ends up adding to their party when she saves Ludo, a creature that can call rocks. Ludo is so cute and sweet, I definitely would want him on my questing team.

After this she enters the forest, having been separated from Ludo and Hoggle and encounters the creepiest things ever and the true villains of this story: the Fierys. I hate these things as they seriously creeped me out when I first watched it, and I still struggle with watching this scene. Ugh, they need to just go to die with those creatures for Fraggke Rock, they creeped me out too.

But Sarah is able to defeat these monsters and is reunited with Hoggle who saves her. But not for long as Hoggle has met with the Goblin King who wants Hoggle to ensure that Sarah does not defeat him. Hoggle has been given a peach that will put Sarah to sleep and he must do it or else he will be cursed to live in the Bog of Eternal Stench.

After they are reunited they find themselves in the Bog of Eternal Stench, the only way out a bridge protected by a fox like soldier. I love this characters of Sir Didymus and his noble steed the sheepdog named Ambrosius. These characters are absolute fun.

Like in most fairy stories and legends the bridge cannot be crossed, but Sarah outwits him.

Sarah: Okay, let’s handle this thing logically. What exactly have you sworn?

Didymus: I have sworn with my life’s blood, none shall pass this way without *my* permission!

Sarah: Well… May we have your permission?

Didymus: Well I, uh… I… that is, uh… hm… Yes?

They are able to escape the Bog with help from Ludo who can speak to the rocks. From here they enter an enchanted forest and Sarah, as she has been in the Labyrinth for hours, says she is hungry. Hoggle gives her the enchanted peach and instantly regrets it and runs away ashamed at his cowardice.

Sarah wakes up in a dream, a ball with the romantic song As the World Falls Down. She is almost distracted from her quest, but when she hears the clock she proves herself to not be any ordinary girl and escapes by waking up with a Junk lady who returns her home. This quest wasn’t real, just another dream and she has now awakened. Film over.

I know, it’s too easy and too simple. And Sarah knows it, she is truly a worthy opponent for Jareth.

The Junk Lady: What’s the matter, my dear, don’t you like your toys?

Sarah: [comes to her senses] It’s all junk!

The Junk Lady: [picks up a music box] Well, what about this? This is not junk, eh?

Sarah: [smashes music box] Yes, it is! [Sarah’s room crumbles without her notice] I have to save Toby!

Sarah wakes up and goes with Didymus and Ludo to the Goblin City. Hoggle joins them and apologizes and they fight the Goblins and more as they continue to fight.

Sarah has reached where she needs to be, but finds herself in a more challenging test of skills. She has to find Toby who has been hidden from her. This scene is fantastic as I love they way they filmed and set up the scene. Just amazing!

Then we have one of the best scenes when Sarah has to face off against Jareth. First Jareth comes out of the shadows, intense music playing as he does. I love the way the scene is fuzzy at the corners to give it that dreamlike quality! Oh yes, it’s fantastic! The pacing and the dialogue is just great too!

The way Jareth pleads with Sarah tempting her almost convincing her- but props to Sarah, she knows better what makes a healthy relationship than most people-refusing his charm and promises. And the thing I love the most, Sarah not being able remember the lines “you have no power over me” is so powerful. Such few and simple words, but at times can be so hard for people to say and believe. But finally she does, declares it to the Goblin King, and wins the Labyrinth.


Sarah: Give me the child.

Jareth: Sarah, beware. I have been generous up ’til now. I can be cruel.

Sarah: Generous? What have you done that’s generous?

Jareth: *Everything*! Everything that you wanted I have done. You asked that the child be taken. I took him. You cowered before me, I was frightening. I have reordered time. I have turned the world upside down, and I have done it all for *you*! I am exhausted from living up to your expectations. Isn’t that generous?

Sarah: Through dangers untold. And hardships unnumbered. I have fought my way here to the castle; beyond the goblin city, to take back the child that you have stolen. My will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom as great…

Jareth: Stop! Look what I’m offering you. Your dreams.

Sarah: My kingdom as great… my kingdom as great… damn, I can never remember that line.

Jareth: I ask for so little. Just fear me. Love me. Do as I ask, and I shall be your slave.

Sarah: You have no power over me! YOU have no power over ME! [the clock chimes 13:00 at that moment. Defeated, Jareth sends Sarah and Toby back to the real world where the clock finishes chiming midnight]

The best scene! A must watch!

She defeats him and goes home. At first going to say goodbye to her fantasies, dreams, and childhood-but deciding to not give it up just yet!

Ludo: [in the mirror] Goodbye, Sarah.

Didymus: And remember, fair maiden, should you need us…

Hoggle: Yes, should you need us, for any reason at all…

Sarah: I need you, Hoggle.

Hoggle: You do?

Sarah: [nods] I don’t know why, but every now and again in my life – for no reason at all – I need you. All of you.

Hoggle: You do? Well… WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SO?

[Sarah] spins around and sees them all in her room, including the goblins. She hugs them all, and a huge party begins]

I love this film and I think the more you watch it the more you see, relate to, and love. I also really appreciate that they didn’t end this with a romance but friendship, that’s not something that is not really done all that often.

Another thing I like about this movie is that it is similar to Total Recall, in that the film lets you decide whether this really happened to Sarah or if it is all in her mind. In her room we see the characters that surface later in the film: a stuffed animal that looks like Sir Didymus on her dresser, a doll that looks like Ludo on the shelves next to her door, a Firey doll on a shelves next to her bed, bookends with Goblins reminiscent of Hoggle on her dresser, a figurine of Jareth on the right hand side of her desk, newspaper clippings of Sarah’s famous actress mom with another man (David Bowie), the dress that she wears in the ballroom scene is on the woman in her music box, a wooden maze game which looks like the Labyrinth is on her desk, and a copy of the famous picture by M.C. Escher which is used in the final confrontation with Jareth. So the question is did the Goblin King use these elements in his creations to give Sarah a fair chance, borrowing items similar to her surroundings which is sometimes done in fairy stories, did he choose her because he wanted a worthy opponent, does the Labyrinth change itself to Whomever enters, or is this all a teen angst dream. You decide.

So why do I consider this a Non-Austen Film for Austen Fans? First of all we have the character of Sarah being one who loves to read, and live in a fantasy world; which reminds me of both Marianne Dashwood and Catherine Morland. Both Marianne and Catherine love to read and are dreamers. All three characters are also very sweet, kind, naive, and innocent.

Sarah shares even more similarities with Marianne as both are young in spirit. Sarah still plays with dolls and stuffed animals and Marianne believes she knows all about love and life from the poems she reads.

Both girls have also been betrayed by people they love, Sarah having her mom leave the family and now having a new mother and brother, while Marianne’s father fails to protect his daughters by planning for their future; along with her having a brother that broke his promise to protect and care for her and her sisters.

Both Marianne and Sarah are also extremely emotional and act on their feelings, expecting others to be as honest as them. Sarah never considers that Hoggle could be deceitful or someone she shouldn’t trust, even after he tells her (and Jareth) that he is planning on sending her back to the beginning. Marianne never considers that Mr. Willoughby could not be as earnest in his affections or even that her lack of fortune might be something that could cause a roadblock in their relationship.

Sarah, Marianne, and Catherine all fits

go on a journey that teaches them about themselves and help them grow and mature. For Sarah she learns to love and care for her brother and not to speak out in such haste, Marianne is taught to not always act on her emotions and feelings but use sense as well, and Catherine learns to not always trust everyone and to use caution instead of imagination.

A fantastic film with wonderful imagery, amazing songs, and just a lovely storyline. It’s a film you can’t help but love and watch again and again.

Some friends and I went axe throwing a few weeks ago and dressed up as fantasy characters. I was going to be the Goblin King, but my niece pointed out that I looked like Sarah. So of course I had to dress up as her. I couldn’t find the vest she wears and had to with what I did have. Pretty close right?

And of course the Facebook cover photo!

For more on Labyrinth, go to A Dog’s Life: Chinese New Year

For more Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans, go to No Haunt Me Then!…I Know That Ghosts Have Wandered On The Earth. Be With Me Always…Drive Me Mad, Only Do Not Leave Me in This Dark Alone…I Cannot Live Without My Life! I Cannot Die Without My Soul.: Wuthering Heights (1939)

For more David Bowie, go to Changes, Turn and Face the Strange

For more ‘80s films go to, Something’s Out There and It’s Killing People! And If It’s Monsters, Nobody’s Going to Do a Thing About it Except Us!: The Monster Squad (1987)