To celebrate this anniversary, I have decided to review a Pride and Prejudice themed book, film, or item at least once a month throughout the year.
One thing I decided to do was finally review Pride and Prejudice (1995) I was originally going to wait for its 30th anniversary but decided, why wait?
But before I can review the episodes, I decided to first read and review The Making of Pride and Prejudice (1995), a book that was included with my special DVD box set.
The Making of Pride and Prejudice by Sue Britwistle & Susie Conklin
What I found extremely interesting was that the spark to creating one of the best adaptions of Jane Austen all came about due to Northanger Abbey. Isn’t that cute? Sue Bristwhistle (producer) and Andrew Davies (writer) were watching a screening of one of the worst Jane Austen adaptions, Northanger Abbey (1986), when Andrew Davies broached the topic of creating a filmed version was the catalyst to one of the mose beloved Jane Austen adaptions.
Although it wasn’t easy. The book begins with Sue Bristwhistle sharing how it took quite a bit of time to garner the interest and how they had to face off against people who didn’t think it would come out well.
I really enjoyed this book as it is extremely detailed from every step of creating it: scriptwriting, casting, costumes, locations, editing, makeup, filming, food, editing, sound mixing, PR, etc. It’s really worth it for any Austen fan and Pride and Prejudice (1995) fan.
There were a few things I absolutely enjoyed reading in this book. First Andrew Davies thoughts on writing the script. He has said that he loved the book, it was one of his favorites and you can see how much he adores it and is a fan in this. I love how he points out the cleverness of Austen’s writing and how great she is at plotting her works.
I feel like most studios struggle with this when it comes to adapting Jane Austen works and this seems to be the biggest complaint Austen fans make about the adaptions. Studios slice too much and important plot points are lost, characters are nonexistent, and crucial scenes of the novels are now flat in the film.
I do feel that this is something that makes this adaptions superior to many others, Andrew Davies really loved the original work and did his most to try and keep Austen’s spirit; while at the same time trying to make sure he had something that would appeal to all viewers.
One thing I really appreciate is that Davies wanted to give us a view into the men of the novel and as to what they think and do. With a novel you have more leeway to have a mysterious character, fully based on what our main characters view then as; but in a TV show most people want to know more about these people and who they are if they are planning to come back every week to watch.
Also the Pemberley diving in scene is such a crucial scene to understanding and. Darcy we we finally see him wiping away the structures of society and instead being able to really “be” himself.” And of course has been a fan favorite.
The casting chapter I also found very interesting as it is so important to find the right people for period pieces.
I 100 percent agree. I feel like this a problem today where studios hire people who the think will draw views, even though they just don’t work for the drama. They look or act too modern and make everything feel out of place.
Colin Firth had to dye his hair because he is a blonde, I’m surprised as he looks so good with dark hair.
One of my favorite parts was on the costuming. It was so interesting to read how they had to make all the costumes and get the prints designed and printed on the fabric. A lot of clothes from the previous adaptations were in terrible condition or didn’t work. It was absolutely fascinating and makes sense why the clothes are constantly reused by the studio.
There is a section with Colin Firth where he describes his journey to the role and experiences filing and I loved it! In fact it reminded me of my own journey to Jane Austen. I also find it interesting that Firth felt he wasn’t sexy enough when comparing himself to Laurence Olivier. He was extremely afraid everyone would just compare the two and find him lacking. It’s amazing to think of when Olivier isn’t as remembered as Colin Firth. It’s like he threw down a reverse UNO.
I highly recommend this for any Austen fans as I think you will really enjoy it, especially if you love the 1995 adaption.
So what can I say about Frankenstein that hasn’t been said? I of course watched the movie first, and loved it:
Shelley started writing Frankenstein when she was 18, with it being published when she was 20, in 1818- the same year as Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. And it is a mix between gothic fiction and science fiction.
The book starts off with a Captain Walton who is on an Arctic trip and writing to his sister. Every time I read the book I find myself connecting more and more to him than any other character.
“But I have one want which I have never yet been able to satisfy, and the absence of the object of which I now feel as a most severe evil, I have no friend, Margaret: when I am glowing with the enthusiasm of success, there will be none to participate my joy; if I am assailed by disappointment, no one will endeavour to sustain me in dejection. I shall commit my thoughts to paper, it is true; but that is a poor medium for the communication of feeling. I desire the company of a man who could sympathise with me, whose eyes would reply to mine. You may deem me romantic, my dear sister, but I bitterly feel the want of a friend. I have no one near me, gentle yet courageous, possessed of a cultivated as well as of a capacious mind, whose tastes are like my own, to approve or amend my plans.”
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Who doesn’t feel that lonely at times, especially as the older you get it’s harder to connect with old friends and make new ones..
Captain Walton finds Dr. Victor Frankenstein and learns of Dr. Frankenstein’s quest to hunt down his creature. We learn about how Victor was born into a wealthy family and had a desire to understand the world and create, like what the great alchemists have before him. But instead of trying to turn lead into gold, he wanted to capture life!
This is when things go downhill for Frankenstein. First he decides to create life without thinking about how he will train the creature or what type of morality he should instill in it. Or what it means to have a life breathing person. It’s as if he wanted to make a baby only for the science of it and then when the baby is born abandons it.
Victor also makes the Creature gigantic, about 8 feet in height. You have to remember not only is that really tall, but in 1818 it’s humongous as the average height of men were about 5.5. Compare 8 feet to 5.5
Victor goes to the trouble of trying to make the creature beautiful, but it’s several body parts from different people and is frightening with watery white eyes and yellow skin.
Once everything is completed Frankenstein realizes his mistake, but is unable to destroy it. Instead he just abandons it, adopting that mentality it is “future self’s problem). Frankenstein’s creature escapes from Frankenstein and tries to find acceptance, only to be rejected. He then acts on his emotions and wants; killing or hurting everyone that Frankenstein holds dear to get back at him after Frankenstein refuses to make the creature a female.
There are a lot of different analysis of the book, but to me I always felt that one of the points Shelley was making was the necessity of guidance and a code of morals to live by. You may argue between whether that is a higher power, the law, etc.; but there must be some kind of code of ethics or else chaos reigns. If everyone only went after what made them feel good and what they want terrible things can happen.
I also think it is reminiscent of her father not really guiding his daughter in her life where she was younger, but then trying to be a parent after she was almost an adult and already set in her ways/at an age when she didn’t feel she needed to listen to him. Frankenstein does the same when he abandons the creature, only to later try and have him adhere to Frankenstein’s moral code.
Either way I recommend it for all gothic fiction fans.
Like my okay on Halloween Ends? I don’t care what they say, I know they will make more. When there is money to be made there will always be another sequel or remake.
But enough of that. Here ends another Horrorfest: 31 reviews of films and/or TV episodes that are mysteries, horror, film-noir, suspense, monster movies, thrillers, psycho killers, ghosts, vampires, zombies, mummies, etc.
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.
I also did my third annual Celebrate Halloween withNorthanger Abbey. And added something new, reading a chapter of Northanger Abbey every day, it’s a perfect countdown to Halloween as it has 31 chapters
And of course our Annual items
A movie or TV episode from every decade from the 1930s-2020s
Jane Austen with Pup Fiction (1997)
Alfred Hitchcock with Marnie (1964)
Animated Film/TV Episode with Over the Garden Wall (2014) & Coco (2017)
Disney with Coco (2017)
Stephen King with Firestarter (2022)
Tim Burton with Beetlejuice (1988)
Vincent Price with The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)
Wolf, the way you’re carrying on, if I were a policeman, I’d be suspicious myself. You would? Yes, I would! Mysterious things have happened. A murder in the village, our own dear Benson disappears for no reason. They probably think you, like your father, have created another monster…
When I was making up my list of films to review I had originally planned to do The Hound of Baskervilles, but then I thought I needed more traditional horror films in the 2022 lineup. As I was looking at all the different drafts I have started I decided on reviewing The Son of Frankenstein. Since I had a review earlier this month on Frankenstein (1994), I thought I would balance it out with a hopefully better Frankenstein film. I mean it has Boris Karloff so the bar is high.
Frankenstein’s son, Wolf Frankenstein (Basil Rathbone), is coming to the ancestral village to claim his inheritance and all the townspeople are in a tizzy afraid that he might be just like his father.
Wolf is married to an American, Elsa (Josephine Hutchins), and they are both happy to be out of the college and to start a new life. As they talk about the home Frankenstein and never been to they imagine a gothic castle and it’s super cute how the two of them talk about it. It makes me think of Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney when they travel to Northanger Abbey.
Frankenstein is angry abut the legacy of his father and how he is remembered for making a murderous monster instead of his accomplishments bringing the dead to life. He blames the assistant Igor (Bela Lugosi).
When Frankenstein arrives at the village he is met by the burgemeister, the villagers, and the village council who are not happy at that he is there. They do not give him a cheery welcoming, but deposit his papers and items and leave.
They get to the house and Elsa Frankenstein does not seem at all pleased at the gloomy demeanor and the way they were greeted. She has second thoughts about being there and wants them to take their son and go “home”.
It is a good thing that the Frankensteins brought some of their servants as none of the local people will serve them or interact with them.
The family makes their way home and the castle is really interesting. It is more German Expressionism and something you would see out ofThe Cabinet ofDr. Caligari then an old castle.
Frankenstein never met his father and has always felt something missing. He has tried his best to connect with him, becoming a scientists as well. He hopes he is someone his father would be proud of and like him. He goes to visit the library and unlocks a box of papers given to him by the council and in it finds a letter written to him with information about how his father brought rhe creature to life.
Basil Rathbone was a really good choice to play Frankenstein in this as he’s a very likable character, he almost has got wanting him to try his father’s experiments…almost.
That evening the inspector comes calling and warns Frankenstein against trying to do what his father did and to return to England before he is infected with the “poison of discovery”. Frankenstein doesn’t take him seriously at all and asks if the inspector has even seen anything of the creature as he feels the stories were exaggerated. The inspector has seen the monster, as it turns out when he was a boy the creature tore one of his arms off. He says the monster stories are not exaggerated.
Also leading to the high tension in the area are six murders since the monster was “destroyed”; all were killed by hearts rupturing, a bruise at the base of their brains were discovered, and all were prominent men…very suspicious. The inspector cautions Frankenstein again and tells him that he will be there for the Frankensteins fmaily when they will, will not if, need him and leaves.
Like his father, Frankenstein is a doctor and he loves lightning. The longer he stays in his ancestral home, the more he desires to follow in his father’s footsteps as he his in awe of what his father was able to accomplish.
Frankenstein decides to check out his father’s old lab, which is a mess and in pieces as it was destroyed in Bride of Frankenstein
While out there Frankenstein runs into Igor (Bella Lugosi). Originally Lugosi only had a small part in the film, but the scriptwriter felt bad about the way he was treated and extended the character for him. The script changed from day to day so no one knew what was to come, so making the part bigger was an easy feat. Igor was hung for the assisting the senior Frankenstein, and when they tried to kill him he didn’t die but it broke his neck and left it broken. It appears that the senior Frankenstein did some experimenting to give him that ability.
Igor takes Frankenstein to the family crypt where he sees the coffins for his father and grandfather; along with the monster who is not dead but still alive!
I miss Fritz as Igor is super creepy. Igor sees the creature as “his friend” who he “does things” for him. Hmm I wonder Igor and the monster are behind all the murders the inspector was talking about. Right now the creature has been wounded and is in a coma-like state as he was electrocuted. Igor insists that as senior Frankenstein made him too, the creature is Wolf Frankenstein’s brother and begs him to bring him back.
At first Frankenstein isn’t interested, but it doesn’t take long to convince him as he wants to be like his dad and protect hush legacy. He agrees and scurries away to the library to get tools and info.
Frankenstein tries to get Benson to help them but Igor tosses him out. Igor doesn’t want anyone else involved in bringing the monster back to life. Uh Frankenstein, do you notice that Igor is acting very, very odd? You definitely shouldn’t do anything he’s involved in.
I really enjoy this film as it definitely feels like a callback to the original movie.The way the scenes are cut, the music, etc.
The heads of the council try to get Igor to sly on Frankenstein and threaten hangin him if he doesn’t help them. Seriously guys? You tried to have him die by hanging and he survived. Why would he help any of you? Igor acts suspicious as he tells them he will not be hunted and killed, and also points out that out of the 8 that condemned him to death only a few remain. Hmmm….??? Why has no one put together the “killing ghost” is Igor getting revenge.
Meanwhile, Frankenstein is having a fight within himself. He wants to destroy the creature as he knows bringing him out of the coma is wrong, but as a scientists he just can’t stop himself. It makes me think of the scientists in The Thing From Another World.
The inspector comes over for the dinner he was invited to, but the only one there is Elsa Frankenstein as Frankenstein is too busy working on his project. It’s entirely normal to her as he has often done this when he is concentrating on a scientific problem, however, the inspector is very interested a he wants to make sure that Frankenstein isn’t working on trying to resurrect the creature.
Frankenstein finally comes to dinner and they are joined by Frankenstein Jr. Frankenstein Jr. starts about a giant being in the house. Elsa thinks it is just his imagination but the inspector and Frankenstein share looks. Could Frankenstein have woken up the creature?
Frankenstein questions Frankenstein jr and when he hears the description, he is in shock. He thought his resurrection experiments has failed, did it actually work? He goes running to the lab and when he gets there, there is no one to be found.
Frankenstein feels something on his shoulder and discovers the creature awake and lumbering about.
The creature doesn’t look so big in this one as Boris Karloff as Frankenstein was 6’6 and Basil is 6’2. They should when chosen a smaller actor for Frankenstein.
Igor is pleased but now that the creature isn’t a scientific question, Frankenstein is worried that people might find out what he did and not give him or his father the accolades he thought they would. Igor reassures him he won’t tell anyone and will protect their secret (totally leaving the butler out of the circle of trust). I 100% think he has killed or will kill the butler benson.
Frankenstein wants to examine and test the monster, but Igor won’t let him touch the creature and the creature only listens to Igor. I wonder why he listens to Igor. In the other films the creature wouldn’t even listen to Frankenstein, why does he trust Igor?
Igor controls the monster and use him to continue killing off the men who had sentenced him to death. I knew it, I knew he was behind the murders!
That night Frankenstein is surprised by the inspector who comes for dinner. Strangely the butler is missing (I told you! Igor probably killed him to!). Frankenstein tries to hide this from the inspector and says he sent him to the lab, but why is he acting so suspicious? Does he suspect the monster?
Frankenstein questions Igor about Benson and doesn’t get any answers. That evening Elsa questions Frankenstein and again Frankenstein is SUPER suspicious, Benson is totally dead. They have a heart to heart and Elsa admits that she hates living here and is terrified all the time.
So it appears that Igor is controlling the creature with music, his playing gets Frankenstein’s monster to do his bidding .
Meanwhile another man is murdered and the villager start storming the castle as they blame the family and want to destroy the Frankensteins. The inspector forces them to say inside the castle for their “own safety”.
Frankenstein makes it back to the lab and sees Frankenstein sleeping. He knows what the creature has done and tries to kill him, but is stopped by Igor who admits what I knew, Igor was using the creature to get revenge. The two yell at each other and wake up the creature who threatens Frankenstein.
Frankenstein fires Igor and goes home where he is questioned by the inspector. Frankenstein is really is cracking under the pressure and this scene is done very well as t looks insane, especially when he laughs. Just like dead old dad.
The inspector arrests Frankenstein for the murder of Benson, there is noting to really hold him on as their is no proof but they think by arresting him they can appease the crowd. Dr Frankenstein tells them that Igor is the murderer, and the inspector informs him they suspect Igor but cannot arrest him as there is no proof.
There is no proof Frankenstein did anything and you are arresting him!
Frankenstein is let go and heads back to the lab where he finds Igor, fights him, and shoots him in self defense.
Meanwhile the inspector has been searching the house without permission and discovers a secret passage with Benson’s body in it.
Frankenstein comes home and runs into the inspector. The inspector tells him about Benson and Frankenstein reveals he killed Igor. The inspector believes that Frankenstein brought the monster back and demands he admit it and show him the monster, or else he will give him over to the villagers who will hang him and his family. Seriously, that seems like a gross miscarriage of justice. At least let him have a trial first.
Back in the lab the creature has discovered Igor’s dead body and is furious. He destroys the lab and I have to say, that while this film is alright it would have been much better if we had less Igor and more of the creature.
To get revenge, the creature decides to kidnap and kill Frankenstein’s child. He runs to the house through the secret passage and kills the nanny, kidnaps Frankenstein Jr. Frankenstein and the Inspector discover Frankenstein Jr. missing and take off after him. They save him just in time, knocking the creature deep into the sulfur pits. Once again the creature is dead…at least until the next film.
Frankenstein and family decide to leave, returning to England; giving the home, lab, and property to the community.
Like I said this film was okay, I mean Basil Rathbone was incredible in his role. However I feel it was lacking to the other films, as we hardly had any creature in it and that’s what I’m here for. As much as I love Bela Lugosi, I would much rather have more Creature/Boris Karloff.
It is time for our Halloween Austen pick, the hardest one to choose and find every year. This year we are bringing something from my childhood as I loved Wishbone as a kid! I used to watch every episode and of course it encouraged me to read all the books the episodes were based on.
I definitely believe it contributed to my love of classic literature.
Today we are looking at the Northanger Abbey episode and of course I couldn’t miss an opportunity to try and brainwash my six year old niece into liking the show and Jane Austen. I refer to my niece as “E” in this post.
For those who have never seen Wishbone, it follows the titular Jack Russell Terrier as he reads books and imagines himself as a character in the book, and when he’s the character all see him as that character and not as a dog. Wishbone belongs to Joe, but he also hangs out with a lot of other kids in the neighborhood.
We start off the episode with Wishbone looking at plastic flammings and planning to chew them, but is distracted by the mailman.
Wishbone is hanging out with neighbor Wanda and neighbor kids Sam when Wanda receives a strange letter. “You are the one”. This isn’t the first one as she has received others and they said, “Soon you’ll know what we’ll think of you”. Is it complimentary or a threat?
Wanda decides to just go about her business and Wishbone follows her, being distracted by some other neighborhood kids reading a scary story. One of them, Melina, loves mysteries and spooky fiction just like another character!
Wishbone then introduces us to Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey. In this version of Northanger Abbey, Wishbone is Henry Tilney who is also there with his sister Eleanor. In this version Henry Tilney/Wishbone recognizes John Thorpe, “but only as one who brags constantly” and Isabella Thorpe “who flirts with everyone they meet”. Eleanor points out Catherine who is reading and absolutely fascinated by the Udolpho.
John Thorpe steals the book as he doesn’t like reading. He starts making fun of her, but Henry Tilney/Wishbone comes over and shares how he loved the book. Catherine looks at him longingly and reads a page aloud.
Me: He [John Thorpe] doesn’t like to read, so do we like him E?
E: No way!
Me That’s right, we don’t like guys who don’t like to read.
E: I love to read.
Back in the real world, Wanda has receieved another letter! “Words cannot explain all that you have done”. All the kids are interested in solving the letter mystery and so is Wishbone. And so am I!
Back in Northanger Abbey, Mr. Thorpe talks to General Tilney and brags about his connections. He also starts talking about Catherine Morland and how she has so much money coming to her. I really like this depiction of Thorpe as I love how he blatantly lies about Catherine not being able to go on a walk with the Tilneys and then just runs off with a “Ta-ta”.
Eleanor is thinking how odd it is to send another to reject them, but Henry Tilney/Wishbone isn’t so sure they really know her as a person.
Catherine is heading to see the Tilneys and runs into the Thorpes who tell her they ended the engagement. Catherine is super upset and runs to the Tilneys apologizing.
The Tilneys are planning to leave for Northanger Abbey and they invite Catherine to join them. As those two words are spoken spooky music plays. Catherine is eager and has so much imagination about how creepy and mysterious it will be.
Henry Tilney/Wishbone teases Catherine and jokes about sliding panels, gloomy portraits, mysterious chests, and cryptic letters. He is much better that the ‘80s Mr. Tilney.
Back in the real world Wanda runs into Ellen who has another note for her. “Wait and See”The kids are on the case and convinced the mailman is behind it all and follow him on his route, while Wanda ponders the note.
The kids try to spy on the mailman but Wishbone sneaks in. He also goes through the package door and heads into the backroom of the post office. He starts thinking about Northanger Abbey while in the post office.
Me: Is it [Northanger Abbey] too spooky?
E: I think it is pretty.
Catherine also loves it! The Tilneys show her the oldest part of the house and the forbidden wing. The forbidden wing contains their mother’s room, the one in which she died. Eleanor wasn’t at home or Henry, which makes Catherine think that maybe she was murdered.
Me: What do you think happened?
E: I think the mom turned into a skeleton that is still alive.”
Even though she was told that Mrs. Tilney’s room was forbidden she decides to sneak in any way.
Me: Do you think there will be a skeleton in there [Mrs. Tilney’s room]?
Henry comes strolling by and sees the open door, spotting Catherine looking around the room. Lightning and rain flash against the sky outside as Catherine searches the room and finds a truck which she opens…
E: Tell me what happens, I’m scared. [Covers eyes and music continues] Please tell me what happens!
Henry is hiding behind a tapestry while Catherine searched a drawer and find papers. Catherine is a little less sympathetic in this one adaption as it was only her first night that she searched the room, instead of being several days later. All Catherine found was a laundry list, embarrassment, and an unhappy Henry Tilney/Wishbone. He reveals the truth about his mother’s death, that she died from fever and that his father doesn’t like to be in the room as it breaks his heart.
Catherine apologizes and Henry tells her that his home isn’t like a a gothic novel but it’s real life.
Back in real world Wanda comes upon the kids and scares them i their detecting that they all run off.
Back in Northanger Abbey Eleanor tells Catherine, that Catherine has to leave as the Tilneys are going away. Catherine is to be sent home ASAP and General Tilney is in a horrible mood. Catherine thinks it is because of what happened with Henry and in this children’s version she is sent home during the day. Henry Tilney/Wishbone stops Catherine before she leaves Northanger Abbey and tells her that John Thorpe has been spreading rumors about her pretending to be a future heiress and that is why his father is mad, he thinks Catherine is a fortune hunter.
Henry Tilney/Wishbone apologizes for the way the Thorpes have treated her and that tells her he was also wrong.
Catherine: Perhaps I need to learn more about the real world and judge them as they truly are and not what I think they are.
Henry: Maybe we can learn together.
Back in reality, Wanda goes to Ellen’s house were she was invited to, but finds it dark. It turns out to be a an early surprise party for Wanda, that’s why they sent her all those mysterious notes in order to distract her and keep her from figuring out about the party.
While everyone else is distracted Wishbone is in the cake.
Me: What do you think?
E: I liked it. I like Wishbone.
Me: What did you think about Northanger Abbey?
E: I don’t know about it. I don’t have a question for it.
Me: What did you think about Catherine or Henry Tilney? Or the spooky story?
E: Hmmmm…I’m loading….hmm….I liked it. I liked Catherine.
I would say that it was a winner, not only as a cute Northanger Abbey adaption but also as an introductory piece to get my niece into Jane Austen.