Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

the wolf man

“Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.” 

This is such an amazing film as the story is excellent, the acting superb (Lon Chaney Jr. + Claude Rains). It is also a member of Universal’s Classic Monster Movie Collection, its buddies being The Phantom of the OperaFrankenstein,  The Bride of FrankensteinThe MummyDracula, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, etc. And this post means that I have finally, finally finished the list I set out to complete two years ago.

But what really makes this a spectacular film is that many of the modern myths of werewolves were originated in this film: such as a person becoming a werewolf through a bite; the only way to kill a werewolf is with a silver bullet; and changing into one during a full moon. These are all original concepts created by writer Curt Siodmak. Isn’t that amazing! Like The Mummy and The Creature from the Black Lagoon this film isn’t based on a book or any specific resource, which allowed the writers a lot of leeway in their work and creations.

So this isn’t the first werewolf film, as that was The Werewolf of London, which actually did rather poorly in theaters. This was the second werewolf horror film to be made and become the most famous. All the later depictions such as: The Howling, An American Werewolf in London, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Van Helsing, The Wolfman (2010), etc.looked to it in creating their stories.

So the film was originally written for Boris Karloff, but he turned it down. And although I love that man [read my The Mummy (1932), Frankensteinor The Bride of Frankenstein post] I can’t imagine this film being as amazing with him as the title role. Lon Chaney Jr. was just superb. Lon Chaney Jr, was the son of the famous Lon Chaney (who I talk about in my Phantom of the Opera post) and interestingly the set that was used to film this movie was the same used for The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) which starred Lon Chaney Jr.’s  father, Lon Chaney.

Unlike other films, The Wolf Man is the only Universal monster to be played by the same actor in all his 1940s film appearances; Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944), House of Dracula (1945), and  Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).

Now I love this movie and story but it is soooo sad as well. Here is a wonderful man pure of heart, who has the unfortunate luck of being bitten by a werewolf and can’t do anything to stop it. Unlike modern movies where the person can control it, change at will, etc; in the original when the man transformed into a wolf he literally transformed into becoming a beast and losing all his humanistic thought, reasoning, etc.

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So the film starts out with Lon Chaney Jr. as Lawrence Talbot returning home.

Look at this sweetheart

Look at this sweetheart

His older brother has died, and as he is the second son he will now inherit everything–money, title, family home, etc. More importantly, after the realization that his brother is no longer, Lawrence AKA Larry, is eager to rebuild his relationship with his father. They had previously parted on not the best terms (he wanted to be an engineer his father wanted him to be something else. He decided to run away to California, against his father’s wishes).

Larry reacquaints himself with the village, taking a deep interest in a particular shopkeeper, Gwen Conliffe, who is unfortunately engaged. However, she is equally interested and as Larry buys a silver-wolf handled cane the two make a date to meet up later that night and visit the gypsies that are camping nearby.

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  That night Larry meets up with Gwen and her friend Jenny. The three make off to the gypsies passing some wolfsbane along the way. Both girls repeat the old gypsy folklore about wolfsbane:

Even a man who is pure in heart

and says his prayers by night

may become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms

and the autumn moon is bright

Now what is really interesting about this old piece of folklore is that it isn’t that old. This quote has been thought to be an Eastern European folk saying, but Siodmak admits that he was the one who made it up. Even though that might be true, it went  down in film history becoming a part of almost every future Werewolf film and recited in every future Universal film appearance of the Wolf Man. [It is quoted by Van Helsing, but one of the lines was changed to “The moon is shining bright” instead of “The autumn moon is bright“]

Meanwhile, in the gypsy camp one of them has a terrible secret. Bela, played by Bela Lugosi, is actually a werewolf and hiding it from everyone.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

When the group gets to the gypsy camp and have their fortunes read, Bela sees the pentagram on Jenny’s hand and knows that she’s next for death.

Ahhh!

Ahhh!

 

Bela runs off and the trio start walking home. Soon Jenny is attacked by a wolf and Larry tries to save her. He wrestles with the wolf and kills it by braining it with his cane. (It being silver can kill it) Unfortunately, he couldn’t save Jenny and during the battle, he ended up getting bit…

dun-dun-duuuun

Making him the next werewolf.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The next day the constable comes to visit, causing Larry to second guess himself as they found a dead Bela instead of a wolf!

Say What

They found Bela beat in the head, and Larry’s silver cane matches perfectly as the weapon.

Col. Paul Montford, chief constable: [showing Larry’s stick to him] Is this your walking stick?

Larry Talbot: Why, yes. That’s the stick I killed the wolf with.

[Sir John Talbot and Col. Montford look at Larry with great concern]

Sir John Talbot: Larry, Bela the gypsy was killed last night. Your walking stick was found next to the body.

Larry Talbot: You mean, Bela the fortune teller? But… I only saw a wolf.

Larry is completely confused as he knows that it was a wolf. And how does that explain the murder of Jenny? Which was done by a wolf? The constable tells him he is still investigating as he really doesn’t want to arrest the Lord’s son, especially since there are so many questions. He ultimately deems the incident an accident.

Larry on the other hand is extremely puzzled. Could he have killed Bela? But he saw a wolf he was bit by one. Except the mark can not be found!

confused

Larry needs answers and decides he will go see the Gypsy woman and not only apologize for her son’s death but ask her what is going on! Gwen and her fiancé Frank go with him.

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The gypsy woman, Maleva reveals that he did kill a wolf–a werewolf. Her son Bela was a werewolf and the only thing that could kill him was silver, silver like the silver on his cane.

Maleva: You killed the wolf.

Larry Talbot: Well, there’s no crime in that is there?

Maleva: The wolf was Bela.

Larry Talbot: You think I don’t know the difference between a wolf and a man?

Maleva: Bela turned into a wolf and you killed him. A werewolf can only be killed by a silver bullet, or a silver knife…[looks down at Larry’s walking stick]…or a stick with a silver handle.

Larry Talbot: You’re insane! I tell you, I killed a wolf! A PLAIN, ORDINARY WOLF!!!

Maleva: Whoever is bitten by a werewolf and lives becomes a werewolf himself.

Larry Talbot: Ah, don’t hand me that. You’re just wasting your time.

Maleva: The wolf bit you, didn’t he?

Larry Talbot: Yeah. Yeah he did!

Maleva: [Larry shows Maleva his chest wound concealed under his shirt] Go now – and heaven help you!”

 

Larry of course doesn’t believe her and leaves. That night he transforms into the WEREWOLF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now the transformation was laborious. The makeup took six hours and was the design by  Jack Pierce  for Henry Hull in Werewolf of London Hull had rejected it as he didn’t like how long the process would be to apply it. Chaney Jr. claimed he had to sit motionless for hours as the scenes were shot frame by frame. Pierce used grease paint, a rubber snout, wigs, and glued layers of yak hair to Chaney Jr.’s face. Larry’s dissolve transformation on screen only took seconds, while in actuality it took almost ten hours as they had to keep reapplying layers for the changing fur.

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That night the Wolf Man attacks a grave-digger, Richardson.

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The constable and the Doctor finds his ravaged body and wolf tracks.

Meanwhile, Larry finds himself in bed with wolf tracks all around and has finally decided that the gypsy women must be telling him the truth. He talks to his father who just thinks that he is in shock and doesn’t take any of the “werewolf nonsense” seriously. He even calls the doctor who deems it just a mild form of hysteria.

The Constable and doctor prepare the woods to catch the wolf so that it doesn’t kill another person. The night Larry as the Wolf Man steps in one of the traps and gets caught. Luckily the Gypsy woman frees him, as she had  felt sorry for his predicament.

Larry transforms back into a human and asks the Gypsy woman and for help. She gives him a charm that will protect him from turning into a werewolf and warns him not to give the charm to ANYONE ELSE AS IT WON’T WORK FOR ANYONE ELSE!

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He then runs off to see Gwen to tell her that he is leaving. He knows he has killed the others and doesn’t want to hurt anyone else.

“Larry Talbot: You wouldn’t wanna run away with a murderer wouldja?

Gwen Conliffe: Oh Larry, you’re not. You know you’re not.

Larry Talbot: I killed Bela. I killed Richardson. If I stay here any longer, you can’t tell who’ll be next.”

Gwen tries to get him to take her with him as she loves him, but Larry sees the mark of the pentagram on her hand and tells her he can’t. Instead he gives her the charm. YES THE CHARM  THAT IS ONLY SUPPOSED TO PROTECT HIM! Really Larry? REALLY??????!!!!!!

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

YOU ARE MAKING THE  SAME FREAKIN’ MISTAKE THAT EVERY OTHER MONSTER FILM HERO DOES!

princess Bride Victim to classic blunder Vizzini

DID YOU NOT HEAR THE WOMAN EARLIER? SHE SAID IT WILL WORK ONLY FOR YOU! ONLY FOR YOU!! ONLY YOU!!! YOU KEEP IT! What’s the point of going to a gypsy for help if you ARE NOT GOING TO LISTEN????!!!!!!! I mean this is such a classic mistake made by these men in these horror films. In Dracula, he gives the girl the cross charm that is supposed to protect only him, and then gets knocked out and is unable to keep her from being kidnapped. In The Mummy, he gives the girl the charm that is only supposed to protect him, and it doesn’t work for her. Instead Imohtep knocks him out and takes the girl anyway. MORAL OF THESE STORIES, KEEP THE DANG CHARM!!! DON’T GIVE IT AWAY!!! Alright! So if any of you are given a protective charm you freakin’ keep it!!! YOU HEAR ME????!!!!

And now that I got that little rant out of my system, let’s get back to the story.

So Larry goes to see his father and asks him to lock him up; tie him up in a chair, lock the door, etc and to go far, far, away as he doesn’t want him to be hurt. He also gives his father his silver cane as he knows that it will protect him.

Now this is why I hate modern interpretations of werewolves, except for The Wolfman (2010), as they never capture this aspect of the story. Here is a good man who has become evil, but he doesn’t want to be evil. It wasn’t like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in which Dr. Jekyll made a choice, or even The Phantom of the Opera where he suffered such horrible things and had a complete snap and broke down. This was a good man who wanted to fix bad things in his life but the timing was off and he too is caught up in the evil. Modern interpretations also never cover the heartbreaking scene as this with his dad. He knows he can’t control the evil and the last thing he does is try to protect the ones he loves, first Gwen and then his father. The most emotional is the scene with his father, as here is a man he has been fighting with, had a horrible relationship, but you see in this moment how much love he has for his father. He gives him the cane as he wants his father to be safe, no matter what. And you see how much his father loves him by taking the cane, even though he thinks Larry is delusional.

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Gwen is worried about Larry and goes looking for him, running into the woods even though the Gypsy warns her not to. I mean seriously, why don’t we listen to the Gypsies? They are gypsies, they know stuff.

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So Gwen runs out and into Larry, who has escaped from his room. But instead of the sweet, adorable, loving Larry we are confronted by the horrible beast.

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But before the werewolf can do anything, Sir John comes and hits him with the cane, killing him.

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The constable and doctor presume that Larry was killed trying to save Gwen, but Sir John knows the truth and now is left alone and has to bury his other son.

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Maleva: The way you walked was thorny though no fault of your own, but as the rain enters the soil, the river enters the sea, so tears run to a predestined end. Now you will have peace for eternity.”

right in the feels broken heart

Yep. I have to say that this is one of my all-time favorite horror films. Although it makes me want to cry every time. 

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So that was our kick-off piece. Stay tuned for many more wonderful pieces to come!

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For more on The Wolf Man (1941), go to Pink Elephants

For more on werewolves, go to A Halloween Hello from the Austen Men

For more monster movies, go to They’re Coming to Get You Barbara

For more on Claude Rains, go to Universal’s Classic Monster Movies

For more on Bela Lugosi, go to I Bid You Welcome

For more films that spanned countless sequels and remakes, go to Everyones Entitled to One Good Scare

Just One of those Days…Nights…No Days

bad luck

So today was just full of bad luck. You know those days when everything just seems to go wrong?

Sabrina-Libby

So I’m in charge of the layout/design of the history journal and spent over twelve hours working on it. Now it would have been shorter but I had to deal with a prissy InDesign who if I didn’t do everything just right exited faster than a guy does when you bring up the word “feelings”.

feelings

Run Away

run-away

Then instead of people actually trying to do work in the 24 hour lab, it was like hook-up central.

Hello!

Hello!

There was this girl who would laugh like every five, freakin’ mins. because she was trying to catch the attention of some baseball player. It was in that moment I understood shows like Snapped, where you have the perfectly sane person go crazy, because I just wanted to do something to end the laughing.

That's it! I will end you!

That’s it! I will end you!

It made me wish I could be like Snape and hit people with books and not get in trouble for it.

hit with books

Then of course it has to rain on the one day I don’t have any rain gear and on the day I didn’t park my bike under the awning but in the art dept.

Why? Why!

Why? Why!

And I’m biking home, and it has a red light for, I kid you not, for like 10 mins. Just chillin’ (literally) in the rain waiting for the light to change. And as soon as I’m like “forget this I’ll run it” (I mean its 1:30 in the morning, no one’s out) a cop has to drive by, so I’m once again stuck out there waiting some more.

Hello Officer

Hello Officer

But hey!

StoryOfMyLifeSomeLikeItHotMarilynMonroe

For more on Harry Pottergo to Even After All This Time

For more on Modern Times, go to Fashion Show

 

Do You Know Where Alex Is?

when-a-stranger-calls

Do You Know Where Alex is?

So this past week I suffered from some phone harassment. Not as bad as “The Stranger” from When a Stranger Calls or Nightmare on Elm Streetbut it was pretty bad.

So it all started back in December. I received a text asking me if I knew where Alex was because his girlfriend wanted to talk to him. I texted back that I didn’t know anyone named Alex and had no idea where he was. The texts continued and I would answer her again that I didn’t know him. One time I even called and left a message saying I had no idea who he is. Pretty soon I began to ignore it hoping it would go away.

You never learn

You never learn

Then the other day I was at a meeting and my phone went off. We hadn’t officially started so I decided to check it, and it was the girl again looking for Alex. I told my friends about it, and they told me it was probably a prank call. If it had been going on that long, and she still wasn’t getting the message, then it had to be someone messing with me. Then each of them told me their wildest stories about how they would prank people. One of my friends, Ben, told me I should text her back something like “he doesn’t care about you anymore” or “he wants to be with me now” or something silly like that. I agreed as I figured what have I got to lose?

ouch

We all then joked about how funny it would be to see what she texted me back.

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So the girl calls me and GOES CRAZY!!! I actually didn’t even answer the phone. I made Ben do it since it was his idea. He tried to tell her what happened but she was going all kinds of crazy!

angry-young-girl-cute-face-kids2

He told her the whole story about how I have repeatedly tried to tell her I didn’t know her boyfriend and that it was all a joke. Harmless fun.

Inspector-Gadget

Think she saw it that way? Uh uh.

HOW DARE YOU!!!

HOW DARE YOU!!!

This was she. Nooo joke.

The crazy girl sends me massive texts! Massive amounts of them. And here they are, oh and I wrote them out just like she sent them, (misspelling mistakes and all so they are 100% authentic).

“Who is this? I wish you all would leave me alone and try getting a job”

“And why hasn’t Alex told meb”

“Have fun paying his child support”

“Why can’t you call and say it got to hide behind a text. Or are you guys lil kids that needs to get high”

Then she called me THREE more times. THREE times!!! This girl is CRAZY!!!

Certified Creepo Ribbon

So then I called the number to talk to her, but all I got was her aunt. We discussed it and I told her everything; how I kept getting all these texts, I didn’t know him, I thought it was a joke, etc. She apologized and said she would delete my number.

So do you think that was the end of it? Nope!

im-back

Right after, I got even more texts!

“Tell Alex to come out front his truck is here.”

“Just do me a favor and tell alex the stuff in his trunk is gone and he is just like the pettys and he is a coward b****”

Just like the pettys? What does that even mean? Tom Petty? Do you mean petty thief? Do you mean peddy as in pedophile?

“I:m waiting for Alex to call”

You know their relationship seems to consist of her not knowing where he is and waiting for him to call. If he’s avoiding you either 1) You’re Crazy, 2) He’s cheating/a jerk, or 3) All the above. Time to move on.

“Oh and his $4000 in fines. You guys will amt to nothing”

Sounds like you’re getting “petty”. (Sorry I had to do it. It was just set up so well)

bad pun alert

“Didn’t realize all you guys are cowards it was only four of us”

I really am not following this conversation at all.

Blah, blah

Blah, blah

 

“That’s right to Alex new joe would a f****** rip his a**”

Wha? Huh? What does that even mean?

I just don't understand stupidity. Oh, well.

I just don’t understand stupidity. Oh, well.

“And you all of you over there who he’s hiding behind I hope he ripps  you off like he ripped me off with my great-grandmother’s jewelry, stoley daughtets”

This guy just sounds so bad. Why do you even want him as your boyfriend anymore? I mean I know he is the father of your child (earlier text) but seriously, he sounds like baaaaad news.

Like as big a loser as Satipo from Raiders of the Lost Ark

Like as big a loser as Satipo from Raiders of the Lost Ark

“Money and the sheriff is on their way to see if any of this stereo s*** in my ar is stolen. If so i’ll point them that way”

But then the creepiest thing happened. She sent me my sister’s name and the area I’m from. It was so creepy it felt like When a Stranger Calls, you know the part when the guy is watching her through the window or when she finds out where the guy is.

AAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!

AAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!

 

“ex. It’s very simple to trace #’s. But why is he hiding behind you guys ohh tweakers stand behind tweakers. Just know he is a liar and I did nothing but”

This girl is CA-RA-ZY!

“take care of him down to buying him a car he traded for dope and now look what he has”

Man this guy and girl have massive problems.

Then she kept calling me again, and it got to the point where I just snapped.

That's it! I will end you!
That’s it! I will end you!

I called them and just started yelling at them, telling them they needed to leave me alone or else I was going to take legal action. My sister worked for the courthouse, I know people on the police force, sheriff, and CHP. I wasn’t going to mess around any longer.

I Will find you

The woman was the aunt (Darn it!) and once again promised to leave me alone. I was hoping that would be the end of it, but that was just not my luck.

The next day at 6:00 in the morning. 6:00 AM! Some guy calls to talk to me about Alex. Now, there is one thing you never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever want to do to me and that is waking me up. There is no thing scarier than waking me up in the morning. I’m like a grizzly bear, I will eat you for breakfast,

GTY_grizzly_bear_jt_130818_16x9_992

If I wake up on my own or by my alarm clock, I’m perfectly fine. So when this guy called I just lost it and started screaming at him to leave me alone, and possibly other things but I can’t really remember our conversation. All I know is I was scary.

Its really funny, because at first I thought it was just part of my dream until I checked my phone log.

So, since then they have left me alone. Yep, just another day in the life.

Parental Favoritism

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Favoritism sucks, unless you are the one getting it. But even then it can be bad as others will be jealous of you and mean to you because of it. After all look what happened to Joseph.

Now everyone knows that in a family of more than one there is a favorite child. And everyone suspects that it is someone other than them. Hardly anyone ever thinks they are the favorite. Now while we know this, we never expect to hear our parents actually say who the favorite one is. Nothing sucks more than to hear your parents clearly state who they love best..

child_favoritism

Knowing who is the favorite or the golden child often drives children to rebel or do all kinds of things to hurt their parents or beloved sibling because they are so angry. I mean its hard not to sympathize with the way they were treated and understand why they end up doing such horrible things. I mean look at King Lear. I don’t feel bad for Goneril or Regan but  empathize with Edmund. I mean after constantly being told you are nothing more than an accident and worthless because you are not legitimate, would make nearly anyone power mad and crazy.

In Pride and Prejudice, parental favoritism is loud and clear and in your face. Mrs. Bennet just adores Lydia (probably because Lydia is exactly like her) with Jane being her second favorite as in Mrs. Bennet’s eyes she is the prettiest of all the Bennet girls.

“I am sure she [Elizabeth] is not half as handsome as Jane, nor half so good-humored as Lydia.” (pg. 4)

Rank

Mr Bennet too has his favorite, and like Mrs. Bennet has no qualms saying who it is:

“They are all silly and ignorant like others girls; but Lizzie has something more of a quickness than her sisters.” (pg. 4)

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Just like all those other things I referenced, letting your children know who you favor can totally screw them up. I mean first of all look at Lydia. Lydia knows she is the mom’s favorite and just does what she wants to, never thinking about how she is affecting the rest of her family. She is spoiled and never disciplined. I mean it’s no wonder that she runs off with Wickham, with her attitude, you wonder how she didn’t get in trouble long before.

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Then you have Jane, who all her mother focuses on is her beauty while her father mostly ignores her. Poor Jane, forever only being seen as an object rather than a person. Her mother sees her as a tool for prosperity, always going on and trying to maneuver her. I’m surprised someone hasn’t written a book with her version of the story. I mean with all the Darcy, Wickham, Lydia and numerous other ways the story has been retold you kind of wonder why one hasn’t been done to show us what Jane thinks.

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And what about Kitty? Older than Lydia but always stuck in her shadow. Either getting blamed for things (like coughing or her being at fault for Lydia taking off with Wickham) its no surprise that she holds on to the secret of Lydia running off, happy to finally be the center of attention.

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And poor Mary. She gets nothing!

She’s not the pretty one or the smart one and is mostly ignored by everyone. Jane & Lizzie are best friends and Lydia & Kitty are best friends; leaving Mary all alone with nobody. No wonder she throws herself into her music, intent on proving how special she is with her musical talent.

Just make sure your musical genius doesn't lead you to becoming a stalker or murderer Your story isn't as romantic as the POG's. Mary can't pull that off.

Just make sure your musical genius doesn’t lead you to becoming a stalker or murderer or recluse. We all can’t pull off that story

One of these days, poor Mary might just break. If the girls lived in modern day I would definitely put my money on her being featured on the news. Tonight on SnappedOne day mild-mannered Mary up and murdered tons of people. When asked why:

You made me stop and let other girls have a turn.

You made me stop and let other girls have a turn.

And Elizabeth…well Elizabeth is practically perfect in every way. It’s amazing how she was able to do that

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Oh yeah…well…I did say practically! 🙂

For another Pride & Prejudice post go to It’s a Truth Universally Acknowledged

For more Jane Bennet, go to Waiter, There’s Some Disney in My Jane Austen

For more Elizabeth Bennet, go to The Real Revolutionary

For more on Mary Bennet, go to Just Can’t Get a Break

For more on Kitty Bennet, go to Flu Season

For more Lydia Bennet, go to Death Comes to Pemberley