Comparing the Text and the Two Filmed Versions of Jane Austen's Emma

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Comparing the Text and the Two Filmed Versions of Jane Austen's Emma

After reading Jane Austen's Emma, then viewing the BBC production and Miramax films based on the novel one can understand why most authors are horrified over the translation of their novels into film. The two film versions are quite different from one another, but both take such liberties with the original text as to wonder why the film makers of each even bothered with Austen's work. The BBC production encompasses more of the tone and atmosphere of the text, the polite, mannered, upper-class social milieu of Victorian England than does the Miramax version, but both make interpretations of the text that belie the filmmakers' agenda than they do of Austen's own.
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Knightley and Emma's father. We also here of Mr. Weston and Mr. Elton. If we look at some of the particulars of this chapter and each scene, we can see how dramatically all three differ. The opening two pages of the novel are all expository, regarding Emma's disposition, her upbringing and her relationship with Miss Taylor. The marriage of Miss Taylor and her subsequent loss are greatly affecting Emma's mood. In the Miramax film version of Emma, the first scene opens by showing a universe and a spinning planet whose trials of stars leads into a trail of the characters in the film like a cosmic genealogy. A voice over by Paltrow reminds us that the world we are about to enter was one which fit into the palm of one's hand, and wherein an elegant dance drew more excitement than war. We open at the actual wedding of Miss Taylor, something that is only alluded to in the book. The wedding is also only alluded to in the BBC version. While the Paltrow version makes this change, it does add more excitement and visual richness to the opening in comparison to the other two.

From this point on the changes between the text and both films veer steadily out of control. In the novel we are introduced to Emma's father "as a nervous man, easily depressed... hating change of ever kind" (Austen 4). However, in seems the austere patriarchy and oppression from males in Austen's novel were not enough to please the filmmakers when it came to the

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