Sense and Swoon-ability

Over the past month or so, while visiting family and moving to a new home, I've had very little access to books (oh, I miss my library) so I've been turning to literary adaptations I can watch on the computer for my fix. 
A lot of Jane Austen, a couple Elizabeth Gaskells, and two Bröntes later, my mind is a-swirl with empire waist dresses, stately manor homes, brooding bachelors, compromised maidens, and glittering ballrooms. 
Purely for fun I've assembled my own little totally unscientific "best-of" ranking based on eleven movies and mini-series (complete list of titles at the end of the post). I won't pretend this isn't anything but a thinly veiled excuse to post lots of pictures of pretty people and kissing.

Blondest Counterparts:
 3. Carey Mulligan as Isabella Thorpe in Northanger Abbey

 2. Christina Cole as Caroline Bingley of Lost in Austen and Blanche Ingram of Jane Eyre
She plays almost identical characters in each: the immaculately ringlet-ed, haughty wench out to ruin the heroine's chances.

1. Rosamund Pike as Jane Bennet of Pride and Prejudice (2005)
 Just luminous. My favorite Jane Bennet yet.

Most Odious Mr. Collins:
 3. Tom Hollander (Pride and Prejudice 2005) 
An odd casting, especially since he plays the supposedly handsomer brother in Wives and Daughters.

2. David Bamber (1995 BBC version)

 1. Guy Henry (Lost in Austen)
No contest, really. Exquisitely creepy.

Least Swoon-Inducing Heroes:

 3. David Morrissey (on the left) as Colonel Brandon of Sense and Sensibility
I wanted to like you, really, but Alan Rickman set the bar really high,
and anything less just leaves me wanting.

 2. Anthony Howell as Roger Osborne of Wives and Daughters
Chemistry: they have it not.

 1. Johnny Lee Miller as Mr.Knightly of Emma
I didn't believe it was possible for a man not to look good in a cravat, 
but I suppose he is the exception that proves the rule.

Best Plain Jane:
(Ironically, Jane Eyre herself did not qualify, as Ruth Wilson is way too smoking hot.)

 3. Sally Hawkins as Anne Eliot of Persuasion

2. Tara Fitzgerald as Helen Graham of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

 1. Hattie Morahan as Elinor Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility

Most Smolderful (i.e. Best Furrowed Brow):
 3. Eliot Cowan as Mr. Darcy of Lost in Austen

2. Toby Stephens as Edward Rochester of Jane Eyre

 1. Richard Armitage as John Thornton of North and South

Best Hand-Kissing:
Something I feel is sadly lacking in modern-day romance. 
More kissing of the hands please, men (and women) of the 21st century!

3. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice (2005)

2. Mr. Darcy & Amanda Price of Lost in Austen

1. Margaret Hale & John Thornton of North and South

Best Kiss:

3. Catherine Morland & Henry Tilney of Northanger Abbey
Cute as buttons, these two.

2. Margaret Hale & John Thornton of North and South
What? No, that's not my desktop wallpaper or anything. Why would you think that?

 1. Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester of Jane Eyre  
There is a scandalous amount of kissing in this adaptation (I approve), but this particular kiss is lovely I think for its very genuine, lopsided imperfection. What struck me most was how in character it is -- you know there's nothing tentative about Rochester (he is fierce like that), and Jane is always completely honest and unflinching with him. It looks real -- a heady mix of desperation and joy and desire and suppressed emotion finally released.

Titles Viewed:

Lost in Austen (2008)
Jane Eyre (2006)
North and South (2004)
Northanger Abbey (2007)
Persuasion (1995)
Persuasion (2007)
Pride and Prejudice (1995)
Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Sense and Sensibility (2008)
The Tenant of Wildfell Fall (1996)
Wives and Daughters (1999)


Shoujofan said...

Nice choices... For kisses specially! ^_^ Love Jane Eyre (2006). But I like David Morrissey. I know Alan Rickman is superb, but he was very good as the Colonel.

Jean at The Delightful Repast said...

David Bamber, a perfectly lovely man I'm sure, was THE most odious Mr. Collins ever!

Corinna said...

You are a star for posting this. Laughed and laughed. I agree with you on so much of this. One day, we'll sit down over tea and scones and compare notes. It would be such fun! In the meantime, I'm catching up on some of these that I missed (North and South!). x

Atlanta said...

Wow. Very cute and funny! I agree with about half. :^)

Ergh! I hate even seeing pictures from 'Lost in Austen', though. Worst movie ever. It is never, ever entering my house.

All the rest are favorites, though!

nigel said...

Oh come on......

All you really want is for George Whickam to rip your clothes off and ravish you senseless.

Then you can complain later to your girlfriends that men are such beasts while denying for the pretense of gentility your pure animal enjoyment of the episode.

Post photographs of love pirates.... I dare you ;)

vmichelle said...

This cracked me up and made me smile as I've seen almost all of these. I loved a few, hated a few and tolerated a few. But gosh darn it, almost anything with an empire dress gets watched by me.

Midnight Cowgirl said...

Love this list!

Steffi said...

This is so cool! Love it!

Gina said...

Great post -- and you gave me an idea for my own blog, so thanks! :-)

Christy said...

This was delightful. I came here from Dickensblog; think I've seen everything here except "Lost in Austen."
I loved Tom Hollander as Mr. Collins, though nothing could be smarmier than David Bamber.
Completely agree about David Morrissey as a very un-swoon-inducing Colonel Brandon, partly because he played a quite repellent character in "Our Mutual Friend" but also partly because he's just not swoon-inducing, especially compared to Alan Rickman. But I absolutely disagree about Anthony Howell. Loved him as Roger.
Helen Graham wasn't supposed to be a plain Jane, was she? I thought the rather silly Gilbert Markham was supposed to find her remarkably attractive. Hattie Morahan was magnificent as Elinor, of course.
Toby Stephens is a magnificent smolderer.

lotusgirl said...

Fabulous list. I must see that 2007 version of Persuasion. Can't believe I've never seen it.

Jessie Oliveros said...

I've seen all but the Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I'd have to say I agree with you on all except for the whole Roger thing. Perhaps it was the whole just-standing-apart-from-each-other in the rain that tore apart the chemistry for you. Too bad Gaskell didn't actually finish her novel so that they could really kiss. (Although I swear that in the intro to the BBC movies, there is the flashiest flash of Molly and Roger lying down and she leans over and kisses him. A deleted scene perhaps?)

Flora said...

I love this! I've seen most of these and agree mostly with your list, specially the best kiss part, I could never get tired of watching those scenes over and over again.

Laleh said...

The BBC "Pride and Prejudice" is the BEST one. I nearly died; all the characters, (especially the ridiculous ones) are sooooo perfect! Anyone who hasn't seen it, I really advise you to. I enjoy most of the films on here, but I must say that the BBC ones are always good.

dvd north and south said...

I LOVE THIS POST as I absolutely love BBC dramas. My favorites are Persuasion by Jane Austen, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.

I agree on the top two, Toby is the perfect Rochester. Richard Armitage will forever be Mr. Thorntorn. :D I first saw him in the North and South miniseries DVD and have loved him since then. :D

dvd north and south said...

I forgot--my #3 is that tentative kiss in Persuasion. I was gripping my pillow and went FINALLY when they kissed on the street haha

laviniaveiled said...

Sally Hawkins is just gorgeous, even more so than Ruth!! I have no clue why she's on your Plain Jane list. See Happy-Go-Lucky for proof!!

Also, Johnny Lee Miller is gorgeous, baby.

But the rest of your list is excellent. Cheers from Seattle!!

LitLover said...

Lovely post!

Charlotte said...

Soo many things to comment on!

David Morrissey is so good in so many things but I just don’t buy him as Brandon. He was SUPER creepy as Mr. Headstone in Our Mutual Friend- which is fantastic by the way.

Anthony Howell is great in Foyle’s War.

Dan Stevens and Hattie Monahan are the best Edward and Elinor. I LOVE the 95 movie- best sound track, great actors, gorgeous cinematography- with the addition of these two it would have been perfect.

I can’t get past Helen Graham’s hair in Tenant. JL Miller- lame, you’ve got that right. Not so much a fan of Lost in Austen. I love the premise but can’t like the reality.

P&P, N&S=divine as we all know.

Why are Sally Hawkins’ clothes so awful in Persuasion? They’re just frumpy and horrible all the time.

I love the 96 Jane Eyre, any opinions on the 2011 incarnation?

-Another Period Drama fan from Seattle

Silvia Gonzalez said...


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