Sunday, January 18, 2009

Persuasion Fantasy Team

It is Super Bowl Season and this is not lost on me. So while other people make their fantasy teams for football, I'm creating a fantasy team of Persuasion players. This weekend I had the joy of watching the 1971, 1994, and 2007 versions of "Persuasion". I found each one had its own delights and if parts of them were combined they would make the perfect "Persuasion."

The main characters:
  • Anne Elliot: Ann Firbank 1971
  • Captain Wentworth: Bryan Marshall, 1971
  • Sir Walter Elliot: Anthony Head, 2007
  • Elizabeth Elliot: Julia Davis, 2007
  • Lady Russel: Susan Fleetwood, 1994
  • Mrs. Croft: Fiona Shaw, 1994
  • Admiral Croft: John Woodvine, 194
  • Mrs. Musgrove: Judy Cornwell, 1994
  • Mr. Musgrove: Roger Hammond, 1994
  • Charles Musgrove: Simon Russel Beale, 1994
  • Mary Musgrove: Amanda Hale, 2007
  • Henrietta Musgrove: Rosamund Stephen, 2007
  • Louisa Musgrove: Jennifer Higham, 2007
  • Mr. Elliot: Tobias Menzies, 2007
  • Mrs. Clay: Mary Stockley, 2007
  • Mr. Shepard: Michael Fenton Stephens, 2007
  • Mrs. Smith: Helen Schlesinger, 1994
  • Nurse Rook: Jane Wood, 1994
  • Captain Benwick: Paul Chapman, 1971
  • Captain Harville: Michael Carver, 1971

Julian Mitchell, who wrote the 1971 version, would be the writer; however, there are some other scenes I would like added. The 1971 version is already four hours long, what is a few more minutes?
  • I would like the scene of little Charles dislocating his collarbone from the 1994 version.
  • I would also like it if the Mrs. Smith West Indies property storyline would be included. It is not included in any of the versions and I believe it shows what kind of man Captain Wentworth truly is. He barely knows Mrs. Smith, but offers to help her because she is Anne's friend.
  • The scene from the 2007 version where Elizabeth gets angry with Anne for attracting the attention of Mr. Elliot should also be added. Elizabeth had hoped that Mr. Elliot would marry her and the fact that he preferred Anne did create some animosity.
  • In "Captain Wentworth's Diary" Wentworth wonders if he is staying in Anne's room. I think he should and this should be shown in the movie.
  • I enjoyed Anne writing in her diary about her feelings toward Wentworth from the 2007 version. I know Anne does not write in the book, but I thought it was a nice way to get some of her views across. In the 1971 version Anne had some Shakespearesque soliloquies that provided this information. I do think the diary is better.
  • In the 2007 version Captain Wentworth and Captain Harville are walking on the cobb and Harville comments on how Wentworth must be extremely upset to see his betrothed in such a state. Wentworth immediately says he is not betrothed to Louisa. I thought this was an important scene. It lets viewers know what people think will happen and what Wentworth is really feeling.
  • I would also enjoy it if the scene where Captain Wentworth makes a request on behalf of the Admiral from the 2007 version were included. It is not in the published version of "Persuasion", but is a scene that was deleted.
  • I would also like to see the scene from the 1994 version that shows Captain Wentworth being written into the Baronetage.
  • Finally for the end scene and I know it's not in the book, but I truly enjoy it, is the scene from the 1994 version where Anne is aboard ship with Captain Wentworth and they are sailing about. It is a tough decision though because in the 2007 version Captain Wentworth buys Kellynch Hall for Anne, which is also a nice ending.
Does anyone have a preference?

I am torn about costumes. I believe I prefer the 2007 version for the men although I like seeing Captain Wentworth in his uniform in the 1994 version. For the women I can scarcely decide. I don't like what Anne wears in the 2007 version; it seems too worn. I can't even remember what Anne wears in the 1994 version, but I believe it was very plain. I think for the women it would be the dresses from the 1971 version, but perhaps the bonnets of the 2007 version. However, Mrs. Croft, Admiral Croft, and Lady Russel should dress as they did in the 1994 version. I think the hairstyles from the 2007 version although I liked how the 1994 version had Anne's hair change when she went to Bath. Anne does change when she goes to Bath not because she really changes, but because Captain Wentworth's view of her changes. So I'd like to see that change in the all time version of "Persuasion."

For the sets, I think I would go for the 2007 version of the sets. I enjoyed its Kellynch Hall the best and also thought its other choices were nice. It also had beautiful sweeping views of Bath.

I believe that this group of actors would make for the best version of "Persuasion." My one friend belongs to a Regency group through Yahoo and when the 2007 version was released were in an uproar because Wenworth and Anne kiss on a street in Bath in public. This would have never been done in my age. However, in the 1994 version Anne and Wentworth kiss in public on a street in Bath and in the 1971 version Anne and Wentworth kiss at a card party in front of numerous guests. So it appears that after 8 1/2 years of separation no version can keep the two lovers from creating a social faux pas.

If I could only watch one version for the rest of my life it would have to be the 1971 version. Ann Firbank is a perfect Anne, but her hair in the movie is a little more Victorian than Regency; I have discovered though that Anne always has frightful hair. I wonder why. Bryan Marshall is a wonderful Captain Wentworth. He is rugged enough to be a sailor and yet handsome enough to inspire a lasting love. I would have liked to see him in uniform, but only the 1994 version does that. Bryan Marshall looks like a modern day Matthew MacFadyen and we all remember how he bewitched us body and soul. Although I believe no one made a better Mr. Elliot than Tobias Menzies. I enjoyed him immensely in the HBO series Rome and was glad to see he looked just a delicious in Regency garb as he did in a toga.

So this is my Persuasion fantasy team. It may not win the Super Bowl, but it would surely win any Janenite's approval.


  1. Guess I'll have to get the 1971 version. I love the 1994 one, though. And Persuasion is my favorite novel (well, my name is Ann, and my husband was a naval officer--he's retired now.)

  2. I was like you and thought the 1994 one could not be beat. I did truly like the 1971 version though. It's four hours long, which I thought was too long, but it's not. I love how your name is Ann and you married a naval officer. I think I'd like that as well.

  3. "Willowby" is actually spelled "Willoughby". Beyond that, marvelous blog! Keep it up!


    Marjorie Gilbert
    author of THE RETURN, a historical novel set in Georgian England

  4. Majorie,
    I knew that and yet I guess I wasn't thinking. I changed it and also added a few more bad boys. It was hard choosing a bad boy from "Northanger Abbey" there are so many. I will check out your book. Thanks and I hope you enjoy.

  5. Thanks for your comment! I know that Tilney isn't the most handsome of the Austen heroes, but he seems to have the most personality... when I say that I mean he is genuinely funny and kind to Catherine. Not that Wentworth, Darcy, Edward, or Edmund aren't kind to the heroine, it's just it takes them a little more time to warm up to whatever woman they are pursuing. And yes, actor who plays Henry Tilney is extremely HAWT!

    BTW: Wonderful comparison of both Persuasion movies :)

  6. I must say, Ciaran Hinds as Wentworth will always have my heart. And Amanda Root was sublime! JMHO, anyway... :-)

  7. I love Ciaran Hinds in Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, but I must admit to loving Bryan Marshall...I'm not sure what it is about him, but there's something. I must admit though that my taste in men leans toward to clean-cut incredibly good guy who most women think has no meat. I however think him absolutely wonderful...perhaps because I've dated so many jerks. I really want a Wentworth.