If You Like….

Since I did 1920s set costume dramas last week, it seemed like a natural (if somewhat chronologically backwards) progression to look at Regency costume dramas this week.

So, if you like Regency-set costume dramas, you’ll probably like….

— the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle Pride and Prejudice. Let’s not beat around the bush with any of those other adaptations; this one does a gorgeous job of bringing Lizzy and Darcy to life (and, occasionally, dunking him in the lake);

— the Ciaran Hinds/Amanda Root Persuasion, one of the most romantic movies I’ve ever seen (and a constant re-watch during the early days of writing the Pink books);

— the relatively recent Masterpiece Theatre Northanger Abbey, which finally, finally gave us a good adaptation of one of my favorite Austen novels (as opposed to the rather lugubrious adaptation I remember from my youth);

— the Emma Thompson/Kate Winslet Sense And Sensibility— or perhaps I should just call it the Alan Rickman Sense & Sensibility?

— the Sharpe series, particularly Sharpe’s Rifles, which show a very different Regency from the Austenian drawing room as we delve into the nitty gritty of the Peninsular War (also, two words: SEAN BEAN);

— and, for the naval side of things, the Ioan Gruffud Horatio Hornblower (this, like the Pink books, is actually pre-Regency, but when it comes to costume drama joy, what’s a decade here or there?);

— and, finally, for sheer fun, Barbara Cartland’s A Hazard of Hearts, with Helena Bonham-Carter as Miss Serena Staverly, Christopher Plummer as the father who gambles her away in a game of cards, and– so much joy– Diana Rigg as the hero’s villainous mother. And, yes, there is actually a villain who utters the phrase: “She will be mine. Oh, yes, she will be mine.” (In tones of intense boredom, which makes it even better.) My little sister and I can recite much of this film by heart.

What are your favorite Regency-set costume dramas?


  1. E on January 21, 2014 at 10:16 am

    The Northanger Abbey adaptation was really cute and one of my favorite Austen adaptations (I also can’t really say no to any version of Persuasion), but I will say that the Masterpiece version edited some scenes presumably for time and possibly content (there was an apple-tossing scene and a dream with Catherine in a bathtub cut, I beleive). I was a bit annoyed when I found that out, and since then I’ve sorta leaned towards watching the original version, if I can.

    I will also take this time to “pimp” Supersizers again and say that Supersizers Go has a Regency episode! 😀 I think Sue and Giles are playing brother and sister in that one, and IIRC there was a funny scene with Sue at a ball. (You have to do a post with French Revolution Lauren, b/c their episode for that time period was pretty insane.)

  2. jeffrey on January 21, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    You have listed my very favorite film adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels. My favorite adaptation not on your list? Masterpiece Theater’s Emma with Romola Garai, Johnny Lee Miller and a sterling performance by Michael Gambon as Mr. Woodhouse.

  3. Pam on January 21, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    The ITV/A&E version of Emma with Kate Beckinsale is also pretty great. It really captures, as does the Romola Garai production, Emma’s very fanciful imagination. Mark Strong gives a good performance as Mr. Knightly, but doesn’t have the dash of Johnny Lee Miller. Samantha Morton and Olivia Williams are wonderful as Harriet Smith and Jane Fairfax and the actor who plays Frank (can’t remember his name) is a perfect smooth cad.

  4. Pat D on January 21, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    I will have to look for a Hazard of Hearts. It sounds like fun. I am drawing a blank on Regency era set films. Sharpe of course. Fell in love with the books before I ever saw Sean Bean playing him.

  5. Elizabeth Lefebvre on January 21, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    Vanity Fair, the version with Lynley… yes, he will always be Lynley. Beau Brummell: This Charming Man, mmm, James Purefoy!

    Also, for shame Lauren, how could you not mention The Scarlet Pimpernel with Anthony Andrews! Also the Richard E Grant one is ok too.

    For Regency/Naval, add on To the Ends of the Earth, mmm, Benedict Cumberbatch, I’ve loved you for so long…

  6. DJ on January 23, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Oh my gosh! I loooove Hazard of Hearts, Diana Rigg is so campy–“I must be alone with my thoughts.” The film is so over the top it really shouldn’t work, but it totally does!

  7. Suzanne on January 25, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    When I get into a regency/Georgian mood I like to watch a historical progression of movies from:

    Build up to the revolution – Scaramouche (Stewart Granger)
    The revolution – The Sscarlet Pimpernel (Anthony Andrews) & Don’t Lose Your head (Sid James)
    The Napoleonic Wars – Desiree (Jean Simmons) & War & Peace (Audrey Hepburn)
    General regency era – The Man In Grey (James Mason), Duel Of Hearts (Michael York) & Pride & Prejudice (Laurence Olivier)

    So to be contrary, but I really didn’t like the P&P with Colin Firth. He is dreamy, but I still preferred the old black & white version.

    I was really surprized that nobody mentioned The Man In Grey. It is a terrific 1940s British melodrama and I must have watched it about 20 times over the past 20 years.

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