Me and Jane and the Zombies

My Jane Austen dolly

It has become evident that I’m not going to get any serious writing or editing done before the end of the year so I’ve decided to rift on the most boring thing about me: I’m obsessed with Jane Austen and will watch just about any production inspired by her work. Especially when I’m not feeling well. She can always squeeze a happy tear out of me.

In my defense, I’m not quite as looney as many so-called Janeites who dress in bonnets and empire waist dresses and have tea parties in the garden. 

But I did watch Pride and Prejudice and Zombies all the way through. Actually, other than the fact that the Bennett sisters are zombie killers, the plot is fairly close to the original.

That’s not always the case with P & P.  In the first film version (1940), the producers changed the time period to the late 1800s so that Greer Garson could dress and act more like Scarlett O’Hara and less like, well, Elizabeth Bennett. Then they compounded their tomfoolery by casting that obnoxious gasbag Sir Lawrence Olivier as Darcy. But it could have been worse. They originally tried to cast Clark Gable in the part. 

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the character of Fitzwilliam Darcy cannot be played by just any actor.  He or she has to be able to capture a character who is beyond stinky rich and prickly as a cactus but also kind and generous. Not to mention sensitive. But not too sensitive. In the 2003 version of P & P a little known Scottish actor plays opposite Kiera Knightley. She does a decent job as Elizabeth but he looks at times like he’s going to cry.  No, no, no.  Darcy is a Englishman gentleman and they do not cry!  Stiff upper lip and all that!

I also do not want to see Elizabeth and Darcy as a bickering married couple, as in the 2013 film Death Comes to Pemberley.  Even if Wickham is accused of murder and Darcy is forced to defend him for reasons that make no sense, Darcy and Elizabeth do not bicker.  They all out fight. Then they make up. Darcy gets wet, and, well, you know.

Speaking of wet Darcys, in the 1995 PBS miniseries, Colin Firth did the impossible. He pulled off Darcy. And for his efforts, look what they did to the poor guy.

They turned him into a swamp monster.

Happy New Years everyone!

Where were you?

I remember exactly where I was when it happened: On a rocking chair trying to get an obstinate six-month old to go to sleep. The television was on but I wasn’t really watching the football game. That is, until Howard Cosell stopped his play-by-play to make an announcement he felt couldn’t wait. John Lennon was dead.

The baby sensed my shock and settled down. I put him in his crib.  Then I went into the next room, turned off the light, crawled into bed, and covered my head with  blankets. I stayed that way until noon of the following day. Only the week before I’d heard Lennon on the radio, returning from a five year hiatus from the lusting, grasping hands of adoring fans.  He needed to get off the carousel, as he said, and learn to bake bread.

Although there are many great songs on his last album, Starting Over, I wish he’d become a baker instead.  Many of you were probably in diapers (or perhaps not even a twinkle in your father’s eyes) and have no memories whatsoever of those dark days that followed his death but for me, it was the end of a dream.