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Masterpiece Theatre: Mansfield Park

181 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

In one of Austen's most complex plots, Billie Piper (Doctor Who, The Ruby in the Smoke) stars as Fanny Price, who goes to live with prosperous relatives at Mansfield Park. Fanny navigates a labyrinth of intrigues and affairs among the occupants of the house, while her cousin Edmund Bertram (Blake Ritson, Inspector Lynley Mysteries) remains her stalwart confidant. Also starring Jemma Redgrave (Bramwell) as Fannyís observant aunt.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Billie Piper, Blake Ritson
  • Directors: Iain B. MacDonald
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: January 29, 2008
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000Z27HMW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,663 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Masterpiece Theatre: Mansfield Park" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

276 of 296 people found the following review helpful By Marcy G. on December 18, 2007
Format: DVD
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen fans have yet to find an adaptation of "Mansfield Park" that truly does justice to the novel. "Pride & Prejudice" and "Persuasion" have their share of successes, with the 1995 versions and the recent versions having (for the most part) become instant classics and fan favorites. But not so for poor "Mansfield Park."

I wanted so badly to love this version, especially with all the press hoopla surrounding the casting of Billie Piper (Dr. Who). The 1980s version starring Sylvestra Le Touzel remains the most faithful adaptation of the book, but has become outdated, is slow moving and tends to drag in places. The 1990s version starring Frances O'Connor is an anathema to Austen purists. This is Mansfield Park in name only, and is a slap on the face for true fans of the book. In short, Janeites were ready for a new and improved adaptation of "Mansfield Park."

Sadly though, this new version falls short of expectations. If you have not read the book, then you will probably like it. If you have - and especially if you count yourself as an Austen purist - then there are many aspects of this version that you may find irritating (or worse..).

I dislike starting my reviews on a negative note, but I was disappointed with this one. Among the shortcomings are as follows (warning - SPOILERS):

- Casting of Billie Piper and Maggie O'Neill. Personally, I find Billie's blonde hair and dark eyebrows very distracting and far too modern for a period piece. Ladies in the Regency era tied their hair back in a bun but the filmmakers totally disregarded this and left Billie to run around like a wild child instead of a proper Regency lady.
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108 of 120 people found the following review helpful By Price Grisham on January 29, 2008
Format: DVD
As an Austen scholar, I was bracing myself for something that would take liberties with the novel, but it seems that the screenwriter must surely have read only the Cliff notes. Even then, the early part's first-person narrative made me wonder if s/he had picked up her abbreviated version of Jane Eyre instead. An estate called Mansfield Park is indeed involved, but that's about as close it gets.

Even such a massive rewrite might have been tolerable with some accurate historical research, but there are SO many funny mistakes in the representation of both the characters and the period that it was hard to believe this production could appear on (the program once known as) Masterpiece Theatre.

One could hardly determine which was longer and bounced more--Fanny's full and unbound hair or her full and nearly unbound cleavage, as the charity-case companion races shrieking and laughing through the estate. Nor should you look for the novel's complacent, drowsy, plump Lady Bertram (for whom so many have a secret affection); the beautiful but miscast Jemma Redgrave presents an elegant, intelligent mother with sharp insight.

But there's worse. When Henry Crawford drags Maria behind the curtain and declares himself her lover as they grope and grab, I nearly gagged; and when Edmund sits next to a sprawling Fanny after the picnic (no ball) and tells her how lovely she looks, I did gag. Plus, Fanny's absolutely central visit to Portsmith is axed. I don't mind streamlining when the end product is smooth and historically and literarily accurate, but this production was jumpy and jumbled.
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68 of 78 people found the following review helpful By wisdomstar on January 27, 2008
Format: DVD
While Mansfield Park is not the most appealing of the Austen novels, it deserved a better effort than this latest version. Most fans of Austen have read the original books, so we understand much of the manners, custom and dress of the times, and have certain expectations. Other reviewers have pointed out the problems, and I agree with them. I also could not get past Fanny's appearance (which was more like a bar maid than even a servant) to have any empathy for the character. I did not understand the director's decision to dress everyone else in the piece for the period and not the main character. Keeping every scene in one spot and mostly in the same room might have been cost effective but hardly does justice to the richer world that Austen was so adept at portraying. Although I own most DVD versions of other Austen productions, I know I will not want to see this again. My recommendation is to watch it on PBS or rent it before you buy.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Loves to read on January 29, 2008
Format: DVD
As an ardent Jane Austen fan, I shuddered with horror at this production. It bore little resemblance to the book. I can't begin to write about how wrong everything was, so I'll keep my comments to a few of the main characters.

Instead of a shy, retiring, timid, somewhat delicate Fanny Price we get a robust serving wench of a girl - all bosoms and teeth with wildchild hair. The difference between Jane Austen's Fanny and her cousins is intended to compare a poor girl with uncompromising moral principles to a group of worldly, indolent young people who pursue pleasure unencumbered by such principles. (Even the steady, religious-minded Edmund goes off course; Fanny - never.)

In this production, I saw a healthy, active girl who bounces about. She takes part in the play staged by the Bertram children and their friends the Crawfords and runs shrieking and grabbing people at a picnic. The Fanny in the book refuses to take part in the play, even when asked by her beloved cousin because it's against her morals. Somehow I can't imagine Ms. Austen intended her to be the life of the party at a picnic. Thus a most important theme in the book is lost.

Aunt Bertram seemed to become a somewhat shrewd character instead of the woman who would plaintively ask others what she should think and who would placidly agree with stronger personalities. Lady Bertram is supposed to an example of egoistic indolence and sloth. In her, Jane Austen creates a satirical stereotype of manners and customs.

Aunt Norris, that selfish busybody who's persecution of Fanny and blind adoration of Maria underscores her foolishness fades in importance.
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I have a question
None of the movie versions of Mansfield Park quite captures the book or has the appeal of the other Jane Austen movies. For sticking closest to the book the 1983 mini-series is good but incredibly dull. For adding the sparkle but straying in places from the book Patricia Rozema's 1999 version... Read More
Apr 27, 2008 by Emily Ragsdale |  See all 4 posts
Mansfield Park Billie Piper
According to Wikipedia the drama ran for 2 hours including commercial breaks on ITV in the UK and it was 90 minutes without the breaks. The American DVD which I have lists its running time as 86 minutes, although my DVD player shows it as being only 84 minutes. There is a version posted on... Read More
Mar 5, 2011 by calamarisoup |  See all 3 posts
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