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Masterpiece Theatre: Mansfield Park
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In one of Austens 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 Fannys observant aunt.
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Often what the play writes do to trim down the originals is to create a crib note version, what they did in the Billie Piper version is create a crib note version of a crib note version, thus deleting every single nuance to this wonderful novel.
I like Billie Piper, and I find her to be a very pretty young actress, but what they tried to do here is to fit a 21st century beauty into an 18th century story...and they failed.
I originally tried to purchase this through Amazon, but the seller ran out of copies so I bought it at another site. Now after seeing it, I realized that I wasted my money.
From the beginning, the script felt rushed. While I understand not every movie can afford to be three hours long, I do feel there were too many pivotal character scenes completely cut for the sake of time. As a result, you can see the potential but also see how much it fell short of all it could have offered.
Still in terms of acting, I felt the actors did well with what they had to work with and they did not seem overly cheesy or robotic. Also, some of the scenes display some rather stunning views of the land. In the end, however, not even the actors could hide the short falls of the script.
I would recommend watching it at least once if you are looking for a period movie, but if you are trying to decide on which version of the Mansfield Park movies to own - this would be my second choice - my first being the 1999 version (I have yet to watch the 1983 TV series version).