1. BBC Emma (1972)
Emma Woodhouse is beautiful, clever and wealthy (the only Austenean heroine to own all these “virtues”) but also spoilt and a bit snob. Readers, especially Austen’s contemporary readers, shouldn’t like her much since Emma definitely lacks the common sense, balance and measure of other heroines. Yet, even with her faults and her mistakes, the character of Emma is drawn to get sympathy and understanding; the reader tends to forgive her and to side with her in a totally irrational way. Emma’s defects, constantly underlined in the text, make her the perfect anti-heroine: she is not particularly accomplished, she has been educated by too an indulgent father
and too a friendly governess, she has great self-esteem and tends to misinterpret reality according to her wishes. In a few words, she is not “by the book”, if we think of the 18th century “conduct - books” about the education of girls belonging to high society. But , of course, Jane Austen, is mocking those clichés, so her Emma is not only beautiful and intelligent but , above all, free. It is Mr Knightley himself to acknowledge that Emma is perfect with all her imperfections. And it is for her being so humanly imperfect that we still like her so much nowadays.
Now let’s go back to my overdose of Emma. Let’s see…The oldest version, Bbc 1972, is the nearest to the original text but the ITV adaptation is the one I liked best, though I didn’t mind the film with Gwyneth Paltrow at all. For a more deatailed and technical review of all the adaptations there’s a very good blog HERE.
What I want to propose to you now is a comparison between the 3 different final proposals. Watch the three clips and decide which is your favourite one. I’m in a crisis ‘cause I can’t choose between Mark Strong’s and Jeremy Northam’s versions of the scene. Which Mr Knightley do you prefer?
1. MR KNIGHTLEY ‘S PROPOSAL (BBC 1972)
Doran Godwin & John Carson
2. MR KNIGHTLEY'S PROPOSAL (ITV - 1996)