Reused Costumes – 1999

Quite a few of the costumes in the 1999 version of ‘Mansfield Park’ have been reused  from or in other productions. Here is a list I’ve collected from

A pink dress worn by an extra at Fanny’s ball was also worn by Mrs. Forster (Victoria Hamilton) in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (1995), an extra at the Westons’ ball in ‘Emma’ (1996), an extra in ‘St. Ives’ (1998), an extra in ‘Quills’ (2000), an extra in ‘Byron’ (2003), and an extra at a ball in London in ‘Sense and Sensibility’ (2008).

1 pink dress

1 Pride and Prejudice 1 1 Pride and Prejudice 2 1 Pride and Prejudice 3

1 Emma 1 1 Emma 2 1 Emma 3

1 Byron

1 Sense and Sensibility

The long, green coat that Susan Price wears was also worn by Charlotte Lucas (Lucy Scott) in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (1995), by Clara Copperfield (Emelia Fox) to her husband’s funereal in ‘David Copperfield’ (1999), by Annabella, Lady Byron (Julie Cox) in ‘Byron’ (2003), and by Kitty Bennet (Florence Hoath) at Jane’s wedding in ‘Lost in Austen’ (2008).

2 long green coat 1 2 long green coat 2 2 long green coat 3

2 Pride and Prejudice 3 2 Pride and Prejudice 1 2 Pride and Prejudice 2

2 Byron 1 2 Byron 2 2 Byron 3

Mary Crawford wears a wine colored, gold embroidered dress while rehearsing ‘Lovers’ Vows’. This costume was also worn by Lady Frances Nelson (Anna Massey) in ‘I Remember Nelson’ (1982), Martha Brett (Belinda Lang) in ‘The Bretts (1987), an extra in ‘Duel of Hearts’ (1991), Lady Apthorpe (Jacqueline Pearce) in ‘Princess Caraboo’ (1994), an extra at the ball in London in ‘Sense and Sensibility’ (1995), in ‘Napoleon’ (2002), Lady Holland (Jane How) in ‘Byron’ (2003), and Sue Perkins in ‘The Supersizers Go: French Revolution’ (2009).

3 gold embroidered wine overdress 1 3 gold embroidered wine overdress 2

3 Sense and Sensibility 1 3 Sense and Sensibility 2 3 Sense and Sensibility 3

3 Byron

The cream, embroidered dress Maria Bertram wears was reused as a dressing gown on Fanny Dorrit (Emma Pierson) in ‘Little Dorrit’ (2008). It is also worn by Maria Oldknow (Carice van Houten) in ‘From Time to Time’ (2009) and Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) in ‘Austenland’ (2013).

4 embroidered cream dress 1 4 embroidered cream dress 2 4 embroidered cream dress 3

4 Little Dorrit 1 4 Little Dorrit 2 4 Little Dorrit 3

4 From Time to Time 1 4 From Time to Time 2 4 From Time to Time 3

4 Austenland 1 4 Austenland 3 4 Austenland 2

The green dress with red trim worn by a woman in London with Henry Crawford was previously worn by Fanny Dashwood (Harriet Walter) in ‘Sense and Sensibility’ (1995).

5 green dress with red trim 1 5 green dress with red trim 2

5 Sense and Sensibility 1 5 Sense and Sensibility 2 5 Sense and Sensibility 3

Mrs. Norris’s yellow dress is also worn by Mrs. Meagles (Janine Duvitski) at Arthur Clennam’s wedding in ‘Little Dorrit’ (2008) and an extra at the Westons’ ball in ‘Emma’ (2009).

6 yellow dress 1 6 yellow dress 2 6 yellow dress 3

6 Little Dorrit 1 6 Little Dorrit 2 6 Little Dorrit 3

Susan’s striped, drop-front day dress was also worn by a maid in ‘Byron’ (2003), an extra in ‘Eroica’ (2003), Marianne Dashwood (Charity Wakefield) in London in ‘Sense and Sensibility’ (2008), and Hanna (Mary Roscoe) in ‘Great Expectations’ (2011). A dress from the same fabric but with different sleeves and lacking the drop-front is worn by Mrs. Morland (Helen Fraser) in ‘Northanger Abbey’ (1986), Harriet Wantage (Suzanna Hamilton) in ‘Duel of Hearts’ (1991), Ella (Kate Ashfield) in ‘Princess Caraboo’ (1994), and by Harriet Smith (Toni Collette) to receive Mr. Elton’s charade in ‘Emma’ (1996).

7 striped drop-front day dress 1 7 striped drop-front day dress 2 7 striped drop-front day dress 3

7 Sense and Sensibility 1 7 Sense and Sensibility 2 7 Sense and Sensibility 3

7 Great Expectations 1 7 Great Expectations 2 7 Great Expectations 3

7 Emma 1 7 Emma 2 7 Emma 3

The red print gown worn by Mrs. Norris has the distinction of being used in two versions of Mansfield Park, being also worn by Mary Crawford (Hayley Atwell) at Maria’s wedding in ‘Mansfield Park’ (2007). It is also worn by Lady Russell (Susan Fleetwood) at the party at Camden Place in ‘Persuasion’ (1995), Catherine Bigg (played by ?) in ‘The Real Jane Austen’ (2002), a guest at a London ball in ‘Byron’ (2003), Elizabeth Devonport to dinner in ‘The Regency House Party’ (2004), Anne Steele (Daisy Haggard) to dinner in London in ‘Sense & Sensibility’ (2008), and Mrs. Bennet (Alex Kingston) in ‘Lost in Austen’ (2008).

8 Mansfield Park 3 8 Mansfield Park 2 8 Mansfield Park 1

ITV ARCHIVE 8 red print gown 3 8 red print gown 2

8 Persuasion 1 8 Persuasion 3 8 Persuasion 2

8 Byron 1 8 Byron 2


8 Sense and Sensibility 1 8 Sense and Sensibility 3 8 Sense and Sensibility 2

8 Lost in Austen 1 8 Lost in Austen 3 8 Lost in Austen 2

The pale blue spencer Julia Bertram wears at the end was previously worn by Georgiana Darcy (Emilia Fox) in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (1995).

9 pale blue spencer 1 9 pale blue spencer 2 9 pale blue spencer 3

9 Pride and Prejudice 1 9 Pride and Prejudice 2 9 Pride and Prejudice 3

Lady Bertram’s green dress with the sheer overlay was previously worn by Elizabeth Bennet (Jennifer Ehle) in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (1995) and subsequently worn by an extra in ‘Doctor Who: A Good Man Goes to War’ (2011).

10 green dress with sheer overlay 1 10 green dress with sheer overlay 2 10 green dress with sheer overlay 3

10 Pride and Prejudice 1 10 Pride and Prejudice 2 10 Pride and Prejudice 3

The pink spencer Julia wears in London with the Rushworths was also worn by Kitty Bennet (Polly Maberly) in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (1995), an extra in ‘Emma’ (1996), Henrietta Musgrove (Rosamund Stephen) in ‘Persuasion’ (2007), a Miss Martin at Harriet Smith’s wedding in ‘Emma’ (2009).

11 pink spencer

11 Pride and Prejudice 1 11 Pride and Prejudice 2 11 Pride and Prejudice 3

11 Emma 96 1 11 Emma 96 2

11 Persuasion 1 11 Persuasion 2 11 Persuasion 3

11 Emma 2009


Disclaimer: I have not seen, nor do I recommend, all of the movies mentioned in this post.

Objections to ‘Mansfield Park’ (1999)

8I have not watched Patricia Rozema’s adaptation of Mansfield Park myself, so I cannot discuss it thoroughly. As an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel, however, I have a few remarks to make concerning it.

In her guest post for Sarah Emsley’s blog, in honor of the bicentennial of Mansfield Park’s publication, Judith Thompson writes,

I’ve always suspected that there’s more to Fanny, and her creator, than there appears. One need not turn Austen’s mousy heroine into a cheeky ironist (a la Patricia Rozema) or a sullen rebel (a la Billie Piper), to find something appealing in her introverted independence, unshakeable integrity and undemonstrative opposition to the follies of her cousins. One need only recognize that, like her author, she takes in a lot more than she lets on.

— from “Adopting Affection” by Judith Thompson.


“Sullen rebel” is a good description for Billie Piper’s rendition of Fanny Price (in the 2007 adaptation), and I suspect that “cheeky ironist” is as apt for Patricia Rozema’s version of Mansfield Park’s heroine (played by Frances O’Conner). In this adaptation, Fanny is portrayed as an exuberant young writer. Her stories are taken from Jane Austen’s own juvenilia. An incident from Jane Austen’s life is also used. At one point, Jane Austen accepted a marriage proposal from Harris Bigg-Wither, an acceptance which she rescinded the next morning. Imitating this, Fanny is made to actually accept Henry Crawford’s proposal when he comes to visit her in Portsmouth, subsequently withdrawing her consent. Even apart from this incident, involving as it does very un-Fanny-like behaviour, Fanny’s character suffers a complete makeover in this movie. She is given a snarky, spirited personality, resembling Miss Crawford much more than she does Jane Austen’s Fanny Price. I submit that, if you especially dislike the main character of a novel, as Patricia Rozema obviously did, you should find a different book to adapt.

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Another distressing change from Jane Austen’s novel is this movie’s presentation of Sir Thomas as a hypocrite — holding his children to a strict standard while he himself is lecherous and self-indulgent. The slave trade was made into a theme in this movie, and Sir Thomas is made into a wicked slave owner — cruelly punishing and sexually abusing his slaves. In Jane Austen’s novel, whatever Sir Thomas’s dealings with the slave trade, they were nothing he was ashamed to discuss publicly, as shown by the single (for there is only one) mention of the slave trade in the book:

Edmund: “You are one of those who are too silent in the evening circle.”

Fanny: “But I do talk to [my uncle] more than I used. I am sure I do. Did not you hear me ask him about the slave-trade last night?”

Edmund: “I did — and was in hopes the question would be followed up by others. It would have pleased your uncle to be inquired of farther.”

Fanny: “And I longed to do it — but there was such a dead silence! And while my cousins were sitting by without speaking a word, or seeming at all interested in the subject, I did not like — I thought it would appear as if I wanted to set myself off at their expense, by shewing a curiosity and pleasure in his information which he must wish his own daughters to feel.” (Ch. 21)

1 6

Obviously, if Sir Thomas was the kind of man Patricia Rozema made him into, he would not have been pleased to be asked about this subject, or wish his daughters to be curious about it. That abolition was a respectable position among such circles is shown by its brief discussion in Emma:

Jane Fairfax: “When I am quite determined as to the time, I am not at all afraid of being long unemployed. There are places in town, offices, where inquiry would soon produce something — Offices for the sale — not quite of human flesh — but of human intellect.”

Mrs. Elton: “Oh! my dear, human flesh! You quite shock me; if you mean a fling at the slave-trade, I assure you Mr. Suckling was always rather a friend to the abolition.”

“I did not mean, I was not thinking of the slave-trade,” replied Jane; “governess-trade, I assure you, was all that I had in view; widely different certainly as to the guilt of those who carry it on …” (Ch. 17)

A lot of quotation shuffling occurs in this adaptation. In case you were wondering, in the book it is Mary Crawford who refers to marriage as “a manoeuvring business”, not Fanny. It is Mrs. Grant who says that, “If one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another.” It is Northanger Abbey’s Catherine Morland who comments about history books that “the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all … and yet I often think it odd that it should be so dull, for a great deal of it must be invention” (ch. 14). I believe that in this adaptation, all of these lines are given to Fanny.


There are many other significant changes from Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. Fanny’s beloved brother William is expunged. Instead, Fanny writes satiric letters to her sister Susan, who tells her at one point, “Your tongue is sharper than a guillotine, Fanny.” Lady Bertram is turned into an opium addict. Instead of being a care-free pleasure-seeker, Tom Bertram is presented as a disturbed artist. At one point, Fanny comes across his drawings of his father’s abuse of his slaves. These drawings along with a scene of Maria Rushworth and Henry Crawford committing adultery (at Mansfield Park itself, no less), make this movie fully deserve its PG-13 rating.


All of these changes (and there are more) do disservice to Jane Austen’s masterful novel. The new story may not be bad, but it is not Jane Austen’s — though, no doubt her name gave it more publicity. But, whether or not this movie is good independent of its connection to Jane Austen, it does not deserve the title ‘Mansfield Park’.

Reused Costumes – 2007

Quite a few of the costumes in the 2007 version of ‘Mansfield Park’ have been reused  from other productions. Here is a list I’ve collected from and

The dark patterned muslin gown worn by Fanny Price at Maria’s wedding is the same gown Mrs. Dashwood (Gemma Jones) wears when Edward comes to Barton Cottage in ‘Sense and Sensibility’ (1995) when Edward comes to Barton Cottage, Miss Briggs (Janet Dale) wears at Park Lane in ‘Vanity Fair’ (1998), Mrs. Curtain (Pauline Moran) wears when Byron arrives for the wedding in ‘Byron’ (2003), and an wears extra at the Meryton Assembly Ball in ‘Pride & Prejudice’ (2005).

ITV ARCHIVE 1 dark patterned gown 2 1 dark patterned gown 3

1 Sense and Sensibility 1 1 Sense and Sensibility 2 1 Sense and Sensibility 3

1 Byron

1 Pride and Prejudice

The windowpane check gown worn by Fanny Price to cut lavender is the same gown worn by Elinor Dashwood (Emma Thompson) in ‘Sense and Sensibility’ (1995), Alice Cottisloe (Honeysuckle Weeks) in ‘Victoria Wood with All the Trimmings’ (‘Plots and Proposals’, 2000), an extra at the London party where Byron meets Annabella Milbanke in ‘Byron’ (2003), Victoria Hopkins in ‘The Regency House Party’ (2004), Henrietta Musgrove (Rosamund Stephen) in ‘Persuasion’ (2007), and Isabella Linton (Nicola Burley) in ‘Wuthering Heights’ (2011).

2 windowpane check gown 1 2 windowpane check gown 2 2 windowpane check gown 3

2 Sense and Sensibility 1 2 Sense and Sensibility 2 2 Sense and Sensibility 3

2 Persuasion 1 2 Persuasion 2 2 Persuasion 3

2 Wuthering Heights 1 2 Wuthering Heights 2 2 Wuthering Heights 3

The gown of patterned gray muslin worn by Fanny during the play rehearsal scene is the same gown worn by Sally Hemings (Thandie Newton) in ‘Jefferson in Paris’ (1995) and by Sarah (Jessica Oyelowo) in ‘Sleepy Hollow’ (1999).

3 patterned gray 1 3 patterned gray 2 3 patterned gray 3

The white muslin dress with yellow overdress Maria wears during the scene in which Sir Thomas asks her if she still wants to marry Mr. Rushworth is the same gown Marianne Dashwood (Kate Winslet) wears in ‘Sense and Sensibility’ (1995) and a farmhouse servant wears in ‘Eroica’ (2003).

4 yellow overdress 1 4 yellow overdress 2 4 yellow overdress 3

raison et sentiments 4 Sense and Sensibility 2 4 Sense and Sensibility 3

In the play rehearsal scene, Tom Bertram wears a brocade suit that was also worn by Sir Walter Elliot (Corin Redgrave) in ‘Persuasion’ (1995) in which he tries to induce Anne to accompany him to Lady Dalrymple’s.

5 brocade suit 1 5 brocade suit 2 5 brocade suit 3

5 Persuasion 1 5 Persuasion 2 5 Persuasion 3

The cream gown with red trim Mary Crawford wears to the picnic is the same costume Becky Sharp (Natasha Little) wears at the Sedley’s house in ‘Vanity Fair’ (1998) and Cesca Martin wears in ‘The Regency House Party’ (2004).

6 cream and red dress 1 6 cream and red dress 2 6 cream and red dress 3

The tan and black striped gown with a black crepe bow on the bodice worn by Lady Bertram in the final scene is the same gown worn by Mrs. Dashwood (Gemma Jones) to play cards at Barton Park in ‘Sense and Sensibility’ (1995), by Mrs. Lefroy (Wendy Craig) in ‘The Real Jane Austen’ (2002), by Lady Judith Milbanke (Penny Downie) at dinner, after Annabella returns to her parents’ house in ‘Byron’ (2003), by Rosemary Enright to dinner in ‘The Regency House Party’ (2004), by an extra at the Netherfield Ball in ‘Pride & Prejudice’ (2005), and by Lady Ludlow (Francesca Annis) in ‘Cranford’ (2007).

7 tan and black striped gown

7 Sense and Sensibility 1 7 Sense and Sensibility 2 7 Sense and Sensibility 3

7 Byron

7 Pride and Prejudice 1 7 Pride and Prejudice 2

CRANFORD Cranford Cranford

The red print gown worn by Mary Crawford has the distinction of being used in two versions of Mansfield Park, being also worn by Mrs. Norris (Sheila Gish) while Fanny reads the newspaper aloud in ‘Mansfield Park’ (1999), It is also worn by Lady Russell (Susan Fleetwood) at the party at Camden Place in ‘Persuasion’ (1995), Catherine Bigg (played by ?) in ‘The Real Jane Austen’ (2002), a guest at a London ball in ‘Byron’ (2003), Elizabeth Devonport to dinner in ‘The Regency House Party’ (2004), Anne Steele (Daisy Haggard) to dinner in London in ‘Sense & Sensibility’ (2008), and Mrs. Bennet (Alex Kingston) in ‘Lost in Austen’ (2008).

ITV ARCHIVE 8 red print gown 2 8 red print gown 3

8 Mansfield Park 1 8 Mansfield Park 2 8 Mansfield Park 3

8 Persuasion 1 8 Persuasion 2 8 Persuasion 3

8 Byron 1 8 Byron 2

8 Sense and Sensibility 1 8 Sense and Sensibility 2 8 Sense and Sensibility 3

8 Lost in Austen 1 8 Lost in Austen 2 8 Lost in Austen 3

The coat worn by Fanny to cut lavender was worn by Marianne Dashwood (Kate Winslet) in ‘Sense and Sensibility’ (1995), Francesca Martin in ‘Regency House Party’ (2004), and Harriet Smith (Louise Dylan) in ‘Emma’ (2009). (I’m not actually quite sure this is the same coat.)

9 gray coat 1 9 gray coat 2 9 gray coat 3

9 Sense and Sensibility 1 9 Sense and Sensibility 2 9 Sense and Sensibility 3

9 Emma 1 9 Emma 2 9 Emma 3

The waistcoat worn by Henry Crawford to Maria’s wedding was afterwards worn by Giles Goren in ‘Supersizers Go: Regency’ (2008) and by Mr. Knightley (Johnny Lee Miller) in ‘Emma’ (2009).

10 floral waistcoat 1 10 floral waistcoat 2 10 floral waistcoat 3

EMMA 10 Emma 2 10 Emma 3

A dress worn by Mrs. Norris when discussing young Fanny’s arrival was also worn by Maggie Jacobs (Ashley Jenson) in ‘Extras: Ross Kemp’ (2005) and by Mrs. Bates (Vallerie Lilley) in ‘Emma’ (2009).

11 gray striped dress 1 11 gray striped dress 2 11 gray striped dress 3

11 Emma 1 11 Emma 2

Mary Crawford’s riding costume is also worn by an extra in ‘Poldark’ (1996), Maria Oldknow (Carice Van Houten) in ‘From Time to Time’ (2009), and Tib Norcliffe (Susan Lynch) in ‘The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister’ (2010).

12 red riding habit 1 12 red riding habit 2 12 red riding habit 3

The traveling outfit Maria wears after her wedding was also worn by Mary, Third Duchess of Richmond (Carmen Du Sautoy) in ‘Aristocrats’ (1999), an extra in ‘The Golden Bowl’ (2000), an “extra” (Katherine Parkinson) in ‘Extras: Ross Kemp’ (2005), and Lady Sarah (Lyndsey Marshal) in ‘Garrow’s Law’ (2009).

ITV ARCHIVE ITV ARCHIVE 13 striped traveling costume 3


Disclaimer: I have not seen, nor do I recommend, all of the movies mentioned in this post.

Review of ‘Mansfield Park’ (2007)

I was not favorably impressed with this adaptation of Mansfield Park. I had not high hopes for it when I first saw it, and it does not improve with re-watching. Where is the gentlemanly, high-minded Sir Thomas? Where the nasty, over-bearing Aunt Norris? But, most of all, where, oh where, is Jane Austen’s gentle, conscientious, retiring Fanny Price? For none of them make an appearance in this movie. Instead, they are replaced with a mean, ill-tempered man called Sir Thomas; a placid, rather sweet-looking Aunt Norris; and an energetic, confident, sulky young woman, called Fanny Price.

Mansfield Park 2007 1 Mansfield Park 2007 2 Mansfield Park 2007 11

At the beginning of the movie, Sir Thomas practically sneers out how, in receiving young Fanny, they must be prepared for “an ignorant child with vulgar manners”. Aunt Norris (who apparently lives at Mansfield Park) has a manner more gentle than sharp. Lady Bertram is, of course, concerned for her Pug. A voiceover from the adult Fanny tells us to imagine ourselves a young girl removed from her home to live with her aunts and becoming “the poor relation”. She tells about Edmund’s kindness to her while the young Fanny and Edmund play battledore (or some game with shuttlecocks) and then transition to their older selves. Immediately noticeable are Fanny’s hair hanging down to her shoulders (she never wears it up during the entirety of the movie) and her eyebrows which, despite her blond hair, are very dark.

Several of Fanny’s dresses are outdated (as are Lady Bertram’s and Mrs. Norris’s) and very revealing. Her period-correct gowns are quite pretty in general, however. It is a pity Sir Thomas could not afford to keep his wife and niece in the fashions of the period. Perhaps Tom’s extravagance prevented this?

Mansfield Park 2007 4

This Fanny is not above lying to get what she wants. When she wants to go riding with Edmund, but her Aunt Norris has other plans for her, Fanny simply tells her that she has “a very tedious errand to run for my cousin.” The movie moves on at a brisk pace from Fanny growing older to Sir Thomas’s departure to Antigua to the arrival of the Crawfords. At least initially, the Crawfords were overdone. As they walk to visit the Bertrams (the Grants were cut out for the movie), they lay their plans. Mary immediately begins trying to entice Edmund in a far too obvious manner, despite his being the younger son. Probably for reasons of simplicity, the Crawford’s uncle is changed to their step-father.

Mansfield Park 2007 6

Mr. Yates is also cut from the story. His part is given to Tom Bertram — it is Tom who comes “on the wings of disappointment”1 (to use the phrase from the book) after an aborted attempt to put on a play. Edmund objects to Tom’s theatrical plans, but, oddly enough, Fanny is not shown to have any particular problem with them. Julia asks her if she minds being left out, and Fanny’s only answer is, “No. Besides, your father would not approve and I can’t afford to displease him.” When Julia refuses to play, Fanny is asked to take her part, and she agrees. (Later in the movie, Fanny does tell Henry Crawford that she does not wish Sir Thomas had not come back, as “I think everyone indulged themselves enough” during this time.) Sir Thomas comes in on the playacting and throws a copy of the play into the fire in front of everybody (including the Crawfords, people he doesn’t even know at this point), without saying a word. Instead of controlling himself and focussing on being happy to be home, as he does in the book, he makes a display of his anger.

Mansfield Park 2007 7

The scene of Sir Thomas offering to release Maria from her engagement was actually depicted quite well. Sir Thomas is not his usual angry self, but shows genuine concern for his daughter. I must say, however, I don’t see why Maria preferred Henry to Mr. Rushworth in this version. Strangely, Henry Crawford was at Maria’s wedding. Rubbing salt in the wound, I guess. His presence at this time is important, however, because it is after watching the happy couple and Julia off that Henry notices Fanny energetically playing with a random child. She tells him off about the play (something she actually does in the book, though, of course, in different words — this movie isn’t one for using Jane Austen’s dialogue) and he begins to find her interesting.

Mansfield Park 2007 8

Instead of giving a ball for Fanny, Sir Thomas grants her request for a picnic. Aunt Norris is displeased, of course. “A picnic indeed! A picnic for half the county. The nonsense and folly of people stepping out of their rank. Now that you are to move into company, Fanny, you must never forget, whatever the occasion, you must be the lowest and the last.” Don’t feel bad, however. This Fanny has no problem being cheeky back to her aunt — “Oh, I shall never forget that — unless, of course, I’m enjoying myself too much to remember.” Ha! Then follows a scene with Edmund giving Fanny a chain for her brother’s cross, stripped, however, of any particular significance.

Mansfield Park 2007 9

The picnic includes a game of blind man’s buff, a curious dance from Fanny’s brother William (who is, of course, on his visit to Mansfield Park), a dance, and the following conversation between Mary Crawford and Fanny:

Mary: “My dear Fanny, with your cousins gone, you’re quite the center of attention.”

Fanny: “I think I prefer being overlooked.”

Mary: “Oh, no! You must learn to enjoy it. It serves no purpose to blush unseen. Not that you do.”

This is an important conversation because nothing in Fanny’s behaviour would have told us that she prefers to be overlooked — not, as Mary points out, that she does — so we need to be told. Mary torments Edmund in her own lively way during the party, just as she is supposed to. The evening closes with Fanny and Edmund stargazing outside together.

Mansfield Park 2007 10

When Fanny refuses Henry’s proposal of marriage, Sir Thomas gets really nasty again (he had temporarily improved). Of course, he was hard on her in the book, but he never quite got to the degree of nastiness he does in this movie. The level of disgust he portrays throughout the scene is remarkable — “And must I remind you that the luxury to pick and choose is beyond your means!”

Mansfield Park 2007 12

Edmund returns to Mansfield after his absence. Fanny bows extravagantly to welcome him home, showing off her chest to the newly ordained clergyman (his absence was for the purpose of ordination). He is enraptured with Mary’s kindness — coming as it did after her taunting at the picnic — and confides in Fanny about it.

Edmund is fine with Fanny’s decision to reject Henry Crawford’s proposal, but Sir Thomas decides she needs time to consider it. Thus, when they go to visit Lady Bertram’s mother (who is, apparently, still alive) they leave Fanny behind — no Portsmouth for her. (Indeed, the movie never moves from Mansfield Park at all.) Henry visits her at Mansfield while she is alone there. Instead of avoiding any talk of Maria and Julia (bringing to mind, as it would, his behaviour to them), he informs Fanny that they are tireless followers of fashion, and lets loose the rather odd bit of information that his sister Mary is actually living with Maria. Edmund dines there, of course. The last he heard of Tom was that he was “at Newmarket, continuing his giddy career of drinking and gambling.” Thus much for Mr. Crawford’s news, but, as Fanny still won’t accept him (she spent her time alone pining for Edmund and tearing up letters to him faster than she could write them), he goes back to London all melancholy, with the ominous words, “Well, leave me to my own judgment, then.”

Mansfield Park 2007 13

Fanny is not alone much longer. The Bertrams soon return with a very ill Tom. Lady Bertram is so worried and so glad to see Fanny that she tells her, “Oh, Fanny! My dear Fanny, now I shall be comforted” (emphasis mine2). Mrs. Norris is still worried: “I’m sure I daren’t go near him. With my weak chest it could prove fatal.” Don’t worry, though, a bunch of leeches soon bring him round. Unfortunately, Jane Austen was wrong about Tom’s illness improving him. When Fanny offers to take a turn nursing Tom, Edmund tells her, “I warn you, Fanny, illness has brought out Tom’s true nature in all its wonderful ugliness. He’s a tyrant!” But, no matter, this Fanny can take care of herself.

Fanny: “Well, I shan’t let him tyrannize me.”

Edmund: “We’ll see about that. You’ll give way. You’re too kind to quarrel.”

Fanny: “You should not rely on it, cousin.”

Mansfield Park 2007 15

Apart from the change to Fanny’s character and personality, I believe the scene following Fanny nursing Tom is the most astonishing character change from Jane Austen’s story. Mary Crawford arrives at Mansfield Park and Sir Thomas breaks the news of Maria’s elopement with Henry Crawford to her and his family. But, it is the flagrancy of Maria’s act, the scant regard for her family’s honor that Sir Thomas complains of.

Sir Thomas: “Julia is safe with our cousins in Richmond. [Since Mr. Yates was cut, so is Julia’s elopement.] Last week I received a letter from an old friend in London. It contained a good deal to concern me about our daughter Maria. I had no choice but to act immediately. I went to town in the faint hope that my informant might be mistaken, or failing that that I might at least reverse a desperate situation. I need hardly say that I have been disappointed. Maria has left her home and her husband. Flagrantly! Publicly! An utter contempt for her family’s honor, a complete disregard for each and every one of us! She has run away with Mr. Crawford.”

He seems to have taken a leaf out of Miss Crawford’s book. Since she is at Mansfield, her break with Edmund occurs right away. Mrs. Norris decides to devote herself to Maria in her disgrace. So little of her blind affection for Maria and her triumph in arranging her marriage were shown that Mrs. Norris almost seems noble in her choice to leave Mansfield for Maria’s sake. Fanny finds it amusing, “I don’t know who I feel more sorry for — Maria or Aunt Norris.”

With the Crawfords out of the way, Edmund begins to notice Fanny. This is shown in a scene where Lady Bertram asks Fanny whether she should use purple or maroon. Fanny very decisively answers, “The purple, aunt.” And, wow! that sure got Edmund’s attention! He starts looking at her likes he’s never really seen her before. Maybe purple was his favorite color? Then he comes to her bedroom at night while she’s washing her hair in her nightgown! And she lets him in! He’s embarrassed, but she enjoys it. She has to tell him that she must go to bed or he might have stood there goggling at her all night. “You know, I’ve always loved — this room,” he stammers out, before leaving Fanny to giggle by herself.

Mansfield Park 2007 16

The next morning, an agitated Edmund runs after Fanny to the breakfast room, without even bothering to tie his cravat, which remains hanging limply down to his waist, and looking, as a result, very much un-dashing. Luckily, the supposedly apathetic Lady Bertram has turned matchmaker and gets Edmund and Fanny off alone together, so he can stop gaping at Fanny over the tea and get his proposal over with. Well, he doesn’t actually propose to her. He rushes frantically out after her (drooping cravat flying in the the breeze), grabs her arm, starts kissing her, and then says, “I love you. I was blind — forgive me.”

Mansfield Park 2007 17

I must say, it was very perceptive of Lady Bertram to have noticed what no one — no one — else had noticed. She tells Sir Thomas that “Fanny has been in love with Edmund since she was a little girl.” Sir Thomas throws in one of Henry Crawford’s lines from the book, quoting the poet about a wife being “heaven’s last best gift.” 3

Mansfield Park 2007 18

And then they were married — Fanny and Edmund, that is. As the movie is almost over, they must hurry to fit in one last shock. Says Lady B to Sir T, in great perplexity, “Edmund and Fanny have learned a new dance!” Indeed they have, for they are waltzing! However, although waltzing is not correct for the time period, that is scarcely an issue as it goes right along with the out-dated clothes and other incongruities. The new Mr. and Mrs. Bertram decide to make it their business to be happy ever after, and the credits roll.

Mansfield Park 2007 19

The music in this adaptation was oddly upbeat — almost comic — in style for the story. It wasn’t bad, just not what I would have expected to find in Mansfield Park. It suits the style of the movie, I guess. Mary’s harp music was very pretty, however, as was the dance music during the picnic. There was a great deal of jerky camera movement throughout the movie, which I found disagreeable and distracting. There was some pretty scenery and several charming costumes. The dress Fanny wears to her birthday picnic was especially pretty, and had the advantage of being one of her dresses that is actually from the correct time period.

Perhaps, though, this is an accurate adaptation after all, as it does mention the slave trade4 (Tom even remarks, “Our little cousin is a friend to abolition”), something a number of people seem to find very important for a faithful adaptation of Mansfield Park.

Obviously, I didn’t like this movie. Even apart from its value as an adaptation of my favorite novel, I didn’t care for it as a movie. Of the representations, Miss Crawford’s was probably the best. She was pretty, lively, and rather saucy. She was still too much from time to time. I suppose her brother wasn’t terrible, either (his depiction, that is — his character is as bad as it is in the book). Apart from some of Fanny’s and Miss Crawford’s clothes, and a distasteful joke from Mr. Rushworth, there isn’t any bad content that I can remember. That’s about the best I can say for this so-called adaptation of Mansfield Park.


Despite, or, rather, because of, it’s defects, Janeites have had a lot of fun with this version. See, for example, this post on AustenBlog: “Facts About Fanny Price”.

1 “The Honourable John Yates …. came on the wings of disappointment, and with his head full of acting”. (Ch. 13)

2 The line in the book has a rather different significance: “By one of the suffering party within they were expected with such impatience as she had never known before. Fanny had scarcely passed the solemn-looking servants, when Lady Bertram came from the drawing-room to meet her; came with no indolent step; and falling on her neck, said, ‘Dear Fanny! now I shall be comfortable.’” (Ch. 46; again, emphasis mine)

3 “I am of a cautious temper, and unwilling to risk my happiness in a hurry. Nobody can think more highly of the matrimonial state than myself. I consider the blessing of a wife as most justly described in those discreet lines of the poet — ‘Heaven’s last best gift.’” (Ch. 4)

4 The slave trade is a subject mentioned briefly in passing in the book. Fanny tells Edmund, “But I do talk to him [her uncle] more than I used. I am sure I do. Did not you hear me ask him about the slave-trade last night?” Edmund replies, “I did — and was in hopes the question would be followed up by others. It would have pleased your uncle to be inquired of farther.” (Ch. 21)

Reused Costumes – 1983

Several of the costumes from the 1983 miniseries ‘Mansfield Park’ have been reused in or from other productions. Here is a list I’ve collected from and

Fanny’s riding jacket is worn by a London extra in ‘The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby’ (2001).

1 Fanny's riding outfit 1 1 Fanny's riding outfit 2 1 Fanny's riding outfit 3

The white and blue muslin day dress Maria Bertram wears is worn by Allie Byrne as Lady Kiely in ‘Sharpe’s Battle’ (1995) and by Felicity Jones as Catherine Morland while reading in Bath in ‘Northanger Abbey’ (2007).

2 Maria's white muslin dress 1 2 Maria's white muslin dress 2 2 Maria's white muslin dress 3

Original images credited to ladybluelake at livejournal 2 Northanger Abbey 2 2 Northanger Abbey 3

The lavender gown with shear sleeves worn by Julia Bertram to the Southerton ball is worn by a guest at the London ball in ‘Poldark’ (1996) and by a guest at the Netherfield Ball in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (1995).

3 Julia's lavender gown 1 3 Julia's lavender gown 2 3 Julia's lavender gown 3

Mary Crawford’s maroon military-styled Spencer, worn at Maria’s wedding, is the same costume worn by an extra in the street in Brussels in ‘Vanity Fair’ (1998) and by Amira Casar as Catherine in ‘Sharpe’s Siege’ (1996).

4 Mary's military-style spencer

The striped day dress worn by Aunt Norris is also worn by Samantha Bond as Mrs. Weston in ‘Emma’ (1996), by one of Miss Crawley’s maids at Park Lane in the street in ‘Vanity Fair’ (1998), and by Pauline Stone as Mrs. Martin to Harriet’s wedding in ‘Emma’ (2009).

5 Mrs. Norris striped day dress 1 5 Mrs. Norris striped day dress 2 5 Mrs. Norris striped day dress 3

5 Emma 1996 1 5 Emma 1996 2 5 Emma 1996 3

5 Emma 2009

The peach and aqua cape Maria wears after her wedding is worn by an extra at the wedding in Lost in Austen (2008).

6 Maria's peach and aqua cape 1 6 Maria's peach and aqua cape 2 6 Maria's peach and aqua cape 3

Mary Crawford’s gold evening gown worn to Fanny’s ball is worn by Christina Cole as Caroline Bingley in ‘Lost in Austen’ (2008).

7 Mary's gold ball gown 1 7 Mary's gold ball gown 2 7 Mary's gold ball gown 3

7 Lost in Austen 1 7 Lost in Austen 2

An extra at Fanny’s wedding wears a gray pelisse with a scalloped cape, the same costume is worn by Ann Firbank as Anne Elliot in Bath in ‘Persuasion’ (1971), by an extra in the London street in ‘Sharpe’s Justice’ (1997), and by an extra at the Cricket match in ‘Sharpe’s Waterloo’ (1997).

8 gray scalloped pelisse 1 8 gray scalloped pelisse 2

8 Persuasion 1 8 Persuasion 2 8 Persuasion 3

The lilac Spencer Mary Crawford wears to bid farewell to Fanny in the East room is worn by Amy Loughton as Miss Campbell in ‘Emma’ (2009).

9 Mary's purple spencer 1 9 Mary's purple spencer 2 9 Mary's purple spencer 3

9 Emma 2009 1 9 Emma 2009 2 9 Emma 2009 3

The sheer brown gown with red and blue dots Mary Crawford wears discussing the play with Edmund is worn by Christina Cole as Caroline Bingley playing cards at Netherfield Hall in ‘Lost in Austen’ (2008).

10 Mary's brown patterned dress 1 10 Mary's brown patterned dress 2 10 Mary's brown patterned dress 3

10 Lost in Austen 1 10 Lost in Austen 2 10 Lost in Austen 3

The black Spencer with flowers embroidered on the collar and sleeves Mary Crawford wears to walk with Fanny is worn by an extra at the wedding in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (1995), by Natasha Little as Augusta Leigh to visit Byron at his London apartment in ‘Byron’ (2003), and by an extra in the London street when the Dashwoods arrive in London in ‘Sense & Sensibility’ (2008).

11 Mary's black jacket 1 11 Mary's black jacket 2 11 Mary's black jacket 3

11 Pride and Prejudice 1 11 Pride and Prejudice 2 11 Pride and Prejudice 3

11 Byron 1 11 Byron 2 11 Byron 3

11 Sense and Sensibility

A guest at Fanny’s ball wears a pale blue gown with gold-flowered bodice and sleeves — the same costume Doran Godwin as Emma Woodhouse wears to the Christmas party at Randalls in ‘Emma’ (1972), and Jennifer Granville as Mrs. Hurst wears Elizabeth is staying at Netherfield in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (1980).

12 blue and gold dress 1 12 blue and gold dress 2 12 blue and gold dress 3

12 Emma 1 12 Emma 2 12 Emma 3

12 Pride and Prejudice 1 12 Pride and Prejudice 2 12 Pride and Prejudice 3

The medallion-print white muslin day dress Mrs. Grant wears at the parsonage with the Crawfords is also worn by Perdita Weeks as Lydia Bennet while sewing cushions for the church in ‘Lost in Austen’ (2008).

13 Mrs. Grant's house dress

13 Lost in Austen

The burgundy and gold evening gown Mrs. Grant wears dancing at Mansfield Park is also worn by a guest at the Netherfield Ball in ‘Lost in Austen’ (2008).

14 Mrs. Grant's evening gown

Fanny’s blue dress with the gathered bodice is also worn by Lucy Scott as Charlotte Lucas in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (1995), Sally Hawkins as Mary Shelley in ‘Byron’ (2003), and Victoria Hamilton as Miss Granham in ‘To the Ends of the Earth’ (2005).

15 Fanny's gathered bodice dress 1 15 Fanny's gathered bodice dress 2 15 Fanny's gathered bodice dress 3

15 Pride and Prejudice 1 15 Pride and Prejudice 2 15 Pride and Prejudice 3

15 Byron 1 15 Byron 2 15 Byron 3


Disclaimer: I have not seen, nor do I recommend, all of the movies mentioned in this post.