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ME AND THE BENNET SISTERS
11 December 2017
I went to review a play called Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley last night. It is a sequel to "Pride and Prejudice," and the action takes place at Christmas, two years after the end of the book.
In reading the "About the Play" section of the program, I saw that it starts with this quote; "You know what people love? Jane Austen. You know what people really love? Christmas and Jane Austen."
I was in trouble before the lights went down in the theater.
See, my deep dark secret is that I don't love Jane Austen. Well, to be fair, I haven't read much of hers, but I have tried "Pride and Prejudice" many times and the book puts me to sleep. I've tried watching various movies made of the book and can rarely get through the first five minutes. In fact, I've taken to using Pride and Prejudice as a sleeping pill. When I am having trouble with insomnia, I find a recording of the movie, and before the credits end, I'm sound asleep.
So other than knowing that Mr. Darcy is a hunk that everybody drools over, I know nothing of the story. I didn't even know the names of the Bennet sisters. This might be a difficult play to review. I would definitely not get any of the references to the original story.
Knowing my penchant for falling asleep during the original story, I made sure I had a long nap in the afternoon.
Fortunately this was a delightful dramady (funny drama) which I thoroughly enjoyed. At the after show party, I was talking with two other theater people from Davis, who also admitted to no love for Jane Austen and who also loved the play.
So I think I can review it.
Returning from the theater, all imbued with interest in the Bennets and their lives and curious about how the girls met up with their partners and what some of the back stories were, I decided to watch Pride and Prejudice. I had 11 choices on OnDemand, chose one, settled back to watch and next thing I knew I was waking up at the end of the movie.
Well, at least I got a good night's sleep, if I still haven't seen/read the original.
In the Comments section of yesterday's entry, Country Dew wrote, "My husband, of all people, has started watching the Hallmark movies. And he has taken to calling me in to sit with him to watch them. I think he is trying to cheer me up or something. They are the exact same plot."
That has been my feeling ever since I started thinking about it. There is always a grouchy person, always a sweet waif, always a good Cratchit person and redemption at the end. Think of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Even It's a Wonderful Life is Dickens. You've got your Mr. Potter, certainly the classic Scrooge; you have George Bailey, the perfect Bob Cratchit, with his wife and children, always in financial straits. There is Clarence the angel of all three time periods. And you have your cute little moppet to end the story happily with an easy classic quote ("Whenever a bell rings, an angel gets his wings" easily on a par with "God bless us every one.").
If I'm going to watch any of the corny Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel, there is only one that I do watch periodically, The Christmas Gift. I only watch it because it stars John Denver, whom I like, even though he's not really a great actor. But it follows the classic A Christmas Carol format. Edward Winter is the head of an architectural firm determined to turn a quaint little Colorado town into a mega complex buying up all the homes and making commercial development. Or something like that. All this right before Christmas, of course.
John Denver is widower George Billings, tasked with scoping out the town (Bob Cratchit). He takes his young daughter (cute moppet) with him but he comes to an appreciation of Georgetown’s unspoiled small-town charm and innocence.
He also beings to fall in love with the town 's postal clerk (Jane Kaczmarek) -- all in the space of a couple of days. Kaczmarek fills in the angel roles and then there is the father who has been unable to pay his debts and faces impending foreclosure by George's boss. George's heart is opened, he gets the town together to help the family, stands up to his boss, quits his job and moves to Colorado. He may even have bought a huge turkey for the town taxi driver, but I don't know about that.
Corny as all heck, but if I'm going to watch any Christmas Carol knock off, I'll choose this one because of John Denver (he actually sings a song) and the gorgeous snowy Colorado scenery. And who can resist a one-horse open sleigh?
How about all those "misfit" movies -- Rudolph, Elf, etc. -- where the misfit ends up saving the day. A stretch to tie it to Dickens, but if you think about it right, yes it is loosely based on A Christmas Carol.
Miracle on 34th St has the grouch as mother to the waif with Cratchit being the man who befriends the child (you wouldn't see THAT in a movie today!) and thanks to interference by Santa (the angel), Mom comes to believe in the magic of Christmas and all live happily ever after.
Just remember you need: a grouch, a put-upon stooge, a little kid (or animal), some sort of magic/angelic influence and a redemption and there you have your Christmas story. All you have to do is look at the plot summaries on the Hallmark channel and you can tell the plot of the movie just from reading the plot.
Maybe I'm just a grinch in my real life Christmas.
I wonder who the angel is....?
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This is entry #6472