Screen Two: Season 3, Episode 7

Northanger Abbey (15 Feb. 1987)

TV Episode  - 
5.5
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Ratings: 5.5/10 from 677 users  
Reviews: 47 user | 1 critic

Catherine Morland is a young woman who enjoys reading Gothic Novels. She is invited to Bath by a family friend, Mrs. Allen, and there she meets Henry Tilney and his sister Eleanor. Upon ... See full summary »

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Title: Northanger Abbey (15 Feb 1987)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Katharine Schlesinger ...
...
...
...
Geoffrey Chater ...
Cassie Stuart ...
Jonathan Coy ...
Ingrid Lacey ...
...
Philip Bird ...
Elvi Hale ...
Helen Fraser ...
David Rolfe ...
Elaine Ives-Cameron ...
Marchioness
Angela Curran ...
Alice
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Storyline

Catherine Morland is a young woman who enjoys reading Gothic Novels. She is invited to Bath by a family friend, Mrs. Allen, and there she meets Henry Tilney and his sister Eleanor. Upon returning to her home with her family, Eleanor invites Catherine to come along as her guest and companion. There Catherine's imagination continues to flourish and she begins to suspect a dark secret at Northanger Abbey. Written by Cara-chan

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15 February 1987 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

The The striped muslin day dress worn by Helen Fraser (Mrs. Morland) at Fullerton is the same costume worn by Kate Ashfield (Ella, the Worrell's maid) in Princess Caraboo (1994), Toni Collette (Harriet Smith) wears while reading Mr. Elton's charade, Sophia Myles (Susan Price) at Portsmouth in Mansfield Park (1999), and Charity Wakefield (Marianne Dashwood) wears when Edward calls at Mrs. Jennings' London house in Sense & Sensibility (2008). See more »

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Featured in The Real Jane Austen (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Nel cor piu non mi sento (from La Molinara)
(uncredited)
Composed by Giovanni Paisiello
Performed by Peter Firth
{Henry Tilney sings]
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User Reviews

Well done, elaborate, intriguing adaptation
19 April 2001 | by (London, UK) – See all my reviews

When Jane Austen wrote 'Northanger Abbey' she intended to poke fun at the trashy Gothic literature of her day, aimed at silly, young, impressionable females. The story was meant to gradually draw the character of Catherine Morland out of the fantasy world she had built for herself, and into reality. The typical language, characters and themes of a Gothic romance were sent up the whole way through and were shown to be the epitomy of bad writing.

However, this adaptation seemed to embrace and flatter what it was that Jane Austen was attempting to satirise. It retained a gothic feel throughout and seemed to 'put back' what it was that Jane Austen was trying to 'take out'. Northanger Abbey became the mysterious castle, Henry Tilney became the intriguing Gothic hero, and the 'secret' which Catherine believed existed at the Abbey turned out to be real. One cannot help thinking that the makers of this adaptation hadn't read the book very closely as they seemed to have missed the point.

Unfortunately with an adaptation of this type, when Jane Austen was writing she was assuming that her readers would be familiar with the Gothic genre. Filmmakers today would need to explain to the audience what the Gothic genre was all about, explaining why this adaptation contains so many fantastical elements that Jane Austen was attempting to escape from.

All of this aside, it works quite well. The adaptation keeps to the storyline pretty much, and retains much of Jane Austen's witty dialogue. The music helps contribute to the eerie atmosphere very well. One cannot help but wonder at the beauty of this version. Perfectly cast and impeccably acted.


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