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‘Mansfield Park’ Adaptations to Watch

With a heroine that isn’t as vivacious or witty as the title character in “Emma” or Elizabeth of “Pride and Prejudice,” it isn’t too surprising that there haven’t been many period adaptations of “Mansfield Park.” The work itself also stands in contrast to the “light, bright and sparkling” feel of “Pride and Prejudice.”

On the plus side, it does mean you could fit all of these adaptations in a single weekend binge. Let’s take a quick look at them.

Sylvestra Le Touzel and Nicholas Farrell star in the 1983 adaptation of Mansfield Park.
Sylvestra Le Touzel, left, plays Fanny Price, and Nicholas Farrell plays Edmund Bertram.

“Mansfield Park” (1983)

The only mini-series among the bunch, this BBC production is very stagey, although the extra time does allow it to be a bit more faithful to the book. Fanny Price is played by Sylvestra Le Touzel, who made another Austen pit stop in the 2007 version of “Northanger Abbey.” Watch it on Brit Box.

Frances O'Connor portraying Fanny Price sits at a desk and is surrounded by quills, ink, and books.
Frances O'Connor plays Fanny in the Rozema adaptation, which will be shown at JASP.

“Mansfield Park” (1999)

Directed by Patricia Rozema and starring several Austen repeat actors (including Jonny Lee Miller, Victoria Hamilton, Hugh Bonneville), this feature film borrows heavily from Austen’s juvenilia and sort of combines the character of Fanny Price with Austen herself. Although that makes it less faithful in that respect, it did a great job of contrasting life with the Bertrams to Fanny’s less fortunate family in Portsmouth. Watch it on Hulu or Amazon Prime. This version will be screened at JASP on Friday, June 17.

The cast of the 2007 version of Mansfield Park
The cast of the 2007 version of Mansfield Park is led by Billie Piper (right).

“Mansfield Park” (2007)

This TV adaptation is the shortest one, at barely an hour and a half, and as such, cuts the novel down quite a bit, omitting Fanny’s return to Portsmouth. It stars Billie Piper, of “Doctor Who,” and another Austen repeat actor, Blake Ritson. Watch it on Amazon Prime.

If you were to cast a new version of “Mansfield Park,” who would you pick?


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