Northanger Abbey Comparison

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Examining the 2007 Adaptation of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey Screenplay by Andrew Davies and directed by Jon Jones, the 2007 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey is a fairly accurate representation of the novel. The film stars Felicity Jones and JJ Feild as Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney, it also features Catherine Walker as Eleanor Tilney, Carey Mulligan as Isabella Thorpe, and William Beck as John Thorpe. As with many Austen adaptations, the film focuses mostly on the theme of romance and scandal, as seen with the relationship between Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney, and in Isabella Thorpe’s immoral flirtation with Captain Frederick Tilney (Mark Dymond). The film, however, also highlights Austen’s satirization of the gothic…show more content…
In Northanger Abbey the novel, Austen relies heavily on the narrative voice – particularly understatement – to satirize tropes of the gothic novel. The film does, in fact, use a narrator in the very beginning of the movie when detailing Catherine’s birth and childhood and that same narrator comes into play once again in the end of the movie for a kind of epilogue and wrapping up of plot threads, but it wouldn’t be plausible to use this narrator throughout the entire film. The film is very successful in portraying Catherine’s views of the gothic novel by cutting to scenes plucked from her imagination in which she projects the events of Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho and Mathew Gregory Lewis’s The Monk onto reality, often inserting herself in place of the heroine and, in one particular instance, Henry Tilney as a hero. These scenes get progressively more over the top and melodramatic, peaking, perhaps, in the scene where Catherine imagines herself finding Isabella captured and bound to a bed by Captain Frederick Tilney, whom Catherine casts as the villain of the drama. Though at first the melodrama and overplaying of the imagination scenes may seem to be a typical blunder on the part of the movie makers, they are actually consistent with Catherine’s character and poke fun at the melodrama often portrayed in movies of similar genres to Northanger Abbey. This parody on other films mirrors Austen’s parody of the gothic novel. Still, on the whole, there is something to be desired when looking at how the gothic does and does not find its way into the movies. Though the imagination scenes certainly do portray gothic scenarios as Catherine perceives them, they poke more fun at overdramatized film adaptations of romantic and 19th century novels than they do at the genre’s themselves. Furthermore, the imagination scenes are
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