Have just finished watching the adaptation of this wonderful novel. Words cannot express just how utterly dire and dreadful and awful it was. Funereal pace, characters altered and changed, acting that would shame a school play, Grand Guignol gone barking. It was APPALLINGLY bad. What is the point of taking a charming and lovely little novel like this and turning it into this total travesty. Even the loyal Jane, one of the nicest characters in the book, was turned into a nasty piece of work having sex with the unpleasant and murderous heir shortly to be done out of his inheritance.
At the end we have a death bed scene where the heroine is lying in bed - not a doctor or servant in sight, no food, no drink, no nothing. All on their own in a huge house as the housekeeper has left as her husband had been murdered, yes I know..... I could go on and on but all I can say is if you have watched this travesty please get hold of the book and read it which I am now going to do for the umpteenth time to get the taste of this shoddy and dire adaptation out of my head.
And as for Joanna Lumley as Lady Maria, well words fail she got it so wrong.
I appreciate that I am reacting in this way as this is a favourite book of mine, perhaps if I loved it less, I would not mind so much but it was just so poor. Anyway, I have looked up my very old review of Making of a Marchioness and here is what I said about it:
"Frances Hodgson Burnett is the much loved children’s author of the timeless classics The Secret Garden, A Little Princess and Little Lord Fauntleroy and yet how many people know that before the wrote children’s fiction she was a highly successful author of dozens of adult novels? Not many, I would guess.
I was one of the ignorant until one day I came across an American publication in my local library of a book called The Making of a Marchioness. I took it home with me, sat down to read it, and did not speak to anybody for about half a day until I had finished it.
This book features an unlikely pair of lovers - a dull, prosaic Marquis bored by being pursued by society women, and Miss Emily Fox-Seton, who cannot be described in any way as young or beautiful or even interesting. She is a good hearted, good natured woman, living by her own endeavours and, unmarried at nearly 30, facing a frightening future on her own.
She meets her future husband, the Marquis of Walderhurst, at a weekend house party where she is paying for her keep by organising a function for her hostess. At the same party we meet Lady Agatha Slade, a society beauty, who is in a state of high anxiety and nervousness as she feels that she is failing in her duty by not marrying well and saving the family fortunes. With younger sisters at home she knows her time on the marriage market is limited. Despite the disparity in their positions, Lady Agatha and Emily Fox-Seton become friends, linked together by their terror of a lonely old age. On the surface of it, The Making of a Marchioness is a Cinderella story, but Frances Hodgson Burnett was making her own comment on the very nature of the society in which it is set, in which women were at the mercy of circumstances and were only judged by whether they made a ‘good’ marriage or not"
Emily Fox-Seton was not the rather anodyne character as shown here who married Walderhurst to escape poverty. She married him because she fell in love with him. Jane, who is turned into a nasty piece of work in this TV version, adored her and guarded her against all the evil machinations going on. The room in which Emily lived was small but cosy and warm and nicely put together - it did not have peeling wall paper and water dripping through the ceiling as shown here. Lady Maria was fond of Emily and was delighted at the marriage, not a nasty snobby sarky type as portrayed by la Lumley.
If any of you think this farce screened tonight was the story of the book, then please let me tell you that it was not and urge you to get hold of the book and read it. Persephone books have it in their catalogue and it is one of their best sellers. I am unashamedly going to tell you all once again that it was I who suggested this to Perspehone after I discovered, read and loved the book many years ago which probably explains why I feel so strongly about this.
Gosh I am cross....