Sense and Sensibility follows the story of two sisters: sensible Elinor Dashwood and passionate Marianne Dashwood. When their father Mr. Henry Dashwood dies, his property, Norland, is passed to his son from his first marriage, John Dashwood. Before he died, Henry Dashwood made John promise to take care of his current wife and two daughters. John promises to take care of them and wants to give them some money, but he is persuaded by his wife, Fanny, not to. Meanwhile, the Dashwood women prepare to receive John and Fanny, and when they arrive, Fanny announces that her brother Edward Ferrars will be joining them. Edward arrives and him and Elinor form an attachment, which is broken off by Fanny.
There were a couple of actors and actresses I recognized in this Sense and Sensibility.
|Actor/Actress||Character||Also Seen In|
|Joanna David||Elinor Dashwood||Pride and Prejudice (1995) as Mrs. Gardiner,|
He Knew He Was Right as Mrs. Stanbury, etc.
|Robin Ellis||Edward Ferrars||Poldark (1975-1977) as Captain Ross Poldark|
|Clive Francis||John Willoughby||Poldark (1975) as Francis Poldark|
|Richard Owens||Colonel Brandon||Nothing I've seen, but he's|
the father of Susannah Harker
(Jane Bennet in Pride and Prejudice (1995)
|Patricia Routledge||Mrs. Jennings||Keeping Up Appearances as Hyacinth Bucket|
|Milton Johns||John Dashwood||Poldark (1975) as Matthew Sanson|
Compared to the two other versions of Sense and Sensibility I've seen (1995 and 2008), the acting in this one fell short for me. Unlike the two newest adaptations of Sense and Sensibility, this version entirely left out Margaret Dashwood, Elinor and Marianne's younger sister, but this adaptation included Lady Middleton and Anne Steele (though called Nancy) who were characters left out of the 1995 movie. While the Palmers made an appearance, you really don't get to see enough of them (though Mrs. Palmer is portrayed to be very silly! Mr. Palmer, I could swear, had no lines.). This version also added a housekeeper for the Dashwoods at Barton Cottage named Mary.
|Joanna David as Elinor Dashwood|
Joanna David was a decent Elinor. She was believable as Elinor. I wouldn't say that she out-performed Emma Thompson's or Hattie Morahan's Elinor (which were two excellent portrayals), but she was tolerable enough. However, I did think that her performance lacked very much emotion. Yes, I know that Elinor is supposed to conceal her emotions all the time, but part of the time, it seemed like Joanna David would sometimes just say her lines as Elinor as if she was reading them off cue cards. But other than that, I thought she did a decent enough job.
|A shot of one of Marianne's outbursts|
The cast member that out shined the rest of the cast was Patricia Routledge as Mrs. Jennings! Okay, so a lot of her Mrs. Jennings reminded me of Keeping Up Appearances's Hyacinth, but the two characters have some things in common: they both like to get involved in everyone's business, but they mean well. Though Patricia Routledge looked way to young to be Mrs. Jennings, she still conveyed her jolly personality very well. Yes, she can be a little annoying (and Marianne made it perfectly clear that she was irritated by Mrs. Jennings), but she is very caring, which comes out when Marianne falls ill at Cleveland.
|Robin Ellis as Edward Ferrars|
Colonel Brandon didn't have as big of a role in here as in the other adaptations I've seen. Hey, he didn't even have as big of a role in here as in the book! He had a very small role and if you didn't know the plot of Sense and Sensibility, you probably wouldn't have known who he was. In fact, you don't really get to see his love for Marianne develop. And when it finally becomes visible, it comes on very suddenly and you're left with a "what just happened?" feeling (and also the ending felt quite rushed). More time was spent developing Marianne and Willoughby's story, but not enough time was spent on Marianne and Colonel Brandon's story.
Another one of the issues I had with this miniseries was how some of the quotes were handled. Many well known quotes were rephrased. In fact, I can't remember a quote that was an exact quote from the book. There were also some details added that didn't need to be added (example: some elements of Eliza Williams's backstory).
This miniseries was filmed in the early 70s, so the quality is even a little less than other 70s period dramas that I've seen. The colors are fairly washed out or have a tinge to it. The indoor scenes are fairly clear, but the outdoor scenes can be a little blurry.
|Fanny's sleeveless gown|
The Dashwood women had on mourning clothes for a good part of the first episode, which is something that the 1995 movie and the 2008 miniseries didn't really emphasize; that made it a little more realistic to the period since mourning could last a long time. But on another note, I found it a little odd that Elinor and Marianne had on matching spencers and tams in a couple of scenes. I suppose it could be possible, but I didn't think it was realistic.
|Edward (and his crazy ruffle cravat)|
talking to Marianne
What was that ruffle thing that all the men were wearing? It looked like they were trying to pass it off as a cravat, but it certainly didn't look like a cravat to me (Sir Percy from The Scarlet Pimpernel would be very disappointed in them!). My mom even joked that they all used the same one! It just looked too ridiculous and not very Regency.
Well, compared to the other two versions of Sense and Sensibility I've seen, this is definitely the lesser of the three. It's not horrible, but it's certainly not the best. I had a couple of problems with this miniseries: the storyline went by too quickly (especially at the end, which ends abruptly) and it felt "jumpy" in some spots. The acting wasn't the best acting (I'm looking at you, Marianne!), but most of it wasn't terrible. This is one of those period dramas where you see once and say you've seen it, but never intend to see it again. While it's not a bad adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, most viewers may just decide to just watch either the 1995 movie or the 2008 miniseries since either one of them did better on most aspects of the story.
There isn't any objectionable content to speak of in this version of Sense and Sensibility. Other than a scandal that is mentioned, the entire miniseries is pretty much PG.
Sense and Sensibility is available on DVD. It is made up of four episodes that are about 45 minutes long.