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Joe Wright’s Legacy

April 6, 2011

Six years after the movie has been released, I still have the Pride and Prejudice piano music sitting on our baby grand. I can’t help it-Dario Marianelli wrote food for the soul.  I sit down at least once a week and pluck out the melodies, losing myself in the serenity and perfection of the pieces that connect with my favorite movie.  The year after the feature was released, my parents gave me tickets to see Jean-Yves Thibaudet (the brilliant pianist) at the Symphony Center.  After waiting in line for an hour after the concert to get his autograph, I presented him with the P&P piano score along with a guilty and apologetic smile.  I know I should have taken his brilliant Ravel album, or the Saint-Sans-but I couldn’t help myself.  He laughed, commented on how it was actually very good music and posed for a picture.

Unlike every other album I buy, I actually own the physical P&P soundtrack CD.  Even after burning it to my itunes, the disk continues to play….in my car’s CD player.  This soundtrack has been everywhere from the alps of Switzerland, to the hills of Quebec, the streets of Rome and Florence, the airplane rides to Ohio, the dorm rooms of U of Vermont, and everywhere in between.  The sweet melodies have been transferred to the viola and cello, sung in the shower and dreamt of long into the night.

The year that the score was nominated for an Oscar, I actually watched with bated breath throughout the entire ceremony to see if it would win.  It didn’t.  Does anyone, ANYONE, remember Brokeback Mountain? I thought not.  I HOPE not.  Does anyone actually listen to that soundtrack?  Not that I’m bitter about the outcome of the award six years later…

One year, my mom made the mistake of telling me that she ALMOST bought me the china set from P&P for christmas.  “What!” I exclaimed, my eyes widening at the thought of a set actually existing. “I found it online,” she replied cooly “it is made by the Royal Crown Derby company.  It was pretty pricy.”  “Even a single tea cup!” I cry.  Every once in a while, I bring up my bruised feelings on the subject.  I still love the pattern.  There is something so wistful about the idea of dining in a grand hall with candles lighting the room while wearing a gorgeous silk gown and being adorned in pearls.   As you can see from my earlier post, I have had that Regency Ball experience.  I loved every second of it.  The gowns, the dances, the jackets with long tails, but I especially loved the syllabub.  The only thing missing was the stately china set.

As I attempt to find a way to satisfy my craving for Jane Austen, I have continued to craft my fanfiction piece.   After reaching 15,000 views on the story, I feel that I owe it to the people who have spent their time on my writing to finish the tale.  Unfortunately, my audition season brought on three months of writers block.  The document entitled “Chapter 19” has been opened and reopened, and currently contains a whopping 427 words.  It is time to come back to the story, to set aside the roller coaster of the last few months and begin to craft my plot again.  This morning I was attempting to knit together Lady Catherine’s character.  I committed an utterly disdainful, haughty woman to the page.  She was outspoken and rude.  I read and reread the dialog, and I just couldn’t bring myself to continue.  Judi Dench lingers in the back of my mind as I write this shrewd character.  This is not how Judi Dench would say it, I argue with myself. She is not evil, but spoilt.  She has an issue of entitlement, which led to her pride.  But that is not what is on the page.  I delete the scene and decide to elaborate more on Mr. Collins’ apparel.

It is amazing that one movie can have so much power, so large a legacy.  Austen fans still have many a heated discussion over which movie is better, 1995 or 2005.    But what truly amazes me is the power that the characters created by Joe Wright and Deborah Moggach, with a little help from our dear Jane, have in my imagination.

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