Valentine's Day Period Drama Tag

Friday, February 12, 2021

Here are my answers to Heidi's tag for her Valentine's Day Period Drama Blog Party at Along the Brandywine. It was immensely fun to fill out and made me stop to think and remember some of my favorite period dramas. That was exciting.

My main blog post for her blogathon is about Christine and Raoul from The Phantom of the Opera, in case you're interested.

1) Your current three (or up to five!) favorite period dramas?

I'm not watching very many period dramas at the moment but if I were to pick, it would probably be the following:

Sense and Sensibility from 1995 because the film is just so pretty to look at and I just love Emma Thompson as Elinor Dashwood. It's stunning.  It's also rather funny seeing Hugh Grant bumble about so awkwardly in Regency clothes. Poor soul, he's much more suited to films like Music & Lyrics or Paddington 2

The Personal History of David Copperfield from 2020 with Dev Patel because the casting is so remarkably clever and it's just a truly excellent film, and very clean, practically no objectionable content. My favorite adaptation so far and that's saying something since Maggie Smith is hard to beat. I wish it had gotten half the acclaim as that heinous miniseries Bridgerton. 

And then the 1982 film adaptation of The Scarlet Pimpernel with Anthony Andrews and Jane Seymour. Because no one can beat this adaptation and the lead couple is darling. It's a truly stunning film and it just makes my heart happy.

2) What would you recommend to someone who’s never seen a period drama as a starter?

Probably something that's Jane Austen, maybe the 2005 Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley, or the 1996 Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam. They're film length so nothing too intimidating and they're extremely pretty, plus, they star fairly well-known actors and that can be a help when people are first starting out in the period drama realm.

3) A favorite couple that wouldn’t be included in answer #1 (cause I’m figuring those are already top favorites ;)) and/or a favorite secondary character romance? 

Oh the tragedy of it all, poor Ivanhoe and Rebecca, doomed to fail before they ever got started. And why you ask? Because he is a Christian knight and she is a Jewess. It crushes my very soul. As you may have guessed, I'm not a fan of the main romance in Ivanhoe (specifically the 1982 version with Anthony Andrews), but instead, I wish it could have been different and Ivanhoe and Rebecca could have been together. They were so clearly drawn towards one another, but alas, it was not meant to be. Pardon me while I go weep in a corner.  I wrote in greater detail about Ivanhoe and Rebecca in my Sacrificial Love: Ivanhoe and Rebecca blog post.

4) What do you consider foundational qualities for a healthy romance? 

The ability to respect boundaries, have mutual interests, and mutual political and religious associations. The ability to still maintain and even grow other relationships in addition to the romantic one, that's a biggie. So in other words, not Edward and Bella from Twilight. They're the antithesis of a healthy relationship.

5) Worst villain/antagonist?

I truly despise Mr. Grandcourt from Daniel Deronda. He absolutely makes my skin crawl. He's just horrendous on so many levels, but especially for forcing his wife to have intimacy. It was just so bad. It's a wonder I can stomach Hugh Bonneville in anything else, but I'm actually very fond of him as an actor, just not in Daniel Deronda. I guess it means he did his job right.

6) A favorite proposal scene?

I'm sorry guys, but I LOVE the absurdity of Mr. Darcy's first proposal. He muffs it, big time, and I always laugh in every single version I've seen.

I'm especially partial to the proposal in the 1938 version where Laurence Olivier's eyes pretty much pop out of his head in astonishment at her refusal, which you can see above. Ignore the inaccurate costuming, I know they're off in era, but for me, it doesn't matter.

7) Favorite period drama characters based on a real-life couple?

I don't really watch a lot of biographical type period dramas, but if I were to take a stab in the dark, I would go with Victoria, meaning Victoria and Albert. I only watched the first season, but it was very good and I enjoyed their relationship.

8) Any classic b/w period dramas you like?

I love the 1938 Pride and Prejudice with Greer Garson and *flutters eyelashes* Sir Laurence Olivier. I know, I know, it doesn't match the Regency era and the fashion is all wrong. But I LOVE it anyway. It was my first introduction to Jane Austen when I was a teenager, and I have loved it ever since.

Laurence Olivier does this thing with his gloves when he takes them off. It just makes me giggle every time. Seriously.

9) Most mature romance in a period drama? (mature as in age and/or characters who are consciously and wisely ripened by life experience, etc.)

Mmmm, I would say Doctor Thorne and the American heiress Martha Dunstable. I love the miniseries Doctor Thorne, and this couple truly made me happy. I realize she's not that old, but Doctor Thorne has charming grey hair. Their attraction is downplayed by the younger couple, but it's quite real and quite charming.

10) Most excruciatingly long, slow-burn romance in a period drama?

Margaret Hale and John Thornton in North & South. It takes them FOREVER to get ANYWHERE. It's a beautiful miniseries, but it does drag on endlessly. And then even more endlessly beyond that. It is an endless trail of endlessness.

11) A story that has multiple film adaptations where you love more than one of them?

I'm partial to 3 versions of Jane Eyre.

The 1943 version with Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine is excellent, although his Mr. Rochester terrifies me the most of all of them. Then there's the 1983 version with Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke. That one's my personal favorite. And, of course, the 2006 version with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens.

All 3 of them have their merits and considering I've never gotten past 100 pages in the novel, I'm not busy comparing film to book, just film to film. And I happen to love Timothy Dalton as Mr. Rochester and I adore Zelah Clarke's unbridled spunk. They're brilliant.

12) A book you think needs to be made into a film (or a new adaptation)?

Would somebody please remake Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey and do it RIGHT, without all of the stupid visions and imaginings that they love to put Catherine Morland through? Could she please be allowed to just be an innocent girl who enjoys reading who falls in love with a charming and slightly snarky vicar? That's all I ask. Just do it RIGHT, with the proper casting (a feat they haven't managed yet), without adding any politically correct nonsense or rewriting the story to be just shy of absurd. It shouldn't be so hard to do a proper adaptation!


  1. Lovely post, my dear! I absolutely agree with you in regards to Ivanhoe and North and South which I'm actually watching as I type! GET OVER YOURSELF MARGRET! YOU KNOW YOU LOVE HIM!!

    1. Thanks! I like North and South although it's been years since I've seen it. But it does take forever. I really have to be in the mood for a story that takes so long to tell! :)

  2. Sorry it took me a while to post your comment, I didn't find it till just now *face palm*, but it'll definitely be in the wrap up post that's going up this afternoon.

    I really enjoyed your answers!! I'm so happy you love the b/w P&P too -- it's a trailblazer and so delightful and so *seriously* underrated.

    Haha, on principle I have to disagree with you and defend my precious N&S with all its deep themes that take time to build, but what you wrote is EXACTLY how I feel about Wives and Daughters, so thank you. xD

    And yes yes yes!! I just saw the newer Northanger Abbey for the first time recently and while it had its cute/charming moments, the irritation at a Certain Scene in Particular (involving the bathtub) and general underwhelming-ness made it disappointing. I've read reviews, but based on pictures I haven't been able to bring myself to watch the earlier one. *sigh*

    I like all those versions of Jane Eyre and hoping to see the 2006 in particular again soon.

    Last but not least, I'm planning to host an event on Epic Story in April, so maybe there'll be some more facets of Ivanhoe you can explore? ;)

    1. No worries!

      Yes, the 1938 P&P is amazing and doesn't get nearly enough acclaim. Just thinking of the era in which it was filmed is amazing. Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre from the same era are both equally excellent too.

      Oh, don't get me wrong, I like N&S. It's been a long time since I've seen it, but I have enjoyed it very much. It just takes so long to get anywhere that I have to be in the right mood. W&D is definitely another one like it, you're completely right!

      I actually wrote a review for the 1986 Northanger Abbey if you're up for some sarcasm. It's just so far beyond weird. I would give anything for a new adaptation!

      I like the idea of an epic story event! Sounds marvelous!

  3. I'm not the only person a little fascinated by Olivier's Darcy and his gloves, eh? Oh, nice to not be the only one. (Actually, I have a sister-in-law who really loves him, and introduced me to that version, so probably there are three of us, at least.)

    BTW, thank you again for introducing me to the Anthony Andrews version of Ivanhoe. My kids have watched it multiple times now too, they like it so much :-)

    1. Awwwwww, I'm so glad you've enjoyed AA's Ivanhoe so much, and your kids, that's fabulous! It's still one of my favorite period dramas.

      Yay, we are not alone! We Laurence Olivier Darcy fans must stand fast! He was also in a comedy called The Divorce of Lady X with Merle Oberon in the 30s and he does the exact same thing with his gloves. I was positively giddy with delight!

    2. Oooh. I shall have to investigate this Divorce of Lady X. And now I have an idea of what to give my s-i-l for her birthday....

  4. Oh, Orson Welles sounds like a perfect Mr. Rochester! Jane Eyre has never really been my favorite, but I'd be willing for that to change!

    Hugh Grant as such a humbly Edward is absolutely hilarious! I used to be annoyed with it, but now I just think it's amusing. Have you seen the 2008 series where Dan Stevens plays him? He does such a good job!

    I've wanted to see that David Copperfield since you reviewed it but haven't had the chance. One of these days!


Thank you for your kind comments, which I adore!