Jane Austen’s first novel published in 1811 was aired for the first time on June 4, 1950 as a part of live dramatic anthology series The Philco Television Playhouse11on NBC. It is a one hour-long adaptation directed by Delbert Mann. To fit the plot into such a short time span, it is presented on three sets, several characters are omitted and the story reaches a swift ending before it can fully develop.
The second television version of this novel was produced in 1971 by BBC. It is a four-part miniseries directed by David Giles. Its twenty-minute length gives space to more characters than the presentation from 1950; however, the character of Margaret is omitted.
Another BBC adaptation is from 1981. It consists of seven thirty-minute episodes and differs only slightly from the 1971 version, since the both adaptations were written by the same screenwriter. Unlike the 1971 version, which was shot on studio sets, the later version was shot on locations with great use of outdoor scenes.
The first feature film adaptation was produced in 1995 by Columbia/Mirage. The Academy Award winning screenplay by Emma Thomson was directed by Taiwanese director Ang Lee. This film will be dealt with in greater detail in the case study of this thesis.
In 2002, Tamil filmmakers produced the feature film Kandukondain Kandukondain12which was based on Austen’s plot and also drew on Thomson’s screenplay. The film was directed by Rajiv Menon and is heavily made fit for an Indian audience employing dancing and singing. The main characters and their relationships are identical but the setting is modern.
The most recent version is again a mini-series from the BBC production. It was first aired in January 2008 on the BBC One as a three-part serial. In the United States, it was one of the PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre13 pieces. The screenplay came from the pen of a renowned screenwriter Andrew Davies, who adapted a number of novels of the British literary canon. This version is more daring than the other versions, as it shows Willoughby seducing Eliza Williams, or Willoughby kissing Marianne at Allenham.