In our stimulating discussion about movies that are better (arguably!) than the books they adapt, Henry Gee writes: "I would point to the film Clueless, which is Emma set in modern Beverly Hills, as the very best Austen adaptations that there has ever been."
Clueless is one of those films from which I have seen 2-minute segments about 100 times, as I’ve been in and out of the room during three girls’ perpetual enjoyment of it. (Personally, I’d rather read Emma, but I’m an old stick.)
Henry’s comment made me think about other presumed good updates of the classics. My daughters love some of these, watching them over and over again. Apart from Clueless, there is:
Ten things I hate about you (Taming of the Shrew)
She’s the Man (Twelfth Night)
Bride and Prejudice (you guess it)
Pretty Woman (Pygmalion) (Unlike all of the above, I have actually seen this one from beginning to end, years ago in the actual cinema.)
Great Expectations (Curaon version)
And, via BBC TV: Shakespeare ReTold (updates of Macbeth, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing).
I’m not sure whether to count big favourites The Importance of Being Earnest and An Ideal Husband because although they take liberties with the originals, they are essentially the originals — most of the dialogue is Wilde’s, even if not all of it is from the works being portrayed. (And you can shut your eyes in the Reece Witherspoon fantasy passages easily enough.)
Can anyone think of more?