Category Archives: M. Night Shyamalan

Pride and Prejudice characters: Charlotte and Mr. Collins

Charlotte & Collins

For a woman who came from a family of clergymen — her father, two brothers and four cousins wore a collar — Jane Austen certainly enjoys poking fun at them in her novels. And Pride and Prejudice’s  Mr. Collins is her most ridiculous clerical caricature. How on earth does sensible Charlotte wind up with such a buffoon?

A clergyman was a professional, just like a lawyer or doctor. He made his living in the pulpit, not at the bar or in the examining room, but he still needed to be a well educated man. Add to that a vicar needed have a high moral standard, be a good speaker and have compassion for the poor and needy.

David Bamber is Mr. Collins  in the 1995 series [Image courtesy BBC Home.]

David Bamber is Mr. Collins in the 1995 series [Image courtesy BBC Home.]

Instead we get conceited, pompous, narrow-minded, silly, self important Mr. Collins. He is a mixture of pride and obsequiousness, a social climber with a very good opinion of himself and his patroness Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

He comes to Meryton to visit the Bennets. As closest male relative he is set to inherit the Longbourn estate on Mr. Bennet’s death. That is something, to his credit, that he feels some guilt over. So he decides to marry one of the five Bennet sisters. Jane is all but engaged to Mr. Bingley so he sets his sites on Lizzie.

Tom Hollander as Mr. Collin in the 2005 movie

Tom Hollander as Mr. Collin in the 2005 movie

Poor Lizzie receives two of the worst proposals  of marriage in literature. The first is from Mr. Collins. He wants to get married because:

  1.  as a clergyman it would set a good example to the parish.
  2.  it will add to his happiness.
  3.  it is “the particular advice “ of Lady Catherine.
  4.  he has a violent affection for Elizabeth

Of course he doesn’t expect a rejected. For one thing he’s SUCH a catch, and for another he’s chosen well. The girls are desperate and he has them in a corner.

He literally can not believe that she declines his offer. Neither can her mother. And for a while Longbourn is long born with strife.

Queue Charlotte.

Charlotte Lucas is plain, pragmatic, good-tempered, funny, sensible, intelligent and unromantic.  She is 27 years old and Lizzie’s intimate friend. She’s such a good friend, in fact, that she comes to the rescue when Lizzie refuses Mr. Collins. She keeps him in good humor by listening to him and, one assumes, diverts him, making sure he’s out of ear shot of the shouting Mrs. Bennet and the giggling Lydia and Kitty.

Lucy Scott in the 1995 series

Lucy Scott in the 1995 series

Lizzie thanks her friend,  but “Charlotte’s kindness extended farther than Elizabeth had any conception of; — its object was nothing less than to secure her from any return of Mr. Collins’s addresses, by engaging them towards herself.” With a little encouragement on her part Mr. Collins transfers his ‘violent affections’ form one lady to the next and…

”In as short a time as Mr. Collins’s long speeches would allow, every thing was settled between them to the satisfaction of both… he earnestly entreated her to name the day that was to make him the happiest of men… and Miss Lucas, who accepted him solely from the pure and disinterested desire of an establishment, cared not how soon that establishment were gained.”

Lizzie is surprised that Mr. Collins could so quickly change his mind  and settle on another life partner. But she is astonished that Charlotte could accept his proposal.  Charlotte reminds her however that she is…

”not romantic, you know. I never was. I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr. Collins’s character, connections, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state.”

In some ways Charlotte winds up in same situation as Mr. Bennet in the marriage department. Neither of them respect or love their partners. And both do what they can in daily life to avoid interacting with their spouses Mr. Bennet shuts the door to his library, while Charlotte sits in her parlor and encourages Mr. Collins to work with his bees or visit Lady Catherine.

Claudie Blakley in the 2005 movie

Claudie Blakley in the 2005 movie

At the end of the novel Mr. Bennet writes to Mr. Collins informing him that — despite warning to the contrary by both Collins and Lady Catherine — Lizzie and Darcy are soon to marry. Mr. Bennet advises Mr. Collins to  “Console Lady Catherine as well as you can. But, if I were you, I would stand by the nephew. He has more to give.” If Mr. Collins heeds this wise advice he’d shift his alliance to Darcy who would never put up with the vicar’s toady behavior. That, combined with Charlotte’s even handed temper–which (hopefully) would rub off on Collins–MIGHT make him a more tolerable fool.

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Here’s a clip of the wonderful Julia Cho and Maxwell Glick in a scene from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries…

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Thought of the Day 8.6.12 M. Night Shyamalan

“I like to write in a shroud of secrecy because I have to keep finding ways to scare myself.”

–M. Night Shyamalan

M. Night Shyamalan

M. Night Shyamalan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Manoj Shyamalan was born on this day in Mahe, Pondicherry, India in 1970. Today is his 42nd birthday.

His parents lived in the US prior to his birth, but his mother traveled back to India to be with her parents for the last few months of her pregnancy. She came back to the states with the baby when he was 6 weeks old. He was raised outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was given a Super 8 camera as a kid and began making home movies starring himself, his friends and his toys.  While attending New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts he added “Night” as his middle name. He also finished his first  feature film, Praying with Anger. The film roughly echoed his own experiences on a visit to India and deals with cultural tensions and family secrets.

Miramax optioned Wide Awake which Shyamalan directed and shot in Pennsylvania (his location of choice.) Then he penned the script for Stuart Little.

 

Cover of "The Sixth Sense (Collector's Ed...

Cover via Amazon

His big break came with The Sixth Sense. [No spoilers here, all I’ll say is… if you haven’t seen this tight, dramatic, ghost story rent it now. It is part 1 of the  M. Night trifecta ] The movie was filmed in Philadelphia and starred Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment. Shyamalan  again directed. And it received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and Best Director.

He added Producer credit to the list with 2000’s Unbreakable. The film tapped Willis as star again, this time partnering him with Samuel L. Jackson.   More superhero than supernatural this film did well at the box office, but didn’t deliver the punch of its predessor.

 

Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix starred in Signs a sci-fi, alien invasion thriller. [It is  part 2 of the M. Night trifecta so add this to your queue as well.]

 

Cover of "The Village (Full Screen Editio...

Cover via Amazon

The Village shifts the action to an idealistic 19th century farming village. There’s just one problem, the surrounding woods are populated by huge clawed monsters. As long as the villagers keep inside set boundaries and don’t wear red (red is a bad color and attracts the monsters) all is well. But this is an M. Night Shyamalan film… nothing ever stays all well.  The Village did not achieve the audience or critical favor that Sixth Sense or Signs enjoyed. [But I really like it. So it’s my number 3 pick for the trifecta. ]

He based The Lady in the Water with Bryce Dallas Howard and Paul Giamatti on a story he told his kid. During filming of Lady he had a break with Disney films. Warner Bros. picked up the picture, but it lost money.

The writer/director returned to his horror roots with The Happening starring  Mark Walhberg and Zoey Deschanel .

In 2010 He made The Last Airbender  based on Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender. The show received very poor reviews, but has done well internationally. He also wrote and produced Devil, a story about people stuck on an elevator with the Devil in disguise.

He is currently in post-production for After Earth, a science fiction thriller staring Jaden Smith.

Shyamalan’s latest project takes him to the television’s cable network Syfy where it has just been announced that he will work with producer Marti Noxon  (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame) on of a scripted series called Proof. According to a press release for the show:

In Proof, after the tragic accident and sudden death of his parents, the son of a billionaire tech genius offers a large reward for anyone who can find proof of life after death,

Shyamalan will direct the pilot which he and Noxon will co-write .


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