Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Efford House, Sense and Sensibility, 1995

Here are some photos from my collection showing the interior of Efford House where they filmed the 1995 version of Sense and Sensibility. As you can see I am no photographer! I can never get photos to look like the images I see - well, I wanted to keep a record and I thought you might be interested to see comparisons with shots from the film. The first shows the view through the doorway looking over the estuary - and here we have gorgeous Greg Wise carrying the equally lovely Kate Winslet up the path.

Here's the text from Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.
Elinor and her mother rose up in amazement at their entrance, and while the eyes of both were fixed on him with an evident wonder and a secret admiration which equally sprung from his appearance, he apologized for his intrusion by relating its cause, in a manner so frank and so graceful, that his person, which was uncommonly handsome, received additional charms from his voice and expression. Had he been even old, ugly, and vulgar, the gratitude and kindness of Mrs. Dashwood would have been secured by any act of attention to her child; but the influence of youth, beauty, and elegance, gave an interest to the action which came home to her feelings.

She thanked him again and again; and with a sweetness of address which always attended her, invited him to be seated. But this he declined, as he was dirty and wet. Mrs. Dashwood then begged to know to whom she was obliged. His name, he replied, was Willoughby, and his present home was at Allenham, from whence he hoped she would allow him the honour of calling to-morrow to inquire after Miss Dashwood. The honour was readily granted, and he then departed, to make himself still more interesting, in the midst of an heavy rain.

His manly beauty and more than common gracefulness were instantly the theme of general admiration, and the laugh which his gallantry raised against Marianne received particular spirit from his exterior attractions. Marianne herself had seen less of his person than the rest, for the confusion which crimsoned over her face, on his lifting her up, had robbed her of the power of regarding him after their entering the house. But she had seen enough of him to join in all the admiration of the others, and with an energy which always adorned her praise. His person and air were equal to what her fancy had ever drawn for the hero of a favourite story; and in his carrying her into the house with so little previous formality, there was a rapidity of thought which particularly recommended the action to her. Every circumstance belonging to him was interesting. His name was good, his residence was in their favourite village, and she soon found out that of all manly dresses a shooting-jacket was the most becoming. Her imagination was busy, her reflections were pleasant, and the pain of a sprained ankle was disregarded.







The next two pictures show the same view - Efford House 2007 and Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet and Emilie Francois in a very elegant scene in 1995. I love the expressions on the faces of all three Dashwood sisters - each one bowled over by 'his manly beauty and more than common gracefulness' methinks!


Finally, the last two phots are not quite of the same view but show glimpses of the hallway and into the Dashwood's dining parlour. Mr Willoughby is calling on Marianne to enquire after her health. I thought it was very clever how in Emma Thompson's screenplay Willoughby presents Marianne with a bunch of wild flowers and contrasts this with Colonel Brandon's bouquet grown in a hothouse or greenhouse. Marianne is a romantic who delights in nature, so Willoughby's offering of wild flowers from the hedgerows would seem to her to be the superior gift.

From Sense and Sensibility

Marianne's preserver, as Margaret, with more elegance than precision, stiled Willoughby, called at the cottage early the next morning to make his personal inquiries. He was received by Mrs. Dashwood with more than politeness -- with a kindness which Sir John's account of him and her own gratitude prompted; and everything that passed during the visit, tended to assure him of the sense, elegance, mutual affection, and domestic comfort of the family to whom accident had now introduced him. Of their personal charms he had not required a second interview to be convinced.
Don't you think it the most romantic story that Greg Wise and Emma Thompson met on set during the filming and fell in love? They are married now with a daughter and also have a son who they adopted.

7 comments:

Blarney Girl said...

Are the current owners the ones who owned the house when it was used for the film? I kinda feel like Willoughby (Wise, 1995) when he's saying he doesn't want the cottage changed at all and that if he had the means he'd pull down Coomb and rebuild it in the image of their cottage. I fell in love with that cottage and now to see it with wallpaper, radiators and no wainscoting makes me sad. :(

I LOVE the fact that Greg and Emma met on the set, fell in love and are now married with kids! *sigh*

Jane Odiwe said...

I don't know, but I imagine the period details that you mention were added in - certainly in that room where the Dashwood sisters are shown the niches and fireplace had been added. The window seats are still there, but generally speaking the designers would have had to add detail, because it is not really a Georgian cottage. I have to say it is still lovely with incredible views and the sky at night was like a jewel box, diamonds against a black velvet sky. It is deep in the countryside away from street lighting of any kind -I don't think I've ever seen a sky like it.
It's funny you picked out that bit that Willoughby says because I've always noticed what Emma Thompson says afterwards- With dark, narrow stairs, a poky hall and a fire that smokes.

He goes on to add - Especially the fire that smokes.
Where is this leading I hear you ask? It's just that this isn't in the book - the words are something about a kitchen that smokes. The fire in Efford house really does smoke - I wonder if this was a private joke between them - or it may just be my romantic and fanciful imagination at work, but there is something very particular about this speech and the way he looks at her when he's pretending to be Mrs Jennings - need I say more!

Jane Odiwe said...

I don't know, but I imagine the period details that you mention were added in - certainly in that room where the Dashwood sisters are shown the niches and fireplace had been added. The window seats are still there, but generally speaking the designers would have had to add detail, because it is not really a Georgian cottage. I have to say it is still lovely with incredible views and the sky at night was like a jewel box, diamonds against a black velvet sky. It is deep in the countryside away from street lighting of any kind -I don't think I've ever seen a sky like it.
It's funny you picked out that bit that Willoughby says because I've always noticed what Emma Thompson says afterwards- With dark, narrow stairs, a poky hall and a fire that smokes.

He goes on to add - Especially the fire that smokes.
Where is this leading I hear you ask? It's just that this isn't in the book - the words are something about a kitchen that smokes. The fire in Efford house really does smoke - I wonder if this was a private joke between them - or it may just be my romantic and fanciful imagination at work, but there is something very particular about this speech and the way he looks at her when he's pretending to be Mrs Jennings - need I say more!

Blarney Girl said...

Oh, I know the period items were added in to make it look Georgian and that Emma embellished this portion of the story to include Willoughby's funny little mocking of Mrs. Jennings. It's just that the romantic in me wanted the cottage to always be the same - fires that smoke and all. ;)

With that said, I would like to visit the house. One of my favorite things in the world is landscape and I would love to photograph it. I grew up in the country and miss the starry starry nights.

Just after S&S 1995 came out Emma published a book that included a diary she had kept during the filming. I rushed out and bought it after seeing the movie and poured over it, but it's been at least 10 years since I cracked it open. I wonder if she mentions anything about the fire that smokes?! That would be awesome if it was a private joke between them! More *sighs* :)

Jane Odiwe said...

I totally agree - and even though I knew it couldn't possibly be the same there was a little bit of me hoping!

I've just got my copy of that book out of the bookshelf - I seem to remember there were hardly any references to Greg Wise - one that suggested he was quite gorgeous, but nothing much else - sadly!

If anyone out there knows Emma Thompson could you please ask - we'd love to hear the lovely tale of how they got together!

janeaustensworld said...

I just love the setting of this film, which I think really added to the Dashwood women's predicament. It could not have been easy gaining access to that cottage. As for Emma and Greg finding romance on this film, I just so love the idea. The fact that they are still together 14 years later is eons in the show biz world.

Jane Odiwe said...

Everything I've ever read about them suggests they are lovely people too!