MovieChat Forums > Emma (1996) Discussion > Mrs Elton's accent!!!!!!!!

Mrs Elton's accent!!!!!!!!


It was atrocious! I know some people have said its a west country accent, but if it is it isn't a particularly good or consistant one. The actress cannot seem to make up her mind if she was west country, American or Irish because her accent constantly changed.

otherwise i quite liked this adaptation, even compared to the Gwyneth paltrow version. Mr Knightly is quite handsome and Beckinsale played a good emma and was quite pretty, (even before she became hollywoodised)

Unfortunatly Mrs Eltons accent really annoyed me all the way through, which was a shame

'is it a bird? is it a plane?, no its a man in tights and a cape!'

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I've been wondering about this. The character is so grating that the accent seemed to be just another aspect to dislike. Does the book reference her background?

I'm quite ignorant on English regional accents. Are you able to reference a good example of a west country accent?

Thanks.

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I thought Augusta Elton’s accent was very poor. IIRC, she was supposed to be from Bristol and spent time in Bath, and the actress in question tried to adopt a West Country accent to highlight this. Unfortunately the West Country accent she used sounded nothing like an accent from the Somerset region. Instead she sounded like she was from as far south as Devon!


‘Noli me tangere; for Caesar's I am’

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Oh. I thought from her accent that she was from America!!

Holy inferiority complex, Batman!

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Me too. I figured that since Mrs Elton needed to be vulgar the producers just decided to make her sound American!

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The accent was rather ambiguous; however the reason why I think she was attempting a West Country accent is that she seemed to try to emphasis the r’s in her speech and is a traditional aspect of this region’s accent. It wasn’t well done though (although I suppose I am extra critical because I grew up near Bristol and near Bath so areas associated with her character and I have yet to come across someone native to this region that sounds like her!)



‘Noli me tangere; for Caesar's I am’

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The actress cannot seem to make up her mind if she was west country, American or Irish because her accent constantly changed.


I'm not familiar with her character not having read the book. I'm also not familiar with a west country accent as I'm not from the UK and was trying to figure out what accent she was supposed to have. I kept thinking she was either American or Irish from what I heard but becuase it wasn't very consistent( or believable to begin with) it just led to me being very confused regarding her.

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Certainly not any recognisable English regional accent. I am English and have worked with people with Bristol accents it is definitely NOT a Bristol accent or Devon or even that weird accent known to actors as "Mummerset" (For our US friends this ia a pseudo-regional accent adapted by actors who can't "do" accents which is used for any southern English regional accents from Cornwall in the West to Norfolk in the East! (The sort of accent the American actor playing Sam uses in LOTR).

The actress to me uses the sort of American/Mid-Atlantic accent people like Katherine Hepburn put on when she was in historical films surrounded by British actors.

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Nevertheless, she was attempting a Bristol accent, which was called for in Andrew Davies's script.

Stage directions for Mrs. Elton in the scene at Hartfield, when Emma and Harriet have tea with the newlywed Eltons:

68 INTERIOR. HARTFIELD. DRAWING-ROOM. day

Mrs. Elton is talking to, or at, Emma, who listens politely. [In the book Harriet isn't there, but I'd like to have her here to listen.]

Mr. Elton is at the other side of the room, ostensibly talking to Mr. Woodhouse, but sending many proud and loving gazes across at Mrs. Elton. She is a handsome woman, with strong traces of a Bristol accent
[emphasis mine] , and a very good opinion of herself.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(From Andrew Davies' script, as cited in The Making of Jane Austen's Emma, by Sue Birtwistle and Susie Conklin, Penguin Books, p. 118)


EDIT 19 Oct 2013 to remove broken link.

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Yes, it's definitely not a current Bristol accent nor a West Country accent at least since recorded sound has been available.

That said, I suppose it's conceivable that the Bristol accent in the early 1800s may have been somewhat like this. The Bristol accent had early Celtic and later Irish influence, as did the American accent.

I guess we'll never know! But in all honesty, I think the actress (or voice coach) was trying for a particular accent but missed the mark.

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To me, her accent sounded perfectly like a woman who was trying to "put on" fancy manners. I thought it suited the character very well.

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I came to this board precisely to ask about Mrs E's accent. Not being a native speaker, I wanted to know if other people thought it sounded out of place, or if poor little foreigner me was just unable to grasp the regional idiosyncracy of the character. Glad to see I'm not the only one to be puzzled at least.

"Sometimes I'm callous and strange."

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It's not just you! Lucy Robinson just did a rotten job at a Bristol accent. Toally cringeworthy!!

He looks like what happens when you punch a cow!

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I was glad to see this thread, since it's the first time I've seen this production. I was struck by the accent as well. Here in the U.S., a "flat" accent is usually what we consider as being from the Midwestern states. I didn't know there was a British equivelent. Did it have anything to do with Mrs. E's odd facial mannerisms...was she struggling to speak in a "genteel" fashion? Thanks!

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Having seen 'The Shipping News', I assumed Mrs Elton was Canadian because of what seemed to be hints of an Irish accent in her voice.

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Same here. I watched the scene at Hartfield with Emma on YouTube, and at first, I thought the actress was simply speaking in a normal, Austenesque posh voice. But then every other sentence seemed to be delivered in an American accent, completely randomly! If I hadn't read this thread beforehand, I would be completely lost as to Mrs Elton's supposed origins. Couldn't Andrew Davies or somebody have said to Lucy Robinson, 'Never mind, just use your own voice'?

"Tony, if you talk that rubbish, I shall be forced to punch your head" - Lord Tony's Wife, Orczy

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Lucy Robinson's Bristol accent created quite a stir back then, didn't it? LOL.

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Well it would, it's dreadful!



It's all right Andy! It's just bolognaise!

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It caused a little ruffle 7 years ago too. It fits the character - annoying.

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