Emma (2009)

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German title Emma
Original title Emma
Country of production Great Britain
original language English
Publishing year 2009
length (4 parts) about 240 minutes
Age rating FSK 6
Director Jim O'Hanlon
script Sandy Welch
production Michas Kotz , Phillippa Giles ,
Rebecca Eaton , George Ormond
music Samuel Sim
camera Adam Suschitzky

Emma is a British literary film from 2009, on behalf of the BBC after the novel from 1815 by Jane Austen as a mini-series was born. The screenplay was written by Sandy Welch , directed by Jim O'Hanlon and starring Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller .

The four-part series first aired in the UK on Sundays October 4-25, 2009 on BBC-One and in the United States on PBS from January 24th to February 7th. On German television, the first episode was the first time on 24 March 2011 at the Pay TV transmitter RTL Passion to see. The DVD box has been available in stores since September 24, 2010.


England, early 19th century, Regency era: Emma Woodhouse is highly regarded in the fictional small provincial town of Highbury, but since the wedding of her governess Anne Taylor, whom she actually regarded as her closest confidante, she has now lived at the tender age of 20 Years alone with her ailing father at the Hartfield mansion. Mr. Knightley's visits are the only change in her life.

In the search for her true talent, she cannot find any special talents in the artistic, musical or literary field, but she thinks she has the gift of seeing through other people's affairs of the heart and being able to influence them positively. She does not listen to the only critical voice, that of Mr. Knightley, and when she chooses the young and beautiful Harriet Smith from the girls' boarding school as her new friend, she does everything in her power to use her ability as a matchmaker.

After some confusion and misunderstanding, Emma has to bitterly admit that she has vastly overestimated her ability to make judgments and completely underestimated the resulting consequences. She regrets not taking Mr. Knightey's concerns seriously and thus not acknowledging his greater life experience.

main characters

Emma Woodhouse
Emma Woodhouse is 20 years old and lives alone with her frail father on the Hartfield family home. As a well-respected member of the Highbury Ward, she's lacking for nothing but peer company and pastimes. She thinks she has found her true talent in making matches and wants to use this for the benefit of her new friend Harriet Smith.
Mr. George Knightley
Mr. Knightley is the Squire of Donwell Abbey and the Justice of the Peace for the Highbury Ward. Since his younger brother John is married to Emma's older sister Isabella and thus became Emma's brother-in-law, he is a welcome and frequent guest in Hartfield.
Harriet Smith
Harriet Smith lives in Mrs. Goddard's boarding school, where she grew up. She is the illegitimate daughter of a stranger who pays anonymously for her scant education and housing.
Mr. Woodhouse
Mr. Woodhouse is the father of Emma and Isabella, a long-time widower and a sickly anxious man. Since his first daughter left the house, he has wanted the marriage and thus the departure of Emma's governess Ms. Taylor / Mrs. Not approving of Weston.
Mrs. Anne Weston b. Taylor
Miss Anne Taylor has been her governess and closest companion since the early death of Emma's mother. But she gets to know and love Mr. Weston better, marries him and leaves Hartfield to live with Mr. Weston on his country estate Randalls near Highbury.
Mr. Weston
Mr. Weston, the owner of Randalls, decides to remarry after many years and steps in front of the altar with Anne Taylor, Emma's former governess. In honor of this occasion, his son from his first marriage, Frank Churchill, has announced his long overdue visit.
Mr. Frank Churchill
Mr. Frank Churchill is the son of Mr. Weston, but was adopted as a young boy by her childless brother Mr. Churchill after the death of his mother and has not returned until now.
Miss Jane Fairfax
Miss Jane Fairfax is about the same age as Emma and lost her parents in early childhood. In order to escape the impending poverty, her only surviving relatives, her grandmother Mrs. Bates and her aunt Miss Bates, decided to send her to the family friend Captain Campbell, who was looking for a playmate for his daughter.
Miss Bates
Miss Bates is the daughter of the late pastor of Highbury and has remained unmarried, so that she now lives in very modest circumstances with her old mother. The most important highlights of her life are the weekly letters from her niece Jane Fairfax.
Mr. Elton
Mr. Elton has recently become the assistant pastor of the Highbury Ward and is a single man on the lookout for a bride.
Mrs. Augusta Elton
Mrs. Elton is a wealthy Bath woman who has to adjust to more humble circumstances after her marriage.

Episode overview

No. German title Original title First broadcast in UK German language first broadcast (D) Director script Odds
1 Episode one Episode One 4th October 2009 March 24, 2011 Jim O'Hanlon Sandy Welch 4.48 million
Rich and independent, Emma Woodhouse has no reason to marry, but nothing is more fun than watching other couples do it. So she helps her sister and her nanny Miss Taylor to their husbands by giving both of them a little nudge. When they are both married and out of the house, their father and Emma live alone in the large property. That's why Emma soon starts looking for a new friend, whom she finds in the beautiful Harriet Smith. Although Emma enjoys pairing up, she discourages Harriet from marrying farmer Robert Martin, claiming that he is under her estate. Emma's close friend Mr. Knightley warns her that this negative intrusion into this relationship is a mistake and involves great pain bring - for Harriet and for Robert. However, Emma cannot be taught why Mr. Knightley becomes very angry.
2 Episode two Episode Two October 11, 2009 March 31, 2011 Jim O'Hanlon Sandy Welch 4.12 million
Emma insists that Mr. Elton, the pastor of Highbury, and Harriet would be a good match. Although she is not interested in a wedding herself, she seems interested in the strange and unknown Frank Churchill, whom she hopes to see at his father's Christmas party. However, Frank does not come, instead Emma receives a marriage proposal from Mr. Elton. A few months later, rumors circulated in the village that Jane Fairfax would be back after years and that a secret admirer had given her a piano. Emma refuses to believe that Mr. Knightley could be that secret admirer.
3 Episode three Episode Three October 18, 2009 April 7, 2011 Jim O'Hanlon Sandy Welch 3.32 million
Emma asks Mr. Knightley if the rumors are true, but Mr. Knightley remains very silent on the matter. Meanwhile, Emma and Frank are planning a ball, and Emma wonders if she might be in love with him. Although they have a lot of fun together at the ball, Emma doesn't develop any feelings for Frank. With only her father as company at home, Emma becomes increasingly lonely and bored. So Mr. Knightley suggests a little trip to Box Hill to make a change and get her thinking back on her mind. He tells Emma that Frank and Jane are a secret couple. Emma harshly rejects this assumption - she can testify personally that Jane Frank is indifferent. With her indifference to Mr. Knightley, she hurts him.
4th Episode four Episode Four October 25, 2009 April 14, 2011 Jim O'Hanlon Sandy Welch 3.66 million
What was planned as a pleasure excursion ends as a day of pain. On the trip to Box Hill, Emma, ​​incited by Frank, says very insulting words to Miss Bates. Mr. Knightley rebukes Emma and she understands how much she offended Miss Bates. She tries to make up for her mistake by visiting Jane and Miss Bates, but Jane doesn't want to see her. Miss Bates tells Emma that Jane got a job as governess and cried all night. Meanwhile, Mr. Knightley visits his brother and his wife Isabella in London to get a little distance from Emma. When Frank's ruling aunt dies, the Westons expect him to propose to Emma. But Frank is already secretly engaged to Jane Fairfax. And Emma finally realizes who her heart belongs to: Mr. Knightley.


The German dubbing was done by Splendid Synchron GmbH from Cologne, the dialogue book was written by Cornelius Frommann, who also directed the dialogue .

actor role German speaker Episodes
Romola Garai Emma Woodhouse Mia Diekow 1-4
Jonny Lee Miller Mr. George Knightley Philipp Scheppmann 1-4
Michael Gambon Mr. Woodhouse Klaus Dittmann 1-4
Jodhi May Anne Weston (née Taylor) Kordula Leisse 1-4
Robert Bathurst Mr. Weston Hans Bayer 1-4
Blake Ritson Mr. Elton Simon Roden 1-4
Louise Dylan Harriet Smith Leoni Kristin Oeffinger 1-4
Tamsin Greig Miss Bates Marion Mainka 1-4
Rupert Evans Mr. Frank Churchill Johannes Raspe 2-4
Laura Pyper Miss Jane Fairfax Milena Karas 2-4
Christina Cole Mrs. Augusta Elton Vanessa's wish 3-4
Jefferson Hall Mr. Robert Martin Oliver Bedorf 1/4
Dan Fredenburgh John Knightley Andreas Meese 1-4
Poppy Miller Isabella Knightley (née Woodhouse) Susanne Dobrusskin 1-4
Jamie Glover Henry Knightley Ricardo Rausch 1-3
Joshua Jones James Knightley Lucas Kämmer 1-3
Valerie Lilley Mrs. Bates Therese Dürrenberger 1-4
Veronica Roberts Mrs. Goddard Renate Fuhrmann 1-3
Liza Sadovy Mrs. Cole Kerstin Fischer 2-3


Script and direction

In this new adaptation, Emmy-nominated screenwriter Sandy Welch takes the liberty of making the main character Emma Woodhouse more understandable with the help of superimposed fades from her childhood and imaginations. The plot is strongly based on the original book and with a total film length of 240 minutes hardly needs a shortening in contrast to the two-hour cinema version or the television film from 1996. Now it is divided into four episodes, whereas Jane Austen's original is divided into 3 volumes a total of 55 chapters was published. Only a few details have been changed or left out (e.g. there are not so many tea and dinner parties). Sandy Welch designed the beginning of the story completely differently by describing Emma's strokes of fate and those of the protagonists of the same age Frank Weston and Jane Fairfax right at the beginning, while the reader in the novel only learns more about the background in chapter 2 or chapter 20.

The director Jim O'Hanlon also tries to suppress the stiffness of the time as much as possible with modern body language and natural-looking, fresh energy of the main actors. ( “Physical energy and modern body-language” ). O'Hanlon largely dispenses with service personnel, the focus is on the main characters, who are often followed with dynamic tracking shots (sometimes through several rooms). He minimizes the stiff formalities (kinks, bows, ...) as far as possible, but if they exist, then they are indicated in a lanky way rather than perfectly executed. The spatial distance between man and woman at the time is not always taken into account (especially at the Boxhill picnic when Mr. Churchill lays his head on Emma's lap).


The music for the film, including the dance pieces “The Town Square,” “The Ship's Cook,” and “Ginny's Market” from the ball scenes are from the composer Samuel Sim , the orchestral recordings took place in London's Abbey Road Studios .


Loseley House
  • Hartfield - Squerryes Court, Westerham (interior and exterior shots in the manor house and park)
  • Donwell - Loseley House , south of Guildford , Surrey
  • Highbury - Chilham , Kent town with historic half-timbered houses
  • Church - St. Mary the Virgin in Send, Surrey


“Sometimes directing interferes with the flow of the story, like having some poorly thought-out flashbacks filling in gaps where dialogue has already been established. And the opening sequence, which shows each main character as a toddler, is unnecessary and confusing. But these are comparatively minor complaints with such a humanistic and entertaining TV event like Emma , a series that underpins Austen's relevance and also justifies its adaptability. "

- Peter Swanson : slantmagazine.com

“If the filmmakers had focused more on the character and less on getting every detail from the novel, this Emma version could have stood out among the other Austen adaptations. Unfortunately, these shortcomings lead to a recommendation for die-hard Austen fans only. "

- Ben Saylor : dvdverdict.com



  • 2010: Emmy for Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special for Gemma Hancock and Sam Stevenson
  • 2010: Emmy in the category Outstanding Costumes for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special for Rosalind Ebbutt and Amanda Keable
  • 2010: Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for Michael Gambon
  • 2010: Golden Globe Award in the category Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television for Romola Garai
  • 2010: Satellite Award in the Best Miniseries category


  • 2010: Emmy for Outstanding Hairstyling for a Miniseries or a Movie for Anne Oldham

Further adaptations

The British television broadcaster BBC had already filmed the novel Emma in 1972 as a six-part television series with Doran Godwin and in 1996 as a television film with Kate Beckinsale and Mark Strong in the leading roles. In 1996, Jane Austen's Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow could be seen on the big screen, and in 1995 the modern US adaptation Clueless - What Else! with Alicia Silverstone and in 2010 the Indian Bollywood version Aisha with Sonam Kapoor as protagonist.


  • Jane Austen : Emma. Roman (original title: Emma ). German by Angelika Beck. First edition. Insel Taschenbuch, Frankfurt am Main / Leipzig 2006, ISBN 3-458-35201-5 .

Web links

Wikisource: Emma  - Sources and full texts (English)

Individual evidence

  1. Emma - Masterpiece . PBS homepage, accessed March 9, 2011 .
  2. ^ Emma's broadcast dates. fernsehserien.de, accessed on March 9, 2011 .
  3. Weekly Top 30 Programs . In: barb.co.uk . October 28, 2012. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  4. Emma (2009) in the German synchronous file . Retrieved March 9, 2011.
  5. ^ Emma - Behind the Scenes. Youtube, accessed March 9, 2011 .
  6. ^ DVD "Emma" (2010) - Extras / Emma's Music.
  7. ^ Squerryes Estate. Squerryes Court homepage, accessed March 9, 2011 .
  8. Loseley Park Film & TV Location Hire. Visit Surrey.com, accessed September 3, 2012 .
  9. Kent in film. BBC homepage, October 8, 2009, accessed March 9, 2011 .
  10. ^ Church of St Mary the Virgin in Send. Homepage of the "Church of England - The Dioscese of Guildford", accessed on March 9, 2011 .
  11. Emma . slantmagazine.com, January 23, 2010.
  12. Emma 2009 ( Memento of the original from September 5, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. dvdverdict.com, February 9, 2010. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.dvdverdict.com