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Northanger Abbey is a 1986 made-for-television film adaptation of Jane Austen's novel Northanger Abbey (1818), and was originally broadcast on the A&E Network and the BBC in 1987.

Northanger Abbey
GenreCostume drama
Based onNorthanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Screenplay byMaggie Wadey
Directed byGiles Foster
StarringKatharine Schlesinger
Peter Firth
Robert Hardy
Googie Withers
Theme music composerIlona Sekacz
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of episodes1
Producer(s)Louis Marks
CinematographyNat Crosby
Running time88 minutes
Original networkBBC
Original release1986


Northanger Abbey is the story of a young woman, Catherine Morland, who is invited to Bath, Somerset, with family friends, the Allens; they hope the waters at Bath will help Mr. Allen's gout. Catherine (called "Cathy" by her many younger siblings) has been quite sheltered all her life, escaping only by reading Gothic novels, and so is delighted to go to Bath. Mrs. Allen introduces Catherine to the Thorpe family, including an older girl, Isabella, who befriends Catherine. The girls have bonded over their love of similar novels, when their brothers arrive. James (Catherine's brother) falls in love with Isabella, a hardened flirt. Likewise, John (Isabella's brother and James's friend) goes after Catherine, who does not like John half so much as John likes himself.

Catherine is in love with a quirky young minister, Henry Tilney, whom she met at a dance. She befriends Henry's sister, Eleanor, and goes on many outings with the two of them, after their brother Frederick Tilney comes to Bath. Isabella, having learned that James (to whom she is now engaged) is poor, begins to flirt with Frederick. Eleanor invites Catherine to stay with her at the Tilneys' home, Northanger Abbey.

Catherine accepts the invitation with pleasure, although she imagines that the Abbey will be rather like one of the gloomy castles in her books. Catherine is at first welcomed by General Tilney (Henry's father), who has been bragged to by John Thorpe that Catherine (whom John thinks is in love with him) is an heiress. When he realizes that Catherine is not rich, however, he sends her packing. Back at home, Catherine is unhappy, missing Henry and disillusioned about her precious Gothic novels. Henry appears and proposes, however, and the story ends happily.


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