The world of Jane Austen fans was rocked as hard as it's ever been today, when a professor across the pond figured out that two characters from the notoriously chaste books have been making out all this time, right under our noses.
As reported by the Telegraph, Professor John Mullan has compelling evidence that there's a scene in the classic "Emma" in which a passionate kiss is strongly implied, albeit unseen -- which, if you've ever read or watched Austen stories, you know is a GINORMOUS deal. Even when Austen's books go to Hollywood, the strict social rules of the era are usually relaxed only enough to allow for one dinky payoff kiss when the central couple finally gets together.
In short: They're a giant sexual tension-fest. And the paltry kiss at the end isn't always enough to make up for it.
So, where do all the Austen adaptations out there rank in terms of sexual frustration? Below, we round up the movies either adapted from or inspired by Jane Austen's novels, in order of how badly you needed a cold shower at the end of them.
With a modern-day setting and a plot inspired by a sort of mish-mash of Austen novels, "Austenland" barely earns its PG-13 rating. But compared to the other entries on this list (and thanks to the credits scene above) it's positively bawdy. Hence, last place.
A modern-day retelling of "Emma," "Clueless" pretty much follows the Austen rules when it comes to endless flirtation and zero action, save for some smooching at the end. However, the movie also gets its rocks off with more frank talk about sex than the ones that actually take place in Regency era England.
The tension in Northanger Abbey comes as much from its gothic mystery as its romantic entanglements, but it resolves both of them very, very well... and then some. It's not often you see two Jane Austen characters walking alone together, let alone making out passionately inside a hedge. Scandalous!
Pride and Prejudice
Although the will-they-or-won't-they drama surrounding Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy will drive you mad up until the very last minute, the 2005 adaptation of Austen's most famous book hooked us up with a passionate engagement kiss and an intimate (albeit totally G-rated) scene between the newlyweds at the end.
"Mansfield Park"'s titular manor house is so rife with sexual tension that at one point in the film, the residents conspire to put on a stage play just so that they have an excuse to flirt with each other. Fortunately, we get our big payoff in the form of Edmund's passionate confession that he loves Fanny "as a man loves a woman" (and all the sexiness that implies) plus some pretty serious first-base stuff.
The characters pictured here have had to wait nearly a decade for this kiss, whereas we, the viewers, only had to wait two hours. Under the circumstances, it hardly seems fair to complain.
After hours -- hours! -- of romantic mishaps and mismade matches, "Emma" seals the deal between Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightley with a kiss... which lasts all of three seconds, and dissipates maybe one tenth of the sexual tension the movie has built up in its audience. For Pete's sake, he doesn't even use tongue.
Sense and Sensibility
This movie is so full of unexpressed feeling, not even its characters can keep it together when it all finally works out.
The other Pride and Prejudice
This is it, y'all: THE CHAMPION. In the pantheon of Austen adaptations, this 1995 miniseries reigns supreme in terms of sexual tension. Not only for its sheer staying power, as said tension rages unabated for a whopping 327 minutes, but for the way it ups the ante midway through by entering Mr. Darcy in a one-man Edwardian wet t-shirt contest. Are they trying to kill us? IT WORKED.