Synopsis: Beloved English novelist Jane Austen treasured her manuscript of Lady Susan, though it was forgotten by all and almost never saw the light of day. What was she thinking when she wrote a clever novel of adultery, cruelty, and betrayal that might have seriously damaged her own reputation? Why do scholars today dismiss Lady Susan as a minor work of little interest? And what does the tale reveal about the author that everyone is so anxious to keep quiet? This award-winning documentary explores the strange literary destiny and merit of Jane Austen’s most controversial work.
WRITER/DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Michelle Lambeau
Cast: Joan Klingel Ray, Ph.D
Martha Stoddard Holmes, Ph.D
Edit and Art Director: Luke Jeralds
DP: Alexander Finden
Production Design and Sound: JC Lawler
Awards: Best Director of a Documentary Short: Costa Rica International Documentary Film Festival, 2014
Back story: Director Michelle Lambeau is part of a small cult of fans who long to see Lady Susan added to the Jane Austen canon. Her stage adaptation of Lady Susan has been shared with audiences in Brussels, Belgium, New York, and Arizona, and was a selection of the Pandora Festival of New Works in 2012. The willingness of leading experts in the field to share their delightfully diverging views on the subject, the writers’ and actors’ enthusiasm for the strong roles they got to play, and the filmmakers’ brilliance and dedication – the whole project fell almost effortlessly into place. It was meant to be! And the film’s warm reception to date has already inspired some literary academics to add Lady Susan to their Regency era curriculum – and research into new documentaries on eighteenth century women is well underway.
Many thanks to everyone who supported us. Our documentary has WON the PBS-KVCR Shorts Showcase award for popular on their platform! A screening in Palms Springs was held on May 20, 2016.
Our very own Michelle Lambeau at the @ShortsShowcase Film Festival in Palm Springs last night, with @LadySusanMissingMasterpiece. We’re so proud of you!