Monday, September 21, 2009

Pride and Prejudice (1995) Review

Pride and Prejudice (1995)
Directed by Simon Langton
Starring: Jennifer Ehle, and Colin Firth

Based 0n the book: Pride and Prejudice

For the Everything Austen Challenge hosted by Stephanie's Written Word

Description: Jane Austen's classic novel of 1813, Pride and Prejudice, still wins the hearts of countless schoolgirls with its romantic story of Elizabeth Bennet and her Mr. Darcy. Now, the 1996 BBC miniseries is winning over adults, with its faithful adaptation, gorgeous scenery, and superb acting.

The essence of the story is the antagonism between Mr. Darcy, a wealthy single man who believes Elizabeth to be beneath him, and Elizabeth, who upon being insulted at a dance by the aloof Darcy refuses to associate with him in any manner. Austen evokes incredible tension with the wit and flirtation of the two characters, and director Simon Langton (who also directed Upstairs Downstairs) successfully translates the repartee and conflict in this six-hour miniseries. Dialogue, for the most part, is painstakingly replicated, except when fleshing out and smoothing for modern sensibilities was necessary. Darcy, for instance, is drawn out, giving his personality significantly more depth. The acting sweeps you away to Regency England: Jennifer Ehle (of Wilde) is convincing as the obstinate Elizabeth, who, despite her mother's attempts to marry her off, spurs the attentions of Darcy. And Colin Firth (of The English Patient) will have women everywhere longing for a Mr. Darcy of their own.

Can I express my love of this mini-series in words? Well, I can try. I absolutely adored the book, and I've read it at least ten times. So, when I rented the DVD version of this movie, I wasn't really sure what to expect. Yes, I'd heard that everyone loved Colin Firth, but I wasn't sure what to expect otherwise. Well, I thought it did the book justice. Of course, it's around five hours long, so there wouldn't have been an excuse to cut a lot of the story out.

Now, it's hard for me to imagine the characters being played by anyone other than this cast (which is why I haven't been able to watch the Keira Knightly version). Aside from the main cast, I thought that Alison Steadman, who played Mrs. Bennet, was amazing. Here's a clip of her:

Meet the Bennets

I also thought I'd include the scene that everyone talks about...

If you haven't seen this version of Pride and Prejudice, I suggest you pick it up. Yes, I know it's a long series, but it's well worth it!


Tales of Whimsy said...

I really need to see this.

Note: You really should watch the Keira version. It's SO good.

Lizzy said...

Juju -
I know, that's what everyone says! I just haven't been able to make myself yet. I'm sure I'll love it once I see it, though.

Amanda said...

I like the Keira Knightly version slightly better. Then again, I think Colin Firth is one ugly guy, so I have a hard time thinking of him as Darcy.

kt said...

A very good version, true. I love the scenery and music from the 2005, but you can't really compare them as they're so different. It's a good movie, though. (I love all the versions of Pride and Prejudice I've seen for very different reasons so I'm not very helpful.)

I always laugh when people pick their favorite based on the actor playing Darcy, I don't usually notice the actor too much as I get so sucked into the story. I guess I notice their acting, if they were really bad I probably wouldn't get sucked in so well. ;)

I'm a little bummed I missed this challenge, sounds like it would have been fun. Can't wait for more reviews as you finish it, especially your current read! I hadn't heard of it yet, but I'm very curious. Loved your teaser from last week.

Andrea said...

I love both versions for different reasons, but this BBC version is very well done.

Mel (He Followed Me Home) said...

I'm halfway through this series too but fell asleep!!! I'm not a big fan of Colin Firth so may have to check out the Kiera version :)

Krista said...

I loved the Keira Knightly version, so good! I really love Pride and Prejudice! I haven't seen this series of DVD's, though. I may have to check them out, great review!

Lizzy said...

A lot of people I know feel the same way about Colin Firth! I guess people either love him, or don't find him attractive.

Well, I love movie soundtracks, so that's another reason for me to pick up the new version

Good point, maybe I'll love the new version for reasons that are different from why I love the BBC version

It's a long series! Even though I love it, if I have it on as background noise and am really tired I can nod off. That's the great thing about DVDs though. I never have to rewind to find the last scene I saw

Definitely check it out! It's a lot longer than the Knightly version, though. So, you might want to do an hour or two a night

La Coccinelle said...

That's a great adaptation. I've seen the newer movie as well, and they're both good. If you have the time, the miniseries is great... but if you want a shorter version that gets the job done, the movie is good, too.

Cecelia said...

You know a chick-favorite like this is good when: your three brothers randomly put it in the DVD player, and KEEP WATCHING IT for three hours!!! True story. I knew I loved it, but I knew it was completely awesome when they did that. Yay!

Cecelia said...

p.s. they suffered through the Keira Knightley version, but told me they'd never voluntarily watch it again.

Debbie's World of Books said...

Pride and Prejudice is my all time favorite book. I was surprised how much I loved the BBC version. I'm normally not a fan of book to movies. I finally watched the Kiera Knightly version and it wasn't as bad as I thought. I wasn't happy with either Mr. Darcy's look-wise though.

Aline Tobing said...

I love the BBC version! I particularly love the actress who played Lizzy part. She looks smart and witty, just like Lizzy supposed to be. I don't really like Keira Knigthley as Lizzy, though. I think she smirks too much LOL

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