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Bill_T
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Pride & Prejudice on Film

[ Edited ]
Pride and Prejudice has been adapted several times for film and television, notably:
  • The 1940 MGM adaptation starring Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson. The screenplay was by Brave New World author Aldous Huxley, and there were significant alterations made to pacify censors (Mr. Collins, for example, was no longer a clergyman).

  • The 1980 BBC Television mini-series starring Elizabeth Garvey and David Rintoul. This one was penned by novelist Fay Weldon.

  • The 1995 BBC/A&E mini-series directed by Simon Langston and starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth.

  • The 2005 film version starring Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen.

  • Not a direct adaptation, but a playful "Bollywood" take on the tale, is director Gurinder Chadha's 2004 film Bride and Prejudice.

Have you seen any of these versions? Got a favorite? Or thoughts about what films can and can't do when adapting Austen? Tell us about it.

Message Edited by Bill_T on 06-01-2007 10:30 AM

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Gepard
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Re: Pride & Prejudice on Film

I must jump in and say the BBC/A&E version helped me get into P&P when I first saw it on television, I started searching for when it would be on and I could see the parts I missed and owned it on tape for a time before buying it on DVD when it came out. There are some bits that don't follow the book exactly but it does such a wonderful job of playing out the entire book with nothing cut or changed dramatically and it of course caused my whole English class to fall in love with Colin Firth.
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Re: Pride & Prejudice on Film

I have both the 1980 BBC and the 1995 BBC/A&E miniseries, but haven't watched either for quite awhile, so don't have clear memories of either.

One thing I find, though, is that Jane Austen tends, with good actors and actresses who can convey meaning with a gesture or look, to film well because so much of the important content takes place in the form of dialogue, not description or a narrator's commentary. (It's the reason that Middlemarch loses a lot when filmed because much of the real meat of the book is in Eliot's philosophical comments.)
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Gypsy
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Re: Pride & Prejudice on Film

I've seen them all, except the Bollywood version, and feel the BBC/A&E version is the finest. Colin Firth's performance brings out the shy side of Darcy's personality that doesn't appear in the others. This provides a different point of view for Darcy's cold indifference to those around him.

I was very disappointed in the most recent film version. I felt it was more a passion-dripped love story than a marvelous realization of regency life.
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JennyPCajun
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Re: Pride & Prejudice on Film

I have to admit I don't recall ever seeing the 1940 or 1980 versions so I can't give my opinion there. I have, however seen the A&E and Keira Knightley versions and wanted to see Bride & Prejudice which I have heard good things about. I would also like to point out the little seen version commonly referred to as the Pink Pride & Prejudice.

The A&E version is of course wonderful in how much of the story it kept in and how true to the book it stayed (and of course, Colin Firth). I admit to loving this version and chose a hospital that had DVD players when choosing where to have my baby so that I could take this with me, as how often do you get the chance to watch it all straight through?

I remember being wary of the 2005 version, but I admit I love that one. I watch it when I'm in the mood for the story, but not in the mood for the A&E version (or don't have the time but would like to finish it).

I often have people ask me which I like better and always point out that you cannot compare the two as if they are the same thing. There's no way you can expect the 2005 version to be as true to the book just with the time constraints. I do love the 2005's music, their sets and costumes and the casting for the most part. I thought it was wonderful for what it is, but can never compare with the A&E version in some ways.

Now, as for the Pink P&P, that is like watching Clueless when you want to see Emma. It's about five college roommates, and if you are in the mood for it is very entertaining, but not at all a serious retelling.

There are of course several other versions, and there are usually reasons why they aren't brought up as often (and I apologize for bringing the "pink" version into it).

I look forward to your thoughts on the movies! Especially how they've cast some of the movies.

Jenny
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Re: Pride & Prejudice on Film

I admit to loving this [BBC/A&E] version and chose a hospital that had DVD players when choosing where to have my baby so that I could take this with me, as how often do you get the chance to watch it all straight through?

I LOVE that story! What a lucky child to have a mother who chooses a hospital by its ability to let her watch Jane Austen!
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Re: Pride & Prejudice on Film

I loved the BBC version. I thought the film was disappointing. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet were too prosaic. Whatever else those remarkable characters are, your everyday mom and pop they aren't. It also was strange to have the two of them in bed together, discussing Jane's future life as Mrs. Bingley. That scene appeared way too modern and broke the mood. I've seen the Greer Garson version on AMC and it certainly is truncated, they turn Lady Catherine into a facilitator for Darcy and Elizabeth.
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Re: Pride & Prejudice on Film


Bill_T wrote:
Pride and Prejudice has been adapted several times for film and television, notably:


  • The 1995 BBC/A&E mini-series directed by Simon Langston and starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth.



  • The 2005 film version starring Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen.





  • Have you seen any of these versions? Got a favorite? Or thoughts about what films can and can't do when adapting Austen? Tell us about it.

    Message Edited by Bill_T on 06-01-200710:30 AM



    Must say I've loved the 1995 BBC version (own it). It has felt much more like the actual setting of the novel and I thought the relationships between the various characters (especially Mr & Mrs Bennett) was well interpreted from the novel. Very much worth the investment of time - it is divided into six parts so it could be viewed all at once or in smaller, one-hour bites. Lovely!
    The 2005 version I thought terrible. I disagree with the family living in squalor (Mrs Bennett would never have pigs in the house!) as well as the friendly terms on which the Bennet parents live. Though Lizzie is opinionated and likely to speak her mind, I don't think she would be as disrespectful as the most recent version of her character. All in all, to me, not worth seeing.
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    KristyR
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    Re: Pride & Prejudice on Film

    I have all 5 versions listed, plus the "pink" one mentioned. I like the A&E version the best, but have enjoyed them all to one degree or another. The 1940, bride, and pink versions I don't really consider Pride and Prejudice, but just movies with similar themes and familiar character names!
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    prince_alfie
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    Re: Pride & Prejudice on Film

    I must be the only person who finds the 1995 BBC version of P and P much too overrated. Yes, purists worship the fact that it is a literal rendering of the book but only Colin Firth saves this rather prosaic rendering of what Austen has been trying to attempt to convey.

    Honestly, I do go with the version by Joe Wright. There is a much more accurate sociological portrait of the Bennett... none of that fancy castle-looking stuff that the BBC is full of. We have actual farm animals running through the house, etc. Plus I think the lenswork is much more creative (spinning imagery/montage of Elizabeth's thoughts) than the stuffy BBC arched version.

    It's strange that we forgot that there is a postmodern remix of Pride and Prejudice into Mormon lingo. http://www.prideprejudice.com/ is the link. I am stunned that no one mentions that this is one of my personal favorites because it reinvents the character with touches of the BYU environs.

    So I guess that I vote for both the Joe Wright and the Mormon remix of P and P as my top favorites.
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    Re: Pride & Prejudice on Film

    The 1980 BBC version is my favorite. It just feels the most authentic to me. David Rintoul as Darcy takes some warming up to, but I think his high-bred haughtiness is appropriate for a rich gentleman of that time. A close second on my list is the BBc/A&E version. Romance at its best, and Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle have good on-screen chemistry. I love Greer Garson, but I always thought she looked too old for the part of Elizabeth. The film version with Keira Knightly is good, and Gurinder Chadha's 2004 film is fun.
    :smileyhappy:


    Bill_T wrote:
    Pride and Prejudice has been adapted several times for film and television, notably:


    • The 1940 MGM adaptation starring Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson. The screenplay was by Brave New World author Aldous Huxley, and there were significant alterations made to pacify censors (Mr. Collins, for example, was no longer a clergyman).



    • The 1980 BBC Television mini-series starring Elizabeth Garvey and David Rintoul. This one was penned by novelist Fay Weldon.



    • The 1995 BBC/A&E mini-series directed by Simon Langston and starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth.



    • The 2005 film version starring Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen.



    • Not a direct adaptation, but a playful "Bollywood" take on the tale, is director Gurinder Chadha's 2004 film Bride and Prejudice.




    Have you seen any of these versions? Got a favorite? Or thoughts about what films can and can't do when adapting Austen? Tell us about it.

    Message Edited by Bill_T on 06-01-200710:30 AM


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    Re: Pride & Prejudice on Film



    prince_alfie wrote:
    I must be the only person who finds the 1995 BBC version of P and P much too overrated. Yes, purists worship the fact that it is a literal rendering of the book but only Colin Firth saves this rather prosaic rendering of what Austen has been trying to attempt to convey.

    Honestly, I do go with the version by Joe Wright. There is a much more accurate sociological portrait of the Bennett... none of that fancy castle-looking stuff that the BBC is full of. We have actual farm animals running through the house, etc. Plus I think the lenswork is much more creative (spinning imagery/montage of Elizabeth's thoughts) than the stuffy BBC arched version.

    It's strange that we forgot that there is a postmodern remix of Pride and Prejudice into Mormon lingo. http://www.prideprejudice.com/ is the link. I am stunned that no one mentions that this is one of my personal favorites because it reinvents the character with touches of the BYU environs.

    So I guess that I vote for both the Joe Wright and the Mormon remix of P and P as my top favorites.


    The Mormon postmodern remix you mention is the "pink" P&P we were talking about earlier.
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    Re: Pride & Prejudice on Film

    I've seen and have the 1980 BBC version, the 1995 A&E/BBC version, and the 2005 version. I love the first two and absolute hate the 2005. The 1980 & 1995 version seemer truer to the story and to the characters than the 2005 version.
    Liz ♥ ♥


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    peaches21
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    Re: Pride & Prejudice on Film

    I just recently watched the 1980 version of Pride and Prejudice and thought it was absolutely terrible. David Rintoul overplayed Mr. Darcy's haughtiness so much so that I thought him a fop. Furthermore, the acting was absolutely atrocious. The actors said their lines but I didn't really feel like they understood their characters well.

    My favorite version is the 1995 production with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. They, in my opinion, really captured the essence of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. The same is true for the other actors. And again, it stays close to the original story. I also liked the Keira Knightley version although it did take quite a few liberties and I didn't agree with some of the choices the writers made (such as portraying the Bennets as a couple who engaged in pillow talk). What I really love about that version is how artistically it is done. Some of the scenes are just absolutely wonderful and well-directed. Two major things I would change about this version: 1. The actor playing Mr. Darcy, 2. the scene at the end where Lizzy confesses her feelings to Mr. Darcy.
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    Bill_T
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    Re: Pride & Prejudice on Film

    I actually never saw the 2005 feature adaptation...I'll rent it this week to cure my ignorance. I think the acting in the Firth/Ehle version is superb, but I was a bit underwhelmed by the visual "look" of the whole thing. It seems a bit pastel and flat compared with Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility or the recent film of Persuasion, both of which I have liked very much (though Lee takes some considerable liberties with the novel in his version -- he makes Edward Ferrars quite unrealistically fun).

    And I simply must see this Mormon version. Hey, I liked Clueless better than any "straight" adaptation of Emma I've come across.



    prince_alfie wrote:
    I must be the only person who finds the 1995 BBC version of P and P much too overrated. Yes, purists worship the fact that it is a literal rendering of the book but only Colin Firth saves this rather prosaic rendering of what Austen has been trying to attempt to convey.

    Honestly, I do go with the version by Joe Wright. There is a much more accurate sociological portrait of the Bennett... none of that fancy castle-looking stuff that the BBC is full of. We have actual farm animals running through the house, etc. Plus I think the lenswork is much more creative (spinning imagery/montage of Elizabeth's thoughts) than the stuffy BBC arched version.

    It's strange that we forgot that there is a postmodern remix of Pride and Prejudice into Mormon lingo. http://www.prideprejudice.com/ is the link. I am stunned that no one mentions that this is one of my personal favorites because it reinvents the character with touches of the BYU environs.

    So I guess that I vote for both the Joe Wright and the Mormon remix of P and P as my top favorites.


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    Re: Pride & Prejudice on Film

    I love both the Colin Firth and Jane Ehrle version as well as the 2005. I tend to think of the 2005 as an "abridged" version and the BBC one as the "unabridged". I did love the setting and photography in the 2005 version. There was much of the story I would have left in and much in the movie I would have left out but somehow I think it works for the time period it was produced in and the need to appeal to a wide audience. I have seen the the 80s version and didnot care for how it jumped around the story. I managed to catch the last 15-20 minutes of the Olivier/ Garson on Turner Classics the other day and was not impressed with what I saw of it. Didn't like the settings or costumes or the actors playing the family. Didn't like what they did with Lady Catherine either. Barb
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    Re: Pride & Prejudice on Film

    Actually, Emma Thompson wrote the screen play for Sense and Sensibility - she won both a Golden Globe and an Oscar for her adaptation :smileyhappy: . If you listen to her feature commentary on the DVD, she notes that they made the Dashwood's father and brother and the Palmers much richer than they probably actually would have been, but it was to make a greater contrast with the poverty the Dashwood women endure after Mr. Dashwood has died.

    (Another reason for listening to the commentary is that Emma Thompson is hilarious giving all her opinions)



    Bill_T wrote:
    I actually never saw the 2005 feature adaptation...I'll rent it this week to cure my ignorance. I think the acting in the Firth/Ehle version is superb, but I was a bit underwhelmed by the visual "look" of the whole thing. It seems a bit pastel and flat compared with Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility or the recent film of Persuasion, both of which I have liked very much (though Lee takes some considerable liberties with the novel in his version -- he makes Edward Ferrars quite unrealistically fun).

    And I simply must see this Mormon version. Hey, I liked Clueless better than any "straight" adaptation of Emma I've come across.



    prince_alfie wrote:
    I must be the only person who finds the 1995 BBC version of P and P much too overrated. Yes, purists worship the fact that it is a literal rendering of the book but only Colin Firth saves this rather prosaic rendering of what Austen has been trying to attempt to convey.

    Honestly, I do go with the version by Joe Wright. There is a much more accurate sociological portrait of the Bennett... none of that fancy castle-looking stuff that the BBC is full of. We have actual farm animals running through the house, etc. Plus I think the lenswork is much more creative (spinning imagery/montage of Elizabeth's thoughts) than the stuffy BBC arched version.

    It's strange that we forgot that there is a postmodern remix of Pride and Prejudice into Mormon lingo. http://www.prideprejudice.com/ is the link. I am stunned that no one mentions that this is one of my personal favorites because it reinvents the character with touches of the BYU environs.

    So I guess that I vote for both the Joe Wright and the Mormon remix of P and P as my top favorites.





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    Bill_T
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    Re: Pride & Prejudice on Film

    Of course, you're right: I wasn't thinking about how much of the project was due to Thompson's adaptation, which was on the whole superb; that's an interesting detail about the relative wealth of the Palmers and John Dashwood being exaggerated for effect. I'm tempted to re-examine the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice to look for similar alterations.



    pedsphleb wrote:
    Actually, Emma Thompson wrote the screen play for Sense and Sensibility - she won both a Golden Globe and an Oscar for her adaptation :smileyhappy: . If you listen to her feature commentary on the DVD, she notes that they made the Dashwood's father and brother and the Palmers much richer than they probably actually would have been, but it was to make a greater contrast with the poverty the Dashwood women endure after Mr. Dashwood has died.

    (Another reason for listening to the commentary is that Emma Thompson is hilarious giving all her opinions)


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    chris0505
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    Re: Pride & Prejudice on Film

    I've seen all but the 1980 adaptation (which is now on my Netflix queue :0). I have to say that my whole fascination with reading and Pride & Prejudice began with one scene from the Greer Garson version. In high school, we were shown a clip of the dance scene to illustrate a point from another book. I was hooked. I just had to read the book (which led me on to others). Of course, ten years later, I've read the book as many times and have the seen the movie in full. I think the best part of the oldest adaptation is the inclusion of the bulldog litter as the Bennets' pets (I'm partial to the breed). I just didn't enjoy it. It definitely is more of a statement on when it was made then of what the storyline is based on. I feel the same way about the latest adaptation. I was very disappointed with it...the actors, changes to the storyline, etc. The cinematography is beautiful but, whenever I need my P&P fix...I'll stick with the BBC/A&E version.
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    -dagger-
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    Re: Pride & Prejudice on Film

    i saw the 2005 version of P&P, and absolutely adored it! it was fantastic, and thus, it inspired me to read the book, which i thoroughly enjoyed.
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