Pride & Prejudice on film and video

I happened across another blog today that was discussing P&P 2005, the Keira Knightley version. These were my comments on that posting, which I would like to pass along as my own blog post today:

The 2005 version was okay in places — Matthew Macfadyen has incredible clear eyes — but time constraints prevented development of the story and the characters. 1995 version was lush and long enough to develop both story and characters. Excellent cast (be still my Darcy-loving heart!) except for one grave mistake: Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth. The first time I watched this video I thought she had a speech impediment and then discovered that she’s from North Carolina (the USA Southeast). Altho’ she was but 24 when this version was made she looked and acted too old and worldly. I did not believe her at all in this role of a so-called maiden, esp with that big bobble head and the layers of pancaked makeup. She really ruined this version as far as I’m concerned, and it was an excellent version giving much more face time to the men than JA ever did. Yes, Colin Firth as Darcy made me swoon, but then so did most of the other men — esp Col Fitzwilliam. I thought both of them deserved better than Elizabeth as portrayed here.

Now in the 1980 version, which is the closest to canon of the three, Elizabeth Garvie as Elizabeth Bennet was delightful — pretty, charming, flirty, clever, lively, everything JA sketched her as. Many of the other roles were well cast — except, sadly, burdening us with a Mr Darcy portrayed by Frankenstein’s monster (a.k.a. David Rintoul). If they could have only put Elizabeth Garvie with Colin Firth …

The 2005 film, like the 1940 version, was fun to watch if you did not expect P&P, just an interesting movie perhaps inspired by P&P. Because neither one gave more than a passing nod to canon.

I have both the 1980 and the 1995 on DVD and for fun have watched the two of them interspersed (Ep 1 of 1980, Ep 1 of 1995, Ep 2 of 1980, Ep 2 of 1995, etc). It is very interesting and enlightening to compare the two. Clearly production values had improved in the fifteen years in between, but canon is canon. Each is enjoyable for its particular strength.

BTW, I thoroughly agree about the 2005 Mr Bingley being something approximating a buffoon. It was really painful to watch him. As painful to watch as 1980 Darcy and 1995 Elizabeth. Three serious casting errors.

Comments? Other opinions?

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One thought on “Pride & Prejudice on film and video

  1. I agree with you: Jennifer Ehle ruined 1995 version… Honestly, the 1980 one is so un-canon, I couldn’t cope or finish it – Elizabeth Garvie is such a dear and so pretty! But did you like the actress who portraited Jane? She was very mehhh to me. But the 2005 version gives us the magic of cinema and a perfect casting. Keira is, at least in my point of view, the best Elizabeth and PP 2005 made people become more interested in the book. Already love your blog. x

    Liked by 1 person

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