Wednesday

Pride and Prejudice movies, part 2

1980 BBC Version (265 min)
2013 = 200 years of Pride & Prejudice

Listed on IMDb as a TV mini-series, this five-part version of Pride & Prejudice stars Elizabeth Garvie as Eliza Bennet and David Rintoul as Mr. Darcy. Our first impression of this version left something to be desired. It seems poetic, then, that upon closer examination it improved -- or more accurately said, the more often I have seen it, the more I have come to enjoy watching this one. 

You might wonder, though, why we would bother to see it again if we didn’t think so much of it the first time. Well, we all know about First Impressions! And Cindy and I have often found that seeing movies a second time has changed our initial impression, and that certainly happened for me with this version.

There are many things to separate this adaptation from the others, some being things that would recommend it, others would be up to the individual. First thing you notice is the look: it has the appearance of a live performance, except for the outside scenes (why there’s a difference, I don’t know, but it’s definitely noticeable). And the acting has that sense of a live theater production, that sort of tone and cadence associated with a play. So for those who like the idea of P&P done in that manner, this will be appealing; for others it might come across as cheaply done, although the sets and costumes are nice.

Here are some aspects of this version that separate it from the others and make it worth watching:

It has more scenes taken from Jane Austen’s book than any of the others. For example: the day after Lizzy was slighted by Darcy about only being tolerable and not handsome enough to dance with, all the girls, including Charlotte Lucas, are talking about it at the Bennet home, and it’s enjoyable to see that conversation. Another I like is when Charlotte asks Lizzy to play the piano, and Darcy hears her play and sing for the first time. There are many other such scenes that give viewers who have not read the book a more complete picture of this treasured novel.

Something else that is very charming is the interaction between all the Bennet sisters in various settings, which one would expect from a family of five girls not greatly separated in age. Things like having a mother whose sole purpose is to get all five girls married, and of course, their love of balls. This really highlights what living at that time in a close-knit family must have been like. And we should mention, all the actresses are cute, as all the Bennet girls are reputed to be.

Hence, if you haven’t seen this one, I recommend you give it a good look.

Scene from this version, depicting some of these aspects: