Wednesday

Pride and Prejudice movies, part 3

1995 BBC, A&E version

Mr. & Mrs. Bennet and their five daughters
This is actually a six-episode BBC production television drama which aired in 1995 in Britain and then aired on A&E Network as a mini-series in early 1996. Starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet, this version is considered by many as the quintessential adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. For instance, when Masterpiece Classic was remaking Austen’s other works from 2007-2009 -- Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Northanger, and Mansfield Park -- they did not see fit to remake P&P, but chose simply to air this version.

To be sure, more was done in the production of it: instead of having sets as was done in the 1980 version, it was shot on location, and there are many beautiful country scenes and exquisite homes to see. This always lends a sense of class to any movie. The lighting and editing is also much better than its 1980 predecessor (and other things that I’m sure have names for them if you’re in the movie-making business, but for those of us who aren’t, we just say it looks a whole lot better).

For me, though, the more often I have seen this one, the more fault I find in it. In my opinion, this version doesn’t get good until Episode 4
, which takes up after Mr. Darcy has proposed to Elizabeth. When I get to particulars of characters and scenes on our future posts, I will be specific as to what I think should have been done differently.

That being said, it is nonetheless five hours of Pride and Prejudice, and that alone is reason enough to see it! If you are not smitten with the brilliance of Jane Austen, you may well consider that a reason not to watch it, in which case you’re not reading this post anyway.

But for the rest of us, even that short amount of time just isn’t enough . . . which is why we are glad there are other adaptations, and why we own all of them we can, so we are able to watch them again and again.

Links to PBS on the movies mentioned:
Emma
Mansfield Park
Sense & Sensibility
Northanger Abbey
Persuasion
Pride & Prejudice
Other links in the post:
BBC production television drama
IMDb: Colin Firth
IMDb: Jennifer Ehle
Amazon instant video: the third episode