"Colonel Fitzwilliam ... was about thirty, not handsome, but in person and address, most truly the gentleman." Who doesn't like this cousin of Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice? But which of the various movies we've been discussing has the best Colonel Fitz?
We have to choose the perfect Colonel from either the 1980 mini series or the 1995 A&E/BBC version, because basically, these are the only ones that take the time to show much of him. For instance, the 1940 version with Greer Garson has the colonel giggle like a silly girl and clap when Elizabeth is finished playing the piano for Lady Catherine and that's about it; whereas, the 2005 P&P with Keira Knightley has a good actor playing the part, but has him informing Elizabeth about Darcy in church, so the conversation must take place in whispers, which is a very poor choice.
Anthony Calf, who plays the part of the colonel in the BBC version, does a great job, of course, but we always thought he was too handsome for the part and should instead have been chosen to play George Wickham, who is described as having all the best part of beauty, a fine countenance, a good figure, and very pleasing address. Calf's manners as the colonel, though, also make the perfect Fitz.
With the book's description of the colonel in mind, however, you should see Desmond Adams from the 1980 version playing this part. I like this version for many of its aspects, one being that it has more of the conversations between Elizabeth and the colonel that are in the book than the others do, and Adams more closely resembles this character.
In particular, there is one conversation where they are walking the grounds of Rosings and Lizzy remarks that 'Darcy likes to have his own way', to which Fitz responds, “He likes to have his own way very well, but so we all do. It is only that he has better means of having it than many others, because he is rich, and many others are poor. I speak feelingly. A younger son, you know, must be inured to self-denial and dependence.” Lizzy gives her opinion that the younger son of an earl can know very little of either. The colonel informs her, his point is that he cannot marry just anybody, making her wonder if he said that so she would not get her hopes up about him. It's a really nice scene.
The 1995 series just has the colonel tell Elizabeth about Darcy saving a friend from a most imprudent marriage, which is the only significant part of their conversation. But for people who love P&P, more is better!
So, even though I have taken the long way to get there, I must say I prefer seeing Desmond Adams playing the part as Colonel Fitzwilliam. Thankfully, whoever is responsible for deciding what scenes to have in their movie wisely chose to have more of what is in the book about the colonel, making it the best choice for me.
1940 1980 -- best Col. Fitz