Most of us are aware that movie or TV adaptations of Pride and Prejudice include the 1940’s black and white version starring Greer Garson and Lawrence Olivier. How many of us have sighed at seeing this handsome Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy? This is a very enjoyable film, however, not by the book. But we love it anyway as it was the first of the four available today.
Then there was the 1980 color TV mini-series starring Elizabeth Garvie as Elizabeth Bennet and David Rintoul as the dour Mr. Darcy. This is probably a favorite among many and is one I still need to see. I do have the DVD and plan to watch it soon as the clips I’ve seen have been interesting.
The 1995 BBC color mini-series is probably the favorite of most people. Colin Firth as Fitzwilliam Darcy has captured the heart of many female viewers who swooned as he emerged from the lake at Pemberley in a wet t-shirt, er a wet shirt. My goodness, did Davies interject a bit of sex appeal in this series, do you think? Apparently worked, even though it never appeared in Jane’s Austen’s book…ever. Jennifer Ehle played the role of Elizabeth Bennet and seems to have done a credible job of depicting Austen’s witty heroine. I’ve seen one hour of the six and need to see it from start to finish which I will do before the end of the year.
Then there is my favorite, the 2005 version with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. Sorry, Ladies. I might like Colin Firth better in another movie other than P&P, but Matthew is my guy for this one. Why did I like this one so much even though it isn’t word for word what Jane Austen wrote?
The director, Joe Wright, approached the film more from an artistic standpoint, and he was also limited on time. The 2005 was only two hours and fifteen minutes compared to the 1995 version of six hours. When you have less than 40% of what the 1995 had to work with, a bit of compacting needs to be done. I think Joe Wright brought it off artistically and still got Jane Austen’s points across in spite of it not being word for word. And, yes, I love the dawn scene. Words were not needed for every scene.
But there is more. I was shocked when I found there was a 1958 TV Series starring Alan Badel and Marian Spencer. And I was slack-jawed with surprise to discover a 1952 TV series as well. Stars were Thea Holme, Daphne Slater, and Peter Cushing. I don’t think there is anything left of either of these. Such a shame.
There was also another 1967 black and white TV series version. All that is left is Episode 5, Parts 1 and 2, and I’ve put the links below. You may ask why there is only one episode left and can blame the BBC. They reused the tapes for other projects probably to save money and lost parts of history instead. This adaptation starred Lewis Flander as Darcy and Celia Bannerman as Elizabeth. Although this series also ran six hours like the 1995, Episode 5 is a little compacted (for time I’m sure), and I don’t believe all of it is available either. However, I hope you enjoy this two part episode on YouTube because there is no more. 🙁
In your comments below, please let me know which is your favorite and why. 🙂