Saturday, March 23, 2013

Pride and Prejudice Marathon

This weekend I have had a Pride and Prejudice marathon. It started Friday when I returned to listening to the recorded version of the book.

I read the book (in fact all the Jane Austen books) about three years ago. I had seen the movie Emma in the theater some years before, and after reading the books I started collecting videos of them. Films, both theater and TV versions, have been made at different times through the years. I ended up with three different versions of Pride and Prejudice. I also taped a 1940s version that was shown on TV, but did not care as much for it so did not save it (it took too many liberties with the story, costumes in the wrong time period, actresses too old to be playing the daughters, etc.).

I enjoyed the audio book and, when it was finished, felt in the mood to watch the film. But which one?

So, I watched all three. Two are TV series made under the auspices of the BBC about ten years apart. The third is the award winning big screen film starring Kiera Knightly. They are all good, faithful to the book. What variations are made are simple ones, like having a conversation take place indoors rather than outdoors, having the clergyman cousin giving a lecture in person in one scene that was actually done by letter, etc. Nothing that materially changed the book. Most of the dialog was directly from Jane Austen, which I appreciated. Why rewrite a great writer's words?

In comparing the casts, I felt I would like to mix them up a little. One had the best Mr. Bennet, another had the best Wickham; one Jane just did not fit, and one Mr. Darcy was so wooden that even his good looks and posture couldn't make him believable.  In asking myself, regarding some characters, "What was the casting director thinking?" I had to face the fact that everyone develops his/her own mental picture of a book's characters. And, apparently, those casting directors didn't have my "perfect" understanding of what the character should look and sound like!

I know that many other versions of the Austen books have been filmed, including modern day stories that have borrowed essential plot lines from Jane Austen. There's even a Bollywood version--Bride and Prejudice--made in India. It was on TV one time and I tried to watch it, but just couldn't get into it.

So, that's how I've spent a good deal of Friday and Saturday. It may take a little time to get my head back in the 21st century.


  1. I enjoy Jane Austen as well. Did you know I got to be in Pride and Prejudice when we lived in Truman? I played the part of Jane and it was a wonderful experience. I am still grateful to Mrs. Erickson. She was the English Teacher/Play Director and she gave Mike and I rides home so we could be in the play.

    1. And Jane, you know, was the beauty of the family and the area!