Hard to believe a month has already passed, it is that great time again, when we discuss the books-to-movie challenge for the month. This month was Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Okay, I have to admit I am unable to choose a favorite between the two versions of the film, the 1995 BBC mini-series or the 2005 feature film version. I love them both for different reasons. The mini-series I love for its close following of the book and wonderful portrayal of the absurdities of all the characters; the film version for its sexual tension between Elizabeth and Darcy and the beautiful cinematography of the entire film. That being said, I love to discuss and compare the two versions, so let’s get started.
So the first thing to pay attention to, when reading and watching is the character Mr. Darcy, which actor/film has the better Darcy?
I have to admit that I am torn between the two Darcys. When ever someone mentions Mr.Darcy I immediately think of Colin Firth. The first time I saw the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice I was in high school, my mother had seen one section of the mini-series on television and immediately ordered the complete collection on VHS (yes, I realize this is dating me). I got the great idea that I would watch one section of the series each night for a week, at four am the morning of the first night I finished the last episode and was finally able to go to bed. I have found out that I am almost physically incapable of just watching one section of the series, if it is on TV I have to get my copy out to finish it before I can go to sleep. For this reason, Colin Firth and the BBC version will always hold a special place in my heart. That being said, I find Colin Firth’s Darcymuchmore autocratic and lordly than I find Matthew Macfadyen’s Darcy. Matthew’s Darcy, in my opinion portrays the book’s Darcy better. Distant and standoffish because of shyness and an inability to be comfortable in society Matthew portrays the Darcy of the book better. All right readers, let me know who you vote for, Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen?!
The next question, which couple do you like better, Jane and Mr. Bingley or Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy?
When I first read the book I immediately loved Elizabeth and Darcy as a couple, their witty comments, their loving each other against their will and their eventual coming together I relished and relived time and again. Now, having watched and read the story so many times, I am coming to appreciate Jane and Bingley’s relationship more and more. Their quiet admiration for each other, their silent suffering because of other people’s actions and their final joy is the less obvious great love story to be found in Pride and Prejudice. Which couple do you like better?
Finally, and in my opinion the most important question, favorite scenes from each versions?
This one is a toughie for me, there are so many great scenes in both films, like when Darcy flexes his hand after assisting Elizabeth into the carriage in the film version, or when Darcy proposes to Elizabeth in the mini-series. But after careful deliberation (because obviously this very important question had to be answered) I decided on my favorite scene from each version.
In the mini-series version my favorite scene is when Elizabeth and Darcy run into each other at Pemberly, after Darcy has proposed and been rejected by Elizabeth and she has read the letter he wrote to her explaining his actions. The extreme awkwardness and embarrassment of both is so pivotal to breaking down the walls they have built between the two of them and leading to their eventual reconciliation.
In the film version my favorite scene is when Elizabeth and Darcy are dancing together, the scene begins with the room full of people with Elizabeth and Darcy speaking in the middle of the dance floor. As the conversation progresses, all of a sudden it is only the two of them in the room, dancing alone and focused on each other. It feels as if the world has fallen away and there is only the two of them, an incredible visual reflection of their relationship, how it doesn’t matter what is going on around them (Lydia running away with Whickham and Lady Catherine De Bourgh’s disapproval) they only have eyes for each other. Do you have a favorite scene?
I could go on and on about what I love about both films and the secondary characters (the two Mr. Collins and Judi Dench as Lady Catherine De Bourgh) but I think I will leave it here. Let me know what you think and if there is something I absolutely should have mentioned and failed to comment on.