Pride and Prejudice

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.

Pride and Prejudice Books to Movie Challenge

Where do I even start with this great book and film?! I first read the novel when I was in high school, when my mother handed me her copy and informed me that it was one of the greatest love stories ever written.  The novel was originally published in 1813 as Jane Austen’s second published work, after Sense and Sensibility.  It was an immediate success and is still considered one of the best books to read.  I have to admit that I personally own four copies of the book, one in a nice leather bound collection, two paperbacks and one in ebook form. Since obtaining my ereader, I check the Amazon.com bestseller list almost daily, in the year I have had it Pride and Prejudice has remained in the top 100.

Having read the book numerous times and I am not even going to start trying to count how many times I have seen the film (in any version), I have to agree with my mother’s assessment. Since most of us already familiar with this book and movie (honestly, I am just using this as an excuse to reread the books and watch the films) I thought we might try a different approach.

So the first thing to pay attention to, when reading and watching is Darcy, which actor/film has the better Darcy?

OR                               

The next question, which couple do you like better, Jane and Mr. Bingley or Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy?

Finally, and most importantly, which film version do you like best, if you have seen both?

So get reading, watching and meet back here on the 23rd to discuss your thoughts.

Sense and Sensibility

Its that time again, so pull up your popcorn and let’s talk Books-to-Movies.  This month was Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. Jane Austen’s first published work, originally printed in 1811 under the name of “A Lady”, the novel revolves around two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood.  With the death of their father, the Dashwood’s are forced to move out of their family home and the well-to-do lifestyle they enjoyed into a much smaller home without the luxuries they are used to.  In the novel, both Mrs. Dashwood and Marianne are portrayed as emotional almost dramatic women with Elinor being the only real level head in the household. I love Jane Austen’s portrayal of the relationship between sisters, how they can love each other and yet drive each other nuts at the same time.

Elinor is my favorite character, she is pragmatic in the face of the change of circumstances and calmly does what needs to be done to take care of her family.  I think she understands better than the rest of the Dashwoods how careful they need to be about their reputations because of their precarious financial position.

I grew up watching the 1995 film version of the novel and while I love Emma Thompson as Elinor I have to admit I prefer the 2008 BBC version.  Which do you prefer?  There are so many things about the 2008 version I love I almost don’t know where to start (notice I said almost, it is rare for me to be at a loss for words especially about what I love).

First, my favorite scene is when Edward is talking to Elinor after the news of his secret engagement to Lucy Steele is found out.  I love how there is an entire room between Edward and Elinor but from the camera angles you feel as if they are almost touching. I think it must be hard as an actor/actress to display sexual attraction to another in a historical film while not touching each other, Edward and Elinor achieve it with this one scene.

Now the the big question is Willoughby: do you love him or hate him?  Dominic Cooper is perfect as Willoughby, being charming while at the same time so incredibly selfish.  He is exactly how I have always pictured Lord Byron, the poet. Lord Byron has figured in several historical novels I have previously read and has been described as brooding, poetic, with all the ladies falling for him.  Do you feel for Willoughby, having to marry for money when he clearly loves Marianne or do you dislike him for refusing to sacrifice for love? I definitely wouldn’t mind being carried through the rain by him though.

Finally, my biggest issue with the story is Edward’s disinheritance because of his engagement to Lucy but his brother Robert is not disinherited when he marries Lucy. I watched the movies (both versions) before I read the book and the reason I originally read the book was because I didn’t understand how Edward could be disinherited and Robert not for the same action.  Unfortunately, the novel doesn’t explain it any better than the movie does, it just happens. Do you think this matters? Did the unfairness bother you?

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

photo_6442_20090515

Upon first hearing of this book, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, I figured it would either be an absolute riot or the worst book ever written.  I was correct, this book is a riot!  I giggled through the whole thing.  I am a huge Pride and Prejudice fan. I have lost count of the number of times I have read the book and I own three different versions of the movie.  Starting the book, I was expecting an exact replica of the original story with zombies added but, was surprised with the first conversation that the author updated the language.  I have to admit this threw me for a minute and I had to stop and think about if I really wanted to finish the book.  (I know I shouldn’t start a book with preconceived notions but when it comes to this book, I didn’t even realize I had done it until I started the book.) I pressed on and immediately started giggling.  The author went far beyond just the potty-humor I was expecting.  The characters refer to the zombies as “unmentionables”, showing the author’s keen grasp of English Society during this time.

I will admit there was a moment where I felt like it was Pride and Prejudice meets Indiana Jones but, that scene aside,the warrior Elizabeth was fantastic, adding another layer of strength to this already complex character.

The author followed the themes and plot of the original story but he did diverge from the original in the consequences of the protagonists, such as Wickham and Liddia.  I admit, I loved the consequences.  I think it is the bloodthirsty streak in me but it seemed much more fitting than the original’s just sending them off to the North country.

I give this book a rating of three, based on the gore and nothing else.[amazon-product]1594743347[/amazon-product]