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P&P95 Part 2 Postshow Open Thread

February 17, 2008

And your stupid opinion would be...?

Don’t pay any attention to Cranky McJerkpants and the Superior Sisters there. Chat away. :-)

Oh! and we forgot to link to the latest post on the PBS Remotely Connected blog. Seth Cassel discusses Lady Catherine de Bourgh:

While Lady Catherine does have a role in the plot of Pride and Prejudice, her primary function is to give us a better understanding of other characters in the novel. Lady Catherine’s bout with Elizabeth over her relationship with Mr. Darcy is used to reinforce Elizabeth’s character as strong and impertinent. Austen sees Elizabeth’s nature in a positive light and sets her apart from the other women in the novel as a type of heroine, standing up to Lady Catherine by saying “I am only resolved to act in a manner which will… constitute my happiness, without reference to you” (298). Another fascinating use of Lady Catherine is how she is used to spotlight the personality change of Mr. Darcy. Lady Catherine and Mr. Darcy have similar amounts of wealth, which puts them fairly close in terms of rank. However, while Lady Catherine disapproves of Elizabeth’s “obstinate, headstrong” nature (296), Mr. Darcy relishes Elizabeth’s character, which the reader observes in her confrontation with Lady Catherine. Mr. Darcy’s differing opinion from Lady Catherine, despite their common rank, helps establish his divergence from the social norm. The juxtaposition of the two characters highlights Mr. Darcy’s change from prideful and conceited, which characterizes Lady Catherine, to not being “selfish and overbearing” (308). A minor use of Lady Catherine is to help establish the character of Mrs. Gardiner as compassionate and understanding, as they are both aunts. Lady Catherine’s interaction with her nephew, Mr. Darcy, can be clearly identified in her antiquated insistence upon an arranged marriage between Mr. Darcy and Miss De Bourgh. This relationship is contrasted with that between Mrs. Gardiner and her niece, Elizabeth. Mrs. Gardiner simply offers suggestions to Elizabeth, such as recommending the “understanding and opinions” of Mr. Darcy (271). The difference in the way the two aunts offer opinions to their relatives makes the caring and nurturing nature of Mrs. Gardiner apparent to the reader.

Leave a Comment
  1. surreyhill permalink
    February 17, 2008 10:50 pm

    I had forgotten the touching scene where Darcy offers Mr. Gardner a choice of either trout fishing in his private stream (VERY condescending, in the Rev. Collins sense of the word) or coarse fishing in his pond, which is a less aristocratic technique and quarry, but the WAY he said it made it sound equal, a matter of taste, such as would you prefer duck or veal? Port or madeira? A claret or a burgundy?

    Such tact and egalitarianism. No wonder Lizzie was impressed.

  2. February 18, 2008 9:05 am

    I have come to the conclusion that the Hunsford proposal scene is the highlight of this entire adaptation–lots of original Austen dialogue, great acting that highlights the original without straying too far into interpretation. Also, I adore Barbara Leigh-Hunt as Lady Catherine. Her expressions! The way she enunciates her lines!

    Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed the insertion of a lot of symbolic foreshadowing by Davies–Lydia trips on the carriage step as she leaves for Brighton with the very subtle line “How funny if I should fall and break my head!” Uh-huh. (Not the first time I’d noticed that line, but just thought I’d mention it.)

  3. Karen L permalink
    February 18, 2008 9:48 am

    A new line I noticed last night. When the fencing master asks Darcy if he will return tomorrow, Darcy answers tomorrow a week, or something close. So how long does he plan to be at Pemberley with his guests? — or has he already figured out he’ll have to be in London to hunt down Wickham and Lydia.

    Several lines I missed — Colonel Fitz and Lizzy seemed to have skipped the entire conversation about younger sons having to marry wealth (or am I just imagining I’ve seen that scene before?).

  4. February 18, 2008 10:58 am

    I love Jennifer Ehle. I love Derbyshire. So, a perfect night of television.

    Is daydreaming in a carriage an Andrew Davies trademark? In NA07, Catherine looks out of the window of the carriage taking her to Bath and imagines highwaymen. Last night, Lizzy looked out of the window of her carriage and saw Darcy’s face floating there. I must say, I dislike effects like floating faces or voice-overs to represent what a character is thinking about or remembering. Isn’t there a better way to do it?

  5. February 18, 2008 11:00 am

    I’m realizing as I’m watching this adaptation how long it’s been since I last saw it and how good it actually is and close to the book. They have so much time to express the feelings of the characters even just through looks! I loved Lady Catherine’s expressive face last night. How pleasant to everyone else and how cool to Lizzie!

    Like I said I haven’t seen this adaptation in at least 6 months, so I remember the general order of the scenes and how they appear but the particular movements of the characters, the smaller scenes and some of the bit lines are things I don’t remember and I’m loving it!

    Karen L, there are a couple scenes missing. I forgot about Col. Fitzwilliam and Lizzie talking about younger sons. In the book Lizzie enjoyed talking to Col. Fitz and she considered him as a good match until the talk of younger sons. I didn’t feel the same anticipation in this film. Col. Fitz wasn’t set out as a match for Lizzie at any time really.
    It’s also missing the abundance of Aunt Gardiner’s good sense! I noticed last night that she didn’t advise Lizzie to be careful where Wickham was concerned or talk very much at all really. Aunt Gardiner shines at Pemberley though with her looks and presumptions and expressive “can this be Mr. Darcy?”.

    And Mr. Darcy does smile at Pemberley, the tiniest shimmer of a smile to cement his friendly words. Wonderful stuff! :)

  6. Karen L permalink
    February 18, 2008 11:08 am

    Laurie M., Mrs. Gardiner in P&P1 (my favorite Mrs. Gardiner) advises Lizzy about Wickham, but not in P&P2.

  7. Siobhan permalink
    February 18, 2008 11:34 am

    I had not seen the BBC’s 1995 production of P&P, although I know a woman who posts pics of Colin Firth (much more attractive as Valmont) as Mr. D everywhere.

    I thoroughly agree with the amazing post by 17 y/o 9 (!) Seth Cassell on Lady C. I would add that I think LAdy C is partly there to illustrate true conceit. (BTW: she reminds me of Michigan-born singer/dancer Madonna who once told David Letterman that she is good at anything she tries.) When Lady C takes the stage on how she would have been a great musician if she ever learned, you want to leave the room.

    But, it is also “advise” that both Darcy and Lizzie take to heart. She begins to veer away from snap judgments and what is on the surface and he begins to work on his social skills.

    One of the things that we can apply to Darcy from our 21st C point of view is that he is in mourning of a sort when we meet him. He mourns the loss of his childhood friendship with Wickham, particularly since Wickham attempted to revenge himself on the innocent Darcy by ruining the more innocent Georgiana. The mourning makes Darcy retreat within himself and into the company of another long standing friend, Bingley. Darcy is terribly shy while Lizzie is extremely outgoing. Jane Bennett is actually more like Darcy in personality as she, too, is rather shy. She has, however, more social skills and her nature is more conciliatory. In fact, Darcy seems so used to assertive women that he fails to recognize Jane B as a woman more like the way we tend to think of early 19th C women: as lady-like and reserved. Jane and the aunt played by Joanna David are the only reserved women in this novel.

  8. February 18, 2008 1:49 pm

    I agree about the perfection of the huntsford proposal scene. I think I may be well into double-digit viewings at this point, but I still always get so into it. There’s that moment also when they’re framed by the two windows–so gorgeous. I’ve been wondering in the past couple of weeks whether Colin Firth makes Darcy too severe, but I noticed a few subtle smiles even in the first half of the film that I thought really brought out the character.

    As for lady C, I read somewhere that she is a warning to Lizzy upon her marriage: the combination of being opinionated and extremely wealthy could be lethal.

  9. Deb R. permalink
    February 18, 2008 2:00 pm

    Re. Surreyhill Post #1 in this thread:
    I am all amazement! As many times as I’ve watched this scene, I never realized the implicit difference in the fishing choices. I just thought Darcy was being polite and solicitous to impress Lizzy. I didn’t understand the social status implications.
    As much as I’ve read and studied P&P, and as much as I’ve picked apart every subtlety and nuance of the performances, I continue to learn more. Like the analysis I read several years ago (my apologies for not remembering the poster’s name), where a bird enthusiast had listened intently to the entire 6 hours of P&P ’95 and identified all the birds heard in the background! Until that time, I had never paid much attention to the birds — now I am keenly aware of them.

  10. Amy P permalink
    February 18, 2008 2:03 pm

    Another purpose Lady Catherine serves is to demonstrate that Lizzy is not the only person with less-than-desirable relatives. That Darcy is able to comment negatively on the behavior of Lizzy’s relations during his proposal without realizing that she must be disgusted by the behavior of one of his proves he needed that verbal slap upside the head!

    How very useful Lady Catherine is. I am sure she would find that very gratifying–we know how she loves to be useful! :-)

  11. PaddyDog permalink
    February 18, 2008 4:39 pm

    About a week ago, my NPR station re-ran a Terry Gross interview with Colin Firth in which he talked about the decision to have him swim in the pond in his shirt and breeches and how he never dreamed it would be interpreted as a sexy scene when he emerges dripping wet to run into Elizabeth at Pemberley. Also, the original script called for him to swim in his underwear until an advisor pointed out that they didn’t wear underwear back then. Now why couldn’t they have had the same advisors on some of the most recent productions, someone who actually understood that subtle can be sexy?

  12. surreyhill permalink
    February 18, 2008 6:50 pm

    I think maybe the only area of Austen scholarship which hasn’t been thoroughly mined is perhaps the symbolism of sport and sporting pursuits.

    My inner fanfic whore deplored the chopping out of the conversation between Lizzie and Col. Fitz where he confesses his need to marry a woman of means. In the “real” version, it was a little bit of a neat interlude to speculate on Lizzie and this witty, charming, warm-hearted and open man who was cast with a reasonably attractive actor, and then to have any little speculation dashed against the sharp rocks of Regency economic and social reality. Col. Fitz may have admired Lizzie, but he would never have gone beyond a mild social flirtation as it would have been dishonorable, given his position in life.

    Now….if he had been in the NAVY and could have made himself a fortune in prize money….things would have been very different!

  13. surreyhill permalink
    February 18, 2008 6:55 pm

    Oh, and who could not love “I am VERY Put Out!”?

    This version of Lady Catherine is by far the best, and she serves the same purpose as an admirable foil and also a fine skewering of the vapidity and shallowness of the so-called “Quality” as Lady Dalrymple in Persuasion.

    Is this Jane’s Whiggishness coming out?

  14. February 18, 2008 11:07 pm

    Ok, am I going blind, or was the quality of the TV airing dark and murky on your TV also? I compared it to my DVD copy, which seems too bright. Then I put in my OLD VCR copy, and it seemed just right says Goldilocks.

    Don’t know how the television broadcast thing works, but could one PBS station get a bad/deteriated copy or is broadcast nationally?

    Any thoughts?

  15. Reeba permalink
    February 19, 2008 3:20 am

    Lady Catherine’s interaction with her nephew, Mr. Darcy, can be clearly identified in her antiquated insistence upon an arranged marriage between Mr. Darcy and Miss De Bourgh.

    Might not she be having some concern about her daughter’s future, which made her cling to this arrangement made long ago?

    On stage, as far as one can see, the poor sickly daughter has no other chance.

    Was it really *antiquated*?

    To quote Elizabeth,
    “I am only resolved to act in a manner which will… constitute my happiness, without reference to you”

    To my way of thinking this quote can be applied to Lady Catherine as well.

  16. Julie P. permalink
    February 19, 2008 6:02 am

    @ #11 — Andrew Davies is about as subtle as a jackhammer. Check out the opening scene of the new S&S. Not even remotely subtle. Same with his NA script. I don’t think Davies knows the meaning of the word.

    I hadn’t seen this P&P for several years and then one day I saw it on Biography Channel. I was surprised at how unrelentingly loud it was (and it wasn’t the television set’s fault). I also decided that I didn’t like this Lady Catherine because she seemed so overwhelmingly indolent that I simply could not imagine her getting in her carriage and driving 50 miles (ONE WAY) just to scold that insolent Miss Elizabeth Bennet. I much prefer Judy Parfitt in P&P80. The woman is a dynamo who is believable as someone who spends her life ordering everyone else about. But then, I prefer pretty much everything about P&P80.

  17. Kathleen permalink
    February 19, 2008 12:03 pm

    I have both read P&P and seen the A&E adaptation many times. It is wonderful to read this insightful essay and the following observations. I also did not realize the implication of the fishing choices. Siobhan’s thoughtful explanation of Mr. Darcy’s behavior at the beginning of the book makes perfect sense to me. Of course the events with Wickham and his sister, only a year ago, would have a profound effect on him. Additionally, it may have been his first serious action in his role as the Master of the house, without the guidance of his father. Certainly he would feel this change from carefree boyhood to the responsibilities of his adult role.

    I love the characterization of Lady Catherine in this production. I have always thought that she initially liked Elizabeth and enjoyed her lively company, a refreshing change from the sickly Miss De Bourgh and the general obseqiousness from others. It was when her hoped for union with Darcy and Miss D. was threatened that the issues of difference in social rank and wealth emerged so strongly.

  18. Diana I-C permalink
    February 19, 2008 1:47 pm

    Response to #16:
    Not everything that is disliked in and Andrew Davis adaptation is entirely Davis’ fault. The director, producers, and the entire cast and crew must also take some responsibility. Especially the director, whose part in it all is HUGE. Thus, while Davis may have a tendency to say things in interviews that can drive some Janites nuts, the blame for jack-hammer effect in his NA and S&S adaptations could also be laid at the feet of the director (and producers, etc).
    That said, it also means that any success or well liked adaptations written by Davis are as much an accomplishment of all the others working on them as a testament to Davis’ writing. Which is how I would account for P&P’s subtle v. NA not so subtle.

  19. Siobhan permalink
    February 19, 2008 4:30 pm

    To Reeba: Yes, the idea of arranged marriages was antiquated. It began to go out in the early days of the Tudor dynasty, almost two centuries prior to Jane’s birth.

    To Kathleen: Thanks! I hadn’t thought about Darcy’s actions vis a vis his sister and Wickham being his first or among his first, but, the chronology of the novel does say he was inexperienced. There is a great deal of chatter about him becoming the man his father was.

    I am on a complete “Jane kick” at the present time. I have reservations about the Davis adaptation. I find the acting more than a bit stiff, in the style of a 1940s Hollywood version, close to both the Greer Garson/Orson Welles’ version as well as to the Joan Fontaine/Orson Welles’ Jane Eyre. I preferred the naturalistic style of the 2005 Keira Knightley/Matthew MacFayden theatrical release.

    Have read everything about that film on the Jane Austen Society site. I liked the fact that Knightley and MacFayden were allowed to bring their 21st C sensibilities to their roles and I think Jane would have approved. Although MacFayden definitely lacks Colin Firth’s good looks — which would have been attractive in Austen’s era as well, he brings a vulnerability to the role that I think director Davies prevented Firth from expressing.

    While director Wright allowed his cameraman to linger too long on Knightley’s face, I preferred her to Jennifer – is it Elhe or Erhe or something else — whose smirk I found irritating. You may have noticed that the heroine in Persuasion held her face in an almost immobile expression, like a whipped bassett hound.

    One thing that everyone must realize is that after reader response criticism, we should be open to the contribution made to a work by a filmaker. I criticize Davis for the performances he wrangled from his cast and not for his variances from the canonical text. Ditto Joe Wright.

    Just checked out a study of Jane’s juvenalia from the library. Apparently, family members enjoyed writing literary satires which they later read aloud to each other.

    Despite the fact that I find some of the acting stiff, I like this Lady Catherine better than Judy Dench’s in the 2005 and I am a dyed-in-the-wool Dench fan. I thought that she and Joanna David’s Mrs. Gardiner were terrific. I like the way Mrs. Gardiner does what we all know — both as readers and watchers of the adaptations — what Mrs. Bennet does not do: she uses the Socratic method to draw Lizzie out and allow Lizzie to look at both sides of the issue that her prejudice will not let her do.

  20. Julie P. permalink
    February 19, 2008 9:05 pm

    If you like Joanna David as Mrs. Gardiner, check out P&P80. That Mrs. Gardiner is EXACTLY how Austen describes her. She’s fabulous.

    And I still think that P&P2 isn’t very subtle. I don’t care whose “fault” it is.

  21. February 19, 2008 9:40 pm

    Whew, Robert Hardy, I too like Jennifer Ehle (rhymes with Wheelie, as pronounced on BBC Radio 4.) In fact, except for the 1940 P&P film, I adore aspects of all the other P&P versions, but Jennifer suits my own idea of Elizabeth Bennet best. Laurel Ann, I made the mistake of watching P&P 95 on my new flat screen high def t.v. It looked and sounded awful. The quality of the broadcast was murky. I much prefer watching the film on my regular 29″ screen.

  22. February 19, 2008 10:37 pm

    As someone else said in an earlier thread, the film needs to be remastered. The DVDs look kind of washed-out. The tapes are better.

    I like Jennifer Ehle a lot in the role. I think it would be hard to find a 20-year-old with the gravitas to pull off Lizzy Bennet. She is very mature for her age, except the whole first impressions thing, of course. ;-) Jennifer is a very talented actress and I’ve enjoyed her in everything I’ve seen her in. Someday I will see her on stage. :-)

    And in the wig, curiously, she looked like my mental image of Lizzy. Not so much her exact features but the general idea of dark curly hair in a neoclassical sort of upswept do. I didn’t see the series until three or four years after it came out, though–I saw P&P40 first!

  23. Charlotte permalink
    February 20, 2008 12:47 am

    Re No. 20,

    I am tired of reading this opinion by this poster every time someone mentions P&P2. You do this at every Jane Austen website. Enough already! I´m wishing for an Ignore button.

  24. cassandra permalink
    February 20, 2008 6:27 am

    I’m so glad Amy P pointed out that Lady Catherine is as vulgar as Mrs Bennet. I cringe when I read Ly C’s scenes. Thinking it over, I don’t think Mrs B would ever have been as unspeakable–we just have to take JA’s word for it. And I always do. Poor Darcy.

    I was appalled by the first comment that Lady C. is superior to Darcy because she’s richer. Mr Bennet makes clear in his letter to Mr Collins that Mr Darcy is richer. The real point is that the hierarchy isn’t based on wealth. Lady C is superior because, like Darcy’s mother, she was born Lady Somebody. Lady C., like her sister, married ‘beneath’ herself. After all, her daughter is a mere Miss de Burough.

    One’s position in the social hierarchy is, as JA suggests, very fluid.

  25. Reeba permalink
    February 20, 2008 6:32 am

    To Siobhan. Ah yes. Thanks.
    It quite slipped my mind that ‘arranged marriages’ as they were, existed mostly among royalty and the people with wealth to combine and secure. And this died over in the time of the Tudors, I think. Henry vii??

  26. Sandra permalink
    February 20, 2008 3:14 pm

    Siobhan, I’m fascinated:

    “I liked the fact that Knightley and MacFayden were allowed to bring their 21st C sensibilities to their roles and I think Jane would have approved.”

    I’d like to hear more of your thinking on that. Why would Jane have approved? Not saying I agree or disagree, but curious anyway.

  27. sue permalink
    February 20, 2008 3:35 pm

    Delurking to show my ignorance: #11, Paddydog says that “they didn’t wear underwear back then”. Oh, my, oh, my, now I can’t watch one of those lovely dance scenes without picturing everyone going commando. What did they wear, then? Surely there was something between them and those really flat-fronted pants they wore? While they were bouncing around on horses etc.?

  28. Carol G permalink
    February 20, 2008 3:45 pm

    What a great thread!
    Love the analysis…especially the idea of Mrs. Bennett and Lady Catherine mirroing each other in the book.
    In the “who’s the better Elizabeth” debate…I think Jennifer Ehle wins by a hair. I loved Elizabeth Garvie’s portrayal in the earlier BBC version. I think she LOOKS more like my idea of Lizzie…but after another viewing, her acting, and the acting overall in that version seems stiffer…especially David Rintoul as Mr. Darcy. Maybe that was his interpretation of the character, because I’ve seen him in other stuff…and he’s great.
    RE: the quality of the broadcast. I complained after part one that the action seemed jerky…as if someone ran out to Blockbuster and got a copy of P&P95 out of the bargain bin. I agree with Mags…we need a re-mastered copy! My best copy is still the VHS…the colors seem truer.

  29. Deb R. permalink
    February 20, 2008 5:13 pm

    “Surely there was something between them and those really flat-fronted pants they wore? While they were bouncing around on horses etc.?”
    OUCH!!! Maybe one of our resident researchers will let us know.
    Sue, not that you’re “out”, stick around!

  30. Mags permalink
    February 20, 2008 5:29 pm

    What did they wear, then?

    Reallllllly long shirttails. :-)

    Actually, by the time P&P95 is set, a lot of men were wearing knee-length underpants. The main function of them was to keep the outer layer of clothing (the one that showed!) clean of sweat and oil from the skin. They didn’t have washing machines or dry cleaners, remember. :-) It was easier to wash linen underclothes and cheaper to buy lots of them and change them often. Actually a man’s shirt was considered underwear of a sort–he would have lots of them and change them daily and wash them often, whereas his breeches/pants and coats, not so much.

    Women went commando until the 1820s or so; in fact it was considered rather risqué for women to wear drawers! Women wore a cotton or linen shift (a knee-length or so sack dress) under their stays for the same reason–to keep sweat and oils from the skin off the more expensive, harder to clean outer layer of clothing.

    Some bold articles wore flesh-colored ankle-length drawers of a knit material–sort of like modern leggings–under sheer muslin gowns, dampened for extra cling, to give the idea that interested onlookers were seeing their naked limbs. So you see why wearing drawers was considered fast. :-) Also trousers were considered men’s clothing, and some (not all) people would have found it weird at best and sinful at worst for women to wear drawers, which were too close to trousers for comfort. Some did wear them, but it was not widely adopted until the 1820s-1830s.

    Keep in mind, a woman wearing an empire gown is unlikely to flash her ladyparts to the world, drawers or no. When big crinolines came in style, however, drawers became necessary–a stiff wind could blow a woman’s gown up over her head!

  31. Julie P. permalink
    February 20, 2008 8:42 pm

    To #26 — I think Jane would have approved because I do think she’d be thrilled that, 200 years after her books were written, people still loved and cared about them enough to see how they’d translate to a different place and time. Nobody seems to care that Shakespeare’s plays are tweaked for modern audiences; why should Austen’s works be immune? To me, it shows that her themes are universal and that people in any time and any place can appreciate them.

    To #26 — I have a right to my opinion, just as you do to yours. Thanks for adding your two cents to the discussion. :)

  32. Elaina permalink
    February 21, 2008 1:10 am

    For some reason I’m just not that big on Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth. It’s not that she’s a bad actress, but she’s just too smiley and bosomy for Elizabeth. (To quote Darcy, “She smiles too much.”) And Firth doesn’t make me swoon as Darcy. Richard Armitage’s performance as Thornton in N&S affected me much more than Firth’s as Darcy.

  33. Sandra permalink
    February 21, 2008 12:37 pm

    Hi Julie,

    Actually some people *do* care about Shakespeare adaptations. Me, for instance. I love the full-on Elizabethan performances. Or the Actors From the London Stage series where 5 actors play all the roles with a bare stage, minimal props and neutral costumes. I do like some Austen adaptations, such as Bride and Prejudice. The difference, I think, is that the story is set in the modern era and thus it is appropriate to display modern sensibilities. Since Wright chose to set his production in the Regency era, it’s rather jarring to have 21st century behavior. Pick one and stick with it, I sez.

    And of course you’re entitled to your own opinion. It would be a dull world if we were all alike. I just wanted to know *why* you think as you do. An occupational hazard of mine.

  34. Ally permalink
    February 21, 2008 1:03 pm

    Sandra, I agree with you entirely on your views about P&P3. I’d prefer writers of novel adaptations to go one way or the other, not linger in between. I, for instance, really like Fielding’s take on P&P in Bridget Jone’s…in my opinion that really highlights how Jane’s themes are still relative in a 21st century society. Or Fowler’s JABC, which again picks up on Jane’s themes and relates them to a modern group of people. Like you pointed out, Wright set his adaptation in the 19th century and thus it should represent the sensibilities of that era, not the modern one. That said I do feel some of the actors and actresses gave good turns in the film…personally I feel it is the background characters that shine in the 2005 version, as opposed to the popular view of the leads being the best performances. To me, the 2005 version lost a lot of the subtlety of the characters, and made each of them extreme versions of the ones I envisioned from the book, rather like caricatures (I just KNOW I spelt that wrong!).
    But this thread is about the 1995 version, sorry for digressing. I haven’t actually seen either of the earlier P&P adaptations, but I have been looking forward to seeing the 1940 version, as I have heard so many good things. However I think the 1995 version will always be close to my heart, being the first adaptation of Austen’s works I ever saw. I think Ehle was amazing as Lizzie, just as I imagined, and I think she managed to portray the right balance between a fiesty nature and decorum. Firth was not as I imagined Darcy but I have yet to see a better portrayal. And I have so many views on this, but I don’t have anything new to add so I shall leave it there.

  35. Maria L. permalink
    February 21, 2008 8:07 pm

    What P&P95 gave us that no recent Austen adaptation has, is the gift of time–time to “live” with Austen’s characters, time to “live” in Austen’s world, time to savor so many little moments of her wonderful story. Austen can be hyperanalyzed to the point that people forget just what a wonderful storyteller she is. And while no adaptation will ever be perfect, this one at least, was not in a hurry! The 95 P&P let her story play out, I think, as she intended.

    There are many things I love about the Garvie/Rintoul version of P&P (Garvie being one of them) but the Ehle/Firth version still remains my very favorite.

  36. Julie P. permalink
    February 22, 2008 6:40 am

    But Suzanne, if Julius Caesar or Antony and Cleopatra are done in “full-on Elizabethan” then they are, by definition, modernized.

    Personally, my favorite Shakespeare adaptation was Much Ado About Nothing with Sam Waterston as Benedick. It takes place in the late 19th century and features Keystone Kops. It’s really well done.

  37. Karen permalink
    February 23, 2008 7:56 pm

    I remember seeing Much Ado About Nothing on tv years ago, and a few years back, when the Public Theater did it again at the Delacourt Theater in Central Park, I and a friend went to see it. Julie P, you would have loved it-I hope you were able to see it! Sam Waterston played Leonato this time, and his daughter Elisabeth played Hero. Jimmy Smits played Benedick, and Kristen Johnston played Beatrice. Waterston and Smits should do a LOT more comedy-both were very funny! But the highlight was seeing how they played the scene where Hero gets left at the altar. Every time I’ve seen this play, its done with Hero “saying,” “I’m not the town tramp, but if my fiancee says I am, and my father beleives it, I guess I had better go hide in shame for the rest of my life.” Hero and Leonato SCREAMED at each other, and after the priest comes up with the “have her play dead and see what happens,” idea, and Leonato goes for it, Hero sees she has no choice, is outruled by the men in her life, and has to go along with it. Still, she’s so angry at her father, who by now is treating her as his poor maligned little girl, both for believing the lie in the first place, then going along with a cockamamie scheme, instead of defending her honor, that she won’t even leave the church through the same door as he, and she slams out another door. The looks on father and daughter’s faces are priceless at the end of this scene.
    I kept thinking…”Boy, bet Elisabeth Waterston’s teen years made life around that house interesting!” as father and daughter were yelling at each other as if they’d done so a lot of times before!

  38. Julie P. permalink
    February 25, 2008 6:39 am

    I’d heard about this version, but I never managed to see it. I wonder if it’s available for rent or sale.

  39. Karen permalink
    February 25, 2008 8:28 pm

    No, sadly, they didn’t tape this version. I did see Sam Waterston in another play, Travesties, by Tom Stoppard. Another comedy, if rather tongue in cheek. If you ever get the chance to see Sam Waterston on stage, GO! He is so much more than Jack McCoy. And, he’s very nice, he’ll stop and talk to fans, give autographs, etc. He’s also much nicer looking in person!

  40. Julie P. permalink
    February 26, 2008 6:44 am

    I know — I’ve seen him on the streets of Manhattan, and he definitely is even nicer looking in person. My AP English teacher showed us Much Ado and Glass Menagerie (which were only 3 or 4 years old at that point) and I was hooked. I’ve loved him ever since.

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