The Los Angeles Times’ Daily Mirror blog takes a look at P&P 1940.
How can you possibly go wrong with Laurence Olivier as Mr. Darcy? The sad truth is that you can. Mr. Darcy isn’t hard to get right, in my opinion — all he has to do is be terribly rude — but most adaptations of “Pride and Prejudice” balk at having the leading man be terribly rude.
Oh, for a truly cranky Cranky McJerkpants! Really, he’s kind of a jerk for the first half of the movie. We’ve never been on board with the “shy Darcy” thing. He’s not a bit awkward or shy. He’s just a jerk. He even admits it at the end.
have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle. As a child I was taught what was right, but I was not taught to correct my temper. I was given good principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit. Unfortunately an only son (for many years an only child), I was spoilt by my parents, who, though good themselves (my father, particularly, all that was benevolent and amiable), allowed, encouraged, almost taught me to be selfish and overbearing; to care for none beyond my own family circle; to think meanly of all the rest of the world; to wish at least to think meanly of their sense and worth compared with my own. Such I was, from eight to eight and twenty; and such I might still have been but for you, dearest, loveliest Elizabeth! What do I not owe you! You taught me a lesson, hard indeed at first, but most advantageous. By you, I was properly humbled.
That “dearest, loveliest Elizabeth” makes up for a lot. A LOT.
That being said, we agree with the writer that P&P 1940 is flawed but fun.