Friday, June 23, 2006

Pride versus Prejudice

I was asked in the comment box down below the following question:


Now...tell me true...which Pride and Prejudice movie do you like better - the A & E version with Colin Firth or the new one with Kiera [sp?] Knightly?


Here is my lengthy answer! You can tell I have discussed this with other Austen fans and this is my answer.


You know it is funny that you ask me which one I like the best because it is very hard for me to decide. I like the new one because:


It is not "cleaned up" in the way the other one was. It is very real and earthy—it is what I imagine it would have been like to live then, on a farm, with animals, mud, laundry hanging out, etc. The film itself, the cinematic elements were so beautiful--Pemberly, the countryside, the dancing, the intimate family life. It was spectacular in the filming.


I loved this Mr. Darcy for different reasons: he was very handsome, but in a subdued way—a commanding way—and you saw the gradual growing intensity of his feelings for her. I loved when he helped her into the carriage and he flexed his hand because he was so full of the tension of the moment. People didn't touch one another like they do today and they showed that aspect so well.


I really enjoyed the Charlotte in this version—she was very real—and you really felt for her situation and even could go so far as to understanding why she did it. I thought the relationship between she and Elizabeth to be well done and the drama of her leaving abruptly and marrying was felt much more in this one.


I liked the mother more in this one because I saw LESS of her and she was not such a total idiot. You felt for her in some small way when Lydia left and she was sad at the leaving of her children. I liked the father, but not because he was so like the book. I liked the different character that he was and also liked that he was not *so* disgusted with his wife.


Kiera's portrayal of Lizzy was much more 21st century, but I liked the fire that she had in some ways. She was very young in the book and you see that in this one—sort of her almost careless abandon of what was acceptable of the time. That is often present in youth and she does that well in this one. She was like that in the book too, not *so* much as the portrayal in the movie (that is the 21st century!) but she was much less concerned with society’s view than others.


I enjoyed the Jane in this one too, and the Bingley, but we did not see them very much, unfortunately. Miss Bingley was portrayed in the way I think she was in the book, snobbish, but not buffoonish as I felt she was in the other one. I think the book Miss Bingley would have been a rather formidable and probably pretty woman—and I never cared for the A&E Miss Bingley. They made her out to be silly and I don’t think she was.


Another “other” character that was better as far as looks goes would be Mr. Wickham. There was very little screen time, but he was at least attractive and one could see how Lizzy might have been attracted to him whereas the A&E Wickham, well he was just silly to me and not very dashing as the books describes him to be. How could that man have won the hearts (or portions of hearts anyway) of three women? Doubtful!


I really really liked Dame Judi Dench as Lady Catherine de Bourg—she is always spectacular—and this was no exception. She was very intimidating and just so great in the role! The other woman was good in the role, but cannot compare to Judi Dench!  I also liked Mr. Collins, but he is one of my favorite period actors anyway (he was in Wives and Daughters).


I enjoyed the scene where they meet in the field, but not because it was like the book—it was just romantic and in my weaker flesh, I love that. :+) (Just being honest!)


What I liked about the A&E one is, of course, the length. I love the details, the plot twists, the full explanations of things. I loved Jennifer Ehle as Lizzy and who can dislike Mr. Darcy by Colin Firth? Both of them were done well and I loved the ending where they are walking and he expresses his love for her in the most subdued manner—it is very like the book and brilliantly done.


I loved the relationship between Lizzy and her father—it was real and so her leaving to marry was strongly felt by him. That whole scene makes me cry. :+)


I really liked getting to know Mr. Bingley, Mr. Collins, Colonel somebody that she meets at Lady Catherine’s house, and all the extra family—the aunt and uncle that travel with Lizzy, and help the foolish Lydia. It is hard to watch SO much of her and Mr. Wickham because they are so distasteful to me as well as the idiotic mother. OH, she just drives me nuts. Women like that would make me insane if I knew any! :+)


I also enjoyed the strong and sweet relationship between Jane and Lizzy a great deal and hope that for my daughters when they are older. I loved the wedding, of course, and the subtle but sincere love between Lizzy and Darcy that is much more “out there” in the new one. In the new one the ending “Mrs. Darcy…” scene is a bit much—even for this romantic! :+)


So, on the whole, I love the length of the A&E ones, all the details, etc, but I think if I had to choose ONLY one, I would probably choose the newer one for its realism, beauty of scene, characterization, and intensity of feeling.


How is that for an inane long answer on a relatively simple question? Can you tell I like Austen? :+)


Buckeyeblog said...

YOU are such a HOOT!! What at great answer! You made SO many GREAT points! :-)

OK...here are my thoughts...

~ I very much agree with you about the realism of their home-life in the new P& P. I felt that they were very true to what I know about the period; particularly in the farm life - as you described - and in the dance scenes w/the crowded rooms, the clapping - very authentic.

~ I do think that I liked the A & E mother best simply BECAUSE she was such an idiot! haha! Even thought I DO enjoy the actress in the new - she played to mom in Legends of the Fall.

~ I like the A & E father. I LOVE the line where he says for his wife to look on the bright side (about him dying before her), "I may out-live you." (or something similar) haha!

~ I couldn't agree with you MORE about Mr. Wickham!! The A & E one reminds me of the dud in my OLD (1960s) Mystery DAte game!! :-) How HE got the part of the dashing Mr. Wickham I'm sure I don't know! :-)

~ Hard for me to say which Lady Catherine de Bourg I liked better. I enjoyed each for different reasons.

~ Yes...I admit...I liked the scene with Mr. Darcy walking across the field.

~ One of my favorite scenes is, toward the beginning, when Jane and Lizzy are having a girl-talk conversatoin under the covers. All the giggling and wiggling - THAT was so real and sweet and sisterly.

Ok...now I'm in the mood...I might just HAVE to watch that tonight! :-)

Blessings from Ohio, Kim Wolf<><

Robinismyname said...

LOL - Yes, I can tell that you love Austen. I am growing to love her works since my first "meeting" with them in January.

Your points are all very good ones - I agree with them all! Now, that's unusual. LOL That I would agree with so many points from one person.

I am just so heartbroken about that missing boy! I just can't stop from wanting to cry. Please let me know if they find him.

My hubby comes home from off of the road tomorrow and will stay all day. We are going to do lots of yardwork and then grill out. I hope you will have a wonderful weekend! Warmly, Robin

JenIG said...

do you mean to tell me that you don't prefer Bride and Prejudice over all others?


Moms4Psalms said...

Hello Kate!

When asked about the new version I say "I don't like it but I want to own it!" I really don't like it in comparison to the A&E version. But I've seen it four times already.

"Pride and Prejudice" is honestly hard to mess up! It is a timeless classic and I enjoy even the old very cheaply done British version that seems more like one is watching a play than a movie. I just love the story!

So, I don't like the new version. But then again, I guess I do.



mamatc said...

I can hardly wait to see it now! I really must come out of my bubble! I really enjoy literature and the like but don't make time for it anymore. Tisk, tisk, tisk...


Traci :)