Pride and Prejudice (1995) Mini-series – A Review

The Pride Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge (2013)This is my seventh selection for The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013, our year-long event honoring Jane Austen’s second published novel. Please follow the link above to read all the details of this reading and viewing challenge. Sign up’s are now closed for new participants, but you can join us in reading all the great reviews and comments until December 31, 2013.

My Review

Eighteen years after it first aired on BBC One in October 1995, the television mini-series Pride and Prejudice (1995) is still blowing bonnets off Janeites and wowing them in the aisles! This week in London a twelve foot statue replicating Colin Firth’s portrayal of Mr. Darcy’s famous wet shirt ascent from the Pemberley pond was revealed. Its super hero size seems apropos in relation to the impact that the mini-series had on Britain in 1995, in the US when it aired on A&E in 1996, and the world. If that was not eye-popping enough, the scene recently topped a poll of the ten most memorable British TV moments! We will be bold as brass and claim it as the most memorable TV moment in period drama evah!

Mr Darcy twelve foot statue (2013)

Wet shirt Darcy may have fluttered hearts across the world, but let us not forget that there are five hours and thirty nine other minutes to enjoy too. The screenplay based on Jane Austen’s 1813 novel was written by Andrew Davies and introduced a more energized and sexier version of the classic love story than viewers had previously experienced with the 1980 BBC mini-series or the 1940 MGM theatrical movie. It was a modernized Austen that purist detested, Janeites embraced, and the general public adored, converting millions into fans and launching the Austen renaissance that we are enjoying today.

Image from Pride and Prejudice (1995) Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth © 1995 BBC & A&E

In 2010 the producers issued a re-mastered edition of Pride and Prejudice 1995 to much acclaim. With the reveal of the giant Mr. Darcy in the Serpentine at London’s Hyde Park this week, I can hear the clicks of computer keyboards across the world purchasing the DVD and watching streaming video on NetFlix. We may now receive our entertainment through modern technology, but P&P 95 is a pure Regency era fix. From sumptuous costumes, authentic English manor houses and superb acting, viewers are still entranced by the world that Jane Austen created and producer Sue Birtwistle recreated. Even though we have been privileged with several adaptations of Austen’s classic story since P&P 95 was aired, nothing can match it for production value and sheer squee appeal.

Pride and Prejudice (1995) restored (2010)

This mini-series is so well-known and there has been so much written about over the years that I will not attempt to post a synopsis or rehash the nuances of the changes that were made by the screenwriter, director and production team. At a certain point we all must just accept what was done and enjoyed it, again and again. I will however talk a bit about my first reaction to the series and my evolution in embracing it.

Pride and Prejudice (1995) Jennifer Ehle and Lucy Scott

In 1996 the US television station A&E actually showed period drama. When they advertised a new P&P mini-series I was really looking forward to watching it. I was curious what they would do with my favorite author’s novel and how it would compare to the BBC P&P 80 staring David Rintoul and Elizabeth Garvie, which I adored. With great anticipation I watched the first episode. The production values were stunning and the plot and dialogue were being fairly faithful to Austen’s intensions. But, I was not impressed enough with the direction and performances. In fact, I was so annoyed with Jennifer Ehle’s as Elizabeth Bennet that I could not continue watching the series—and did not. Her Elizabeth seemed too smug and conceited for me. I did not like her at all as a person, and I could not get past it. I was furious. What had they done to my Elizabeth?

Pride and Prejudice (1995) Netherfield Ball

Flash forward three years to 1999 and I am visiting a friend’s home and I arrive to find the P&P 95 playing on her TV. She is addicted to it and watches it continually, much to the annoyance of her husband. I am entranced. Did I miss something and not give it a proper try? Now, my friend knows that I love Jane Austen and is shocked that I had not seen the entire mini-series and puzzled why I did not like it. We proceed to watch the entire five hour series in one sitting together. I was converted and now totally hooked. How could I have been so hard on it the first time I viewed it? My aversion to Jennifer Ehle’s Elizabeth was banished. She was conceited, but that was what Austen had intended. After my reread of P&P, I was certain of it. AND Colin Firth as Darcy was just a knock out. My jaw dropped when I saw the wet shirt scene for the first time—and my girlfriend and I squeed and laughed and exclaimed our amazement. That was NOT in the novel! But WHO cared? It was fabulous. We of course had to rewind the VHS tape and rewatch it several times!

Pride and Prejudice (1995) Jennifer Ehle and David Bamber

There were other performance that were just amazing too. Here is a list of the cast:

  • Elizabeth Bennet – Jennfer Ehle
  • Mr. Darcy – Colin Firth
  • Jane Bennet – Susannah Harker
  • Mary Bennet – Lucy Briers
  • Kitty Bennet – Polly Maberly
  • Lydia Bennet – Julia Sawalha
  • Mrs. Bennet – Alison Steadman
  • Mr. Bennet – Benjamin Whitrow
  • Mr. Bingley – Crispin Bonham-Carter
  • Caroline Bingley – Anna Chancellor
  • Mrs. Hurst – Lucy Robinson
  • George Wickham – Adrian Lukis
  • Mr. Collins – David Bamber
  • Charlotte Lucas – Lucy Scott
  • Lady Catherine de Bourgh – Barbara Leigh-Hunt
  • Georgiana Darcy – Emilia Fox
  • Mrs. Gardiner – Joanna David
  • Col. Fitzwilliam – Anthony Calf

Pride and Prejudice (1995) Colin Firth

Jennifer Ehle won the BAFTA for her Elizabeth. I still like Elizabeth Garvie’s interpretation in the 1980 version better, but Ehle’s Elizabeth did grow on me. Colin Firth as Darcy was just masterful. It made him a star and for good reason. His Darcy is stiff enough that we despise him for snubbing our heroine Elizabeth and yet his transformation from prig to passionate suitor totally wins us over. He is, to put it frankly, a dreamboat of a catch for our Lizzy. Handsome, rich and contrite. LOL, what young lady could hope for more? I have followed Firth’s career and enjoyed almost everything I have seen him in. Since P&P 95 he has been well recognized for his talent winning an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and the Screen Actors Guild Award.

Pride and Prejudice (1995) Allison Steadman as Mrs. Bennet

There are many superb performances but I must place David Bamber’s Mr. Collins as one of the most brilliant portrayals of Austen’s toady reverend ever. It never fails to make me laugh-out-loud. Allison Steadman as Mrs. Bennet is also hysterical. I will never look at a lace hankie again and not think of her. Barbara Leigh-Hunt as Lady Catherine de Bourgh is so imperial and imposing that you just want to slap her.

Pride and Prejudice (1995) Wedding scene of Elizabeth and Darcy

Pride and Prejudice (1995) remains one of my favorite Jane Austen adaptations. I watch it annually and it never ceases to entertain and amaze. It remains a cherished cultural phenomenon.

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

Pride and Prejudice (1995) Restored Edition (2010)
A&E Home Video 2010
DVD (5 hours and 39 mins)
ASIN: B00364K6YW

Images courtesy © 2010 A&E Home Video; text © 2013 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

61 thoughts on “Pride and Prejudice (1995) Mini-series – A Review

  1. I am obviously more of a purist than I thought as I didn’t like the portrayal of Elizabeth – in some scenes too modern in her attitude and that of Mrs Bennett too silly.(Love the Colonel though) While I can continual re-watch the 1980 version I have only managed to watch the 95 version about 3 times

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  2. This is probably my favourite adaptation (not seen 1980 yet) although I really don’t like Alison Steadman’s Mrs Bennet, as she is over the top, much preferred Brenda Blethyn, and while I think Julia Sawalha is a fair enough actress she looks much too old to be cast as a 15 year old. I thought Mr Bennet, Bingley, and Charlotte in particular were well cast, Mr Collins turned my stomach with his unctuousness, and for me, Colin Firth was SO fabulous as Darcy. I see what you mean about Elizabeth’s smugness but she is a bit smug at the beginning. The only thing I would have changed, aside from casting of Mrs Bennet & Lydia, is that Lizzy never tells her father what Darcy did for Lydia.

    The experience you mention of not being able to bear watching it at first is just the same as my reaction to P&P 05, I really couldn’t bear the lightning fast dialogue, the general filth and darkness, changes to the story that don’t really make sense to allow for more dramatic scenes, and Keira Knightley (beautiful though she is) constantly jutting her chin out. BUT once I’d got over my initial disappointment & was ready to re-watch I could appreciate its good qualities too. Still, if I’m after a P&P fix on screen, I’d go for some 95 :)

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  3. Our First Impression was that there was too much squealing, bickering, and squabbling by the characters…especially the two younger Bennet girls. However, we fell in love and have stayed in love with this adaptation. Glad you blogged about this adaptation. Time for a rewatch…but then, isn’t it always. ^^

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  4. I prefer the 1980 version too. After all, Austen didn’t write Mr. Darcy and Prejudice (not Colin Firth”s fault since he didn’t write the script.) so this version seemed totally off balance to me.

    Not to denigrate Colin Firth’s looks and talent,but I’d have to say that Richard Armitage’s John Thornton in North and South blows him right out of the water (no pun intended).

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  5. I had been introduced to Jane Austen during an English lit class just before the mini-series first aired on A&E. I fell hard for Austen mostly because of that mini-series! ;) (My teacher was thrilled that my mum and I were able to get him a recording thanks to our love of checking the schedule for every airing. Mum and I also had our own recordings already, of course.)

    Ruth, I’d put Richard and Colin in a tie. Loved the North and South series as well. :)

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  6. I had a review yesterday: Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman. It’s an attemt to rewrite Pride and Prejudice from Darcy’s point of view, and in my opinion one of the more successful of that genre. http://homecomingbook.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/fitzwilliam-darcy-gentleman-review-ian1/ I also tweeted Austen quotes (from P&P the past week, and the contexts are here. http://homecomingbook.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/quotes-from-jane-austen-ian1/

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  7. I recently re-watched P&P95 with my daughter who was reading the book for the first time. I was surprised at how authentic this version was to the book, as well as capturing many smaller touches from the book in subtle ways. Mrs. Bennet is always portrayed as too vulgar and annoying in my opinion — I’d like to see a version with her excesses toned down just a bit so that she’s not shrieking all her lines. Jennifer Ehle and Elizabeth Garvie are both wonderful, but David Rintoul in 1980 just seemed weird to me — Colin Firth just owned that part — perhaps because he is capable of playing such vulnerable men? I thought the additional scenes of Darcy bathing and then diving in the lake made a good metaphor for “cleansing” Darcy of his pride. In addition, his scenes looking for Lydia in London helped explain the lengths to which he had gone to restore the Bennet family’s name. So, I vote for P&P95 and I wish other films/versions of Austen’s works would take at least 4 and 1/2 hours to tell! The shorter versions (except for 95 Persuasion) seem to miss too much.

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  8. I love the 95 version! I have seen it so many times I have lost count! Many years ago I was lucky enough to meet Jennifer Ehle while she was doing a play in NYC. She was very sweet, I got her autograph and a photo taken with her. Just need to meet Colin, but that will be a bit more difficult. I even trekked over to England to visit Lyme Hall aka: Pemberley. It was wonderful to walk in places they filmed. Yep, I’m a fan!

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  9. Perfectly timed review with the ‘lakeside view’ of our hero! well done Laurel Ann =) I’d just posted my final reviews for the Period Drama Challenge including ’95′s version HERE
    I believe I may have already included it for another P&P month’s review – I’m only mentioning it now as it’s a current post..
    I will post Alexa Adam’s First Impressions for this month’s review HERE so it isn’t forever lost in the review shuffle…

    “A delightful variation of JA’s own, Pride and Prejudice, sans the foibles of that book’s illustrious characters. Here, the reader is treated to reason and rectitude, rather than rancour and raucousness. Thus, allowing for a read of pleasing diversion. Which is not to say there aren’t surprising twists to add to our reading enjoyment. Quite the opposite. Setting to rights a particular grievance from the original.. can we all say ‘Wickham’? all done in excellent humour and in keeping with JA’s wit, dialogue and description of the era by a most capable author, Alexa Adams.

    Definitely “A Tale of Less PandP” as revealed by the title byline.
    Reading Satisfaction. Thank you, Alexa!”

    Thanks for hosting ! Always enjoy finding your entry for the month =)

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  10. Nicely put! :) I think you and Melinda Borrell further up in the comments put it very nicely.

    Pride and Prejudice is a witty caricature, not a serious life-and-death gothic romance – and those sentiments were aptly conveyed here.

    It’s funny though how we all react to different things that make us love/hate, in this case, an adaptation. For me, the first scenes with the hustle & bustle of the family is one of the reasons I enjoy this version so much. The smaller sisters having a squabble over accessories, another sighing over her book, the mother ‘suffering’ through it and playing favourites, the two older more sensible sisters join in… Aaand the father in the relative calm of his library trying to keep his sanity. Those first shots made the Bennet family. You were suddenly dropped right into their everyday lives and partook of the bond between the family members. It wasn’t stilted, it wasn’t a dull someth.someth. littered with dutiful lines of script between muted, unflinching, unrelated actors just to move the story along. It felt genuine. And that’s the charm of it.

    Also, Benjamin Whitrow’s Mr. Bennet… deeelightful! :) Yes, Mrs. Bennet is a tad over the top at times (she is vulgar, but pethaps not as screechy in the book for me), but it somehow doesn’t bother me. David Bamber’s Mr. Collins isn’t as studiously malicious as I felt he was in 1980, but just the simpering, forelock tugging, self-promoting nuicance of a boob who thinks he’s got a greater role in life than he really has.

    And that’s just it I think; the entire cast fit so well together that you’re not as preoccupied with trying to glue them together yourself and fill in the gaps – the relationships just flow along naturally. Pure charm while managing to capture (what for some at least is) the essence of Austen’s book. For me, it’s not a case of “oooo, Colin Firth in a wet shiiirt!”, or that it’s ‘Mr. Darcy’s movie’ (since I’m not overly focused on Mr. Darcy throughout the series) – it’s a case of everything coming together nicely, in spite of a few transgressions here and there of some symbolical value (i.e. bathing = cleansing).

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    • I was just re-reading here and was reminded how much I agree with your analysis of the characters and your overall take on this adaptation! And I had not thought of Mr. Darcy’s dip into the pond as being symbolic of cleansing his pride, but I especially love that idea!

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  11. This is my all time favorite adaptation of P & P ever. My Husband and I watch it once a year and have not gotten tired of it yet. I can’t see anything wrong in the cast; everyone in it is just as Jane Austen depicted. This film is what got me hooked on all things Austen!!

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  12. The ’95 version was my first intro to Pride and Prejudice, and in my opinion, they did a great job of both acting and editing in this miniseries.

    By the way, in case you’re interested, there is a movie coming out in September 2013 called “Austenland”. The main character goes to England to participate in an experience that mimics living in the Regency era. Wouldn’t that be fun to do in real life? *sighs*

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  13. The 1995 version was my first introduction to Austen as well. I saw an ad for it in People magazine and that it was going to be on A&E. We didn’t have that station so I had to have a friend tape it on a VHS tape for me. My sister and I spent an entire Sunday watching it and LOVED it. I agree with those in the blogosphere that say the first P&P that you watch is your favorite, no other version as replaced this one as my favorite.

    Question – is this available on Netflix for streaming? I have found the 1980 version, but not my beloved 1995 version.

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  14. The 95 version remains my favorite, although I seem to find something to love about each version.

    For the P&P challenge, I finally got around to watching the newest (Keira Knightley) film with my daughter: http://justasecondblog.blogspot.com/2013/07/movie-night-pride-and-prejudice.html

    Also read Pride and Prescience – http://justasecondblog.blogspot.com/2013/06/recent-reads-pride-and-prescience.html and Suspense and Sensibility – http://justasecondblog.blogspot.com/2013/06/recent-reads-suspense-and-sensibility.html and North By Northanger – http://justasecondblog.blogspot.com/2013/06/recent-reads-north-by-northanger.html

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  15. Hello, I just have an off the wall question. I was listening to the audio book Pride and Prejudice and when Lizzy is talking to Mr. Bingley and his sisters about ‘accomplished’ women Mr. Bingley mention women “covering screens”. I am a huge fan of crochet and knitting (my Nana taught me) so if I can learn a new craft-Jane Austen related- AWESOME. I tried googleing without any success I was wondering if any of the Austenites know what it is to ‘cover screens’.

    Thanks,
    Marianne

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  16. I totally agree with your review as much as I think the 1980′s version is more true to Austen, the 95 is entertaining and lively. I love Jennfer Ehle facial expressions, Colin’s embarrassment greeting her in wet clothes, priceless and I love Charlotte and Collins. Will be watching it this month. I have been so busy so am a bit behind, in the process of writing 12 reviews ready for August! (obsessed yes) here are my June and July reviews,

    An Assembly Such as This – http://tamaraausten77.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/an-assembly-such-as-this-by-pamela-aidan.html
    Duty and Desire – http://tamaraausten77.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/duty-and-dersire-is-pamela-aidens.html
    These Three remain – http://tamaraausten77.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/these-three-remain.html
    Mr Darcy’s Obsession- http://tamaraausten77.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/mr-darcys-obsession-by-abigail-reynolds.html
    Rain and Retribution – http://tamaraausten77.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/rain-and-retribution.html

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  17. I’m laughing to myself because I feel like I am copying you. I’m planning on reviewing both the 1980 and 1995 series later this summer, and you know, from my previous comments, that I think 1980 > 1995, so I won’t say too much here except that I totally disagree with you about Mr. Collins in the 1995 version. Ugh. Too oily.

    Anyway, I forgot to link to my June reviews (5 books by Amanda Grange) in June, so I’ll do it here, too: http://aem-physicsgirl.blogspot.ca/2013/06/upon-my-word-darcy-must-speak-for.html

    And an unexpected treat: the Toronto Fringe Festival had a P&P adaptation that was lots of fun: http://aem-physicsgirl.blogspot.ca/2013/07/to-campbell-house-therefore-they-were.html

    I’ll come back and link to further July reviews once I finish them.

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  18. ["I totally agree with your review as much as I think the 1980′s version is more true to Austen, the 95 is entertaining and lively."]

    I don’t know how the 1980 adaptation acquired a reputation for being more faithful to Austen’s novel. I certainly don’t agree that it was more true. I like it a lot, but I still prefer the 1995 adaptation, which I consider more entertaining. Is the 1995 version more faithful? No. I have never come across an adaptation of Austen’s novel that was completely faithful. I doubt that I ever will. Nor do I care, if I must be blunt. As long as I find any particularly adaptation entertaining, I will be satisfied.

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    • Lol I see you mentioned my comment when I say it is more true I mean the character portrayal especially Lydia she is a gentleman’s daughter and in the 1995 version she is too over the top either way I love all the adaptations (although I haven’t seen the 1940′s one)

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  19. This is my seventh review for the P and P challenge. I really enjoyed the 1995 adaptation and particularly all the little details like Sir William Lucas saying “capital, capital” all the time and Anna Chancellor as Miss Bingley towering over Darcy to ask him what he is thinking. She of course gets a shock when she hears Mr Darcy is thinking about Miss Elizabeth Bennet and her fine eyes.

    There were other points like Darcy watching Elizabeth playing with Darcy’s dog in the grounds of Pemberley and I feel he is thinking well the dog likes her and is willing to play and also Elizabeth seems to enjoy playing and getting fun out of life..

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  20. I think I am getting confused as there is a heat wave in England at the moment with temperatures at night not falling below 15 degrees centigrade and day time temperatures at 30 degrees or more. I said my last review was the 7th it was in fact the eighth.

    Caroline Bingley Kindle UK edition of the book by Jennifer Becton
    So this is my ninth review for the Jane Austen Challenge
    Oh dear – this was a read I did not enjoy at the beginning possibly because I have never liked poor Caroline Bingley. I did warm to Caroline a little bit by the end as I was beginning to see how her mind worked.

    Jennifer Becton begins the book with Caroline banished from her brother’s society because she has tried to separate Charles her brother from Jane Bennet whom he loves. Caroline has also displeased Darcy because she has made it obvious she wants to marry him and will not tolerate Elizabeth as the new chatelaine of Pemberley.
    In Jane Austen version of the story Caroline does try to make amends and be friendlier towards Jane and Elizabeth even if it is only to keep being able to come to Pemberley.

    Miss Bingley was very deeply mortified by Darcy’s marriage; but as she thought it advisable to retain the right of visiting at Pemberley, she dropt all her resentment; was fonder than ever of Georgiana almost as attentive to Darcy as heretofore, and paid off every arrear of civility to Elizabeth
    Pride and Prejudice chapter 61

    Jennifer Becton instead has Caroline unable to be civil to Jane or Elizabeth and so she is banished to her family home. Caroline started this book as an unpleasant snob who agrees with Mr Darcy that Elizabeth and her family are not worth getting to know at all as they are so far beneath them in manners and pedigree and there seems to me to be few redeeming features. She wants to marry Darcy but does not show much love to him. By trying to marry Darcy, Caroline was trying to make her own position in society secure and give herself a comfortable home. I do not think Caroline ever loves Darcy she just wants to get things better for herself.
    This quest for a home and security leads Caroline to seek out the attention of Mr. Charlton, the brother of her oldest friend. Again love or even liking does not come into it at all. Mr. William Charlton is to inherit a barony, which is enough status even for Caroline. She will not have to apologise to Darcy and Elizabeth his wife to gain a place in society
    Caroline is being observed in her attempts to ensnare Mr Charlton by Mr. Patrick Rushton. Mr Rushton is Caroline’s step-father Mr Newton‘s business partner. Mr Newton and Mr Rushton build bridges together, something Caroline thinks far too vulgar an occupation for a gentleman to be involved in doing.
    Questions abound in this book. Who is Rosemary Pickersgill, the companion sent by Charles Bingley to be with Caroline on the coach journey back to her parent’s home? Who will Caroline marry in the end? Will Caroline marry Mr Charlton? Maybe instead Caroline will fall in love with Mr Rushton who seems to try at least to understand Caroline.

    I found it strange that my Kindle edition had two deleted scenes at the end of the novel and they seemed to me to complicate matters and not add anything much and I was not sure why they were included as they detracted from the main story.

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  21. As always, Laurel Ann, I delighted in your review and can see my all time favorite P&P with new eyes… I have come to appreciate the 1980 version a great deal more too now, and especially Ms. Garvie’s Elizabeth, from your excellent review of that movie. I also enjoy reading other’s reactions… I too love the scene that Ann mentioned of Elizabeth playing with Darcy’s dog… and then later see the faithful companion accompany his master down that grand dark hall after Darcy has given Caroline the sharp retort to her criticism of Elizabeth being a beauty! I entirely agree that “It remains a cherished cultural phenomenon!”

    My July selection is Cassandra Grafton’s “A Fair Prospect” A retelling of the love story of Elizabeth and Darcy in Three Volumes! (It will count for my 7th, 8th, and 9th Challenge entries.) Volume I: “Disappointed Hopes,” Volume II: “Darcy’s Dilemma”, and Volume III: “Desperate Measures.” The story begins with the rejected first proposal in Kent followed by Darcy’s letter, told slightly differently, and presenting a concentrated experience of their inner struggles, feelings, and the transformation of their understandings of each other and themselves, in a different setting and a shorter span of time. This story has Elizabeth following Darcy and Col. Fitzwilliam to London where she stays with her Aunt Gardener and Jane. Darcy and Elizabeth are accidentally thrown together, and their new relationship is very intriguing! I found the whole thing very romantic and compelling, loved Ms. Grafton’s portrayal of Elizabeth and Darcy and found the characters very consistent with my own cherished view of how they should be. I also loved that the story revolves around my favorite people, with little from the annoying Mrs. Bennett, the younger Bennett sisters, and Bingly’s sisters. Two new delightful life long friends of Elizabeth are introduced and add a new and fun direction to the story. Elizabeth’s conversations with Darcy, Jane, her Aunt Gardener and her friends are what I can never get enough of, and here there are more of them, and they are so satisfying and right on!

    I highly recommend this story, which is over 600 pages long, but covers only two weeks of time! Furthermore, I would love to hear what others think of this re-telling of this great love story, but I must alert you to get all three books before you start… or as soon as you discover that it is as compelling as I found it!! I give it 5 plus stars! Thank you, Ms. Grafton for your loving words and writing this beautiful story!

    Carol

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    • Read them all this month too and read them all within a week absolutely loved them and I fell in love with the colonel he was so funny! Love the different perspectives from all the characters, its going to be a challenge to write the review too good

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      • Oh, good, Tamara! I look forward to reading your reviews! I enjoyed the ones you wrote listed above… especially Pamela Aidan’s trilogy and the Rain and Retribution one which is new to me!

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  22. Odd… oh well, I’ll try again!

    Book review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/586973201

    Adaptation review: Pride and Prejudice 2005

    “I can’t help feeling that at any point this evening someone is going to produce a piglet and make us chase it.” – Miss Bingley at the Netherfield Ball, Pride and Prejudice 2005

    How wonderfully that sums up the film! I said in my review of the 1995 adaptation that it lacked elegance, this one lacks even dignity.

    Allowances must of course be made for the arrangement of scenes and dialogue, this is a film and time is limited, and also the omittance of certain characters (i.e. the Hursts, Maria Lucas and the Gardiner’s children,) but there is so much about this version that that does not excuse. Firstly, the Bennetts seem to be a lower class than they should be. Mr Bennett was a gentleman, not a rather backward country squire. There was a farm on his estate but they didn’t live on it and I don’t see the need for pigs in the house or cows and chickens in the back yard except to make them out to be rather more common than they were meant to be. Actually the girls clothes, hairstyles and deportment do support this, they could have been servants, they looked like them but saying that, the servants acted rather better. Mrs Bennett, who was in fact portrayed quite well, wanted to get the girls married. She might have let them run a little wild but they would be fit to be seen, and would not be going out with their hair dressed like school room misses, or just a mess. She had a position to maintain and the finer points of a ladies toilette were certainly within her understanding.

    The ages of the girls seemed about right in relation to each other, possibly the first adaptation to do that, but Lydia actually looked a little too young. In the book she was the tallest of her sisters, and looked older than her years though her behaviour did not match it. In the film she looked younger than 15, and not particularly attractive, I found it hard to believe she would have been favoured over Kitty. I think they would have done better to have Carey Mulligan (who played Kitty and who later did a wonderful job as Isabella Thorpe in Northanger Abbey) play Lydia. But then Mr Wickham hardly came across as an experienced seducer, more an obnoxious brat just down from Oxford or Cambridge. Jane is played well but tends to blend into the background, and Bingley is a bumbling idiot. Charlotte Lucas seems somewhat desperate and pathetic, rather than an unromantic woman who has calmly arranged her future comfort, she does however seem to suit Mr Collins rather well and is even grateful for Lady Catherine’s condescension. Lady Catherine is ok but not remarkable outside of who plays her, I like the actress who played Aunt Gardiner very much but I can’t work out why they made her up to look older. Georgiana Darcy is supposed to appear proud and shy not like a small excitable child

    That leaves the main two characters. I really have nothing against Matthew Macfadyen except that his performance as Darcy is instantly forgettable, I actually found myself thinking he would make a good Edward Ferrars. The first proposal (the strongest scene in the film) is the only time when he showed any real spirit, though he rattled off the first part like they were short on time. The added dialogue didn’t seem to add anything, although in a modern film it would have worked well. I’d have to say this is the best scene for Elizabeth too. On the whole Keira Knightly has no poise or grace and is very little difference from her sisters. She comes over as rude and impertinent (especially given her apparently lower station) and with very little charm or wit.

    A few things about the production that cannot be attributed to individual actors that I wasn’t fond of… Half the dialogue is in the background when there is little else going on. Bingley’s proposal is a terrible, terrible comedy. Lady Catherine turns up in the middle of the night? Surely her own consequence wouldn’t allow it and given what she wants to discuss it would cause far too much of a stir. Then Lizzy and Darcy are reunited when he walks out of the mists, not awful I suppose but a bit too Bronteesque for me. And finally, I’m not sure why the US had to have an alternate ending, perhaps for them it must end on a kiss?

    The one thing I really did like, other than the beautiful scenery, was how each scene started with a stunning framed tableau, like a painting. It was an inspired idea and it’s a shame that the rest didn’t really live up to it.

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  23. I loved this adaptation and I watch it continually! I like the 1980 one and have watched that a couple of times as well. I am not a huge fan of the most recent (2005) adaptation, as that for me is too modern…

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  24. The 1995 P&P is a favorite of mine, though it was Kiera Knightley’s version that hooked me on Jane Austen, even if it isn’t the best. I find it interesting that you were so against Jennifer Ehle at first. She is a bit snarky, but I love her as Elizabeth.

    Here’s my overview of my reread of Pride and Prejudice for the challenge.

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  25. You made me curious about the 1980 version now! ^_^
    The fact that you skipping the synopsis and usua lreviews and give your personal interaction with the mini-series was really interesting!!
    I was only 3 years old in 1995 so who could I possibly know how this mini-series was done and having a story form someone who was there is really great !!

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  26. Excellent review! This really is a great adaptation, even though certain die-hards don’t enjoy it. I think it depends when and how you first fell in love with P&P. Jennifer Ehle & Firth are wonderful– I keep trying to watch the 1980 version but just can’t get into it– and Mr. Collins is unforgettable. However, Lucy Scott plays a rather cold Charlotte, and while Mrs. Bennet is amusing at first, she gradually becomes more annoying and, I feel, is a caricature. I never thought about Mrs. Bennet as anything but comic relief until I saw Brenda Blethlyn add dimension to her.

    I did 3 books this month. Here are my reviews:

    http://hodgepodgegallery.blogspot.com/2013/07/p-challenge-july-trio.html

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  27. This is the first period drama I saw, aged eight and have I loved it ever since! Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy is perfect! Everything about this version of P&P is wonderful and it is lovely to watch anytime especially with a cup of tea and a bar of chocolate on a rainy day or when you are feeling unwell. Sit back & fall in love with Mr. Darcy! :)

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  28. Pingback: The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013 | Austenprose - A Jane Austen Blog

  29. Love your review. I just found the 1995 version in a used bookstore in NC. I can’t wait to watch it. I’ll review it in Aug.

    I posted my July review in the wrong place so I’ll post it again here. “Bridget Jones’ Diary” with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy! This is a great modern day P&P. Bridget Jones is Elizabeth, Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant) is Mr. Wickham, and Mr Darcy is …Mr. Darcy. This movie has everything from 1st snub to Daniel Cleaver’s deception to Mr Darcy’s 1st declaration of affection and faults.
    And of course final declaration of affection. I have seen this movie many times and I still think the fight between Cleaver and Darcy is 2nd only to Bridget Jones’ 2nd movie “Edge of Reason”, where the fight is better.
    We also get to see Colin Firth in a wet shirt again!=in 2nd movie. I love the part when Mr Darcy meets Bridget’s friends. I truely fall in love with this Mr Darcy.

    I also rewatched the 2005 P&P. This was the 1st version of P&P I watched and it holds a special place in my heart. I can’t deny it had changes it didn’t need, but there are many things I liked about it. The part when they’re dancing and feel as if they’re dancing alone, or the way Mrs. Bennet hollers for Elizabeth down the path. All the parts with Mr Darcy & Lizzy. I still get breathless when Darcy is walking to Elizabeth in hopes of her affection.

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  30. Pingback: The other way around (P&P challenge #4) | Journey of a Dutch Witch

  31. I’ve been wondering – will you be having a Mansfield Park Bicentenary Celebration next year? It would be wonderful to explore that often forgotten Austen novel.

    I have two reviews – the audio of a Stage Production of Pride and Prejudice: http://lauragerold.blogspot.com/2013/08/pride-and-prejudice-by-jane-austen.html

    A review of the 2005 Pride and Prejudice Motion Picture: http://lauragerold.blogspot.com/2013/08/pride-and-prejudice-2005.html

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    • Not sure yet about the MP Challenge, but I have been contemplating it. I did a Mansfield Park Madness event her in 2008 which was great fun. MP is high on my list of favorite Austen novel though many consider it her dark horse. Thanks for your interest Laura. Cheers, LA

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      • I would enjoy more on Mansfield Park as well… I missed out on the 2008 event, and it is favorite behind P&P, of course, and Persuasion. I have the audio in my car now, and love it! Have listened to it many times. It is read by Wanda McCadden, I believe.

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      • I’m glad to hear it’s being contemplated! It’s been awhile since I’ve read Mansfield Park so it would help to bring me back to it. I did listen to the Wanda McCadden audiobook a few years ago and enjoyed it!

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  32. Enjoy the 1995 version very much, perhaps not quite as much as 2005, more than 1980. Jennifer Ehle and Keira Knightley both are terrific as Elizabeth, for very different reasons. I would watch either version just for them if I had to. Colin Firth is excellent as Darcy except, and it is a strong except, he needed to be less rigid as the relationship ripened. Matthew Macfayden’s dress and his mien softened during that stretch, and it really added to the story. I thought Anna Chancellor and Sussanah Harker played well, but were too physically imposing for the parts. Alison Steadman and David Bamber were simply too much, over the top. I thought Brenda Blethyn was wonderful as Mrs. Bennett, and I loved Tom Hollander as Collins; both cartoonish, as intended, but at a lower volume. Julia Sawalha played Lydia to perfection.

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  33. It is a trust universally acknowledged that friendships forged over a love of Jane Austen last forever!

    In this soap opera sequel to Pride & Prejudice, Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll, we were entertained with a story packed full of marriage, heartbreak, death and eternal love, while shockingly diverted by intrigue, highway robbery, and betrayal.

    We could only imagine how Jane would react to the level of overt sexuality in Berdoll’s story. In several of the scenes, we felt like we were squirming in our seats….achem….moving on….

    Once you get past the steamy scenes, we loved the twist and turns in the story and character development.

    Elizabeth’s emotional journey through pregnancy and loss was poignant and greatly added to the book. We journeyed with her through each step of lost innocence, mischievousness and prevailing strength. Even the woman from Darcy’s past had a very high opinion of the new Mrs. Darcy – “she would feel nothing but happiness for Darcy that his distinction was maintained in the woman with whom he had fallen in love…A lady in the truest sense of that word.” Colonel Fitzwilliam also could not help but form an unrequited love for the lovely “Lizzy” and needed to escape to war. One of our favorite scenes involved Elizabeth’s continued resilience of Lady Catherine’s berating ill will, a gun, and a puddle on the floor.

    While nearly unrecognizable to Jane Austen’s Georgiana Darcy, this Georgiana was a delightful surprise. She was strong, daring, willful, and unconventional. In the scene where Georgiana pulls out a gun securing safe passage for her brother and Colonel Fitzwilliam, Darcy is quoted in saying that she “owned her voice.” This confidence earned Georgiana movement toward heroine status.

    After killing his son and cowardly running away from war, we find Wickham’s character unchanged – no shocker here! Similarly, this book accentuated Jane and Bingley’s weaknesses. Their marriage and relationship lacked openness. Jane still is too naive and Bingley has no backbone for truth in nontrivial situations.

    Overall, the book was diverting though not truly in keeping with Jane Austen’s style and characters. The author attempted to replicate Jane Austen’s tone and language though sadly overshot. Nonetheless, we enjoyed the dramatic continuation of the beloved Pride & Prejudice.

    Jacinta & Nicole

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  34. A little late for a comment on the 95 P&P, but I have to say that I never saw Jennifer’s portrayal of Elizabeth as conceited. She is supposed to be strong-minded, and able to stick up for herself, and Lord knows she needs to be with her mother always pejoratively comparing her to the “beautiful” Jane, and then trying to marry her off to Mr. Collins!

    My wife and I own one of the deluxe versions of this production and have watched it at least eight times. Confession: I always cry when I see Elizabeth reduced to tears by Lydia’s indiscretions, and Darcy being torn apart as he can can find no way at all to comfort her. Good stuff.

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