Pride and Prejudice: Netherfield Ball

Image of Mrs. Bennet gossiping at the Netherfield Ball, Pride & Prejudice, (1995)NONSENSICAL

In vain did Elizabeth endeavour to check the rapidity of her mother’s words, or persuade her to describe her felicity in a less audible whisper; for, to her inexpressible vexation, she could perceive that the chief of it was overheard by Mr. Darcy, who sat opposite to them. Her mother only scolded her for being nonsensical.The Narrator on Mrs. Bennet Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 18

My favorite scenes in episode one of the PBS airing last Sunday of the adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice (1995) were definitely those at the Netherfield Ball. They are also a significant plot accelerator in the novel. So much interaction transpires that delights, horrifies, and further reveals character insights. Here is a rundown on the evening’s events.

Image of Netherfield Park, Pride & Prejudice, (1995) 

The Bennet’s arrive in fine evening attire and are greeted by their hosts the Bingley’s. The occasion includes several red coats which delight Lydia and Kitty.

Image of Netherfield Ball dancing, Pride & Prejudice, (1995) 

We learn that Wickham has removed himself from the festivities because of his wish to avoid a certain gentleman (Mr. Darcy). Lizzy is obligued to dance with Mr. Collins and is mortified that he is wholly without any sense of his ridiculous manner.

Image of Elizabeth & Mr. Collins dancing at Netherfield, Pride & Prejudice, (1995) 

Mr. Darcy is seen intently tracking Lizzy’s movements about the ball from room to room. He is clearly intrigued by her frank personality, and not quite sure what to make of his attraction to her.

Image of Mr. Darcy at the Netherfield Ball, Pride & Prejudice, (1995)


As Lizzy discloses to Charlotte her anger in the absence of her favorite Mr. Wickham because of Mr. Darcy, he approaches them and catches her off guard. She regretfully accepts his invitation to dance.

Image of Lizzy & Charlotte dishing Darcy at the Netherfield Ball, Pride & Prejudice, (1995)

We then hear the elegant music and see the couples engaged in the dance. Lizzy and Darcy dance silently for a while. Annoyed that she must dance with him, Lizzy can not miss out on this opportunity not to engage Mr. Darcy in a “little bit of conversation” while they dance.

 Image of couples dancing at Netherfield Ball, Pride & Prejudice, (1995)

What transpires is one of the most significant dialogues of the film between them. She is peeved and unguarded, he is puzzled, polite and circumspect.

Image of Lizzy & Mr. Darcy sparing at Netherfield Ball, Pride & Prejudice, (1995)

Caroline Bingley attempts to warn Lizzy of Wickham’s low background and infamous manner, but Lizzy will not believe her assertations and challenges her story.

Image of Caroline Bingley, Pride & Prejudice, (1995) 

Lizzy and Jane are mortified by their families, “total want of propriety so frequently displayed”, and stand on the sidelines in discomfort of the exhibition.

 Image of Lizzy & Jane Bennet mortified at the Netherfield Ball, Pride & Prejudice, (1995)

Sister Mary attempts to delight the party in song, and Mrs. Bennet is glad to see her daughter display her, ahem, talent at the pianoforte. However, her screeching song inspires horses to neigh, and dogs to howl outside. This sends her two elder sisters and Mr. Bennet into despair.

Image of Mr. Bennet in despair at the Netherfield Ball, Pride & Prejudice, (1995) 

Next, Mr. Collins speaks to Mr. Darcy before they have been formally introduced.  Mrs. Bennet’s continues bragging about the certainty of the nuptials of Jane and Mr. Bingley to the other guests before it is indeed certain. The finale humiliation is Lydia and Kitty’s unchecked exuberant antics throughout the ball with the officers. Caroline Bingley and Louisa Hurst look on in horror at the Bennet clan’s exploits in their home, smug in their earlier evaluation of the families foibles!

Image of Caroline Bingley and Louisa Hurst, Netherfield Ball, Pride & Prejudice, (1995)

My feelings of embarrassment and sorrow after the conclusion of the ball are all in favor of the elder two Bennet daughters, Elizabeth and Jane. We see the scope of their dilemma. They are intelligent, sensible and accomplished young women, whose financial situation of lack of dowries un-empowers them, placing them at the mercy of the connections of their family to attract suitable husbands. Moreover, consider that the very people that they must depend upon to aid them in their pursuit of a match alternately hinder their possibilities by lack of refinement and improper conduct. One feels a cloud of doom descend.

  • You can find an excellent introduction, episode rundown, casting, behind the scenes and photo gallery at the BBC Pride and Prejudice web site.
  • Casting, plot and resources can be found at the Masterpiece Classics Pride and Prejudice site
  • Purchase the new DVD set of Pride and Prejudice and The Jane Austen Book Club together at A&

Image of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Pride & Prejudice, (1995)Be sure to mark your calendars and set your watches for the second episode of the Masterpiece Classic presentation of Pride and Prejudice(1995), on Sunday, February 17th at 9:00 pm on PBS. We can look forward to the introduction of the affability and condescension of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, further antics by that duffus Mr. Collins, and a surprising ardent revelation by one of Elizabeth’s suitors. Dont’ miss out on all the Regency fun!

PBS Masterpiece Unveils New Interactive Web Site

 Image of new Mastepiece banner



Image of Sally Hawkins as Anne Elliot, PBS PersuasionIt’s official! In honor of the ‘opening night’ season premeire of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Masterpiece Theatre Classic has revealed their bright and shiny, new interactive web site; – – and it’s ready for your perusal and enjoyment,  full of all sorts of bells and whistles!

Be prepared to be wowed, cuz it sure knocked my bonnet off!

Image of Felicity Jones as Catherine Morland, PBS Northanger AbbeyThe front page sports a completely new design and displays The Complete Jane Austen series, opening with a slide show of photos of Persuasion, and access to a preview film clip. Each of the adaptations are accessible from this portal. Oh joy!

Image of the cast of Mansfield Park, PBSYou can explore each of the six adaptations: Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, Pride & Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, and new biopic Miss Austen Regrets from the Classic Schedule. Dig deeper and discover the synopsis, cast & credits, cast interviews, characters, Jane Austen and resources for each production!

Image od Olivia Williams as Jane Austen in PBS, Miss Austen RegretsOf particular amusement, is a special section devoted to The Men of Austen, where you can read bios of each of the bachelors, learn “who is a dream, a bore or a scoundrel”, and then vote on your choice of the ideal Austen mate! Check the tallies to see how you rate against other Austen addicts.

Image of the Dashwood sisters of Sense & Sensibility, PBS 2008There is so much to see and explore that you can spend hours just cruising about, scouring the historical archives, peeking at the poster gallery, learning about educational resources, shopping at the store, and connecting to the community through the discussion boards that I will cut it short like Mr. Darcy and decree, “GO TO IT”!

PBS to Connect Jane Austen Community

Illustration by Miroot Puttapipat, “Boxhill Picnic”, Emma, Chapter 44I congratulate you, my dear Harriet, with all my heart. This is an attachment which a woman may well feel pride in creating. This is a connection which offers nothing but good. It will give you every thing that you want — consideration, independence, a proper home — it will fix you in the centre of all your real friends, close to Hartfield and to me, and confirm our intimacy for ever. This, Harriet, is an alliance which can never raise a blush in either of us.” Emma Woodhouse, Emma, Chapter 9

In Jane Austen’s 18th-century society, personal alliances fueled the social strata, connecting families in marriage, and in business. And so it continues today, as PBS reaches out to the Jane Austen community to promote its upcoming series The Complete Jane Austen, through its online guest blogger project Remotely Connected.

Eight Austen enthusiasts and authorities from the online community have been invited to write about each of the upcoming Jane Austen adaptations and a new biography being presented by Masterpiece Classic, beginning Sunday, January 13th with Persuasion, and concluding in April with Sense & Sensibility. Continue reading “PBS to Connect Jane Austen Community”

A Preview of the Complete Jane Austen on Masterpiece Theatre PBS

Image of banner of The Complete Jane Austen PBS (2008)


I am all anticipation of the new Masterpiece Theatre presentation, Sundays with Jane: The Complete Jane Austen, which airs on PBS starting January 13th at 9:00 pm. It will include four new adaptations of the Jane Austen novels Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility, two previously aired productions of Emma (1997) and Pride & Prejudice (1995), and a new biography entitled Miss Austen Regrets based on the letters of Jane Austen. Better and better!

I dare say that such an inclusive Austen presentation has hitherto yet been televised. The closest event of such grandeur was from the now defunct Romance Channel’s 1999 airing penned Austen Power, which included four BBC Austen adaptations from the 1970’s & 1980’s; Mansfield Park (1983), Sense & Sensibility (1981), Emma (1972) and Pride & Prejudice(1980). This stroll through Austenland was only a teaser in comparison to what is in store for us from the good people at Masterpiece Theatre.

In the PBS press announcement of The Complete Jane Austen this past summer, the Austen extravaganza was revealed in detail…

How many ways can a young woman find true love amid the dinner parties, balls, carriage rides, picnics and other picturesque opportunities to meet the opposite sex in turn-of-the-19th-century England? There are six transcendentally satisfying scenarios, as told in a half-dozen enchanting novels by Jane Austen – one of the most beloved writers in all of literature.

Well this is perky prologue! Read on…

Austen fans can now sit down to a weekly feast of all of her immortal plots, presented by MASTERPIECE ® THEATRE over the course of four months in beautifully acted, lavishly set and gorgeously costumed adaptations.

Four months IS an extravaganza. We shall have ample time to view, absorb and dissect every tidbit and nuance of the charms of her characters, plots and language; — swoon over the newest heartthrob and tear apart the ladies bonnets.

As a bonus, viewers will be treated to a new drama based on Austen’s own bittersweet love life, Miss Austen Regrets.

Image fo Becoming Jane poster (2007)Ok, that makes me nervous. After last summer’s fiasco Becoming Jane, I admit to being leery of liberal statements about Jane Austen’s love life. Let us hope that the writer and producer of Miss Austen Regrets did not opportune to be inspired by such openhanded tag lines from that movie such as “Jane Austen’s greatest love story was her own“, and “Her own life is her greatest inspiration“.  I shudder the thought.

The productions will be between 90 minutes to 5 hours in length, totaling 917 minutes of pure, or as may-hap be, almost Jane Austen for your viewing enjoyment!

  • Persuasion: 13 January 2008, 9-10:30 pm
  • Northanger Abbey: 20 January 2008, 9-10:30 pm
  • Mansfield Park: 27 January 2008, 9-10:30 pm
  • Miss Austen Regrets: 03 February 2008, 9-10:30 pm
  • Pride & Prejudice: 10, 17 & 24 February 2008, 9-11:00 pm
  • Emma: 23 March 2008, 9-10:30 pm
  • Sense & Sensibility: 30 March & 06 April 2008, 9-10:30

The airings of the new productions have been a highly anticipated event in the Austen community since the advance publicity in Great Britain, where the new adaptations were produced and aired in 2007 and 2008. Not wanting to post any spoilers…we shall bite our tongue and withhold any opines until after viewing. If you can’t wait, you might be amused by some of the dish and banter about on the net-o-sphere which I have linked below. Be forewarned. Janeites are protective of their authoress, and vociferous on the topic of diversion from, and embellishment to the plots!

And, be sure to have your share of the conversation at the PBS on-line community blog, Remotely Connected, where during the week of each adaptation, a guest blogger will comment on each of the productions in the series starting with Persuasion, on the 13th. of January.

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