This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle, This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, This other Eden, demi-paradise, This fortress built by Nature for herself Against infection and the hand of war, This happy breed of men, this little world, This precious stone set in the silver sea, Which serves it in the office of a wall Or as a moat defensive to a house, Against the envy of less happier lands,-- This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England. ~~William Shakespeare, Richard III

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pride and Prejudice Movies: 1940

So I have now seen all 4 versions of the Jane Austen's wonderful novel and I felt like I could finally do some comparison posts! I will do a blog post for each version (1940, 1980, 1995, 2005) in which I discuss the movie and offer my thoughts on it.

I'll start with the earliest version, the 1940 movie starring Laurence Olivier as Mr. Darcy and Greer Garson as Lizzy.

WARNING!!! There MAY be spoilers after this point!!!

The Good:

1) It was a fun movie to watch. Honest. In fact it was so fun I laughed almost the whole time. I was "excessively diverted!"

2) I thought Lawrence Olivier's Mr. Darcy was actually rather good. I did enjoy his "smoldering" good looks (though it took me a while NOT to see Richard III standing there!). I liked his personality but there were a few times I had to laugh at the "clumsiness" his Mr. Darcy showed.

3) The other actors and actresses did a fine job in their roles. Perhaps they all didn't quite LOOK the part (the actress playing Charlotte was way too pretty) but they still did a decent job.

The Strange:

I can't exactly call this "The Bad" as I'm sure a lot of what was done was just the way it was in the late 30s and early 40s. Obviously they were showing to a much different audience than what movie makers have today.

1) The costumes. I started laughing within a few seconds of the movie starting when I saw the clothes and couldn't stop. HUGE hoop skirts, ridiculously large bonnets, and endless flounces and ruffles and bows. I felt like I had been dropped into Gone With the Wind. After some internet searching I discovered that the producers actually set the movie 40 YEARS LATER so they could have more elaborate costumes (and they did recycle some of the costumes from GWTW!). So this is not a Regency but something plunked right down in the middle of Victorian fashion. :)

2) Now I understand that all movie makers have a set amount of time for their movie but I felt they went wayyyy overboard with their mashing together of scenes here! There were a couple of instances where this happened.

3) The added scenes. Some of them were quite funny (the carriage race home from Meryton and Darcy "hiding" Lizzy from Mr. Collins come to mind) but it was just weird. And the weird twist at the end with Lady Catherine's visit to see Lizzy??!!!

Like I said, I can understand that a lot of this was done because of the era the movie was made in. Perhaps the way they changed things around suited the tastes of the early 40s but it is certainly comical to watch! This is NOT the worst of the P&P adaptions - I'll get to THAT one in a few days - but it is not an accurate representation of the Austen's novel. So, if you just love watching anything that smacks of Austen (and you like a good laugh!) then have fun watching. If you're a purest then I'd probably steer clear (unless you just want a good laugh). Its not horrible but its...different.