Pride & Prejudice: your favorite version?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by manleywoman, May 23, 2012.

  1. manleywoman

    manleywoman podcast mistress

    Joined:
    May 8, 2003
    Messages:
    7,827
    Lately I've been on a P&P kick, watching both the BBC production and the Keira Knightly version. Though I love both, and especially love how accurate and faithful the BBC version is to the book, incorporating all the minor characters, I think (and yes this may be sacrilege to say so) I prefer the 2005 KK movie version in it's overall tone and actors. What are your thoughts?

    Here are my reasons why:

    Elizabeth Bennet: I think both actresses (Ehle and Knightly) are awesome, for different reasons. Sometimes I get annoyed at how passionless Ehle can seem, but then I remind myself that's probably more accurate to the times than how Knightly plays it. But I prefer Knightly for having a bit more personality and chemistry with her Darcy.

    Jane: Again. like both actress' interpretations, though I think if Jane is supposed to be supremely beautiful, I find the actress in the 2005 movie far more beautiful.

    Lydia: I like both again, but prefer the actress in the BBC version.

    Darcy: this one is tough for me. It's a wash between Firth and Macfayden. They both do it a bit differently, but I love both.

    Bingham: I prefer Bonham-Carter in the BBC version.

    Mrs Bennet. I can't STAND the screeching and over-drama of the BBC actress. Awful, and too cartoony. I love how Branda Blethyn does it in the 2005 version.

    Mr. Bennet: tough one again. Both actors play it so differently: the BBC actor is more jovial/comical, and Sutherland in the 2005 version is more overwhelmed/exhausted. I give the nod to Sutherland.

    Charlotte Lucas, Caroline Bingley, and Lady Catherine: Again, tough call since the actresses take a different approaches in all roles. A wash for me between these six actresses.

    Mr Collins: Hands down to the 2005 actor. The BBC actor is like a bad stereotype, just too overwrought of a cartoon for my taste.

    Wickham: I have to give it to the BBC actor, who plays it more smoothly. Though in Bloom's defense, he doesn't get as much screen time to flesh it out.

    Ultimately, I really do love watching both. What are your thoughts?
    flutzilla1 and (deleted member) like this.
  2. DFJ

    DFJ New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2002
    Messages:
    4,836
    Hands down for me -- all BBC. :swoon: Mr. Darcy.
  3. beepbeep

    beepbeep Resident Rude Brazilian

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    3,246
    BBC here too.

    I have it on my computer and re-watch it frequently.
    I quite like how exaggerated Mrs Bingley and Mr Collins were portrayed.
  4. modern_muslimah

    modern_muslimah Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Messages:
    3,901
    I prefer the 1995 BBC version to the 2005 movie. I have the '95 version on DVD and I've lost count of how many times I've watched it. The 1995 version seems more true to the tone of the original. I feel that the 2005 version seems Romantic when it shouldn't be. There's so much angst in it that I felt I wasn't really watching Austen's Pride and Prejudice but perhaps P&P the way Charlotte Bronte would imagine it. It was rather dark and the relationship between Lizzie and Darcy was more tense than I thought it should be. However, the 2005 P&P does have a modern sensibility that I think a lot of people can relate to.

    Speaking of P&P, what do you all think of the 1980 version? This is the version my high school English teacher showed to my class. Some Austenites tend to think this version is even better than 95 P&P. It's a little stilted for my tastes but it does try to stay true to the novel.
    euler likes this.
  5. viennese

    viennese Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2004
    Messages:
    1,132
    I reread an Austen book every summer.
    Every time the Keira Knightley-Matthew Macfadyen version's on cable, I watch again. And I own the DVD's of several recent versions.

    I love the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle version - relaxed pace, and we all love the swimming Darcy, but I think the more recent film has more age-appropriate casting (first love for both) and there's intense chemistry between the leads.
  6. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2006
    Messages:
    7,625
    Hands down Ehle/Firth version for me. Partly because of the casting, and also because they were allowed the time to tell the story properly (mini-series.) :) :) :)
  7. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2002
    Messages:
    30,305
    Not a fan of Ehle at all. She seemed too old and too smug for me in that role. Chronologically she wasn't that old but she projected an older woman's air IMO.

    Knightly was alright but too modern in the role. In the end, I liked Knightly better. Hands down to the 2005 Mr. and Mrs. Bennett--they hit just the right tone. Also, the 2005 Mr. Collins--perfection!
  8. Tesla

    Tesla Whippet Good

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Messages:
    1,857
    BBC version. I've watched it once a week for the past few weeks. I, too, have lost count of how many times I've seen it. I also prefer the BBC version of Sense and Sensibility over the Emma Thompson version.
  9. A.H.Black

    A.H.Black Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2002
    Messages:
    2,019
    I like them both, but neither is perfect. I also like the Masterpiece theater version from the 1980 with David Rintoul as Darcy - and I always have a fondness for the 1940 version with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier. Each has it's charms. None are exactly the way I picture the story or characters.
  10. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2002
    Messages:
    30,305
    I haven't seen the BBC S&S. The Emma Thompson casting decision always bugged because the age discrepancy. Thomson is an amazing actress but just didn't fit the role of Elinor age-wise. Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman were quite excellent though.
  11. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2006
    Messages:
    7,625
    I didn't like Knightly in the role because I have a hard time picturing Elizabeth Bennett as an emaciated skeleton. Also, in the Knightly version, the Bennett's standard/way of living seemed somewhat slovenly. With the exception of Jane, most of the girls looked liked they never ran a brush through their hair, and the house was really messy.

    I just have a hard time picturing a gentleman's family living that way... :shuffle:
  12. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2002
    Messages:
    30,305
    I did notice the mud but thought it was OK for a gentleman farmer. As to being skinny--why not? Some people are very skinny naturally. Knightly (and Elizabeth) could have been that way. Her hair was pretty awful, though. It was an obvious, really bad wig and Knightly's own short hair stuck out in the back--really distracting and messy.
  13. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Messages:
    4,853
    I'm glad you mentioned this one. The 1980 version is still my favourite in so many aspects. My favourite Darcy in particular -- I think David Rintoul captured the character even, dare I say it, better than Firth (whom I adore). Also favourite Collins by far, favourite Charlotte, and although I liked Jennifer Ehle I think I'd give Elizabeth Garvie a slight edge for Lizzie. Almost every aspect of this production is truer to the book.

    However I can understand the love for the 1995 version -- myself included. It made some decisions that really do work better for screen vs. page. It is lush, more passionate, easier to embrace, and all the performers do a great job.

    The best I can say about the Keira Knightley/Matthew Macfadyen version is that it wasn't as dreadful as I thought it would be. :yikes:
  14. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Messages:
    17,642
    I think the BBC version is one of the best screen adaptations of any book, ever. Perfect casting from the leads right down to the bit players.

    The 2005 film is flawed in many ways. I heard someone say it was like P&P as told by the Brontes. And I cannot STAND Donald Sutherland -- never could. However, I bought the DVD if only for the adorable Matthew Macfadyen. :swoon: Funny thing is, I didn't like him the first time I saw the film. But his performance in Little Dorrit made a big fan out of me, and now I like him in any role!

    (Although even for him, I couldn't sit through the tedious Any Human Heart. He was good, but the miniseries wasn't.)
  15. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2002
    Messages:
    30,305
    I thought Macfadyen was the weakest link in the 2005 version. He was rather wooden IMO.
  16. Michalle

    Michalle New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2002
    Messages:
    923
    Keira Knightley didn't even seem like she was trying to play Elizabeth Bennett. It just seemed like another character altogether.
  17. miffy

    miffy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Messages:
    9,140
    No contest, the BBC version. I have the DVD and love to re-watch it.

    I don't think Ehle is the perfect Lizzie but she was way better than Knightley. And Firth as Darcy :swoon: I also like Bonham-Carter as Bingley.
  18. shan

    shan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2003
    Messages:
    16,720
    Wasn't the actor who played Mr. Collins in the 2005 version also in the movie Hanna?
  19. manleywoman

    manleywoman podcast mistress

    Joined:
    May 8, 2003
    Messages:
    7,827
    That's the prefect word for it: smug. I guess that's why I prefer Knightly in the role.

    I'd agree with that actually. THe BBC version does portray that better, IMO.

    Funny, I find Firth more wooden.

    Ahhh, to each his own!

    Never seen the BBC S&S. I love the Emma Thompson version. I just choose to have suspension of disbelief as to her age. :shuffle: She didn't want to do it at first, for the same reason, but I think the director convinced her. It's such a smart adaptation, and I can watch it over and over.
  20. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2002
    Messages:
    30,305
    Yes, the Ang Lee S&S was great, overall. The complaint of Thompson's age is overshadowed by the excellence of the rest of the movie.

    As to Ehle's smugness--she wore the same smug smurk on her face in Possession. I had a really hard time buying her as Crystabel Lamotte.
  21. KHenry14

    KHenry14 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2002
    Messages:
    1,516
    Ah, one of my favorite discussion topics... ;)

    First off, I fully admit that I am a huge fan of the 2005 movie. I think Joe Wright is a fantastic director (go watch the Soloist and Hanna for further proof), and he did a wonderful job on the movie. He had to know that no matter what he did with the movie he'd be criticized by Austenites because he had to cut scenes from the book, yet he took on the project and did a great job.

    First, it needs to be said that both productions are really quite good. And I have no problem with people who prefer the BBC production. Colin Firth is a great actor and he's proven that over and over again. But I felt that Matthew MacFayden really sold the tortured soul of Darcy so well, I just love and prefer his performance. I also prefer Keira's spunkyness to Jennifer's, when I pictured Lizzie in my head, it's Keira i think of.

    I also liked 2005's Mr and Mrs. Bennett. Joe Wright cast those roles beautifully. Sutherland really caught the beaten down Mr. Bennett, and Blethen's desperation was beautifully portrayed.

    Surprising to me, I did not like the 2005 portrayals of Lydia and Kitty. Surprising because I think both Jena Malone and Carey Mulligan are terrific actresses, but both of them turned in cartoon-like perforances IMO.

    And I think Tom Hollander just killed it with his portrayal of Mr. Collins. Other than the fact that in the book Mr. Collins is tall, and Tom is clearly not tall, I think he did a terrific job, bring obsequence to new levels!

    One final thing, there is a clear difference in the production of a big time Hollywood movie and a BBC miniseries. The cinematography in the 2005 film is breathtaking. Plus the sequences filmed in the Ball scenes was just brilliant. But the BBC film does take good advantage of the much longer film length, so if you like the depth of the story told, well, the BBC film is a good choice.

    Suffice to say, I can't blame anyone for preferring one version over the other. But for me, I can watch and rewatch the 2005 film over and over again.
  22. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2004
    Messages:
    3,271
    Absolutely loathed the Keira Knightly version. I can't think of one good thing about it. Love the 1995 version the best, although I do not think it is perfect; some of the casting doesn't work for me. By far the best Mr. Collins ever is Malcolm Rennie from the 1980 BBC version; he is the only Mr. Collins who is a real person and not a hopeless OTT caricature. Rennie just got it right, and sorry, David Bamber, you did not.
  23. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Messages:
    2,146
    My assessment is the same as yours regarding the 2005 vs the BBC production. The movie obviously had to be shorter and I think the Bingley sisters and Wickham were the unfortunate victims. I especially liked the Bingley sisters in the BBC production, they were great at providing unintended comic relief..

    I also especially liked the aunt and uncle in the 2005 version. They seemed warm and humorous compared to the other characters.

    Did you watch the version with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier? It has a Hollywood ending and some 1940isms, but the overall tone is more farce than the modern versions, I thought it was closer to Austen's tone in the novel. It is also shorter, which non-Austen fans watching with you appreciate. If nothing else the recycled costumes from "Gone with the Wind" make it worth watching .
  24. nerdycool

    nerdycool Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Messages:
    3,127
    I prefer the 1995 version overall, but I also like 2005. I watch both quite regularly. I have also seen the 1940 version, and was so distracted by the artistic license they took that I can't tell you whether it was actually good or not acting-wise.

    1995 likes:
    Elizabeth
    Mr. Darcy
    Lydia
    Kitty
    Mr. Bennett
    Mr. Collins
    Georgiana (the 2005 Georgiana was better IMO, but I can't see Tamzin Merchant as sweet Georgiana anymore after I saw her as a naked slutty Kitty Howard in The Tudors)
    costumes
    more accurate portrayal of the book

    2005 likes:
    Jane (prettier, and I'm always distracted by the 1995 Jane because the actress was pregnant while filming was going on)
    Mr. Bingley
    Mary
    Mrs. Bennett
    Charlotte
    Lady Catherine
    chemistry between Lizzy & Jane
    music
    cinematography
  25. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2006
    Messages:
    9,251
    wrt Lizzy being smug: the character *is* kind of smug!!!

    Love the 1995 BBC version for its faithful adaptation. It's been a really, really long time since I saw the 1980s miniseries; all I can remember is all the actresses being really flat-chested! (as opposed to an abundance of plentiful bosoms in 1995). Really didn't like the 2005 version; I went into it knowing it'd be crummy and just tried to enjoy it for itself rather than as an adaptation. You cannot do justice to the book in 2 hours. Same problem with the crummy Gwyneth Paltrow version of Emma. Nope, nope, nope.
  26. cailuj365

    cailuj365 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    1,489
    BBC version for me. I could probably watch it on repeat.

    By the way, it's Rupert Friend who plays Mr. Wickham in the Knightley version, not Orlando Bloom. They do look alike though.
  27. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Messages:
    17,642
    I don't think Ehle ever looks smug. Merry, yes; smug, no. I guess smugness is in the eye of the beholder. (As I was saying, for instance, to me Donald Sutherland looks smug ALL the time!)
  28. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Messages:
    4,853
    I think my favourite Georgiana was Alexis Bledel in Bride & Prejudice. :D
  29. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2010
    Messages:
    2,414
    Yes and considerably unlike Mr. Collins. :)


    I tend to allow for age discrepencies when I am watching period pieces or if it deviates from the orginal source material sometimes. I think some of "Game of Thrones" chararcters are considerably younger in the books. Seeing a 15 yr old Jon Snow just wouldn't have the same effect for me as the man who was cast. Emma Thompson is my favorite actress and I have respect for the fact that she can put a screenplay together nicely. I was glad to see her as Elinor Dashwood. As I love the Amanda Root/Ciaran Hinds version of "Persuasion" I often wonder if they are a bit older than the characters in the book. I don't care though because I thought they were magic together. Good acting trumps almost any objections I have about age.
    shan and (deleted member) like this.
  30. Zokko!

    Zokko! Comansnala?

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Messages:
    2,314
    The BBC version, of course! Actually the one and only to me! :shuffle:
  31. zippy

    zippy Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2002
    Messages:
    566
    I just can't get behind the BBC version because I constantly want to smack Ehle. She just rubbed me the wrong way; smug is a good word for it (or simpering?). If only Colin Firth had thrown her into the lake I'd have liked it better. Keira Knightley fits my vision of Lizzy better, since she's described in the book as lively and having a light frame from all her walking. I know the BBC version is supposed to be closer to getting in each minute plot point from the book and purists like it better for that reason, but if I want something as close to the book as possible, I just... read the book. I like film adaptations to bring the pretty and the drama. I think the 2005 version does well with both of those things, great scenery, and the tension in that scene in the rain!
  32. AYS

    AYS Cruder than you thought

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2002
    Messages:
    19,343
    No contest whatsover, the BBC/A&E Firth/Ehle version, so many fabulous touches. It is one of the great adaptations of all time and just a great production. There were many aspects of the Knightly version that really missed the Austen mark, although I will admit, viewed independently, it was a lush and beautiful production.

    Agree with the above "as told by the Brontes" for the Knightly version. Austen was "classical"; the Brontes were "romantic".
  33. KikiSashaFan

    KikiSashaFan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2003
    Messages:
    2,827
    I'm going to get :lynch: for this, but whichever one is shortest. P&P is the most boring, overrated book ever written. :eek:

    That said I'm a sucker for period movies and costumes and love me some Colin Firth, so I did enjoy both the Kiera Knightly and BBC versions for that aspect.
    Matryeshka and (deleted member) like this.
  34. znachki

    znachki Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    702
    Artemis - GET OUTTA MY HEAD!!! :lol: I'm reading down this thread and I get to your post. You said everything about why the 1980 version is my favorite too!
  35. A.H.Black

    A.H.Black Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2002
    Messages:
    2,019
    Persuasion is the most perfect adaptation of an Austen novel to my feeling. I'm not sure if they were older, though. This is the one book where the characters are older - isn't Anne supposed to be 29? In order for Captain Wentworth to be a captain, he might be quite a bit older as well.

    Back to Pride and Prejudice - I come back to my favorite scenes in each.

    1995 - The first proposal scene by Darcy is about as perfect as you can get. I also love the scene where Elizabeth receives the letters from home.

    2005 - The scenes with Elizabeth out on the rocks in her travels with her uncle and aunt are wonderfully evocative.

    1940 - There is a scene when Darcy comes to propose (at the end) where Olivier sort of tosses his gloves into his hat. It's a wonderful snippet. The whole film has such a lightness to it that is very fun.

    1980 - I especially like the scenes at Pemberly. Rintoul, as Darcy, softens - but just a touch. The half-smile is nice.

    Several posters have mentioned the manner of living in the 2005 version. Mr. Bennett would most likely have been a sort of gentleman farmer. The mud and and lack of landscaping are probably accurate - as would be the housekeeping. Movies have given us an idea of those times that is not really accurate. The Bennetts were higher class but not that high class and Darcy was wealthy, but not titled.
  36. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Messages:
    4,853
    (... quietly tip-toes out of znachki's head ...)
  37. skatingfan5

    skatingfan5 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2002
    Messages:
    10,739
    Keira Knightley P&P: Pride & Prejudice ... & Purple Passion. :lol: Those who describe it is P&P as written by Charlotte Bronte are right on the money. My niece (who is another Austen fan) and I were both :yikes: and :lol: at some of the scenes. Do I remember a rain storm? Do I remember a late night tryst? I don't know -- I have manged to expunge much from my memory. :p

    The 1995 BBC version :swoon: is my favorite by far, although the 1980 one with David Rintoul and Elizabeth Garvie does have its merits (and is much, much better than the 2005 KK one). The only think lacking from the 1995 P&P is one of my favorite scenes from the book, when Elizabeth breaks the news of her engagement to her mother. (I can't believe so many people dislike/detest Jennifer Ehle's Elizabeth, much less that they prefer KK's interpretation!)

    Those of you who have not seen the most recent (2009) S&S, I can recommend it to you very highly. I can't guarantee that you will like/love it, but I prefer it to the Emma Thompson/Ang Lee version. I keep wanting to get it on DVD -- a friend of mine was taping all the Austen fest broadcasts on PBS and managed to only record one of the two parts of S&S -- although she captured all of the others.

    ETA: Agree with those who feel that the 1995 Persuasion is just about a perfect adaptation. I love that film!
  38. cailuj365

    cailuj365 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2004
    Messages:
    1,489
    I thought the Knightley version was a good Hollywood movie, but to me, it really relies much too heavily on evocative visuals, including the pretty casting. One thing I really detested about it was the first proposal scene in the pouring rain. Ugh, how cliche. Let it storm and thunder to make it seem all the more dramatic and emotional. Then, there was that final proposal scene with the sunlight romantically coming through behind them...seriously? Give me a break.

    In contrast, the first proposal scene in the 1995 version was done in a small sitting room flooded with sunlight with birds chirping happily in the background. The acting had to be top notch, and it was. The stark silence when he asks her to be his wife was louder than any thunderstorm, IMO.
  39. skatingfan5

    skatingfan5 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2002
    Messages:
    10,739
    So there WAS a rain storm. :lol: That scene was straight out of Wuthering Heights, so perhaps it was Emily and not Charlotte Bronte's screenplay.
  40. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2001
    Messages:
    16,748
    I like the slightly more favorable view of Lizzy's mother and friend in the movie. One of the best lines in a movie ever was Mrs Bennet turning to Elizabeth and saying: " Tell me Elizabeth my dear, when you have five daughters of your own, what else will occupy your thoughts, and then perhaps you'll understand".