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  1. #1
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    Pride & Prejudice: your favorite version?

    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?
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    Hands down for me -- all BBC. Mr. Darcy.
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  3. #3
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.

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    Thumbs up

    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.)
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    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!
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    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.

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    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.

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    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.
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    Thumbs down

    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    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.
    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...
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    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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by modern_muslimah View Post
    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.
    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.

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    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. 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.)
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    I thought Macfadyen was the weakest link in the 2005 version. He was rather wooden IMO.
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    Keira Knightley didn't even seem like she was trying to play Elizabeth Bennett. It just seemed like another character altogether.

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    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 I also like Bonham-Carter as Bingley.
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    Wasn't the actor who played Mr. Collins in the 2005 version also in the movie Hanna?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    Not a fan of Ehle at all. She seemed . . . too smug for me in that role.
    That's the prefect word for it: smug. I guess that's why I prefer Knightly in the role.

    Quote Originally Posted by nubka View Post
    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...
    I'd agree with that actually. THe BBC version does portray that better, IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    I thought Macfadyen was the weakest link in the 2005 version. He was rather wooden 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. 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.
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  20. #20
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    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.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

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