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Pride & Prejudice: your favorite version?

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

  1. manleywoman

    manleywoman podcast mistress

    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 Well-Known Member

    Hands down for me -- all BBC. :swoon: Mr. Darcy.
  3. beepbeep

    beepbeep Brazilian Eurotrash

    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 Thinking of witty user title and coming up blank

    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

    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

    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 discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    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

    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

    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 discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    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

    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 discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    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. 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

    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 discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    I thought Macfadyen was the weakest link in the 2005 version. He was rather wooden IMO.
  16. Michalle

    Michalle New Member

    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

    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

    Wasn't the actor who played Mr. Collins in the 2005 version also in the movie Hanna?
  19. manleywoman

    manleywoman podcast mistress

    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 discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

    Mr. Darcy
    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)
    more accurate portrayal of the book

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

    LilJen Reaching out with my hand sensitively

    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 Well-Known Member

    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

    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. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

    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.
  29. Zokko!

    Zokko! Comansnala?

    The BBC version, of course! Actually the one and only to me! :shuffle: