Thursday, November 30, 2006

Pride and Prejudice (1995): Part One

There are few cinematic translations as good or as enjoyable as the original books. To Kill a Mockingbird comes to mind as one successful example but frankly, almost any Andrew Davies adaptation ranks rather high as well. His 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice weaves a nearly seamless flow between what Jane Austen actually wrote and what we could justly infer about her characters.

Jennifer Ehle is a lovely Lizzie Bennet—her spark and wit are reminiscent of Greer Garson in the 1940 version. Who could not instantly like her as she runs through the countryside in the opening scene spying the gentlemen on horseback discussing Netherfield. Lizzie’s intelligence and her spirit are clearly larger than her surroundings, something Colin Firth’s Darcy can’t fail to see and be attracted to.

There, the subject is broached: Colin Firth’s Darcy. It has all been said, the smouldering looks at Lizzie from across the room that could be mistaken for contempt and not lust—very clever; the deliberate choice to wear waistcoats with colour in avoidance of the anti-hero-in-black appearance; and, of course, the- GULP- lake scene which culminates in the most endearing expose of his human side “I trust your parents are in health…” While we find him handsome from the onset, now we have full leave to love his character as Lizzie will.

There is not a single deficit in the supporting cast either. Julia Sawalha is hilariously naive and properly irritating as Lydia, Adrian Lukas is smarmily charming, Alison Steadman’s Mrs Bennet unbearable with her unguarded prattling and the praise goes on. There is one minor though criminal weakness to be sure and that is the lame, very lame final kiss that we waited the whole film to see. Could they not have re-shot that one scene? The carriage jolts just enough to make Lizzie and Darcy’s kiss goes from passion to mashin’. I screamed for a redo right away but no one seemed to notice.

Those Darcy Moments

A minute-to-second guide to when Darcy appears on screen – taken from the US 2-disc Special Edition. In bold are my best moments.

00:51 Horses and riders on the scene…
01:05 Mr Bingley is introduced…but we are denied a real look at Darcy—from behind and profile only…great tease.
01:42 Enter Lizzie…
04:14 “For a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
08:30 “Only the deepest love will induce me into matrimony.”
10:46 “I’m afraid we cannot escape the acquaintance now.”
12:04 DARCY steps from the carriage
12:11 Darcy surveys the environs and looks at the camera for the first time!
13:14 Enters the assembly rooms
13:54 “Better and better…”
14:16 Lady Lucas gives the lowdown via Mrs Bennet
14:32 Would he be as handsome if he weren’t rich?
15:12 Looking rather surly over Bingley’s shoulder
15:34 “Are you fond of dancing too?”
16:01 He had said he didn’t dance and so he left…OUCH
16:25 Who does he think he is?
16:59 Looks dismissively at Bingley and Jane dancing.
19: 00 “I must have you dance!”
20:00 “She is tolerable, I suppose…”
20:24 Lizzie walks by Darcy greatly amused by his arrogance
22:45 “I believe I may safely promise never to dance with Mr Darcy”
23:22 “I should as soon call her mother a wit!”
27:28 Lizzie notices Darcy is staring at her at the Lucas Lodge party
30:10 “Mr Darcy looks at you a great deal Lizzie…”
30:35 “Any savage can dance”
31:09 “Please don’t suppose I move this way to beg for a partner”

31:40 Lizzie gives Darcy his comeuppance and walks away herself
31:53 Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s eyes
37:09 Lizzie bumps into Darcy at Netherfield (she comes on foot as you see)

38:49 Lizzie’s eyes were “brightened by the exercise.”
41:28 Oops—wrong turn

The UK version - BBC 2000 DVD

Episode 1
01:05 Darcy and Bingley ride across to look at Netherfield. Darcy says ‘You’ll find the country manners something savage.’
12:04 Appearance of Darcy outside the Ball
13:15 Darcy and party enter ball
15:50 Darcy rarely dances
16:16 ‘Proud disagreeable man’
18:05 Darcy skulks around the dance floor
19:07 ‘I certainly shall not (dance)’
19:59 ‘She is tolerable I suppose’
22:30 ‘I should as soon call her mother a wit’
27:13 ‘Poor Darcy’ gazing at Lizzie
30:06 Mr Darcy looks at you a great deal
31:13 ‘Happy honour to dance’
32:25 ‘Fine eyes’
37:09 Darcy meets Lizzie after walk to Netherfield
38:23 Darcy at lunch
40:16 Darcy after shooting
41:31 Playing billiards – pots a hole
43:23 Accomplished woman
45:50 Darcy at visit of Bennets
46:55 Darcy in bath
47:47 Looks out of window and sees Lizzie playing with the dog
49:00 Lizzie and Miss Bingley walking around the room
51:30 Darcy looking out of the window as Lizzie leaves

Episode 2
11:00 Darcy sees Wickham
14:50 Wickham talks about Dracy
26:32 Darcy sees Lizzie at Netherfield Ball
28:44 Darcy laughing at Mr Collins dancing with Lizzie
30:19 Darcy asks for a dance
31:05 The dance (lasts until 36:00)
40:00 Collins toadies to Darcy

Episode 3
03:40 Darcy leaving Netherfield
33:44 Darcy at Huntsford (Mr Collins’ vicarage)
35:58 On horse back coming across Lizzie’s walk
36:54 Darcy at Rosings
37:29 Darcy at piano with Lizzie
40:02 Darcy visits Huntsford and not say any thing in particular
45:45 The proposal (lasts till 51:28)

To Be Continued…


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