21 December 2008

Pride and Prejudice

What was once a book is now a coveted tele-series. Oh yes ! I saw the Keira Knightly movie first, and before that the Gurinder Chadda version Bride and Prejudice. But the best by far is the 1995 BBC teleserial version starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. Jennifer has bright eyes, a straight nose and a rosebud mouth. Right off, she didnt seem to me an ideal choice for Elizabeth Bennett, but a few scenes down the line, I could see why she was so pat. She is a good actress and her expressions make Elizabeth come alive. Ditto for Colin Firth. His regal demeanour suits Darcy to a T.

This series was the most faithful adaptation I have seen, and it sure makes the book come alive. Alas, I missed the first episode which was quite a chunk, as Zee Studio was airing it in a two-hours, which was two episodes back to back. Maybe I will get lucky during a re-run. I have seen parts of it on youtube, but it is not the same as seeing it in one go.

When I started out, Elizabeth was sweet on Wickham and the Bingleys had just ditched Jane and Charlotte had just married Mr. Collins. I was already in the thick of things, not that Janey's novel ever flags. But all the beloved and big scenes were just as I imagined them. Elizabeth's face off with Lady Catherine, the smarmy Mr. Collins, the patient Charlotte who has married him just to be able to have her own household. And the best scene... the left handed proposal of marriage by Darcy, that just angers Elizbeth.

How things change thereafter, with Darcy determined to improve himself, Elizabeth realising that Darcy is a sweetheart after all, Lydia's fall, Jane's reunion with Bingley etc.. all were very edifying. I loved the treatment given to Mrs. Bennett and her sister Mrs. Philips. The gossipy twosome ! I loved the way Alison Steadman played Mrs. Bennett, with all the silly affectations and tantrums, it was simply precious.

All the actors, big and small played their parts to perfection.

The dresses and the bonnets the girls wore were so pretty. Though Elizabeths coloured bodices with white skirts seemed too simple at times. A couple of times the girls wore a flowered bodice with striped skirts and the effect was amazing. The hats and shoes all look lovely, and I liked the hairdo, curls framing the face and the rest of the hair pulled back.

The series was all that was promised to be. Something I can see again and again and again.


  1. good to see u enjoyed it, tho i dont think there was ever a doubt :D thought of u the minute i saw it being aired .... a lot of people i know had problems with jennifer ehle's age not being suited for lizzy, but she really grew on me too the same way she did on you. love her expressive eyes !! as for firth, u know all that i have to say on the subject lol

    the thing about this adaptation is that it was done by someone who loves the original as much as the rest of us. not so the knightley one which makes me see RED each time i think of it. i remember the director making statements which showed such a basic lack of knowledge of the book which angered me no end ... for eg: he thought keira knightley too beautiful to play the part of lizzy!!!!!! bah!

  2. CP, I have been dying to see this, and it was like a dream come true. Firth looks as delicious as he is.

    Yes, that Knightly version was no good. Even so, I enjoyed it just for the beautiful landscapes, the pretty dresses the girls wore. Over there Knightly just giggles all the time, while Elizabeth is supposed to be a model of propriety. I cant believe she got an oscar nomination for that.

    I remember the scene in which Eliza and her sisters run into Wickham and a couple of officers in the town and while lydia goes silly over the guys, Elizabeth just stands there and smiles slightly at Wickham. It was simply too good.