Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pride and Prejudice (1980)

My first completed task for the Everything Austen II Challenge was watching the 1980 mini series of Pride and Prejudice. There's nothing like a good challenge to get you to finally watch something you've been meaning to for ages.

I've seen all the other adaptations: 1940, 1995, 2005 and although it's not technically Pride and Prejudice, Lost in Austen. I found this version, while dated, to be a very solid adequate, version.

It had all its common occurrences of an 1980s mini series: long awkward pauses and a lot of staring. The editing was a bit choppy in places, but I just accepted all this and found none of it bothered me in my enjoyment of watching.

One thing I didn't care for was Mary's character. This version just seemed to make her even more annoying than she originally was. It was sort of overdone showing how intelligent she was. And what was with Kitty coughing all the time? Was that in the book? I don't understand what that was all about.

On to the good stuff. I found Elizabeth Garvie's portrayal of Elizabeth refreshing. She was more ladylike that both Ehle's and Knightley's Lizzys. She was very headstrong and very forthcoming, but also sweet at times. David Rintoul's Darcy was most excellent. I had to remember that his version came before both Firth's and Macfayden's and that his take on Darcy's proudness and aloofness were entirely his own. He portrayed Darcy as a very hard man, a man who no one could seem to break his defenses, but as time went on his icy facade started to melt and we started to see him as his true self.

My favorite scene was Elizabeth and Darcy's first encounter at Pemberley. The surprise and awkwardness of the situation was very well done. I found both actors were very convincing in giving their respective characters the impression that their minds were racing a million miles an hour and were only hoping that what was coming out of their mouths was making sense.

Overall, a very good series. I recommend it to anyone who loves Pride and Prejudice and hasn't yet seen this. It follows very closely with the book and the acting is true to form.

Other than Garvie and Rintoul, stand out performances were given by Priscilla Morgan as Mrs. Bennet, Marsha Fitzalan as Caroline Bingley and Judy Parfitt as Lady Catherine de Bourgh. And a side note: it was rather refreshing to see a Jane that wasn't blonde.

And I'll end this post on a humorous note. While watching part three of the series, I noticed something moving around on the right side of the screen during one scene:

Whoops! Microphone in frame. Kind of brought me back to reality for a second, but I found it amusing.


BurtonBookReview said...

So funny about the microphone, I hardly ever notice those types of things!
I do have this whole BBC series but couldn't get past 'Emma'. I am assuming the Masterpiece.

Laura's Reviews said...

Great review! This is the only version of P&P that I haven't seen yet. I definitely need to put it on my list!

TexasRed said...

Sounds like a fun viewing!

Don't know if you're interested in this stuff, but I gave you a blog award on my page today TexasRed Books. Hopefully it'll introduce your space to a new reader.

Whitney said...

To funny about the microphone! It reminded me of the supposed "hanging" in the background of a scene in The Wizard of Oz. This is the only version of P&P I have yet to see, I will need to remedy that.

Lisa said...

That microphone is funny--how very un-BBC-ish!

RosieP said...

It's pretty good. My opinion of it is not as high as it used to be. But I still found it enjoyable. Some of the acting is rather theatrical. And it's not as faithful to the novel as many believe. Not that I care. None of the adaptations of "PRIDE AND PREJUDICE" are completely faithful.