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Not faithful but delightful!
on 21 November 2005
This adaptation of Jane Austen's novel P&P is definitely not faithful to the original plot. Still I cannot help, but be surprised at the disappointment some of the fellow reviewers expressed over this fact. They seem to have forgotten what film making was in 1940. I am not an expert on the history of film industry, but I am aware that it was definitely NOT about staying truthful to the original book when adapting it on film. As a result, it did not come as a shock for me when I saw it for the first time. On the contrary: I simply accepted that this was the way it used to be and then nothing could stop me from enjoying the film immensely.
I think that the Greer Garson - Laurence Olivier duo as Elizabeth and Darcy was fantastic. Garson was original and spirited and Olivier was attractive and aloof at the same time. The chemistry between them worked just fine. So did the chemistry between Jane and Mr Bingley, excellently characterized by Maureen O'Sullivan and Bruce Lester.
Mary Boland was delightful as Mrs Bennet and Edna May Oliver great as Lady Catherine, it was not her fault that she was given a very different character to play (yes on this point I have to say that her pretending to be formidable while she is good at heart was a bit far-fetched). Frieda Inescort was a deliciously snooty Caroline Bingley.
OK, so the costumes seem like they were borrowed from "Gone with the wind", still, it couldn't destroy the delightful, light atmosphere of the film as a whole. It is a delightful comedy of manners and thus one should treat it as such.