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... of Pride and Prejudice and clearly some thought this better than that of 1995
on 10 March 2015
I had looked at other people's views about this version of Pride and Prejudice and clearly some thought this better than that of 1995. I find that each has its merits in terms of casting. In 95, the five girls are much better distinguished, far less insipid and more engaging, though Elizabeth Garvie in 80 did come across well. Susannah Harker is, I agree, less conventionally beautiful than her 1980 counterpart, but her well-meaning intent to see the best in everybody was much more believable and not just insipid. I always found Alison Steadman a disastrous choice for Mrs. Bennet, far too noisy and lacking the pretty sort of silliness which would have captivated the youthful Mr. Bennett, so the 1980's portrayal was a great relief for me to find, very convincing. Mr Bennet—both versions carried conviction, though so differently. The two Mr. Collins's were likewise very different: the 1980 version was physically close to the book description, but David Bamber's picture of hilarious stupidity was so very much more effective—Fay Weldon and Cyril Coke were being just a bit too respectful of Miss Austen on the surface without catching her mischievous delineation, perhaps. And Bamber's shovel hat was much more droll than the 1980 topper! 1995's Darcy—undeniably sexy and dashing and profoundly shy, yet the 1980 chap (David Rintoul?) had a lot in his favour in terms of keeping his icy reserve until the front crumbled (and he came out well in hat comparisons as well!). One could go on in detail, but everyone will have their favourite. Renishaw Hall, (1980) to my view, looks like a dog-kennel beside Lyme Park (1995) as a location for Pemberley! All in all, the 95 version had 50 minutes more to play with, more lavish locations and costumes, so, presumably, a far more adequate budget, and made the most of the advantage, not to mention the brilliant Carl Davis music. It remains the definitive one for me (pity about Alison Steadman!), but I'm glad to have acquired the earlier version for occasional dipping.
A warning—you may get landed with a Dutch product (I did!) with subtitles to turn off whenever you watch it, and packaging all in Dutch, which some would find perplexing.