Follow the lives and loves of the five Bennet sisters as they search for romance and true love in 18th century England, a time clearly obsessed with profitable marriage contracts - that do not consider the emotional needs of young women.
I managed to get hold at last of this BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. I had last seen it when it was first screened, I still had a black and white tv! It had left an impression though, and on wathching it again (and this time in colour) I can see why. The screenplay, so faithful to the original, is a delight,the cast is very good, and the scenery and locations, delightful. The only reason I don't give it a 5 star rating is because it feels too much like a theatrical work compared to today's movies, and that diminishes both it's credibility and it's enjoyment. In particular, the scenes inside the Collinses house, with the cut out cardboard decor, seem straight out of a low budget theatre production. I've now ordered the 1995 BBC version to see how it compares, though I remember thinking that Colin Firth (scrumptious as he is) could not fill the shoes of David Rintoul, who was simply born to play Mr Darcy.
My mother told me she remembers this as being the best P&P, I disagree, I prefer the Colin Firth one from the 90s, however this is not bad for 1980. Mr Darcy is so haughty, he is rather camp. Wonder what became of the actors, look out for Raquel, Del Boys wife from Only Fools and Horses. I enjoyed this, was really surprised to see it was adapted by Fay Weldon. It is a Dutch production, I didn't notice this at the time, it is in English, don't worry, but I was alarmed with some of the guff at the beginning and thought "what have I bought?"
This version by Fay Weldon is simply the best Pride & Prejudice I have ever watched. I saw the three available versions and this one tops it all because of the casting. All the actors and actresses were superb in their roles from the silly Mrs Bennett and Mr Collins to the proud Mr. Darcy and the weak willed Mr. Bingley. David Rintoul is the perfect Mr. Darcy as he could switch from being haughty in the first half to being tender at the end. Elizabeth Garvie's facial expressions are always a joy to watch. I watched it for the first time almost 20 years ago and since then I have watched it once in three months. My children, who are 14 and 8, are beginning to enjoy the irony and hypocrisy in P & P after watching this version. To those who think that Jane Austen's works are boring, I beg to differ and this version of P & P proves my point. I sincerely hope that BBC would put this on DVD as I have almost worn out both copies of this title on video tape. To all who made this version of P & P what it is, a BIG thank you.
This is undoubtedly the best dramatized version so far of Pride and Prejudice. In offering a review of this adaptation, I feel that it is also necessary to compare the two BBC versions, to demonstrate the need for both to be available on permanent format. Whilst the 1995 version may be more sumptuously filmed, Fay Weldon's adaption contains far more passages of Jane Austen's prose. The importance of using Miss Austen's words wherever possible (apart from the literary courtesy due to the original by the adaptation), is that Miss Austen is one of the wittiest writers in the English Language. Unfortunately, as evinced by "Game On", Andrew Davies is not able to prove an acceptable subtitute. Both portrayals of Elizabeth Bennet are fine overall but Elizabeth Garvie gives a better characterisation. In particular, in the final stages, she manages to express the realisation that her views have been in error, which realisation is one of the fundamentals of the book. To my mind this is never achieved by Jennifer Ehle, whose expression of different moods is too often achieved by alternating between a frown and a simper. She also seems to lack clear enunciation at times. As to the portayal of Mr Darcy, although David Rintoul gives a good performance, I have to say that Colin Firth is a more rounded portrayal. The famous "lake scene" is however too far out of character to be anything but an embarrassment. Mr Collins is supposed to be ridiculous and in this version is given a fine comic performance by Malcolm Rennie. He is not supposed to be played as Dud (from Pete & Dud), as in the 1995 version. Speaking of comic performances, one can only wonder at the inspiration that gave Alison Steadman the idea to play Mrs Bennet as a pantomime dame (1995); by contrast the Mrs Bennet portrayed by Priscilla Morgan is a believably empty-headed but not farcical character. In defence of the 1995 version, it is good in many respects and is acceptable as a reasonable rendering of the book. Nevertheless, in terms of being definitive, it is fatally flawed in several ways, which takes off the shine. We desperately need a DVD of the Fay Weldon production, so that fans of each particular version are equally well served.