Vintage Classic: Pride and Prejudice

20 Jun

You may love Pride and Prejudice. You have seen all the recent films. You may swoon the moment someone mentions “Darcy.” But the question is, do you know this vintage gem?

When I first acquired Pride and Prejudice from 1940, starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier, it was mainly for a lark, but now I enjoy it just as much as my other versions. I mean, what’s not to like?

Now, you have to be prepared for costumes that are not from the right period… for some reason the costumer must have thought bigger is better, so instead of seeing the empire waists of the period, you get the petticoat junction. Oh, and there are a few discrepancies with the text (which may irritate some of you). I like that they have a Punch and Judy scene. When you see Bingley peering over the divider at an ill Jane, who is absolutely COVERED in frills, I know I had a chuckle and a cringe.

But, but, but!

There is something that must be said for a Pride and Prejudice that starts with a carriage race between the Bennets’ and the Lucas’s. I mean, come on! Mrs. Bennet telling the man to “Pass them, pass them” and the Lucas’s not giving an inch? Classic!

Also, there is the case of Mr. Darcy. In most films (as with the book), you don’t get much feel to Darcy, except in those brief moments when you know how he feels and your heart bleeds for him. This gives you a bit more, and you never actually hate Darcy as one is prone to do when reading or watching the other films. He even helps her hide from the frightening Collins! What a sweetheart! (Refers to himself as St. George. Ack, be still my beating heart)

I suppose the best way to summarize this is as a look at the background of Pride and Prejudice. While they occasionally pass through the known plot, it is more common for them to merely touch it for purposes of keeping the storyline present in your thoughts. In fact, I might even go so far as to describe it as a common assortment of the daily life and happenings (the little things) about the story that are not there in the book.

Notes: *It appears as though Emma is not the only one who likes archery.

*Marsha Hunt (who plays a marvelous Mary) looks absolutely the part in this film. She is actually quite beautiful.

*Oh, yes. Do not expect any attractive men coming out of the water. Just some very attractive men doing some devastatingly adorable things.

*Edmund Gwenn (Mr. Bennet) later played Kris Kringle in the Original and Best Miracle on 34th Street

Quotes: “I expect you dance well with anyone, Miss Lydia, and I know I do” -Mr. Wickham

“Well, we’re hoping Elizabeth can manage to catch a cold of her own and stay long enough to get engaged to Mr. Darcy. Then, if a good snowstorm could be arranged, we’d send Kitty over. But if a young man should happen to be in the house – a young man who likes singing, of course, who can discuss philosophy – Mary could go. Then, if a dashing young soldier in a handsome uniform should appear for Lydia, everything would be perfect, my dear.” -Mr. Bennet

“Well, I told him if he ran into five of the silliest girls in England, they would be my daughters!” -Mr. Bennet

“Oh, if you want to be really refined, you have to be dead. There’s no one as dignified as a mummy” -Elizabeth

“It’s hard to imagine you making a fool of yourself” -Mr. Darcy (I know… “aw,” chorus)

“At this moment it is difficult to think you are so proud”(Elizabeth) “At this moment, it is difficult to think you are so prejudiced” (Mr. Darcy) — This is for all the people who apparently missed why they titled the book such. :)

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