Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Pride And Prejudice (1940)

Hello  readers, today I have decided to post about the 1940 adaptation of Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austin. I assume you all know the plot, but just in case, here is the plot summary of the film (and novel). Sorry, I was about to do a valentinesy post yesterday, but I started watching Sabrina with my folks and got distracted ;S.

So, Laurence Olivier plays Mr. Darcy and Greer Garson plays Elizabeth Bennett. Even before watching the film, the cast list is fantasmagorical. Every time I watch it I always wait until Mrs. Bennett goes "MR. BENNETT!!!! MR. BENNETT!!!" And try to do it at exactly the same time. I took this over to a friends house to watch at a sleepover and the next day while we were walking into the village for play rehearsals she was screeching "MR. BENNETT!!! MR. BENNETT!!!" Everyone thought we were mad, but it was awesome.

The set and costume design is just great. All of Lizzy Bennett's dresses are just beautiful. The set looks very realistic and ornate, I just love it all. I remember that my Mum got us this film and Wuthering Hieghts starring Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon. This takes me back to the days when I used to confuse Merle Oberon and Greer Garson with each other, just because we ordered their films together. What's even worse is that this was only about two years ago...

One of my favourite scenes has to be the the scene with the bow and arrow. Mr. Darcy is patronizingly showing Elizabeth how to use a bow and arrow and then suddenly she takes the bow and arrow and shoots a bulls-eye. What I don't get though, is that Mr. Darcy's lady friend (not girlfriend, but friend who is a lady) is always saying about Elizabeth, "Oh, she has no class. She is not acomplished." I'm like... SHE IS GREER GARSON FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!! WHO THE HECK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!!!

So yes. That woman annoys me. I really do love Laurence Olivier, he can play almost anything. He is superb as Maxim De Winter in Rebecca (also 1940). His Mr. Darcy is to be sure, the most sophisticated and intelligent Darcy that have ever graced the screen (sorry Colin, but you aren't up to Laurence's standards).

I think that the portrayals in this adaptation of the Austen classic have set the standards for any other new adaptations. No matter how much I may love the other actresses who have played Elizabeth Bennett, Greer will always be Elizabteth for me.

Robert Z. Leonard does a good job directing, but I have to say that the direction is upstaged by the performances, unlike films like A Letter To Three Wives, directed by Joseph L. Menciewicz, which could be argued as a complete showcase for the insanely talented director. Every single actor does a good job, including maureen O'Sullivan, Mia Farrow's mother.

I can not tell you how enjoyable this film is. Its just so uplifting to watch. My copy is one of those weird Korean all region imports and the first scene or two are out of sinc, but I still love the scenes in the dressmakers at the beginning. Watch this film on a happy feeling night to feel even better, or on a depressing night to be made feel happy like never before :-)

Just wanted to say that I now have 50 followers!!! Yay! I am now doing a happy dance by my computer, and won't stop till I have to sleep.



Page said...

Congrats on reaching 50!

I was just discussing this film and how it was such a great adaptation that I cringe when trying to sit through a remake of it! (And I'm a huge fan of Colin Firth). It's also one of those films that I have to re-watch each time it's on. Oliver can do no wrong in my book and unlike so many I actually like Garson very much.

What a fun write up on one of our great classic films.


Libby said...

Oh! I really do like this film, and the dressmaker's scene is lovely; the details are so wonderfully done.
Congratulations on reaching fifty followers!

ClassicBecky said...

Hi Bette. Page and I were talking about Pride and Prejudice just the other day, as she mentioned. I adore this movie. I think it is just perfection in every way. Olivier is snooty and gorgeous and reveals his true good heart beautifully. Greer is wonderfully saucy and CLASSY, I agree! Mrs. Bennett just kills me. I love her dithering about and Mr. Bennett's patient tolerance of her. Great post, Bette.

Rick29 said...

This was a fun post, Bette! I agree that it's a wonderful version of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Still, I prefer the BBC adaptation with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth.

RosieP said...

This was the first adaptation of "PRIDE AND PREJUDICE" that I have ever seen. Mind you, the 1995 version is my favorite. But I also love this version as well. If I must be honest, there isn't a version of "PRIDE AND PREJUDICE" that I have not loved.

Juanita's Journal said...

William Wyler did not direct "A LETTER TO THREE WIVES". Joseph L. Mankiewicz did.

Bette said...

@Juanita's Journal: What a silly mistake, corrected now! I meant of course, Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Thanks for pointing it out.


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