This seems to be my year for talking about Pride and Prejudice since I’ve managed to make two posts about it so far this year before this one. (Click to read the post about the Board Book version.) That is entirely fitting considering it’s the 200th anniversary of the classic novel. And by classic I do not mean the group of books forced upon the unsuspecting public under the guise of “Great Books of Literature” in college and college track English classes (although you might find it there too), I mean it’s truly a timeless book that is not to be missed. There are certain fictional worlds that all you have to do in an unwary and idle moment let fall open a page (or to watch a single scene flipping through channels) and you are instantly hooked again and find yourself craving to re-read (or rewatch the whole thing) as if it was an addiction. For me, and I imagine for a great many other people, Pride and Prejudice is one of those worlds.
It is also a world that survives manipulation quite well. It’s been made and remade as movies (the actress who played Jane in one BBC adaption had a daughter who went on to play Jane in another) and even re-written as books from every other conceivable angle, as sequels, and even with zombies (which they managed to keep a surprising amount of the original text for and if it serves as a gateway book, good for them). My second favorite movie adoption is the Greer Garson version which also starred Sir Laurence Oliver. I can’t argue it’s all that faithful to the book, the costumes are decades off, and let’s face it Garson was too old play Elizabeth as she was written in the book, but it still manages to be a completely charming movie in its own right and Garson certainly captured Elizabeth’s spirit. It’s worth watching for her performance alone and some of the invented scenes still manage to capture that Pride and Prejudice spirit, for instance I really love the archery scene. However, my favorite by far is the Colin Firth adoption from 1995 which is the most faithful to the books ever made and can truly be said to be almost faultless (if only they had covered her not really playing the piano better and not harped so much on shelves on a closet which was a total misinterpretation of late 18th-early 19th century diction on their part). If you haven’t watched it, do. If you haven’t read the original book, this is an excellent year to do. The only proviso is that it is a little harder reading level than people who love it may realize and my only failure in getting someone to love the book who I later realized wasn’t quite up to that reading level yet. Maybe I should have shown her the miniseries first for inspiration. ♥
The walk Elizabeth and Darcy take at Pemberley is an important point in the story no matter what adoption, but it was most beautifully captured showing the beauty of an expansive formal English garden in the 1995 version. Lyme Hall played the part of Pemberley in exterior shots, Sudbury Hall in Derbyshire doubled in for the interior shots. In honor of the anniversary, the Radio Times has created directions on how you can repeat their walk yourself in the very spots where it was filmed. Find the full color map and directions at the link below.