Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A Handsome Enough Movie To Tempt Me

I've just returned from the new Pride and Prejudice. God, I'm a sucker for those movies. After seeing English period movies, it takes a great deal of effort to not use words like "shall," and "entreat," and "fortnight." Well, no more often than I usually do anyway. Darcy was dreamy. Elizabeth Bennet was... tolerable. Mrs. Bennet wasn't quite as apoplectic as I'm used to. What I'm used to, of course, is the 1995 BBC miniseries. (I will not use this post to extol of beauty of Colin Firth, although the prospect is enticing.)

I realised that this poor story has become "Hamlet." It's that good. It's so well-known and familiar to everyone, as an actor, it must be a real pain in the ass to take on any of its characters. I remember Dr. Shannon Murray from UPEI telling us in Shakespeare seminars that while Hamlet's "To Be Or Not To Be" speech might be some of the most beautiful words strung together, it's certainly difficult to watch an audience mouth the words along with you as you recite.

People know Austen's characters so well, yet there's so much room for interpretation, performing her stories must be seductive and frightening at the same time. In that case, how can one turn that down?

Mmm... Firth...

P.S.: WTF was up with that last scene? That really bugged me. Darcy was one breath away from going, "I wuv you, my shmoopie!"

11 comments:

Rosey said...

I think it's really interesting that you thought Keira Knightly was only okay, but Darcy was dreamy. I have to say that I thought Elizabeth was by far the highlight of this version of P&P and Darcy was only adequate. I thought the Mr. Collins was fantastic as well.

Catherine said...

I was trying to be funny when I said that Knightly was adequate. Nah - she was fine. E.B. is an excellent character and I liked her, I guess. And I agree - the Mr. Collins was great. And the Darcy - yeah, I stand by my dreamy comment. And that reminds me - I have to go add on a line to the original post.

Holly said...

Hey! Don't give the ending away- I haven't seen it!

Isn't this the version where Lizzy dies of leukemia before they finally get together? You know, just for a change.

Lynda said...

Mmmm.... Firth....

I did think the newest Darcy was quite pretty (no Firth, of course), and that Elizabeth was, well, too skinny. And her hair was awful.

I, too, am very attached to the A&E version. Did you know it was the 10th anniversary of its U.S. debut on the weekend?

Methinks I need to watch it again...

Holly said...

In 1919, I think it was, the populace was hit with what was called "The Chaplin Impulse", in which mass hysteria waved across the continent, and people crowded at the railway stations to see if, for some reason, Chaplin was passing through their towns.

This week a similar phenomenon was noted, now dubbed "The Firth Impulse." I have watched _Bridget Jones's_, the 1995 _P&P_ (twice), and I just came back from renting _Girl with the Pearl Earring_...

Something is definitely afoot...

MMMMMMMM. Firth.

Laura said...

I’m going to see it tomorrow evening, but I've already had the ending RUINED for me by CBC's Arts News (still sure you want to work for them Catherine, when they ruin innocent dreams of Mr. Darcy?). Anyway, apparently the 'shmoopie' scene was completely ridiculed by the British test audiences, but the American ones preferred it to the alternate the Brits chose. Maybe I should wait for the import on video?
(Oh yes, and I’m admitting it on the internet- I still haven’t seen the BBC miniseries. But I’ve read the book. That must count for something!)

Holly said...

The mini-series is fairly faithful to the book, including a lot of straight-from-the-pages dialogue. Very handsome, indeed.

I cannot even imagine the feat of physics that it must have taken to make that thing feature length...

Perhaps black hole was used?

Rosey said...

I must say that I also disliked what we seen to be referring to as the schmoopie scene. What was with Lizzie stroking his legs? That was just odd and not romantic at all.

Catherine said...

Hear, hear, everyone. I am heartened to know that the English were not putting up with the Shmoopie Scene.

Jackie was telling me about how anachronistic a lot of the costumes and coiffures were in this new one, too. I didn't really think it took away from it since I wasn't well-versed in those subjects. It's not like they were wearing Madonna pointy bustiers or anything, just French-style stuff, which would have been unpatriotic.

Laura said...

Saw it, loved it, cried. It's Jane Austen, it really doesn't get much better!
I have no idea about the French styles (I thought it looked like Paltrow's 'Emma' but they could have been unpatriotic in that one too), and I agree with Rosey- What WAS with her rubbing his legs? I wonder too, how did the Brits end their version?

Lynda said...

I believe, and don't quote me on this, that the British version ended with the scene with Mr. Bennett (something about sending in any other suitors etc, etc). The Darcy/Elizabeth forehead touch was as schmoopie as it got.

I will also add that it seemed ridiculous for Lady Catherine to show up in the middle of the night to speak with Lizzy, and I thought the scene with white statues was kinda creepy. And the Pemberley scene was wrong, wrong, wrong.

That being said, I loved the way Darcy would "stalk" Elizabeth during the dance scenes, and I loved the dancing scenes in general.

And no Mr. and Mrs. Hurst? What was up with that?