The reputation of an on-screen adaptation of a beloved novel is based on the response from the fanbase. It can also be a generational thing. While the original audience may adore that version, future generations may have another opinion.
The first time Pride and Prejudice hit the big screen was in 1940. With a screenplay co-written by Aldous Huxley (Brave New World), Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier played the roles of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. As in the book, misunderstandings turn into appreciation, which then turns into love.
Anyone who follows this blog (or knows me), knows that I have nothing but adoration and admiration for Jane Austen. Her most famous novel, Pride and Prejudice, is literary perfection. That being said, I cannot stomach this movie. The problem is twofold. The first is that I am missing Austen’s famous sardonic wit and sarcastic observations that elevate her stories beyond the standard romantic comedy or drama. The second is that the costumes are closer to the Victorian era than the Regency era.
I get that it was made during World War II and movie-goers at the time needed a pick me up. But I wish that the creative team had not taken as many liberties as they did.
Do I recommend it? Not really.
4 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: Pride and Prejudice (1940)”
That was a stinker adaptation, I agree. The best adaption (and the closest to the actual meaning of the book) was the PBS series starring Colin Firth as Darcy.