Tag Archives: Colin Firth

Rate The Darcys

In 1813, Jane Austen introduced readers to Fitzwilliam Darcy, her most famous leading a man. In the beginning of Pride and Prejudice, he introduced as a proud, vain man who refuses to dance with the novel’s heroine, Elizabeth Bennet. She was, as he told his friend, Charles Bingley “not handsome enough to tempt me”. He would soon admit that she had fine eyes. While the reader was being slowly cued into the fact that Darcy was falling in love with Elizabeth, she is unaware of his feelings.  Elizabeth, like the reader also does not fall in love with Darcy, until she learns about the true character of the man.

There  have been multiple adaptations of Pride And Prejudice over the years. With that, there have been multiple actors who have stepped into the shoes of Mr. Darcy.

Honorable Mentions

Pride and Prejudice (1940)- Laurence Olivier

For it’s era, this movie is fine.  Laurence Olivier is one of the finest actors this world has ever seen.  But there are too many changes from page to screen for this movie to be on the top 5.

Pride and Prejudice 2003-Orlando Seale

This movie and this modern portrayal of Darcy is admirable. But it only touches the surface of Pride and Prejudice.

Bride and Prejudice-2004-Martin Henderson

This colorful colorful Bollywood adaptation transfers the story from Georgian era England to modern day India. A good adaptation, which continues on the themes of class, sex and money.

5. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (2012)-Daniel Vincent Gordh

A modern youtube adaptation, the audience is only told about Darcy until about half way through, until we finally meet him.  An enjoyable modern adaptation that is sure to bring in more Janeites for years to come.

4. Lost in Austen (2008)-Elliot Cowan

A what if story revolving around Amanda Price, who find herself trading places with Elizabeth Bennet. While Elizabeth enjoys modern life, Amanda becomes a character in Pride and Prejudice and must undo the changes that her presence creates. A funny, wink, wink, nudge nudge mini series that is unique among the Austen off shoots.

3. Death Comes Pemberley– 2013- Matthew Rhys

Based on the PD James novel, we meet Elizabeth and Darcy 6 years after the original novel ends. When a man is murdered on Darcy land, Darcy must step up to defend his family and his good name.

2. Pride and Prejudice 2005-Matthew Macfadyen

Darcy is presented in this adaptation as a man who knows his status in society, but also as a man who prefers a close circle of family and friends to a large room of strangers. He knows that he must marry well, but is not a fan of matchmaking mamas and their marriage hungry daughters.

1. Prejudice and Prejudice 1995/ Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)– Colin Firth

This was a given. Colin Firth will always been the favorite Mr. Darcy.

Who is your favorite Darcy

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Bridget Jones Diary: Book And Movie Review

Helen Fielding’s heroine in Bridget Jones’s Diary, Bridget Jones is an every woman. Bridget is on the wrong side of 30, single, smokes and drinks too much, flirts with her boss and is far from modelesque.

Published in 1996 and made into a movie in 2001, Bridget makes the rest of us feel better about our lives.

I’ve seen the movie several times over the past 13 years. I just finished the book.

I enjoyed the book, but as often happens when books are made into movies, changes are made to either characters or plot.  Pulling from Jane Austen’s classic novel, Pride and Prejudice, Fielding has written a very funny and realistic picture of what it is to be a modern single female adult.

The movie is extremely funny. Surprisingly, Renee Zellweger, an American actress,  fits in brilliantly with the English cast.  Whomever the casting director was for this movie, they must have had the Janeite community in mind. Colin Firth (Fitzwilliam Darcy, Pride and Prejudice 1995), Hugh Grant (Edward Ferrars, Sense and Sensibility 1995), Gemma Jones (Mrs. Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility 1995), and Embeth Davidtz (Mary Crawford, Mansfield Park 1999) were all perfectly cast.

While I recommend the book, the movie is that much better.

P.S.  I’m adding the fight scene, well,  just because Darcy never had the chance to properly clock Wickham in the face in Pride and Prejudice doesn’t mean he can’t do it in Bridget Jones Diary.

 

 

 

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The Lake Scene

*-Contains spoilers about Pride and Prejudice. Do not read if you have not finished either the book or the miniseries.

Even if your not a fan of Jane Austen Or Pride and Prejudice, you know the lake scene. The one where Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, strips down to his underthings and dives into the water.

While it is not in the book, screenwriter Andrew Davies chose to include in the screen play of the 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries.

Colin Firth, both in and out of character is easy on the eyes, making the scene that much more fun to watch.

But what I love about this scene is that Austen does a complete 180 with her leading  couple. Both are equally shell shocked by the turn of events. Fitzwilliam Darcy expected Elizabeth Bennet to immediately and without hesitation accept his marriage proposal. What he didn’t expect was her out and out rejection. Elizabeth, upon receiving the letter following the failed marriage proposal, begins to re-evaluate her opinion of him.

Their fateful meeting at Pemberley sets the stage for their real courtship. He does not expect visitors, and she does not expect him or Georgiana to be home.  There is a sense of beginning of an emotional intimacy, of being open to the other person and the possibilities that life with that other person will be like.

Sometimes we take what we think is a wrong path, but in the end, it leads us right where we are meant to be.

 

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Throwback Thursday Movie Part 2- The Kings Speech

King George VI (father of Queen Elizabeth) was not born to be king. He was the second son. His older brother Edward (who would abdicate the thrown to marry Wallis Simpson) was heir to the throne. Known to his family as Bertie, he stammered when he spoke. No one expected him to become King Of England.

The 2010 Oscar winning movie, The Kings Speech chronicled Bertie’s transformation from a man who spoke with a stammer and suffered from crippling self esteem to a King who would become the leader that Great Britain would need when World War II broke out.

Bertie (Colin Firth) is Duke Of York and third in line to the throne after his father and older brother. His wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) seeks out a speech therapist who might help her husband. She finds Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), an Australian with an unorthodox treatment method. Bertie has seen several speech therapists, all whom have failed to cure him. He sees Lionel only to please his wife and is reluctant to accept his methods.

As events at home and in Europe enfold, Lionel and Bertie begin to move from the standard doctor/patient relationship to becoming friends. Lionel begins to see the man under the title and sees the potential. But can Bertie see that and rise to the challenge when fate (and his brother’s abdication) declare that he will be king?

This movie deserved every nomination and every award that it received. There is a universality to the movie. We all have flaws and scars. But when push comes to shove, can we rise above those flaws and scars or will they forever keep us down?

The treat of this movie, for my fellow Janeites is a mini 1995 Pride and Prejudice reunion. I’m not ashamed to say that one of the reasons I love this movie is that Tom Hooper had the good sense (knowing that he cast Colin Firth in the lead role) to cast Jennifer Ehle as Myrtle, Lionel’s wife (they have a brief scene together) and and David Bamber as the director of a theater that Lionel is auditioning for.

I love this movie.

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Pride and Prejudice 1995 Vs Pride and Prejudice 2005

I think it is pretty safe to say that Pride and Prejudice is Jane Austen’s most famous novel. Most people, regardless of whether they have read the novel or not, have at least heard of it.

Part of it’s success is due to the adaptations that Hollywood has provided us. The most famous adaptations are the 1995 miniseries and the 2005 movie.

Like my previous post about Mansfield Park , I will try to honestly debate both adaptations.

1995 Pride and Prejudice

Cast: Elizabeth Bennet (Jennifer Ehle), Fitzwilliam Darcy (Colin Firth), Mr. Bennet (Benjamin Whitrow), Mrs. Bennet (Alison Steadman), Lady Catherine De Bourgh (Barbara Leigh-Hunt)

Pros: Colin Firth in clingy pants (that ingenious line is from Lost In Austen, which I highly recommend). Sorry, I had to get that out.  Aside from that, Firth and Ehle have solid chemistry. It’s just there, you know that something is going to happen between their characters regardless of how much of the novel the viewer has read. There is so much detail in this adaptation, it is as if Miss Austen was on set during filming.  Every actor is perfectly cast.

Cons: The only con that I can think of is that some of the actors were a bit older than their characters, especially the parental figures in the novel.  But it’s not really a con because they were so effective as their characters that you forget there may be a 10 or 15 year age difference between the actor and the character.

2005 Pride and Prejudice 

Cast: Elizabeth Bennet (Keira Knightley), Fitzwilliam Darcy (Matthew MacFadyen), Mr. Bennet (Donald Sutherland), Mrs. Bennet (Brenda Blethyn), Lady Catherine De Bourgh (Judi Dench)

Pros: This is a well put together movie. Director Joe Wright and screen writer Deborah Moggach created a very marketable movie that appeals to all, not just the Janeite fandom community. As Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam, Knightley and MacFadyen are both age appropriate and effective in their roles. This was my first real introduction, not just to Pride and Prejudice, but to Miss Austen as well. It works as a gateway to the other novels and overall Janeite fandom.

Cons: It is a 2 hour movie. The difference in making a 2 hour movie versus a 6 hour miniseries is that sometimes story lines have to be condensed and characters have to be cut out.

In conclusion, the winner is…. The 1995 miniseries

 

 

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My Favorite Jane Austen Adaptations

Adapting a book into a performable format is complicated. It has to be true to the original novel and please the fans while appealing to the entire audience, not just the hard core fan base.

I am a Janeite. As one might be able to guess my personal library and DVD collection contains a fair amount of Jane Austen related materials.

I would to share my top three favorite Jane Austen adaptations and why these three films should be viewed as templates for any writer or filmmaker looking to adapt a book.

My criteria is the following:

1. The actors have to look the part. The chemistry has to be there. Otherwise it all falls apart. (Yes, I am looking at you, 1996 Jane Eyre. William Hurt was too old for the part of Edward Rochester and had zero chemistry with Charlotte Gainsbourg).

2. The set has to look right. Every reader has their own idea of what the setting looks like, but it has to like right.

3.  It MUST follow the book as much as possible.

That being said, here my favorite Jane Austen Adaptations

3. 1995 Sense and Sensibility

Directed by Ang Lee and written by Emma Thompson  (who also played the lead role of Elinor Dashwood), this adaptation is beautiful.

Joining Emma Thompson is Kate Winslet as Marianne Dashwood, Hugh Grant as Edward Ferrars and Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon.

Putting aside the fact that Emma Thompson was a generation older than her character and played Elinor as if she was in her late 20’s, I have no complaints about this adaptation. I’ve read that some people didn’t think that Hugh Grant was the right actor to play Edward, but Edward Ferrars is a bit of a controversial character within Jane Austen fiction. I personally think that Dan Stevens was a better Edward, but to each their own.

2. 1995 Persuasion 

Persuasion is the last of Austen’s completed novels. It has an Autumnal feeling, sad and sweet. As if she knew deep down that this would be her last completed work.

Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds play the two leads, Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth. The chemistry between them is palpable.  They are both age appropriate and look like they have experienced a bit of life.

It’s lush, it’s beautiful and as with the novel, when you think that second chances don’t happen, they do happen. So does the happiness that you thought was lost forever.

1. 1995 Pride And Prejudice

You knew this was obvious. This is the one where Colin Firth in clingy pants strips down to his knickers and white shirt and dives into the lake.

Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle have some of the best on screen chemistry that I have ever seen. While I am sure they both would like the audience to look at their entire body of work and  not just this particular performance, there is no denying that whatever it is that make actors look good together on screen, they have it.

The supporting cast works. The filmmakers crossed their t’s and dotted their eyes with this production.  I still get shivers when I hear the theme song.

I recommend any of these films for any viewer or Janeite, whether they be a newbie or old fan.

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Filed under Emma, Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice

Death Comes to Pemberley- A Good Sequel

There are a lot fanfiction writers out there. Very few are lucky enough to not only see their work in print, but also see it on screen.

PD James’s sequel to Pride and Prejudice, Death Comes to Pemberley aired the UK over the past few days.  I was lucky enough to see it before my American IP address prevented me from seeing it. 

The 1995 Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle minieries is not only the best filmed adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, but the best of the filmed adaptations of any Austen novel.   Any adaptations will always bring comparisons, but this adaptations stands on its own.

Ms. James’s novel starts 6 years after the original novel ends. Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy are happily married with a young son.  On the eve of the annual Lady Anne Ball, Lydia arrives in hysterics that Captain Denny has been murdered and her husband is in the woods surrounding Pemberley.  During investigation and trial, Georgiana must  choose between duty and marry her cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam or choose her heart and marry Mr. Alveston.

I enjoyed it. Ms. James keeps the language and humor of the original novel, utilizing many of the leading characters while keeping the reader engaged in the mystery.

Taking the reins from Colin Firth, Matthew Rhys is a more mature Darcy who is deeply in love with his wife and aware of the responsibility of his station. Anna Maxwell Martin as Elizabeth is a lively and outgoing as she is in the original novel, but with the experience of marriage, motherhood, as well as sharing the responsibility of running the estate.  Lydia (Jenna Coleman) and Wickham (Matthew Goode), as Mr. and Mrs. Bennet (James Fleet and Rebecca Front) are as they are in original novel.

I enjoyed both the book and the miniseries and I look forward to seeing it when it airs on PBS next month.

 

 

 

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Writers Circle In Heaven

I’m not much of a poet, but in honor of Jane Austen’s birthday, I decided to write a poem in her honor.

She sits in the writers circle in heaven

Where all of the greats sit

The ones whose mortal bones are no longer of this earth, but their words are immortal

Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dickens, The Brontes, Radcliffe, Shelley and Byron

They toast her on her birthday in heaven

As we do on earth

As we read and re-read her books again and again

As we watch movies about her life and based on her books

As we debate who played Darcy better, Colin Firth or Matthew MacFadeyn

As we toast her on, this day, the 238th anniversary of her birth

Happy Birthday Jane, our lives would not be the same without you

 

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