Masterpiece Theatre's production of Pride and Prejudice

[Sigh] I'm back in D.C. after a great week of relaxing at home. It wasn't as hard to wake up this morning as I thought it would be. I guess I am well rested. I realize that I haven't given my review of the latest installment of the Masterpiece Theatre's Complete Jane Austen series. I was awaiting the conclusion of the 3-part Pride and Prejudice presentation. As an added bonus, during the past week I saw both the 2005 Keira Knightley version and the 1940 version with Lawrence Olivier.

I truly love Pride and Prejudice. It is a humorous, vexing, romantic, endearing and enduring study of human relationships and life. By far, the 1995 BBC production is the best that I've seen. The costumes, settings, and performances are wonderful. It is more complete, more accurate and fuller than the other versions. Of course, that depth comes at a price. The BBC version is 6 hours long. But given that Pride and Prejudice is arguably Jane Austen's most beloved work, it seems warranted. After the BBC version, the 2005 version comes in at a far second. It is entertaining and lively but more modernized (i.e., less reserved) than in the book and what would have been common during that time period. The emphasis on propriety back then was, at times, absurd but the 2005 movie barely reflected on it. The 1940 version was very much over the top--a "gentle satire." As with the 2005 version, there was an amusing merging or disregard for certain characters and subplots. But there was decorum in this version--though perhaps, too much. All are must sees. But it is definitely worth spending an entire afternoon stuck inside to see the BBC version.

As noted in Miss Austen Regrets, "my darling girl, this is the real world -- the only way to get a man like Mr. Darcy is to make him up." Perhaps, I can make up my own Mr. Darcy in the novel I am writing. In real life, I'll settle for a Mr. Johnson, a Mr. Butler, or just a Mr. Smith (a reference to Persuasion).

After a three-week hiatus, the series will return March 23 with the 1996 BBC production of Emma staring Kate Beckinsale.

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