Tag Archives: Classic Literature

Pride and Prejudice 1995 Episode I: The Phantom Menace

21 Jul

072113_2151_PrideandPre1.jpg

Here we go…

This begins my five part series on the Pride and Prejudice mini-series from 1995 starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet. This is generally considered the pen ultimate version of Pride and Prejudice with the Colin Firth being the best version of Mr. Darcy

My first impression is that it did not need to be so long. I am only on the first episode which ends with Elizabeth and Jane leaving Netherfield after Jane has recovered from her cold. So that means we have had introductions and the first two dances and then the extended stay of Jane at Netherfield. It felt a decent pace so far but I can’t imagine how they stretch the entire story over four more hours.

As the general consensus of the people being that Colin Firth is the ultimate Mr. Darcy I am leaning to agree. He does a good job of not showing too much expression during his scenes but also to have that look that he is constantly absorbing and deconstructing everything around him. I don’t quite like Jane in this version as much as I do Keria Knightly in the 2005 film version. I initially didn’t like the actress who plays Elizabeth but she’s growing on me as I was watching, however she doesn’t quite hold up to Keria Knightly. The Bennet sisters did a great job and the actress who plays Mrs. Bennet also did a great job. In this version you get a better sense of how odd and improper the entire family is. Mrs. Bennet immediately starts hating on Mr. Darcy and has a pretty awesome passive aggressive bitch out moment at Netherfield that is awkward for everyone. Lydia and Kitty are even more boy crazy in this version to the point of being obnoxious, especially at the party hosted by the Lucas’s. Mary was really well cast in this version and there is a particularly good interpretation of the piano scene with her in it. Rather than her playing at the Netherfield ball she is playing at the Lucas party and it’s her own sisters who insult her and ask her to play something else. Mrs. Bennet even joins in and it looks like Mary is about to cry before Mr. Lucas has to step in to defuse the situation. It’s a good example of how Mary is proper and boring but also how improper the rest of the family is especially in front of other people.

I really liked Charlotte Lucas in this version as well. She warns Lizzie early on that if Jane wants to get with Bingley she’s got to act even more interested than she actually is or he’s not going to know. Knowing how things end up later on if she had taken Charlotte’s advice it would have meant a lot less heart ache later on.

The portrayal of Mrs. Bennet is very interesting in this version as well. She acts a lot more improper and offensive which is more in line with how the book describes her. She not only makes an ass of herself at the Lucas party but also really lays it in deep on Darcy when she comes by to visit Jane. She knows that He’s slighted Lizzie at this point but goes much further than a little sarcasm and straight insults him. It’s a lot easier to see in this version why Darcy had thought so low of the Bennet family initially the way they are acting now. Mrs. Bennet also straight tells Jane that she wants her to take horse back so she will get sick due to the rain. That was a strange choice of her to actually tell Jane of this rather than it be part of her “master plan”. Another strange choice was that during the scene in which Miss Bingley and Jane are walking around the drawing room while Darcy is reading. Instead of him giving both explanations on why he would rather sit and let them walk around (so they can talk amongst themselves and so he can stare at that ass) he only mentions the staring at that ass portion. For such a long miniseries it seems odd to cut that part, which now just makes Darcy look like a creeper.

A minor thing that I liked was they mentioned at the Lucas’s party why the troops were there. I don’t remember them mentioning that in any other version, and it playing such a big role later on, it was nice to have at least some explanation.

Overall some of the attention to detail you get in a 5 hour miniseries is nice but it feels entirely too slow. We have so far only gotten up to Jane’s stay at Netherfield in an hour and there is just so much more to cover. The book isn’t entirely that long and doesn’t need this Lord of the Rings style over kill version.

Drinking Game Rules

  • Every time Mrs. Bennet talks about her “poor nerves”
  • Every time there is a direct quote from the book that isn’t dialogue
  • Whenever Mr. Bennet makes a sassy remark about how dumb his daughters/wife is and how smart Lizzie is
  • Whenever Lydia/Kitty mention officers, dancing, or attending a ball
  • Whenever Miss. Bingley makes a snide remark about how awful the Bennet’s are
  • Every time Darcy says something nice about Lizzie
  • Take a shot when Lizzie jumps in the mud
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Thug Notes: Pride and Prejudice

10 Jul

Great analysis of Pride and Prejudice, or greatest analysis of Pride and Prejudice?

We give thanks to you oh great gods of the internet for bringing us this gem.

PSA: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies News

5 May

Lily CollinsWhat I think most people (my self included) had thought was stuck in the phantom zone known as development hell the movie adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s master piece Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has risen from the ashes like a mighty phoenix.  Lily Collins has been set to play the part of Elizabeth Bennett.  You may remember Lily Collins from her role as Snow White in 2012’s Mirror Mirror or as Sandra Bullocks’ daughter in the Blind Side.  She is also set to play Clary Fray in the much anticipated film adaption of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.  The movie is set to be directed by Burr Steers who was the Director of 2009’s 17 Again and 2010’s Charlie St. Cloud.  Read more at the link below to the article at Variety, along with lots of puns about zombies and the movie raising from the dead.

Original Article

Happy Birthday Pride and Prejudice!

29 Jan

Pride and Prejudice just turned 200! yay! In honor NPR posted this delightful cartoon which might be the quickest adaptation of Pride and Prejudice that I have been able to check off the list. Link

A Very Pride Hard Christmas Featuring Die Hard (1988)

3 Jan

die hardWhat better way to celebrate the season than to watch the greatest Christmas film of all time?  Some might say that It’s a Wonderful Life, A Miracle on 34th Street, or Elf is the greatest Christmas movie of all time, and those people would be wrong.  Die Hard is the greatest Christmas film of all time.  Case closed.  That being said, I had never actually seen Die Hard all the way through, so this is my thoughts about the film having never seen it before.

Drinking Game

We weren’t going to watch this sober now were we?  Here are the rules I came up with for Die Hard.

Drink

  • Every time they mention Christmas!
  • Whenever we see John’s feet or we are reminded that he is barefoot.
  • Every time a henchmen is killed.
  • Every time that John switches out the clip on his gun or takes out a clip of his gun to check the bullets.
  • A drink for each time a level of security on the safe is broken.
  • Every time that Deputy Robinson shoots down Carl Winslow’s ideas or advice.
  • Every time there is an explosion.
  • Every time that we get a cutaway to Argyle in the Limousine.

Chug

  • Someone says “Yippie Kia-Yay Motherfucker”
  • Hans Gruber Dies

Pour One Out

  • Every time a hostage is killed.
  • Whenever John McClane is shot.

Thoughts and Opinions

Again I have never seen this movie so over all it was a great time, pretty much everything you would want from an action movie with lots of 90’s hair.  I thought the pacing of information on the terrorists plans was done well.  We got little tid bits along the way which was nice and left a lot of misdirection so you never knew for sure what they were up to.  Too often we get all the information in some monologue all at once or it’s some crazy unbelievable twist at the very end.  Die Hard did a good job of keeping the plan complex enough that they had a getaway plan but not so complex that it was off the wall crazy.  Alan Rickman makes a great villain, it’s no wonder he would later go one to play Snape, he’s just too easy to hate.

My favorite part is how the cops and FBI were beyond incompetent.  I get that its better if the lone guy inside doesn’t have the cops on his side but wow.  They didn’t even believe it was a real hostage situation for way too long.  At one point Carl Winslow’s boss is convinced John McClane is the only terrorist and that the body that fell out of the building was a suicide jumper.  This is after Carl Winslow’s car has been decimated by machine gun fire and moments later the cops are fire on from every angle with guns and rocket launchers.  After which Carl Winslow’s boss doesn’t then say “oh shit we are in real trouble” he just keeps on believing that it is a couple guys and will blow over.  The FBI then come in to take over and plan on using attack helicopters to kill the terrorists.  They then say out loud that they will probably lose 20-25% of the hostages which “they can live with”!

Some observations were:

  • John McClane totally is carrying his gun on the air plane; this is definitely a pre-9/11 film.
  • Definitely a pre-cell phone film, once the landlines are cut no one is able to reach the police.
  • McClane recovers from his feet getting cut up pretty quickly.
  • Carl Winslow got off with no consequence for accidentally shooting a 13 year old kid.

Interesting Trivia from IMDB

  • This was Alan Rickman’s feature film debut.
  • The German that the terrorists speak is sometimes grammatically incorrect and meaningless. In the German version of the film, the terrorists are not from Germany but from “Europe”.
  • The scene where McClane falls down a shaft was a mistake by the stuntman, who was supposed to grab the first vent, as it originally was planned. He slipped and continued to fall, but the shot was used anyway; it was edited together with one where McClane grabs the next vent down as he falls.
  • On-screen body count: 22.

Pride and Prejudice (2005)

19 Dec

pride and prejudice 2005 cover Director – Joe Wright
Elizabeth BennetKeira Knightley
Mr. Darcy – Matthew Macfadyen

Introduction

My goal is to be as thorough as possible when watching these adaptations so I watch the movie twice, once just watching and once with the director’s commentary.   I also watched all of the extras on the Bluray Disc version of the movie and cross referenced the DVD to make sure I didn’t miss any.  So I will split this up into three parts, the film itself, the director’s commentary, and the extras.

The Pride and Prejudice (2005) Drinking Game

When we watched the movie we decided to make a drinking game out of it.  In order to remember when to drink we had to cut down some of them but here were our original rules.

Drink for the following:

  • Mrs. Bennet mentions anything about her nerves.
  • You want to punch Lydia in the face.
  • Anything Lady Catherine says anything that causes you to audibly yell “Bitch”.
  • Any time someone curtseys (a drink for each person, so if all five Bennet sisters curtsey that’s five drinks).
  • Mr. Collins mentions Lady Catherine.
  • Any time any character plays a piano.
  • A proposal of marriage occurs.
  • Any time a character is reading a book.
  • Anytime you see a fuck ton of ribbons.
  • You see a loose animal inside the Bennet Home.

Pour one out:

  • When Charlotte Lucas marries Mr. Collins.

Feature film

This is the only version of Pride and Prejudice I will have seen prior to starting all this blog business.  I was working at a movie theater at the time it came out which means I could see any film for free.  So I think I might have seen this movie at least 5 times in the theater when it came out.  So in other words I am pretty familiar with it.  This is the first time I have seen it though since reading the book so I was able to take in any differences and read in between the lines on a few of the scenes.

The film is great.  I think all the actors and actresses did an amazing job and embodied their characters very well.  From the awkwardness of Mary and Mr. Collins to the casting of Knightley and Macfadyen as Elizabeth or Darcy everyone was top notch.  Pride & Prejudice purest prefer Colin Firth as Darcy, from the 1990’s miniseries (which I haven’t seen) so we’ll have to compare when we get there.  In particular Judi Dench was fucking nails as Lady Catherine de Bourg.  When I imagine in my mind of Lady Catherine the image of Judi Dench is automatic, she just owns that part.  The only other actress that I think does as good of a job as playing an evil bitch lady is Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films.  Both women own their parts so much that you get a physically angry when you see them on screen.  I really liked Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennet as well as Talulah Riley as Mary Bennet.

The cinematography is also great in this film.  I think Joe Wright does a wonderful job on some of the outdoor scenes, you really get a sense of scale and contrast when they shoot the outside shots.  So much of the movie takes place indoors its good to see how grand all these places really are.  I also really enjoyed the ball room scenes where it is this chaotic jumble and you get to see several perspectives of characters at the same time.  The movie is a solid two hours long but I feel like it moves at a pretty good pace.  You feel the effect of time as some of the characters deal with feelings but it keeps the momentum of the film moving.

Comparing to the book the film shorten a lot of what happened in order to have it all fit in a two hour film.  In the book when they travel it’s all ways for a few weeks at a time.  You don’t quite get the impression of that in the film.  They never give specifics on the passage of time so for all we know the film takes place over a couple of weeks or years.  I don’t really care that they shortened some of the trips.  Honestly Elizabeth’s stay at Rosings in the book felt like it lasted forever and I think the movie did a great job of distilling its essence in a few scenes.  The only criticism I have of the film deal with the whole Wickham incident.  I don’t think they could have cut out his relationship to Darcy since it is the catalyst that brings Elizabeth and Darcy together, however I don’t feel they did a good job of explaining his and Darcy’s relationship.  They just say in the movie he was engaged to Darcy’s sister and broke it off leaving her heart broken when in the book he had boarder line kidnaped her and was on the verge of eloping.  It all just comes across as muddled and you don’t get the full effect of Darcy and Wickham’s hate.  To me this lessened the impact of the rain scene where Darcy proposes and Elizabeth rejects him.  The Wickham situation was her biggest basis of hating him.  It’s still a great scene and they do a great job of acting during it but if you have only seen the film I could see it being confusing of why she’s so mad at him.  There were some other changes here and there in the film but over I think they were generally made for time and that it didn’t really affect the core of the story.

Favorite Scenes:

  • One not in the book scene I loved was the hangover scene after the ball at Netherfield.  You know that people must have been getting shitfaced even in 18th century so it’s great to see even proper ladies feeling the morning after effect.
  • I really like the outdoor scene when Elizabeth is walking to Netherfield.  The lighting is just gorgeous and looks amazing on bluray.
  • I really like the super long fork things the servants use to place food on the table.
  • The ending scene with the whole “Mrs. Darcy” part is great.
  • All most every scene with Mary
  • Every scene with Mr. Collins
  • The scene with Mr. Bennet as Elizabeth is convincing him to let her marry Mr. Darcy.

IMDB Trivia (All this information comes from the trivia section of IMDB)

I love the trivia parts of IMDB.  If you have never looked at this stuff before I suggest it.

  • At the beginning of the movie, Elizabeth is shown reading a novel titled “First Impressions” – this was Jane Austen’s original title of her novel before she altered it to “Pride and Prejudice”. Additionally the text of the visible pages is readable when paused; it is the last chapter of Pride and Prejudice, with names changed.
  • Georgiana Darcy did her own piano playing in the film.
  • Rosamund Pike was Joe Wright’s first choice for the role of Jane. She turned down the role of Rita Skeeter in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for this film.
  • Keira Knightley was preparing for her role in Domino while she was filming this, and had already cut her hair. She had to wear a wig during the last few weeks of filming and long sleeves to hide her muscles.
  • The actresses who make up the Bennett family (Keira Knightley, Rosamund Pike, Jena Malone, Talulah Riley, and Carey Mulligan went to the Bennett house location, in Kent, before the crew, and played Sardines (similar to Hide and Seek in America) in order to get better acquainted with the house and each other before filming began. (That game again!!! Its in everything!)

Directors Commentary

The director’s commentary was so-so.  Since it’s only the director the commentary is mostly about how this was short or how conditions were filming on this day.  If you are super into Pride and Prejudice then you might enjoy it but otherwise I wouldn’t really bother.

Fun Facts learned during the commentary:

  • The blackbird is representative of Elizabeth and when we hear one on screen it’s only during scenes involving Elizabeth.
  • My favorite shot of Elizabeth walking to Netherfield was CGI.
  • During the ball scene we learn that there is no toilet for ladies at a ball.  If a lady had to go to the bathroom they would just go home for the night.  Guys on the other hand would sneak out to take a leak in the woods.  Which knowing that would making getting drunk at the ball difficult knowing you had to hold it in afterward the rest of the night.
  • The director had Mary play her part as being in love with Mr. Collins.  This was a cool perspective of Mary who would actually probably have gotten along really well with Mr. Collins.  You only see it in her expressions but it’s a nice little add in there.
  • This was first film for both Carey Mulligan (Kitty) and Talulah Riley (Mary).

These seem like cool tidbits but trust me, just read the trivia section of IMDB, it’s not worth watching the whole directors commentary.

Extras

I’m watching the Bluray/DVD combo version of the film so I assume the separate Bluray and DVD versions of the film are these same versions.

Conversations With The Cast

  • Same as at the ball behind the scenes on DVD version, it just has a bunch of interviews of the cast and some behind the scenes

Jane Austen, Ahead of Her Time

  • Talks about Bridget jones and bride and prejudice
  • Discussed how Jane Austen only wrote about her own observation of society and class.  This again helps to explain how the lower classes are non-existent.
  • You can visit Jane Austen’s home in England.
  • The prince regent requested she dedicated Emma to him.  I thought this part was really interesting, I mean how arrogant does a person have to be to demand someone dedicate a book after them.

A Bennett Family Portrait

  • Mostly cut from scenes on the other behind the scenes featurettes, no new information.

Pride & Prejudice: HBO First Look

  • Mostly cut from the behind the scenes interviews that we see in other featurettes.
  • They mentioned how the cast visited the set/home of the Bennet family which was an existing house in England.  They came before the camera crews set up so they got to see it in its natural state.  While there they played a game called “sardines”, I’ve never heard of it but it’s mentioned in like 4 separate featurettes and in the directors commentary as well. It must be a British thing.

The Politics of 18th Century Dating

  • Kind of lame, just talks about how dancing was important to dating.

The Stately Homes of Pride and Prejudice

  • You get to look at all the houses from the movie, yay!

Neglect

13 Dec

I’ve been seriously neglecting my obligations to review Pride Material. Like Mr. Darcy vowing his love to Elizabeth I vow to my faithful subjects that I will have a new post next week discussing the 2005 Pride and Prejudice Film

XOXO

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