11 August 2009

Austentatious - 2 - Pride and Prejudice

OK, so I've been doing patchwork, as can be seen from the past couple of posts. I do the blocks in a combination of hand- and machine-piecing, and when hand-piecing, I like to either have the telly running with something, or listen to an audio-book. Nice "me"-time

And this is my second "response" to Stephanies Jane Austen-challenge. Actually, it is item 5 in my original post : Acquiring and watching the old (1980) BBC adaptation of P&P.
It's the one where Fay Weldon wrote the script.
And I have acquired, and have been sewing, and watching ...
And what do I think.

Well, it does not age well. Elizabeth Garvie is as delightful an Elizabeth Bennet as anyone could wish for (and she does remind me of my good freind Linda), and David Rintoul is as wonderfully horribly proud and disapproving, and lovesick a Darcy as anyone could wish for, but ...
It is theatrical. Done in a style completely different from the way the more recent adaptations (the 1995 series and the 2005 movie), and thus comes across as slightly stilted at times. People waiting for other people to speak, actors wanting to stand in the right place, before commencing to speak. That sort of thing. And - as seems quite usual - the sisters are generally too old.

So, is it a waste of money to get it ? No. Not if you are an avid Austen-fan. It has its moments :-)
AND, it has the most true-to-Austen dialogue of the lot. When not being direct quotes from the book itself, it draws heavily on Austens letters and her juvenalia. Fay Weldon must have sat herself down and read everything, before writing the script.
And - of course - she wrote the wonderful little "Letters to Alice on first reading Jane Austen" at the same time, which has now moved to my bed-table, to be perused at leisure. Fay Weldon is a wicked, and very clear-headed reader.

What I don't like about this version ?
What I dislike about most versions : The sisters are too, too old ! The only version that got them right, agewise, is the 2005 movie ... and that - incidentally - is also the only one, which doesn't try to make Mary ugly, just clueless.
Wickham. He is just not a believeable bad guy. Same problem as with the Henry Crawfords and the Willoughby's of the various versions. Hard to find someone young, charming, sexy and bad-news'y enough for me.
Mrs Bennet. I cannot for the life of me fathom what Mr Bennet ever saw in her. That is easier to understand in the other versions.

And this fulfills the second item on my Austen-challenge list :-)

1 comment:

hmsgofita said...

I just got this version from the library and am very excited to watch it. I know it won't compare with the most modern versions that I love, but it'll still be fun! Thanks!