14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Actually it's the BBC at its best.., Dec 15 2004
Pride and Prejudice is my favourite book of all time by my favourite author, and I first saw this adaptation of Jane Austen's masterpiece when I was still at school.
It was originally shown as an episodic serial over several weeks on BBC2.
I first bought it as a complete work on VHS in ooh must have been the late 1980's, when it first became available, and I have watched it many times.
I also own and have watched the Andrew Davies adaptation from 1995 and the MGM movie made in 1940.
All these productions have their merits and in their way are beautifully done, but without any question this is the version most faithful to the book, in both content and style.
Elizabeth Garvie should have become a huge star as a result of this performance, but she has since chosen to work almost exclusively in the theatre, and David Rintoul is her perfect foil. His Darcy almost anal retentive in his stiff upper lippedness.
And how prophetic, now that he has sold Diana's private video's to the American media, that Peter Settelen should have made such a wonderfully slimy and sycophantic Wickham.
If ever a Wickham deserved a Lydia....his did.
I'm sure there will be those who find the tempo of the piece somewhat pedestrian, but that was the nature of the beast in 19th century England.
The 1995 version, [oh and for the record may I clear up a misconception that some people seem to be under. The 1995 version starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, was and is a BBC production. It may have been released under license in the USA by A&E, but it is NOT and never was an A&E production.]
The 1995 version was much faster paced, and the smouldering relationship between Lizzy and Darcy intensely exciting for the viewer to watch, however, many of the nuances of the piece are far too modern to represent a truly faithful adaptation.
For example, if Elizabeth and Darcy's relationship had indeed been as toe curlingly sexy as portrayed, Elizabeth's shock and dismay at Darcy's proposal would have been ingenuous to say the least.
I also take issue with the portrayal of: Mrs Bennett, who though undoubtedly ditsy was never a common vulgar fishwife, and a far too old and far too buxom Lydia.
And whilst much more accurate than the 1940 movie version, this production was not also entirely faithful to the original text Add to this the excruciating performances of Alison Steadman and Julia Sawalha, both fine actresses, who on this occasion were just horribly miscast, and the 1980 version is a clear favourite for those of us who don't like their Austen tinkered with too much.