Movie Review: Pride and Prejudice (1980)

I love Netflix.

Netflix has this amazing instant watch feature, and with our plan, we get unlimited instant watch hours.

So, since some of them are on instant watch, I’m working my way through all of the film adaptations of Jane Austen’s works.

I just finished watching the 1980 version of Pride and Prejudice. After my experience with the 1940 version, I was a little hesitant to try a new version. My fears of seeing Lady Catherine de Bourgh as a giggling prankster, hatching plans with Darcy, unfortunately were the cause of that fear. Fortunately, there was none of that nonsense in this version.

As for Elizabeth Garvie, it seems that she was born to play Elizabeth Bennet. I can’t decide who I like better as Lizzie, her or Jennifer Ehle. Both actresses are wonderful for different reasons.

Playing Darcy in this version is David Rintoul, who is good, and maybe even great. Still, for my part, I prefer Colin Firth. And not just because he is gorgeous. Firth is a remarkable actor. He is more convincing to me as Darcy. He plays the part of the proud Darcy just as easily as he plays Darcy in love. Rintoul seemed a little out of his element in both. His performance was colder, more distant, and even a little awkward. Despite that, he is still a much better Darcy than some of the others.

I’ll admit that I think I may have preferred Sabina Franklyn (1980) over Susannah Harker (1995) as Jane. Franklyn was the kind of Jane that made sense. She was sweet, yet still energetic. Harker’s Jane was sweet, but something about her performance makes it seem as though Jane is constantly depressed.

As for Bingley, well, no one compares to Crispin Bonham-Carter of the 1995 version. He was a perfect Bingley. He was portrayed as intelligent (unlike some versions of P&P), and a little naive. Osmund Bullock (1980), however, was hardly noticeable. I can barely remember his performance, and I just finished watching the film last night. Instead, I keep seeing Bonham-Carter as the jovial Bingley, accepting everyone, no matter their station.

Among the rest of the cast, there were those I loved and those I didn’t.

Once I have seen all of the versions, adaptations, etc., I hope to do a complete side-by-side comparison of each character.

That means I’ll be watching Bride and Prejudice soon. (Which so far, only has merit in my mind because of the involvement of Alexis Bledel.) Wish me luck.

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