Pride and Prejudice (1995) Episode 1

Pride and Prejudice

Screen  Adaptation – 1995

Episode 1

 

Directed by Simon Langton.

 

As with all films, especially film adaptations of books, there is always some prejudice. Sometimes it’s due to the advertising, or sometimes it’s because we’ve read the source material and we know what to expect. We form an opinion before we see it, and unless our unrealistic demands are met, we are disappointed.

 

I am not surprised therefore, to say that I am disappointed with this  adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

This is the first episode in the series; there are six in total.

The plot of the first episode is this; the Bennets meet with Mr. Bingley and his entourage at the assembly which is followed by an invitation for Jane to come to Netherfield. She becomes ill and stays at Netherfield; Elizabeth visits her to keep her company.

Mrs. Bennett is an inappropriate character and is an embarrassment to anyone who has any sense when they are in her company. In this adaptation , she was portrayed in such a way that it was painful to watch. After looking back at the film, however, I think this is probably the way she would have acted if she was a real human being. This doesn’t change the fact that I still find her portrayal annoying.

As this is quite a long adaptation (the first episode was 50 minutes) I expected it to be thorough. Yes. It is. Extremely so. There are some parts that have been added which I think were aimed to alleviate the slow pace of the film, but in general the episode seems extremely long. The music is monotonous during the dance scenes, and the dance scenes themselves have too much camera time. They drag out the entire episode. There are times when there is no on-screen dialogue, but panning camera shots of the happy dancing people which is rather pointless.

Colin Firth’s performance is praised. I agree with the praise. He makes a wonderful Mr. Darcy. The rest of the cast for the roles seem a bit out of place to me for now. There is also no climax, no build up of tension. Everything just happens. There are no feelings this film stirs, maybe it’s too early in the plot for this. I feel blank as I watch this and I just want the pace to be faster so it’s over quickly.

Perhaps I have expected more than what I’ve seen. I am more used to the other adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. I will watch the second episode and see how much my opinion changes then.

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