Greer Garson, Laurence Olivier, Mary Boland. Dir: Robert Z. Leonard

Jane Austen is my favorite author. I’ve read all of her books multiple times. I’ve seen many of the movie adaptations of the various novels and I have to say that this one is almost loosely based on the original story, it certainly is not faithful to the book, which is not surprising on most adaptations, but with Austen one cannot mess around.

This is very important: Watch this movie.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a devoted Austenite, a member of the Republic of Pemberley like me, it’s still a good movie. You will have to do some forgiving, and maybe even some forgetting if you’ve seen the 1995 version, because this isn’t that. What it is is a great deal of fun. Greer Garson is wonderful and Laurence Olivier is wonderful. In fact all of the acting is wonderful. The script is light and funny and the costumes are gorgeous, even if they are completely wrong. There are characters missing, new ones added, situations completely invented for the movie, BUT- it all works.

A true Austenite would certainly insert her opinion of the other adaptations, and so that’s what I will do now. Of all that I have seen, the 1995 version- all 6 hours of it- is the most faithful, best cast (Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle), and best overall done. It is both funny and dramatic, like the book, and shows all of the relationships just as they were originally written. Here is where I differ from many people: I hated the Keira Knightley one. There was no humor. How do you adapt Jane Austen without humor?? She was hilarious.

Again- watch this movie, but forget you’ve read the book (if you have) and forget you’ve seen any other adaptations (if you have). Here is a comparison to get you through: Canned biscuits and homemade biscuits. They are completely different in taste and texture, not even close to being the same thing, yet the can is supposed to be an adaptation of the homemade. I recognize the disparity and love each of them in their own way. Hope that helps.

And, if you have never read Pride and Prejudice or seen any other adaptation, maybe it will pique your interest and encourage you to pick up a copy of the book.


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