Oscar Ruined My P&P MarathonPosted: 26 February 2008
Stupid Oscars. I was never intending to watch it, but just like every year, I get suckered in and I watch it to the unsurprising end. As a result, I missed an opportunity to watch the last four hours of Pride and Prejudice (1995): the first two (via PVR) and the last two “live” on my PBS station. That was tossed out the window, and now it became a bits-and-pieces viewing that involved PVRing the final part as well, and which had to be finished Monday night.
Never mind, it’s finished. Having gone through it from beginning to end for the first time, it’s clear to me that P&P95 set the bar, and set it high, for any subsequent Austen adaptation. The fact it went almost six hours gave the producers the opportunity to explore certain things in depth and detail. Example from part 3: Darcy scouring the depths of London in search of Wickham and Lydia. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think Austen spent a lot of pages describing Darcy’s quest.
I was particularly struck with the delivery of lines in this adaptation. It seemed to me that every syllable was thought through before it was spoken out loud. Combined with the oh-so-Austen style of dialogue that is very striking in P&P, it seemed to enhance the viewing experience. This is likely the adaptation I would re-watch (if I ever get around to seeing it again in my own time!). 9/10
Going back through my computer files, I opened a short essay I had to write for a class in early modern Britain, in which we had to determine how well Austen described 18th-century English society in P&P. Reading what I’ve typed almost ten years ago, which is surreal in itself, I was surprised at how well I thought I picked up the societal implications of marrying outside of one’s social class, as well as the effect of primogeniture on the Bennet girls’ chances at financial independence on marriage, if they ever did so. I don’t remember the grade I received for this paper, but it looks like I might have done OK.
So, five down, two to go. After a so-so start to Austen City Limits, I think it’s improving. The next scheduled adaptation is not until March 23, with Kate Beckinsale as Emma. I might fill in the void with postings on my viewings of other films in the Austen canon. Jane Austen Book Club should be one of them, Clueless could be another.
(Note to self: try to find the code to insert extra white space between paragraphs.)