Friday, December 13, 2013

Pride and Prejudice (1940)

I need to catch up on my reviews!  I’m participating in the Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary challenge hosted by Laurel Ann at Austenprose.  I still have a couple more books I want to finish this month for the challenge – so we’ll see how it goes.

As part of the challenge, I rewatched Pride and Prejudice 1940.  I must admit that although this was the first film version of Pride and Prejudice and also stars one of my favorite actors, Laurence Olivier, as Mr. Darcy, this version has always fallen flat for me.
The pros:

  • Laurence Oliver is a wonderfully handsome Mr. Darcy with a great haughty attitude
  • Edmund Gwenn and Mary Boland make a wonderful Mr. and Mrs. Bennet respectively.
  • I do like the change at the end that hints of a happy ending for Mary Bennet.

The cons:

  • Although Laurence Oliver is wonderful, he doesn’t capture Mr. Darcy as perfectly as Colin Firth.  Olivier is actually too likeable too early!
  • Greer Garson is way too old to be Elizabeth Bennet.
  • A feature length movie is just too short and it misses many of the major storylines.
  • The carriage race at the beginning between the Bennets and Lucas's over who will get to meet the new single men in town is ridiculous and makes me cringe every time.
  •  The costumes are all wrong - totally not the right time period at all.  I felt like I was watching Gone with the Wind rather than Pride & Prejudice.
  • Lady Catherine de Bourgh is totally changed.  She actually has her confrontation with Elizabeth to make sure she is good enough for Mr. Darcy and totally approves of the marriage.
  • The overall tone of the movie is to make it into a madcap farce of desperate women husband hunting.  It is not the real Pride and Prejudice.

Overall, I like to watch this version of Pride and Prejudice as I like old movies; I just wish it wasn’t called Pride and Prejudice as it strays far from the source material. 


  1. Totally agree Laura. Madcap husband hunting is not what this novel was about. I watch this movie about once a year just for laughs.

  2. I love this movie--it is so cringe-worthy in places, so romantic (I love the ridiculous bow and arrow scene--makes heart beat faster), and Lydia and Kitty swinging with their officers. I have no idea why felt the need to change Lady Catherine's character--what gall!

    It was the first P&P movie I saw too, and I always loved Laurence Olivier. It's so unfaithful to the book but such a fun movie in its own right.