Happy 210th birthday to Pride and Prejudice
To celebrate this anniversary, I have decided to review a Pride and Prejudice themed book, film, or item at least once a month throughout the year.
One thing I decided to do was finally review Pride and Prejudice (1995) I was originally going to wait for its 30th anniversary but decided, why wait?
But before I can review the episodes, I decided to first read and review The Making of Pride and Prejudice (1995), a book that was included with my special DVD box set.
The Making of Pride and Prejudice by Sue Britwistle & Susie Conklin
What I found extremely interesting was that the spark to creating one of the best adaptions of Jane Austen all came about due to Northanger Abbey. Isn’t that cute? Sue Bristwhistle (producer) and Andrew Davies (writer) were watching a screening of one of the worst Jane Austen adaptions, Northanger Abbey (1986), when Andrew Davies broached the topic of creating a filmed version was the catalyst to one of the mose beloved Jane Austen adaptions.
Although it wasn’t easy. The book begins with Sue Bristwhistle sharing how it took quite a bit of time to garner the interest and how they had to face off against people who didn’t think it would come out well.
I really enjoyed this book as it is extremely detailed from every step of creating it: scriptwriting, casting, costumes, locations, editing, makeup, filming, food, editing, sound mixing, PR, etc. It’s really worth it for any Austen fan and Pride and Prejudice (1995) fan.
There were a few things I absolutely enjoyed reading in this book. First Andrew Davies thoughts on writing the script. He has said that he loved the book, it was one of his favorites and you can see how much he adores it and is a fan in this. I love how he points out the cleverness of Austen’s writing and how great she is at plotting her works.
I feel like most studios struggle with this when it comes to adapting Jane Austen works and this seems to be the biggest complaint Austen fans make about the adaptions. Studios slice too much and important plot points are lost, characters are nonexistent, and crucial scenes of the novels are now flat in the film.
I do feel that this is something that makes this adaptions superior to many others, Andrew Davies really loved the original work and did his most to try and keep Austen’s spirit; while at the same time trying to make sure he had something that would appeal to all viewers.
One thing I really appreciate is that Davies wanted to give us a view into the men of the novel and as to what they think and do. With a novel you have more leeway to have a mysterious character, fully based on what our main characters view then as; but in a TV show most people want to know more about these people and who they are if they are planning to come back every week to watch.
Also the Pemberley diving in scene is such a crucial scene to understanding and. Darcy we we finally see him wiping away the structures of society and instead being able to really “be” himself.” And of course has been a fan favorite.
The casting chapter I also found very interesting as it is so important to find the right people for period pieces.
I 100 percent agree. I feel like this a problem today where studios hire people who the think will draw views, even though they just don’t work for the drama. They look or act too modern and make everything feel out of place.
Colin Firth had to dye his hair because he is a blonde, I’m surprised as he looks so good with dark hair.
One of my favorite parts was on the costuming. It was so interesting to read how they had to make all the costumes and get the prints designed and printed on the fabric. A lot of clothes from the previous adaptations were in terrible condition or didn’t work. It was absolutely fascinating and makes sense why the clothes are constantly reused by the studio.
There is a section with Colin Firth where he describes his journey to the role and experiences filing and I loved it! In fact it reminded me of my own journey to Jane Austen. I also find it interesting that Firth felt he wasn’t sexy enough when comparing himself to Laurence Olivier. He was extremely afraid everyone would just compare the two and find him lacking. It’s amazing to think of when Olivier isn’t as remembered as Colin Firth. It’s like he threw down a reverse UNO.
I highly recommend this for any Austen fans as I think you will really enjoy it, especially if you love the 1995 adaption.
For more on the making of an Austen film, go to The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries
For more Pride and Prejudice, go to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: A Book-to-Table Classic by Martha Stewart
For more nonfiction, go to Jane Austen (Little People, BIG DREAMS)
For more Colin Firth, go to Modesto Jane Con: Defining the Definitive Darcy and Lizzie