sábado, 25 de mayo de 2013

Article: Putting a face to Mr Darcy by Pilar Gómez Bachmann

Versión española aquí.

This article is reprinted with permission of Pilar Gómez Bachmann, who wrote it in 2008 for the blog of the library of the Complutense University of Madrid 'Si no lo leo no lo creo'. This is the orginal link:
Pilar belongs to the Universidad Complutense of Madrid. Thank you for article, our mention and we hope you continue to work with this blog, but we are sorry if maybe it took more than we should to upload a gem like this.

Putting a face to Mr Darcy

"Pride and Prejudice" is one of my favorite novels and my friends know well that it is strange the year that I do not reread it. I fell in love with Mr. Darcy at fourteen and we know that first loves are never forgotten. However, I'm not talking now exactly of Pride and Prejudice. The novels that make it difficult to talk objectively and I'm not going to extend it more, so as to say that as I read manners, sense of humor, irony, and a love story exciting others may see a complete boredom, starred by a bunch of snobs. Their loss.

What I really want to do is to comment on some of their screen adaptations, the big and the small. They are only a few of the many adaptations that have been made and not in chronological order but in the order in which I saw them, and warning, these are my own very personal impressions, regardless of their artistic and technical merits. The principal sources to confirm dates and details I have relied on Internet Movie Data Base, but if someone wants to pursue the subject recommend the page of the sisters Almudena and Carmen Romero, a giant and insightful site about Jane Austen in Spanish.

The first thing I saw was the BBC version of 1980, with adaptation by Fay Weldon, and I liked it very much. I found it very true to the original and so similar to what I had in mind, I do not know very well, in my own internal version, what it is imagined and what it is seen in this series. Especially because in those days there was no opportunity to record a video, and to see her again. Recently I've seen it again and I found some surprises. After all, Mrs. Weldon took some liberties with the script (the scene of the letter) and although overall it is what I remembered, it has not kept very well over time. It shows its age and the resources, and Darcy, my Darcy, it seemed far too expressionless and grim and horror, with a stunning wig!
Retrato en acuarela de Jane Austen

Somewhere between 80 and 95 saw the film version of 1940, the first Hollywood version, starred by Greer Garson (Mrs Miniver) and Laurence Olivier. In Spain, the title was "Stronger than Pride" and, leaving aside the anachronisms of costumes and the sets and a reinvented script, Miss Garson already was 36 years when she was Lizzy and Laurence Olivier smashed, pulverized and crushed Mr. Darcy creating an affected character, mannered and a bit silly. My anger was significant and I've never forgiven, so much so that I always watch his films always with quite prevention.

In 1995 was released in Britain a new version of Pride and Prejudice. The following year was to be July because it was very hot in Madrid, and through a friend the series came, which had been recorded by some relatives who she had in England. All I knew is that Colin Firth worked in the series, a very handsome actor with a beautiful voice that I had seen for the first time in "Another Country". This adaptation is, in my opinion, the best eversets and costumes are very well, with a cast that, with some exceptions, (Wickham, Lady Catherine and her daughter, Jane ...) is great. In particular, Firth who plays a wonderful Mr. Darcy and perfectly reflects the character with a perfect balance between pride and despair content of passion and infatuation. Other topics are treated very well  like ridiculous servility by Mr. Collins, the laughing envy of the Bingley sisters, especially Caroline and the irritating stupidity of Mrs. Bennet. As for its faithfulness to the novel, it is true that depicts scenes that Austen did not wrote, but complement the story perfectly and serve to give more prominence to Darcy and not only to Elizabeth's story. This version is not only a good period film, some of which the British do so well, but shows wit, sense of humor and the spirit of the novel in an exceptional way. It had a tremendous success and it is to blame for the "Austenmania" we live right now. I love this series and I can see it in one sitting. As proof, here are the famous proposition: Mr. Darcy proposes to Lizzy.

From 2004 comes Bride and Prejudice. It has the same director of "Bending like Beckam" and it puts the plot now and in India. Maybe not for everyone, but I, as well as being janeitaI have a weakness for Bollywood, so I really enjoyed this movie. If this being said, you dare with this music, you have to see the whole thing including the credits, it is worth it.
Retrato de jane Austen
2005 What to say about this release. I was not expecting anything and I liked it and even I found it a nice movie, but it is not "Pride and Prejudice" or anything that could have conceived Jane Austen (the hodgepodge of Loungbourg first dance and the peculiar visit from Lady Catherine , that melancholy more like a novel of the Bronte ...). What's so good? Well, Mr. Darcy appears worthy and interesting and Wickham is the, ahem, more hottest in history of adaptations. And by the way, do not miss the scene with which the film ends in the USA version and that was, fortunately erased in Europe, although I can not imagine why they thought it would be better the walk in pajamas on the moor.

And finally some trivia: in 1952 the BBC filmed a version of 6 episodes which I had no news until my research for this review and I mention because Mr. Darcy is none other than Peter Cushing, converted later in the Sherlock Holmes vampire slayer by the Hammer. In 1956 American television filmed another version adapted by Hellene Hanff, the writer of 84 Charing Cross Road. From 1957, there is an italian version with Virna Lisi. And from 1966, a Spanish one that TVE in its show Novela with Tina Sainz and Víctor Valverde, but not in the biggest roles. About this and much more about Spanish translations and versions of Jane Austen you have the article "A la Señorita Austen: Una visión general de las adaptaciones españolas" by Mari Carmen Romero Sánchez. I haven't seen it, but in Complutense's Library, you can find another adaptation "Pride and Prejudice: the film" in a United States College. And finally, I will mention the 2001 film Bridget Jones's Diary based in the famous book by Helen Fielding, and to top it, she wrote it when she saw Colin Firth in the 1995 version.

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