There’s always time for Austen
Why the love affair with Jane Austen? The fact she was a literary genius may have something to do with it. Like Dickens, she was an avid observer of folk, which enabled her to create characters that have, to put it mildly, stood the test of time.
I’ve read all her books and seen many of the movies but I confess, I esteem one of her stories considerably higher than the rest.
Pride and Prejudice. I’ve read the book many times, listened to it on Audible and don’t even ask how often I’ve watched the movie.
I know I’m not alone in my love of Pride and Prejudice but let’s be clear which version to watch. Two words … Colin Firth. He is Fitzwilliam Darcy and anyone else is simply an imposter. The same must be said, be it with a little less passion, for Jennifer Ehle. Keira Knightly is a good actress but Elizabeth Bennet, she is not.
The BBC released Pride and Prejudice as a six-part mini-series in 1995. The producer, Sue Birtwistle, never had a doubt about casting Colin as Darcy. (Sue also produced Emma with Kate Beckinsale. I prefer Gwyneth Paltrow’s portrayal.) The, I think, brilliantly written screenplay is thanks to Andrew Davies. (Andrew is also known for Bridget Jones’ Diary, Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason and Vanity Fair in 1998).
Have you, like me, longed to walk up to the Bennet’s home in Longbourne? In reality, the residence is named Luckington Court and is located in Luckington, Wiltshire, about two hours west of London. Back in 1995 the owners of the home kindly allowed the BBC to commandeer it for ten weeks while filming.
The cute little village of Meryton where Lydia and Kitty go in search of the Militia is in fact the village of Lacock. It’s just half an hour south of Luckington – I feel a road trip coming on!
Mr. Darcy’s modest abode, Pemberly is Lyme Park, almost four hours north of London in Cheshire. Its exterior came the closest to Jane Austen’s description of the home. The interior shots were filmed at nearby Sudbury Hall.
I believe America’s love of Austen shows great character and depth. There’s no violence, crude language, sex or nudity and yet we can’t get enough. We delight in the romance between Darcy and Elizabeth, we swoon at his wet shirt and smile geekily when they stop being silly and give in to true love. We feel the sexual tension between them and yet there’s one solitary kiss at the very end. Now that’s good casting and exceptional writing.
This will not be my last blog about Austen. There’s so much more to be discussed. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Which is your favorite book and movie? Do you disagree with my thoughts on Keira Knightly? If they do a remake of P&P who would you choose for Darcy and Elizabeth? Or should they make a sequel? (was not impressed with Death comes to Pemberly!) It must be with Firth and Ehle – why not, they’re holding up very nicely!