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When Jane Austen published Pride and Prejudice anonymously on January 29, 1813,
who could've imagined that over 200 years later,
it would be one of the most cherished novels of English literature?
Pride and Prejudice has inspired countless film and TV adaptations,
spin-offs, sequels, and modern retellings,
so in this video, we're going to take a look at four English-language
on-screen adaptations and how they compare to the novel.
This is Pride and Prejudice By the Book.
"It's no use. I've struggled in vain.
I must tell you how much I admire and love you."
The first Hollywood feature film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice
was released in July of 1940.
Shown in theaters ahead of America's involvement in the Second World War,
the film featured a romanticized view of “Old England”
while minimizing the novel's emphasis on class distinctions.
If you're wondering why Elizabeth Bennet looks more like Scarlett O'Hara here,
it's because the filmmakers made significant changes to the story
to further appeal to their audience.
This included moving the time period some 40 years ahead,
allowing them to showcase the costumes inspired by Victorian era fashions.
And with the incredible success of Gone with the Wind,
which the studio had released just months before,
it was determined that these extravagant dresses would look better on screen.
"Look, Mama! Lady Lucas's carriage!"
"Pass them, Batings! Pass them!”
New scenes were invented for the film and major plot points radically revised
to incorporate elements of the screwball comedies that were so popular in the 1930s.
One of the first major plot changes takes place at the Assembly ball,
which combines several events from the novel.
Here, Elizabeth meets Wickham and dances with him before Darcy and the Bingleys even arrive.
This is a huge change from the sequence of events in the novel
and it affects the dynamics between the characters.
"Yes, she looks tolerable enough.
But I'm in no humor tonight to be of consequence to the middle classes at play."
Because the film also combines later events from the book,
Darcy asks Elizabeth to dance just minutes after insulting her.
Not surprisingly, she refuses.
"I'm afraid that the honor of standing up with you, Mr. Darcy, is more than I can bear."
However, she does accept Wickham's invitation to dance almost immediately afterwards.
This sassy response would have been considered highly improper during Austen's time
and never appeared in the book.
Naturally, though, adapting a 300-page book for a two-hour movie
will call for combining and condensing major plot points.
The challenge is being able to capture the essence of the novel
and maintain the overall narrative arc.
Some characters don't make it into this film at all
and neither does Elizabeth's visit to Pemberley.
Although the screenplay keeps some of the more famous dialogue,
it also, in some ways, fundamentally changes the characters.
For instance, we see a much more personable and charming Darcy, as portrayed by Laurence Olivier,
while Greer Garson's Elizabeth is more strong-willed and sarcastic.
At the Netherfield ball turned garden party, the screenplay has Darcy rescue Elizabeth
from Mr. Collins by lying to him.
"Do you happen to know Miss Elizabeth Bennet?"
"I do, sir."
"Has she - has she passed this way, may I ask?"
"No, sir. She has not passed this spot."
Although entertaining, this exchange would have been uncharacteristic of the Darcy from the novel
who prides himself on his honesty and lack of pretense.
And later, we have Lady Catherine de Bourgh transformed into a matchmaker
who deliberately brings Darcy and Elizabeth together.
"What you need is a woman who will stand up to you.
I think you've found her."
In the end, the 1940 film definitely diverges from the novel
in favor of the studio's signature glitz and glamour,
but this fun adaptation features splendid costumes, witty banter,
and of course, the iconic love story.
"In vain have I struggled.
It will not do, my feelings will not be repressed.
You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”
This five-episode miniseries is the fifth BBC television adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.
The BBC's history with the novel stretches back to 1924,
when they broadcast an excerpt of Pride and Prejudice on radio for the first time.
Unlike the earlier studio-bound TV productions with fixed cameras,
the 1980 series utilized moving cameras, outdoor locations, and a musical score.
The screenplay established it as one of the most faithful versions of the novel
since it kept the majority of the original text and storylines.
However, there are a few notable changes,
including a more feminist interpretation of the plot and dialogue.
For instance, while the novel starts off with a conversation between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet,
Elizabeth's wittiness and Charlotte's pragmatism take center stage in the adaptation.
"A single man in possession of a good fortune coming to live at Netherfield."
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that such a man must be in want of a wife."
"Of course."
The screenplay especially gives attention to the female characters
and their character development, at the expense of the male characters.
"Even after twenty years, my mother still fails to understand him.
Her mind is less difficult to comprehend."
Because Jane Austen used the third person omniscient voice in Pride and Prejudice
to relate the characters' thoughts and feelings,
the screenwriter tries to incorporate this narration through dialogue,
as well as long, internal monologues.
As far as changes to the plot, there are just a few.
One example is the scene after Elizabeth learns of Lydia's elopement.
As soon as she finishes reading Jane's letter,
she apparently runs the distance of several miles to Pemberley,
bursting into Darcy's drawing room in search of her uncle.
In this case, Elizabeth is the one who seeks Darcy out, and not the other way around.
Overall, the 1980 production stays true to the book
and includes various scenes from the novel that are not found in other adaptations.
It is fairly consistent in using costumes based on fashions from the early 1800s,
and although it doesn't have the big-budget production values of later versions,
this entertaining adaptation does its best
to present an accurate portrayal of the characters of Pride and Prejudice.
“In vain I have struggled. It will not do.
My feelings will not be repressed.
You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”
In 1995, BBC collaborated with the A&E network to release the acclaimed six-episode adaptation
of Pride and Prejudice that would become a cultural phenomenon.
The miniseries is faithful to the original text
in that it covers most of the major plot points and retains much of the dialogue,
while also bringing the Regency era setting and characters to life.
What especially sets the award-winning series apart from earlier adaptations
is the introduction of the male perspective on events in the novel, right from the opening scene.
This series also takes time to focus specifically on Darcy,
showing scenes of him riding, fencing,
tracking down Lydia and Wickham through the streets of London,
and of course, the iconic lake scene.
"Mr. Darcy!"
Colin Firth's performance of Darcy as a sympathetic hero struggling with his feelings for Elizabeth
captured the attention of millions around the world.
And Jennifer Ehle's expressiveness subtly conveyed Elizabeth's intelligence and exuberance.
The supporting actors were also given the chance to add further depth to their characters.
"I long for a ball, and so does Denny."
"And Sanderson. Don't you Sanderson?"
"I do indeed.
Most passionately."
Scenes of everyday life and other period details help to immerse the viewer into their story,
showing characters going about their everyday routines, whether they were getting dressed,
getting ready for bed, or interacting with servants.
The attention to historical detail also ensured that the characters looked and acted realistically
according to the time period.
The costume designer created clothing that was authentic, yet attractive for the modern era,
and would complement the actors' as well as their characters' personalities.
To this day, the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice
is considered to be the gold standard of book adaptations
for being able to capture the spirit of the novel and also balance its satire and romance.
Not only did it renew interest in Jane Austen's life and literary works,
it also inspired many to create their own Austenian love stories.
I've fought against my better judgment, my family's expectation,
the inferiority of your birth, my rank and circumstance, all these things,
but I'm willing to put them aside and ask you to end my agony."
"I don't understand."
"I love you."
65 years after the release of the first feature film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice,
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen step into the lead roles.
Marketed to a younger audience, the film features a more creative interpretation of the text,
emphasizing the romance and drama.
With limited screen time, the director and screenwriter faced the challenge of condensing the story
as well as the added pressure of matching up to the popular BBC version.
To differentiate itself visually, the film is supposed to be set in the 1790s,
around the time that Jane Austen finished her first draft of Pride and Prejudice,
originally titled First Impressions.
The film uses various ways to emphasize the relative poverty of the Bennets
compared to Darcy and his companions.
The livestock and laundry on clothesline around the Bennets' home portray a greater contrast
between the social standings of the protagonists.
The natural world is also used to reflect and intensify Elizabeth and Darcy's emotions.
A number of minor characters and plot points from the novel were cut
in order to emphasize the main love story.
Even some of the major characters in the novel,
who are vital to the development and resolution of the conflict,
end up with smaller roles in the film.
We also see a change in the dynamics within the Bennet family
as well as in Elizabeth's friendships with Jane and Charlotte.
"So don't judge me, Lizzy, don't you dare judge me!"
Similar to what happened with the 1940 film, the costumes and hairstyles were adjusted
to appeal to new audiences and also to complement the story.
Elizabeth's appearance often shows her tomboyish nature,
whereas Caroline Bingley is always dressed in the height of fashion.
In contrast, Mrs. Bennet and Lady Catherine are shown in fashions of the past
to reflect what they would've worn in their younger years.
And finally, Mr. Darcy's clothing is used to symbolize his character change
as he falls in love with Elizabeth.
To sum up, the dialogue, behavior, and costumes in the 2005 film all feature a contemporary twist,
giving viewers a glimpse into Georgian society through a modern lens.
"So what do you recommend, to encourage affection?"
"Dancing. Even if one's partner is barely tolerable."
In addition to the portrayal of a more feisty and rebellious Elizabeth,
the beautiful locations and thoughtful cinematography
bring the world of Pride and Prejudice to a new generation.
All of these adaptations of Pride and Prejudice
seek to tell the tale of self-discovery and true love.
The novel's themes of love and marriage, class and reputation, prejudice and pride,
continue to be relevant and relatable across cultures.
Although the four mentioned in this video are considered to be straight adaptations
of the novel, we can see how the story has been adapted for each audience and era.
The influence of Pride and Prejudice continues to be evident in movies, television, and books,
resulting in a story that has been retold in so many different ways.
Where will writers take Jane Austen's classic novel next?
We'll just have to wait and see.
Which Pride and Prejudice adaptation is your favorite?
Let us know in the comments below and subscribe to catch our next video!
Thanks for watching!


Book vs. Movie: Pride and Prejudice in Film & TV (1940, 1980, 1995, 2005)

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Vera 2020 年 5 月 3 日 に公開
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