Pride and Prejudice is a classic that has become a staple in schools across the country. GCSE level students all across the UK will have been sitting their English Literature exams with the Jane Austen novel, more often than not, as one of their key texts. It is a book that seems to have stood the test of time with television adaptations and films having been produced all portraying the love story of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcey in the same period drama style feel.
One of the things I enjoy most about these period pieces is the fashion. The clothes are so beautifully elegant and made from some outstanding dressmaking fabrics. The pieces are cut perfectly to fit a woman’s body and portray a particular style of elegance and grace.
Let’s take a look at some of the key points from both the television adaptation and the film.
The Pride and Prejudice was a six-episode program shown in 1995 and starred Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet and Colin Firth as Mr Darcy. Each episode lasted 55 minutes and it was first aired on 24th September 1995. It was awarded a BAFTA Television Award and an Emmy. It was the program that shot Colin Firth to stardom (particularly the scene where he emerges from the lake clad in a wet shirt!). Helen Fielding was so inspired by this series that it propelled her to write the Bridget Jones novels and the screen adaptations which, surprise surprise, stared Colin Firth in one of the lead roles. Interestingly most of the scenes in the program were shot in property and land owned by the National Trust, with Lyme Park representing the Darcy estate of Pemberley and Lacock the village of Meryton.
The film in 2005 was again a direct adaptation with Keira Knightley playing the role of Elizabeth Bennet and Matthew Macfadyen playing Mr Darcy. Keira Knightley had already appeared in the well-known Pirates of the Caribbean film and has gone on to appear in numerous other films and Matthew Macfadyen starred in Spooks and Ripper Street. The film originally aired on 16th September 2005 here in the United Kingdom. The film was directed to appeal to a younger audience and focus on the themes of romanticism and family. This definitely paid off with the film grossing around $121 million worldwide.
So, if you are studying Pride and Prejudice and you want to take a break away form the text why not take a look at these two adaptations. You will love them.