Sunday, August 5, 2012

Defending Susannah Harker's Jane Bennet

Source: Pride and Prejudice Comparison at
Elinor, Elizabeth, and Emma
I had been meaning to do a post about this for some time but since reading the Pride and Prejudice Comparison at Elinor, Elizabeth, and Emma (which I encourage you to read! It's very interesting), I finally wrote this post. We see it all over in the period drama blogging world and even with family and friends who aren't into period dramas like we are. There are countless comparisons between Pride and Prejudice 1995 and 2005 (I myself have only seen half of the 2005 movie). But there is something that fans of both the 1995 and 2005 versions of Pride and Prejudice commonly say...

Susannah Harker is not pretty like Jane Bennet is supposed to be.



Rosamund Pike as Jane Bennet
in the 2005 movie of Pride and Prejudice
Either that or some say that Rosamund Pike looked more like the Jane Bennet they pictured while reading Pride and Prejudice. Now, don't get me wrong: I like Rosamund Pike... Not necessarily her Jane Bennet, but I did like her as Lady Harriet Cumnor in Wives and Daughters. But between Susannah Harker and Rosamund Pike as Jane Bennet, based on looks I think that Susannah Harker was a better/more accurate Jane Bennet.

But Susannah Harker isn't pretty enough to be Jane Bennet, you say? Everyone in Pride and Prejudice (1995) says that Jane Bennet is prettier than Elizabeth, though Elizabeth is way prettier than Jane. What's with that?

A Regency lady. Notice
the Grecian/Roman influence
of her dress.
I acknowledge that in the 1995 miniseries of Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth was the prettiest of the two (and in the book, while Elizabeth is pretty, she isn't a pretty as Jane), but I think that we are making that conclusion through our modern eyes and how we look at beauty today. What people describe as beautiful or attractive changes constantly: in the Victorian Era, a tiny waist was considered attractive; in the Middle Ages, a high forehead was beautiful, etc. But what was considered beautiful during the Regency Era?

During the Regency Era, Ancient Greek and Roman styles were all the rage. Women dressed their hair similar to how the Ancient Greeks and Romans with curls framing their face. I've seen pictures of Regency women wearing Romanesque/Grecian crowns on their head. Take a look at the picture to the right. There are a lot of Roman/Grecian influences in the lady's dress. The way her hair is put up, the crown, and the gown she wears all have some form of Roman or Greek influence.

Susannah Harker as Jane Bennet
Now, let's look at Susannah Harker as Jane Bennet.. The way her hair is done and the way her face is shaped almost looks like how artists would portray Roman and Greek goddesses from mythology, which is what was in vogue at the time and what people would have admired in pretty women. So, if you were ever confused why in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice everyone said that Jane was the prettiest of her and Elizabeth, think of it that way: what was beautiful, attractive, and fashionable at the time was something that Susannah Harker's Jane had.

So while Rosamund Pike is pretty to us, she doesn't capture that Roman/Grecian/old-fashioned look that was considered beautiful during the Regency Era, however Susannah Harker captures this look and gives Pride and Prejudice 1995 more of a Regency, old-fashioned feel to it.

What do you think? Do you think my argument make sense? Or do you disagree? Leave a comment!

 God Bless,
God Bless, Miss Elizabeth Bennet

58 comments:

  1. This image, believed to have been what Jane envisioned as her Jane, might interest you:

    http://www.themorgan.org/collections/collections.asp?id=450

    :-)

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    1. Very pretty picture! Thanks for sharing! :-)

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    2. This is the link to the picture now- an engraving by Blake: http://www.themorgan.org/collection/drawings/144074
      The esthetics were clearly different and neither Jane is particularly like her.

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  2. I do agree! That is what I have always thought. And besides, SH's Jane just captures Jane better in my mind. Her thorough sweetness and old-fashionedness... I don't think she was the perfect Jane (for one thing I like to think both Jane and Lizzy had dark hair), but I definitely prefer her over RP, although she went fine with the 2005 movie. :P Heehee.

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    1. I always found it odd that Jane had blonde hair but the rest of the Bennets had brown hair, though I suppose it can be possible (I have dark blonde hair while my sister had brown hair). Though you would think that most siblings would have the same color of hair or very similar hair color. Same thing in S&S2008 where Elinor had dark brown hair, Marianne had dirty blonde hair, and Margaret had light brown hair.

      But anyways (I'm getting off track here! hehe!)

      Having only seen part of P&P2005, I can only say that Rosamund Pike didn't impress me as being Jane Bennet, but Susannah Harker definitely is Jane Bennet.

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    2. As a geneticist I can say that it isn't odd at all that siblings have different hair colour, especially if they are of Northern European descent. I have straight brown hair and my sister has beautiful blonde locks.

      And Susannah Harker is absolutely delightful. Although it was Keira Knightley who ruined the 2005 film for me.

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    3. . . . Keira Knightley . . . Thank you for that. I disliked all of the 2005 version. It was so inferior to the 1995 miniseries that I wondered why they bothered. Knightley's Elizabeth was intensely irritating. As much as I've loved Donald Sutherland's work over the years, I really hated his interpretation of Mr. Bennett. Benjamin Withrow's performance was the superior in all ways.

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  3. Thanks for posting! I'd have to say that I totally agree with you and your argument. While Rosamund Pike is very pretty in her own right (love her in W&D), I had a hard time picturing her as Jane Bennet (immensely disliked the messy hairstyles). Susannah Harker, IMHO, was prettier than Rosamund(is that so bad to say?), but more in an old fashioned sort of way, which is what you would want in a regency, Austen film. And based on everything you stated here, she would be the better choice for Jane Bennet.

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    1. Exactly! I also agree with the messy hairstyles: it didn't really become any of them.

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  4. I agree, the one thing I could not stand in P&P 2005 was the hairstyles! What a mess! They looked sort of like farmer's daughters hairstyles, the way they were just swept up carelessly into a bun and the sides were falling out. I have always been an advocate of Susannah Harker's Jane. She's just so sweet, and very kind. When I saw Rosamund Pike as Jane Bennet I knew right off she just wasn't the one. She was really good in Wives and Daughters, but she just didn't quite fit the part for Pride and Prejudice.

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  5. Although Rosamund Pike will always be my favorite Jane Bennet, I agree with what you said about classical beauty (back in the day). I don't dislike Susannah Harker's performance - I just prefer R.P.

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  6. I LOVE Susannah Harker's portrayal of Jane. For me she will always be the perfect Jane Bennet.

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  7. I love Susannah Harker as Jane. The 2005 P&P really had no redeeming features(aside from Darcy and Bingley *wink*).

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  8. I don't quite understand why people complain about Susannah Harker's looks. Yes, Jennifer Ehle is prettier, but I think Susannah's looks are very nice as well. I think she made a very proper Jane, and I'm sad that other people don't quite appreciate her as much as they should. Luckily, you certainly make up for that! ;)

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  9. I like Harker and Pike as Jane equally, but I've seen the argument that Harker is more Regency-pretty before and I'm just not quite convinced. While the Classical look was popular in terms of architecture and fashion, the faces on fashion plates are still very round and small-featured. I'm sure both would have been considered pretty at the time, though.

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  10. My wife and I both prefer Rosamund Pike - she suits the 1790's era the 2005 version was set in. She is also suitably more attractive than Lizzie. The 2005 version is our favorite movie to sit and relax with a drink to watch. A twist on the story, to be sure, but wonderful to indulge in - and no "butt shots"!

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  11. Absolutely agree with you!

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  12. Hi! I agree with the argument. I have both versions and I rather prefer P&P 1995 version than 2005 version. I think that in this last one lacks of the elegance in dresses and some locations. Besides I didn't like Kiera as Elizabeth Bennet, and not so convinced with Rosamund's Jane. Love Susannah Harker and Jennifer Ehle!!!!

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  13. Susannah Harker by a country mile! She has all the sweetness and mildness and composure and tranquility that Jane is supposed to have, as well as the Classical elegance. She is ideal for the part.

    As far as I can see, every actor in the 1995 P&P is ideal for his or her part. Quite an achievement!

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  14. I could not agree with you more! It bothers me whenever someone says they think Jane Bennet in the 1995 version is not pretty enough. I always thought she was a perfect Jane Bennet.

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  15. I definitely agree! You make a great point of what was beautiful then vs. what is beautiful now. I never even imagined that she wasn't pretty enough until I started hearing and reading about those who thought so. And boy are they vocal in their opinion. ;)

    I have to say, I do enjoy Rosamund too. But to say Susannah isn't as pretty as Rosamund is just silly. :)

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  16. Who thinks Jane the prettiest? Mrs. Bennet and Bingley. (And Darcy in a fit of arrogance at the first dance, but he obviously did not mean it.) Who describes Elizabeth as pretty? Darcy, who has been off to Cambridge, where there would be many camp followers, and who has a house in town, describes Lizzie as "one of the handsomest women of my acquaintance." Caroline reports that Eliza was considered a local beauty. Sir William Lucas several times is given to be taken by her looks and calls her "the brightest jewel of the country." Lady Catherine and Colonel Fitzwilliam, in the Kent visit, both find Elizabeth "pretty",

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  17. "Susannah Harker is not pretty like Jane Bennet is supposed to be."

    REALLY....?

    I had no idea that some fans thought this. The noise you heard in the background was my jaw falling to the floor. Myself and all of my male friends think that she is absolutely gorgeous; the sort of woman who makes you want to howl at the moon.

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  18. I prefer the 1995 version 100% over the 2005. The costumes, settings, actors, screenplay.... I think Keira is the most overpaid actress of her generation.

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  19. This is probably late, but my sister and I fell in love with the 1995 P&P and came to the same conclusion about Jane. I even used the argument a few years ago with my mother in explaining why Susannah Harker was a brilliant casting move. Ahhh ... I want to watch P&P all over again. Love your site!

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  20. Has anyone seen the 1980 Pride and Prejudice? If you are a fan of the book as I am, you might find it the best adaptation as I do. It is very true to the book, and the actor who plays Eliza Bennet has a very intelligent and lively look. Jane is supposed to be the most beautiful amongst the sisters according to the book by the way.

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    1. I have seen the 1980 version of Pride and Prejudice. I didn't care for it very much. I will say it was probably better than the 2005 version since it was more accurate, but I still think the 1995 version is the best version.

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    2. This is very late, but still: The 1980 version was okay. Elizabeth is good, Jane is good, the mother is annoying (not in a good way). I despise the costume Elizabeth wears. That muff thing (while somewhat proper), is hideous.

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  21. Everything about the 1995 Pride & Prejudice is perfect, includung Susannah Harker´s Jane Bennet. She is indeed gorgeous!

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  22. Susannah Harker has grace, gentleness and serenity as Jane. These qualities are seldom appreciated these days, but were treasured in her time. She is a classical rather than a modern beauty. Her posture, swan-like graceful neck and enormous eyes truly are perfect for the part.

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  23. totally off the subject, although I thought jane in 1995 P & P was a perfect choice- but could somebody tell me something that's been bothering me for years? did the English in that time period of P & P use contractions in their speech? I ask because of a few scenes, one in particular, where lizzie is thanking mr. darcy for his kindness to Lydia, and she says " please allow me to thank you on behalf of all my family, since they "don't" know to whom they are indebted". that has struck me as strange for a long time- i'm no English freak, but it seemed to me that it wasn't proper English for the time period. any comments?

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    1. According to this post on Tumblr page Historically Irrelevant (http://historicallyirrelevant.com/post/3505130893/the-history-of-contractions), I guess it was okay to say contractions (the post claims that even scholars would say them), but you weren't supposed to write them down. I don't know how accurate that post is, but it's a good place to start.

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    2. A bit late reply, perhaps, but I've been wondering over this issue my self for some time. However, I recently read 'Northanger Abbey' where I recall Mr. Thorpe often speaking with contractions. And ok, so he's probably not the best example on how a gentlewoman would speak in that era, but at least it shows that you could speak like that in that era. :)

      Anyway, Miss Bennet, I loved your article! I've always thought that all th complaints about Susannah Harker not being pretty enough are so unfair. I've always thought her beautiful and so very sweet. I do, however think that Jennifer Ehle is the prettier of them, but then again, as you pointed out, in that era the old Greaek and Roman styles where popular. Besides, I think the fact that Jane is sweet, kind and good tempered (and some times a bit naïve) is far more important than her looks, and Susannah Harker (in my opinion) portraided Jane's character perfectly.
      Thank you for your wonderful article!

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    3. I think it's ridiculous to say Susannah Harker wasn't 'pretty enough' to play Jane. Rosamund Pike is more stunning looking that Susannah, but Susannah has a gentle old fashioned prettiness that made her perfect for the role.

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  24. I'm a little late to the party here, but I just finished watching Sherlock Holmes's The Dying Detective in which Ms. Harker played a role. While I was watching I had this nagging feeling that she looked very familiar until it finally dawned on me that she appeared in Pride and Prejudice.

    Now, from a guy's perspective, I think she radiates an inner beauty that accentuates her handsome features making her more appealing than just a cursory look see would warrant.

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  25. I agree very much with your assessment. SH was very much an embodiment of gentle Regency beauty. Just came across this article when I was thunderstruck by this portrait:http://m.flickr.com/#/photos/thelostgallery/8369075086/

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    1. Wow! That looks exactly like Susannah Harker. My, that was almost a bit scary! :)

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  26. Hi. I just watched both P&P's TV'95 & movie'05. Firstly-The '95 TV version is SO beautiful. I really feel the story Jane Austen wrote. It captures the mood and feel of it with the pace, the characters and environment. The movie seems to have left out valuable bits: Like showing the trusting, sweetness of Jane's character; the deep love between the sisters; or showing the unfolding of Darcy from a taciturn grump to a softer personality. The TV version also showed that moment when we see Lizzie's feelings for him shift-when she & Darcy share a deep, meaningful look (at his house in Pemberly).

    In the movie version, I personally didn't feel Keira was really Lizzie. I liked her acting in the scene when she was so mad at Darcy's proposal, though.

    Regarding beauty, I thought both Lizzie and Jane were beautiful in both, but we keep hearing (in the shows) that Jane is far more beautiful than Lizzie. I think that's why a lot of people expect her to BE prettier.. I assumed that since Lizzie is the star of the story, they decided to make her more attractive than the others. They even put more make up on her than on Jane (I noticed). I think all of them are pretty, including the sisters. They just chose to highlight the female star more. It's a bit odd, because the men were equally matched, but just different in personality. Talking of the men, I thought Darcy (in '05movie) was too unemotional. In TV show of '95, he was SO expressive, even when silent. I think Colin Firth deserves all the accolades. He manages to make a heartthrob out of Darcy, from beginning to end and gets us on his side, even when he has such a difficult personality at first.

    All in all I see why the P&P TV version is such a classic. I consistently felt good watching every episode, and all the loose ends got tied up (whereas they didn't in the movie version).
    Thanks,
    Anne

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  27. Susannah as Jane didn't work for me. I see the argument that she fits the ideals of the time but I don't understand why people use this as a supporting argument because, if anything, Susannah fits a more modern ideal of beauty in that she's tall and has sharp features. She could have been a late 1990s model, her features are quite harsh/masculine in certain lights. The ideal of beauty based on when this was written was for soft facial features, petite women, a soft figure. Sort of like Jennifer as Jane but fair haired, an English Rose. I think people are probably fond of the 1995 TV series and Susannah and get annoyed at the reaction to her which is fair enough but Jane's main 'thing' was her beauty. Susannah is an unusual/quirky pretty, certainly, and especially in this era but back then? I will remain unconvinced. I also thing Rosamund fit the image pretty well and showed a different Jane (demure, a little too much so in mu opinion).

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  28. I agree with you! I have also made a post about this. Susannah Harker fits the Regency beauty ideal perfectly, as she looks a bit like an old statue or painting. It is also true that we might think that Jennifer Ehle is prettier, but she might have not been in the eyes of someone who lived during the Regency era, with her lively and happy face.

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  29. Sorry, but I have to say I disagree. Even if the main argument in Susannah Harker's defense is that she is a better fit for what would have been considered beautiful during the Regency Era, there should be some consistency in that across the board. But that is obviously not the case for the entire 1995 cast. For instance, it's not entirely clear that Colin Firth is the paradigm of Regency handsomeness, yet he was clearly a great choice to play Mr. Darcy because, among other things, he fits the modern day woman's idea of a handsome man. For me, the problem with Susannah Harker was that her lack of obvious beauty was incredibly distracting. When Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy uttered the words, "You are dancing with the only handsome woman in the room" and "The eldest Miss Bennett, I grant you, is very pretty," I was exceedingly puzzled. There was just something disingenuous about hearing all those actors talk about her famous beauty. It's really distracting when Jane is supposed to be some sort of great, undisputed beauty, and, well, the dispute about the actress playing her is that she is not beautiful. Also, it was hard to get over her lack of beauty in order to try to assess her based solely on her acting/portrayal.

    As to the actual acting/portrayal, I thought that Rosamund Pike was the superior of the two. I was annoyed by Susannah Harker's Jane, in much the same way that many were annoyed by Simon Woods's Mr. Bingley in 2005. Jane is affable and sees the best in others; that's her defining characteristic. That doesn't mean she is stupid. In the 1995 adaptation, she just comes across as clueless.

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    1. Well said and agree with you 100%. I can't get pas the fact that I think Susannah Harker is very unattractive while she is supposed to be the beauty of the lot. All your points with regard to the dialogue keep driving this fact home but somehow her looks run directly counter to this. It's like watching a great love story where the one of the pair are unattractive so the whole plot becomes unbelievable.

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  30. In evaluating the portrayal of any fictional character, it is difficult to separate the actress (Susannah Harker in this case) from the interpretation of the book by the screenwriter (Andrew Davies) and the requirements of the director (Ang Lee). In appearance, Harker resembles portraits of woman of the Regency period; her Grecian-inspired hair-do was chosen to emphasis her classic features; in the script, her goodness and naive optimism are meant to contrast with Lizzy's intellect. Whether Harker is more beautiful than Ehle in the film is in the eye of the beholder, but I personally find her immensely attractive (as an actress and as a fictional character) and, like Bingley, I'd happily marry her if she were available. In sum, her Jane Bennett and the BBC 1995 adapation are both superior to that found in any other movie or TV production of P&P, although I do quibble with Davies' expansion of the Darcy role to appeal to the tastes of modern audiences. If anything, Harker has been given too little credit for her part in the success of this film.

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  31. Oh God! I might be extremely insensitive but Susannah Harker looks so very ugly to me! I do wonder how anyone can find her pretty in whatever age. Sorry if I offended any of you, but this is my opinion!

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    1. On the contrary I have been staggered to read these posts that question Susannah Harker's appearance! I have admired her beauty and the serenity of her expression (as befitted her character) every time I watched the series. Jennifer Ehle was also beautiful, just in a different way and she did ample justice to the part of Lizzie. The 2005 movie could not hold a candle to the 1995 version which I believe is one of the best productions of any story, in all its aspects. It's very close to Jane Austen's original writing. Her wit and clarity of character depiction is portrayed brilliantly by the actors. The scenery and costumes are delightful and the whole is always a joy to watch!

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  32. Why is Jane Bennett portrait as a blonde? At least in the 1995 and 2005 versions. I do not read any reference to hair color in the book.

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    1. Jane Austen left it up to the reader to the looks of her characters. Elizabeth has "fine eyes," and Jane was beautiful. That is all we know. We also know that the 4 girls were considered pretty. Mary was plain.

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    2. she does give a bit of description. more so to Elizabeth. she is described to have "dark eyes." and a "light and pleasing figure."
      jane is described as being "not so light, nor so much in the habit of running" as Elizabeth.

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  33. I know this is very, very late in the discussion, but another point I feel is worth bringing up here is - as a lot of people have reflected on the difference of perceptions of beauty between 'then' and 'now' - the obvious lack of global media in Regency times... Nowadays, every woman may have the (very dubious) pleasure of having their appearance compared with every single fashion model and film star in the world, whereas in the Regency era, it was enough to be the prettiest girl in the village to be a celebrated beauty. Simply put, in our present modern times we have much more critical eyes when we assess beauty, and more 'plain' women may well have been considered beautiful in the past, for lack of competition if nothing else.

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  34. To me, Rosamund Pike is one of the prettiest girls I ever seen, but I guess in period beauty she would fit a lot more with Victorian Era (she would have been the perfect Lucy Westenra for me), but I must admit tha Susannah Harker has that vintage something about her that makes her a Regency beauty. There are those people who seem to come from another time and Susannah is one of them, she doesn't have a modern beauty, but an old fashioned one. Also people might remember that being blond was considered really beautiful, so this could make her stand out also. I love both of them, Rosamund is prettier for me, but Susannah is Jane Bennet. Also she looks a lot more with the portrait of how Jane Austen's Jane Bennet should look.

    Sorry for the poor english, I am from Portugal.

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    1. your English is much better than my Portugese !! well done.

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  35. I think I've seen every film version of Pride and Prejudice ever made, thankfully most good (only one I can recall being a bit dull). My favourite is the 1995, personal preference only. As far as casting goes it's really a case of whether the director is closely following the book or not. The 2005 seemed to be given quite a bit of leeway in that it changed the atmosphere to a much less formal Bennet family life, amongst other things, which may have affected how the director wanted the girls to look and behave. With that in mind, I think Keira Knightley was a good Lizzie for that particular version. Readers will remember Miss Bingley in the book describing Lizzie as 'very thin, so brown looking...' and Knightley fits that description perfectly. The book also implied that Lizzie could be a bit harum-scarum at times and that also fits Knightley's Lizzie, whereas it does not sit well with Jennifer Ehle's Lizzie. The 1995 girls and family generally were much more formal in dress etc. exampled of course in Mrs Bennet telling Mr Collins at dinner on his first visit 'my girls have nothing to do in the kitchen; we are very well able to keep a cook'. As to the character Jane Bennet, Susannah Harker was perfect casting in that role. She is a classically beautiful girl. And everything we know of Jane apart from her much vaunted beauty, is framed in terms of her serenity and goodness, which is beautifully brought to fruition by Susannah's performance, as her Miss Bennet brings these personality traits to life in abundance. While the actor Rosamund Pike is undoubtedly a very pretty woman, she would not have been my choice for a Jane Bennet, and as seen in the 2005 film, she tends to be quite a whimsical girl, pretty yes, but entirely lacking in every other - essential - quality required for a Jane Bennet and there lies the rub. But as it is, I would say, given the way the rest of the family was cast and filmed in the 2005, Pike was a better fit and Ehle's style of Lizzie would have been 'out' of sync with the rest. However I have enjoyed all of them enormously. Has anyone else read Colleen McCullough's 'The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet' ? I so wish someone good (ie, really terrifically directorially talented) would film that, what fun it would be !

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  36. This is also very late in the discussion. My assessment is a little different. I believe Susannah Harker was chosen as Jane in the 1995 version partially, at least, for her similarity to Lady Diana, who at the time was considered one of the great beauties in the world (I agree with this, it was more the whole package of her than classic beauty based on her facial features alone).
    I think the 1995 version is far superior to the 2005 version in every way and couldn't watch the 2005 version due to my complete dislike of Kiera Knightly. I watched enough of it to see that Rosamund Pike couldn't hold a candle to Susannah Harker as Jane either. Like others, I too thought the costuming, hair and set decoration was utterly horrendous. The colors were dark, depressing, inaccurate, and hideous.
    My take regarding Susannah Harker as Jane, however, is a little different than a lot of people. My problem with her appearance is related to her hairstyle and clothing. I thought that although her hairstyles were technically correct for the time period, and were overall quite beautiful, someone either purposefully or unintentionally did a poor job on the proportions and certain details.
    I felt like her hair was too close to the back of her head, making her face look bigger than it was in comparison and making her head look flat in the back. It would have been so simple to add hair in the back to balance out the whole look. Sometimes her neck looked thick, and this could have been corrected with hairstyle, camera angles, and necklines and clothing proportions and colors.
    There were a few other details like this; I'm not sure if it was done on purpose to make Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth stand out more or what. It would have been very simple to correct and would have shown off her beauty much more because I think she is very beautiful. It would have made the movie better because both women are beautiful but in different ways.
    I think she was wonderful in the movie and the whole 1995 version is a masterpiece.

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  37. I ABSOLUTELY agree with the very last comment. It bothered me, that the stylist doing Susannah's hair forgot any flattering tricks - her hair looked
    almost oily, like she didn't washed it for a week. The cameraman could (while taking her pictures en face) do this more on an angle, so her facial features (nose), will be more symmetrical. The costumes (frocks) were too tight below the "upper waist" and too short in length giving the false impression that these young ladies were in fact chubby and quite overweight.
    Yes, perhaps the interpretation of Susannah's Jane was more accurate, but it was spoiled by the actress overall plain look, and that is a shame. I remember watching the BBC 1995 series right after was made and could not get over the fundamental question - can't really find pretty actresses in UK? Miss Ehle herself was the only one good looking, despite the effort of the costume designer. These ugly bonnets - look at the one that she is wearing in the final scenes, when Mr. Darcy proposes. And in these clothes and styling the girls look at least ten to fifteen years older than in the book! The 2005 version has basic advantage - Elisabeth's beauty is unquestionable and so is RP' Jane! I love RP's hairstyle in the whole movie.
    As for Keira - the hairdo she presents during the second ball is exquisite and she looks absolutely beautiful. Mr. Darcy (Matthew) however has to take the second spot - to this day there is absolutely noone like Colin Firth!
    As for the whole set of 2005 P&P, I would like to say, that although it may seem a bit shabby it is probably closer to the true look during that time - it is far more realistic, which is the manner adopted by the producers...

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  38. The 1995 BBC version of P and P is a million times better than the 2005 version. I have seen both several times. I just saw the old 1995 BBC version on OXYGEN. Love, love this version. Love all of the characters, scenes, and scenery. In my opinion, the cast in this version were spot on. P and P 1995 is still as enjoyable and memorable twenty-one years later. I can't say the same for the 2005 version.

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  39. Yes, the 1995 P&P is the standard in perfect portrayal of the book. More nuanced in character presentation - "sensibilities" - than all others I've seen. Knightly's Lizzie is a distortion compared to Ehle's. I was appalled at the '05 actor's portrayal of Darcy. I think he must've sat in the rain, he was so washed out.

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  40. I won't say Susannah Harker was ugly, however, I will say that she was much prettier during watched her in House off cards (1990) than Jennifer Ehle; and that during-around the time of P&P 1995 she pregnant with her child.

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  41. I agree that Susannah Harker is more Jane than Rosamund Pike is - she is more elegant, calm and is undeniably beautiful. However, when I read Pride and Prejudice my own interpretation looks more similar to Rosamund Pike, but that is probably due to the way ideas of beauty differ from now and the Regency era. Really great and interesting post!

    Jemima x
    anotherrantingreader.blogspot.co.uk

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