Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Guest Post by Charity: Comparing 1995 and 2005 Pride and Prejudice

200 Years of Pride and Prejudice at Elegance of Fashion
                Hi! I’m Charity – you can read more about me at the bottom of this post. Miss Elizabeth kindly invited me to post about something Pride and Prejudice related in honor of P&P’s 200th anniversary (and her special blog party to note that anniversary). Since I’ve enjoyed comparing multiple versions of one movie in the past, I decided to do it again – this time with Pride and Prejudice. In this post, I’m just comparing things like the soundtrack and the important scenes…towards the bottom, I have a link to my P&P Character Comparisons, if you want to know my thoughts on ALL the main characters. :) So, let’s get started!

Sets and Scenery
The sets on the 2005 P&P are lovely, it is true. However, one of my big problems with where the Bennets lived was that they appeared to be occupying a functioning farm, complete with a farm yard and animals! The book, to my memory, never indicates that they live in any such place. The other notable place to compare is Pemberley. Personally, I think that the one from this movie looks more medieval and could almost have been part of a castle – it lacks only a turret! But the roof and square-ness of it are, I believe, what makes me think that.

The Pemberley in the 1995 version is a beautiful building. I think it looks a little newer than the other. The pillars in the front are most eye-catching. The Bennets live in what is, by Regency standards, a modest house. Thankfully, no animals wander through at their own times. There is some beautiful scenery to be seen in this movie…and really, in either version.

Personally, I love the 1995 P&P soundtrack, but some of that is no doubt due to the fact that I do love the movie. This soundtrack is light and lively and bright and I like it. But as you know if you know anything about the P&P movies, the soundtrack for the 2005 version is stunning. Everyone loves it, and with good reason. Make sure you listen to it!
Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet
Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet
It may seem strange that I’m comparing the hairstyles when I didn’t do costumes…but I didn’t claim that this would be a comprehensive and complete comparison, so don’t fault me please. In the 1995 version, Lizzy especially displays several lovely hairstyles,  that are obviously very complicated and took time to put up. Her hair is practically always neat. Lizzy in the 2005 P&P often has messy hair, by comparison – a bun that’s falling down, or even loose hair (which, for night, is understandable). Even for her important ball (that is, the Netherfield one where she dances with Darcy) her hair is up in a pretty but messy style. She has an occasional neat one, but in general, her hairstyles are what I might expect to see on a tomboy of a girl like Jo March from Little Women, but not on a young English woman.
                Then of course, we must briefly touch on the hair of the Darcies. Or would it be Darcys? Your pick. Mr. Darcy (that is, THE Mr. Darcy aka Colin Firth from the 1995) has impeccable hair. Except for after swimming, when it’s…well, looks like it went swimming. Despite rather a tumult of curls, it’s as neat as it can be for that length. I suppose one could say almost the same thing about the 2005 Darcy’s hair…as neat as it can be for that length. But it shouldn’t be that long! It is in a perpetual state (rather like Elizabeth’s) of messy! Which, for a man as meticulous as Darcy, is bad…he wouldn’t have hair like that. In my ever humble opinion.
Important Scenes

Pride and Prejudice (1995)
Netherfield Ball: This is that all-important ball in which Lizzy and Darcy dance for the first (and only) time. In the 1995 version, the scene is five or so minutes long. They carry on a conversation, very stilted and awkward, as it is in the book. The dance is lovely. In the 2005 version, the dance feels much shorter (between two and three minutes). Darcy is almost friendly, and Lizzy delivers her lines without the zip that Jennifer Ehle from 95 added to hers. Interestingly, I believe that the music they dance to in this version is a song used elsewhere in the 1995 version.

Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Darcy’s First Proposal: In the 1995 version, Mr. Darcy speaks in a sensible, down-putting way, biting out his words and obviously believing himself to be conferring a favor. The 2005 version portrays him as if perhaps he really does love her – he’s more loving in his words, and the way he says them. The 95 makes it more as if he is asking her because he cannot resist her wit and looks. Then too, there’s the setting. If I remember right, the 1995 one is quite exact to the book – Lizzy is spending some peaceful time at home reading letters, and is interrupted by Darcy (this happens at least one other time, so I may be confused). But in the 2005 one! Lizzy hurries out of church, runs through the rain, and then stands, only to discover to her dismay that Darcy has chased her. Panting (and dripping wet), he states his proposal. That scene…well, it didn’t help my love for the movie.

Darcy’s Second Proposal: Ah, the one that worked! So, the 1995 version. Again, one awesome thing about this scene (and this version) is that it sticks close to the book. I checked, just to make sure. Specifically, the setting – outside in autumn on a walk with Bingley and Jane. There, Mr. Darcy quite sweetly pours out his heart and they stroll on happily.

But the 2005 version! Excuse me while I take a deep breath and try to calm down…

It didn’t work. Oh well! To be blunt, the 2005 version’s second proposal…is frightful. Dreadful. Inaccurate. Lizzy decides to take a short walk in the garden before changing to day clothes, and while there, suddenly spies Darcy striding across the prairie/tundra/land through the mist, half-dressed himself (to be exact, a white shirt in a deep V down his chest, pants, and a house-robe, of all things). He reaches her, they exchange a short conversation, and ta-da, he proposes again! Lizzy is deeply touched, and shows by taking his hands, kissing them, and then murmuring “Your hands are cold.” How romantic is that? Or not…IMHO, definitely not. The best part about this scene? The music. I must admit that it IS absolutely stunningly beautiful. I can’t begin to list the things that bug about this scene, so I won’t try any further than I already had…suffice it to say that once again, I prefer the 1995 version.

Final scene: In the 1995 P&P, it ends with Darcy and Lizzy and Bingley and Jane all happily loaded into carriages, with the last shot being Darcy and Lizzy sharing a kiss. The 2005 P&P, however, ends with a rather intimate lake-side scene – and never shows the wedding (a disappointment to my wedding-loving sisters). I most decidedly do not like that scene.

                Well, clearly, the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice did not come out on top as my favorite version. I love the 1995 one – I’ve seen it more than any other MOVIE in my life. Or TV series. Or what have you. That comes to a lot of times. The 2005 version has a few pros, but overall, my allegiance is (and likely always will be) to the 1995 version.

About me: I am a Christian homeschooled Austen addict in my late teens. I’ve been blogging about the books I’ve read and the movies I’ve seen for over two years now on my blog, Austenitis ( I love the color blue, anything to do with books, period drama and fantasy movies, photography, and giveaways. I’d love to see you over on my blog!


  1. Hello, step often find you and I really like what I see!
    I to Pemberly, or Chatsworth House, there really was .....
    and is a magnificent residence!
    I just did a post on Montacute House, where they
    filmed Sense and Sensibility, come visit!
    Love Susy x

  2. The song in the 2005 dance scene is called a postcard to henry purcell because it is an adaptation from Purcell's "hornpipe" from the Abdelazer suite. To my knowledge it is never featured in the 1995 version. The song that is danced in the 1995 version is the dance mr beveridge's maggot and its accompanying music. I am a wellspring of USELESS information hahaha.

  3. The 1995 version is better for accuracy, but I find that if I just want to watch a nice romantic movie, the 2005 movie is better. I have also done some research on the 2005 movie, and the settings were done without regard to what we traditionally see in Regency dramas; basically, they purposely made things messier and more "real-life".
    Oh, and the wedding? Well, there really wasn't one in the book, if I recall, so in that way, the '95 was not accurate. We all love a wedding, but Austen tended to avoid or breeze over them.

    Thanks for the review!

  4. E. Waterman -- ah-ha! That always confused me. When I got the soundtrack, I could never figure out why that song was in there under that name. I was pretty sure it went with the movie, but I couldn't for the life of me think of any Henry Purcell. Thanks for the help! It certainly was not useless. :) Since there were several dances in 1995 version, I still think it was in there somewhere...not sure where, though. I'll have to watch it again. :)

    Emily Ruth, thanks for commenting! How strange that they would TRY to make it messy...that bugs me immensely. And you're right about the wedding not being in the book. Austen did tend to kind of avoid love scenes (not bad ones...she didn't do those either, of course, but the romantic kind of scene) and weddings. People say it's because she didn't have personal experience in those areas. :)

    Miss Elizabeth, thanks so much for inviting me to post! I really enjoyed it. :) <3

  5. I totally agree with all of the points you made regarding the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice. The 1995 version with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle will always be the best, in my mind.


Thank you for visiting Elegance of Fashion. If you wish to leave a comment, please do. I ask that you refrain from bad language and are polite and constructive. If you are posing under "Anonymous", if you could leave a name, that would be great! I reserve the right to delete any comments that I deem family unfriendly.

Thank you very much and please come again.