Friday, January 25, 2013

P&P Scene Comparisons: The 1st Proposal

200 Years of Pride and Prejudice at Elegance of Fashion

Have you ever done it? Watched multiple versions of a period drama to see how certain scenes were interpreted? There are inevitably favorites; one version can absolutely nail a scene while another version falls flat. Well, in honor of 200 Years of Pride and Prejudice, I have before you all a comparison of Mr. Darcy's first proposal scene from four different versions of Pride and Prejudice! With commentary!

Please note: I do a bit of grilling with most of the versions of the 1st proposal scene below (you all know which one is my favorite!). The commentary is strictly my opinion. You are welcome to comment which version is your favorite and defend your choice; though I may not agree with you, I will certainly respect your opinion! Let's all keep the comments section here professional and good-natured. And remember to have fun with the discussions!

1940s Movie
(I will of course ignore the inaccurate fashions). A lot of this proposal seems either over-acted or unnatural. Sure, maybe the acting was okay for a 1940s movie, but it was just too much and both Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy moved around way too much! Mr. Darcy's sitting one moment, standing the next, and then sitting again. Elizabeth gets up and gestures with her hands in a modern way. Elizabeth laughs and then cries in her handkerchief  She's not supposed to break down in tears during the proposal! She's supposed to be flat out angry (and hurt too, but very angry)! Then both Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy turn around an awful lot at one point. There was too much movement and over-acting for me.

1980 Miniseries
Okay, now we have a Pride and Prejudice with accurate costuming. I'll admit while I do not like this version of Pride and Prejudice all that much, I will say that this miniseries is more accurate than most P&Ps out there (I just didn't like how the characters were portrayed and how they acted). But anyways, did anyone notice how abruptly Mr. Darcy burst into the room? There wasn't even a warning: first, it's like Elizabeth in the room, than BOOM! here's Mr. Darcy! But anyways, Elizabeth in this proposal is very angry; if she does feel that she is hurt, she doesn't show it or it just comes out in anger. Mr. Darcy is pretty much wooden throughout the whole of it: taking Elizabeth's criticisms and accusations without showing very much emotion. But I will say that this version is much more believable than the 1940s version and probably the second best in this post.

1995 Miniseries
Okay, as you all may know, I LOVE THIS VERSION! I think this is the best first proposal scene in any version of Pride and Prejudice. What I like is that at the beginning, it's paced very nicely. The previous versions rushed it at the beginning where Mr. Darcy takes a few steps around and then starts with his proposal. But here, Mr. Darcy spends a good amount of time pacing back and forth without it feeling rushed. Elizabeth's and Mr. Darcy's facial expressions are perfect! You can tell what each of them is feeling without them even saying anything; you can see Elizabeth is surprised and then hurt; you can see the moment when Mr. Darcy's heart snaps in half. The acting is brilliant: Elizabeth's voice cracks just enough that you know she is hurt without being driven to tears but that she is also angry. Mr. Darcy's voice shows that he is hurt and defensive of his actions...
In short, this scene is just brilliant!

2005 Movie
Okay, you all know what I feel about this movie even though I haven't reviewed this movie yet. This scene is just one of the examples of why I don't like this movie. First of all, you can tell that this scene took place outside in the rain in order for the film makers to romanticize Pride and Prejudice. Second of all, only a handful of dialogue is from the novel with the rest of it being a chopped up version of Jane Austen's words. Then there's the acting. First of all, both Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy speak so fast! What's your hurry? It was as if they were having a speed-speaking contest! But besides that, this scene was pretty much reduced to a shouting match between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy with some of the details that are supposed to be from Mr. Darcy future letter coming out prematurely. And then by the end, it looked like they were about to kiss! And that Elizabeth was almost expecting it! Which is the last thing that she would have wanted!

Well, there you have it! That is my comparisons of Mr. Darcy's first proposal scene in different versions of Pride and Prejudice.

Which proposal scene is your favorite? Why? What is your commentary on these proposal scenes? Leave plenty of comments! Respond to comments! Discuss and be merry! 

 God Bless,
God Bless, Miss Elizabeth Bennet


  1. Ahhh. I do so like agreeing with people. I was going to comment about my thoughts upon the 2005 proposal scene, but now I'm just reduced to a "yeah, what you said". ;D You pretty much covered it, and I agree 100%. Those were the things I so disliked about the scene.

    And of course, agreed on the 1995 version! I delighted in your "I LOVE THIS VERSION!" outburst. You're a good girl, you are.

    UGH DAVID RINTOUL DRIVES ME NUTS. I've been thinking about watching that version again but now I'm not sure I'd be able to stand it, haha. The Lizzy in that one is tolerable. She's definitely my second favorite, but then that's just because Greer Garson and Keira the un-Knightley weren't even tolerable. :P

    All said... the proposal straight from the pages of P&P is the best. :)

    1. Yeah, agreed about Elizabeth Garvie: she's also my second favorite because I didn't like Greer Garson's or Keira Knightley's Lizzy. David Rintoul I thought didn't even act: he just said his lines without any personality or anything. I did like Charlotte in the 80s version, though.

      In the middle of watching the 80s version, I was pretty much like "why am I watching this?" though it's still better than what I've seen of the 1940 and 2005 versions. Eventually, I'll watch the 1940 and 2005 version all the way through, but I think I pretty much know what I think of those two versions.

      But yay! Someone who agrees with me! :-D

  2. I really want to see the 1940 version again, as I only saw it once, years ago. This clip only strengthens my desire to see it, because both Olivier and Garson are fine actors, but they both seem so uncomfortable here, and not just because their characters are uncomfortable. Hmm.

    You've convinced me never to see the 1980 version -- goodness, now priggish that Darcy is! I would refuse him too! Bleah. I didn't find his entrance any more abrupt than the 1995, however, other than that no maid announces him.

    As for the 1995 version... Darcy paces and pants so long before beginning that it gets almost comical. But once he begins speaking, it's lovely, of course. Elizabeth is nearly in tears, though tears of anger and annoyance more than anything. And when Darcy says, "And this is all the reply I am to expect," he's such a nice mixture of nonplussed and deflated and sad -- can I eat him up with a spoon?

    But I really quite like the 2005 version. I especially love the part where she says, "My sister hardly shows her true feelings to me." He looks genuinely taken aback, as if he suddenly has discovered he might be wrong. I love the way they step all over each other's lines -- they're both so angry and emotional, they can't help speaking quickly. And, speaking for myself, the line between anger and attraction is pretty thin sometimes, and Lizzy in this version seems to be wishing he would refute her accusations, become a man she would like. This scene is actually what made me start to like this adaptation immensely, but I do have a thing for guys who are soaking wet.

    Thanks so much for posting these! Most entertaining and thought-provoking. I should learn how to upload bits of videos some day, and post my own comparison of certain key scenes of "Hamlet." Some day!

  3. I'm almost ashamed to comment. ;) But not quite. :-P

    As one of those loner 05 lovers, I kindasortalike the changes...I always love scenes in the rain and I *liked* the kind of different spin MM put on the instead of WHY do I like you, I dunno but I might as well ask you to marry me, whatever, he acts like he really does like her. And I *whispers very softly* like the almost kiss. Not on Lizzy's part necessarily, but yeah. And I love the second proposal despite his lack of attire. And her ridiculous response. But yeah.

    All that said, I do love the 95 in it's own way, of course, and I understand die hards love of it since it's accurate. I just like the touches addes to the 05. Sorry. *ducks*

    And 40 was my first introduction to P&P when I was eight, so I have a very soft spot for it. And I think Laurence Olivier made a dashing Darcy. :)

    I tried watching the 80's one but didn't get through five minutes of it. Definitely a die-hards film! :)

    I *really* enjoyed this post! Very fun.

  4. Your thoughts on the 2005 version are exactly in line with mine. :) My reaction about them almost kissing was really "WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE THEY DOING!" I really hate how that movie over romanticized the whole story.


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.