I was going to write a post all about the latest screen incarnation of Pride and Prejudice and how my first reaction was why, why would one bother to even make it after the magnificent BBC production which set the standard to which all others can merely aspire. However the other day I relented and watched it on DVD and was, for the most part, thrilled.
But in spooky universe coincidences someone posted first. I had actually written the below before SHE posted, but it was in Draft. You know, still awaiting release upon an unsuspecting world.
So. MY review, which I now cannot post, went like this.
I was not thrilled with Keira Knightley, which is a tad unfortunate as she plays the lead role. I could have done without her aren't-I-just-delicious nose wrinkling boisterousness, which to me just is NOT Elizabeth. There was quite a bit of nose wrinkling in Love Actually and Bend it Like Beckham too so clearly it is her forte. To me however, it just looks schoolgirlish. She tends to act with clenched teeth also, which gives me a headache as I clench along in sympatico. But she is delightful to gaze at. As was Jane who after all is meant to be pleasant to look at although just a tad wet. She is a great match for Bingley who is down right sodden.
But I LOVED Mrs Bennett and thought she was a vast improvement on the BBC Mrs Bennett who shrieked like a fishwife and irritated the bejesus out of me (what does that mean exactly I wonder). But this Mrs Bennett was just that teeny bit more understandable and less fishwifey and one really got the whole having FIVE daughters to marry off shebang. Which made for easier viewing. And more empathy.
I also much prefered the new Mr Collins who was pathetic and froglike but again, in a more understandable way than the BBC Mr Collins who was just lizardlike without the pathos. And he should be a pathos-inducing kind of fellow methinks. I absolutely adore Judi Dench in anything, particularly when she dons a glam wig so her apperance was a delightful bonus. Although would Lady C have visited the Bennetts or anyone for that matter at night in such a flagrant breach of etiquette? I think not, no matter how outraged she was.
Darcy? Was fine but I have a total crush on Colin Firth so that's that I'm afraid. I believe he and Jennifer Ehle had an affair during the making of the BBC version, or did I just make that up? How could you not fall in love with each other if you were playing those characters? I imagine it's just another occupational hazard when one appears in these kinds of bonnet dramas. All that lace and heaving bosoms hoiked up under chins. And the men in those boots! (I'm having a BBC flashback of Darcy and the lake scene). Terribly fetching.
I very much liked Donald Sutherland doing his soft breathy thing as Mr Bennett. He has a stillness that is mesmerising on screen, but I also loved the old Mr Bennett so no competition there. The BBC Wickham wins over the new one. The younger girls ... blah blah blah, just background noise and bad piano playing although there was a lovely moment when Mary falls sobbing into the arms of her father after she is requested to please please stop playing.
But what I loved most, and was quite unprepared for, was the down to earth shabbiness of it all. I enjoyed the fact that hems were muddy, paint was peeling, roosters were chased out of the kitchen, spuds were peeled by the ladies of the house, hair wasn't primped and frizzed and aprons were slightly grubby. Indeed, that aprons were actually worn.
It was wonderful the way the first 'ball' was more of a village barn dance, complete with flying hair, pink glowing cheeks and raucous laughter. It made the appearance of Darcy and Bingley (and B's sister! Gorgeous!) in their elegant town clothes all the more incongruous, and Darcy's sneer more meaningfully arrogant. Then when Bingley held his own tresh posh ball at Netherfield the contrast between the two events was startling and as a bonus we the audience got to enjoy the frock-up even more.
One thing I could.not.abide, and so this was clearly my karma for being snobbish and not seeing it on the big screen when it came out, was the option on the DVD of the "US Ending." Intrigued and initially jealous at the notion that the yanks got a different ending to the rest of the world [why, pray tell?], of course I had to watch it.
And oh I was so APPALLED. Oh, poor poor yanks, that they have to be fed a Hollywood ending. Did the filmmakers think Americans wouldn't get the subtlety of the real ending that the rest of the planet witnessed? Are Americans that dumb and shallow? I think not but Hollywood evidently disagrees. For those of you (non-yanks) who saw it on the big screen and mercifully missed this travesty, I will TELL YOU ALL ABOUT IT so you can suffer too. Picture this. Lizzie and Darcy in their nightclothes, gazing out over Pemberley's Great Park (I just made that up, impressive isn't it? Rather like Windsor Great Park. I digress) indulging in kissy-kissy love talk and nonsense. I shrieked in horror, crossed myself and faced Mecca for good measure, and returned to view once more the [proper] final scene of the film to restore my sensibilities. I sighed in relief as Donald Sutherland once again delivered the bemused and quietly delighted final comment that if any other young gentlemen should come calling for any of his daughters, to send them right in as he was "quite at [his] leisure."
So, as I was saying, I was going to write a post all about that, but decided not to because my evil twin got in first.
So instead, let's talk about the weather.
It is freezing here. Winter has hit.
I've knitted twelve mittens in the last 21 days (for the market, mostly).
I can practically do them with my eyes shut.
These are Son #1's.
Vital Statistics: Cleckheaton 'Tapestry' knitted in two colourways (two rows alternating) because I only had a ball of each. Pattern from Patons (Australia) Winter Warmers Book 483, circa 1976. Yep, I'm in it.