Well about a hundred years after the rest of the world (I have a little girl after all and the cinema is but a distant memory), I have finally managed to watch Pride & Prejudice on DVD.
And I wasn’t terribly impressed.
First of all there was the not-insignificant matter of the spectacularly irritating Keira Knightley to contend with. The best I can say is that by the end of the film I was feeling less irritated by her than I was at the start (no mean feat when you consider that I couldn’t watch the Oscars coverage without wanting to throw shoes at the screen). Also she is too thin to make it possible to eat a takeaway king prawn dhansak without feeling very guilty indeed.
Second of all was the not-insignificant matter of the unsexiness of Matthew Macfadyen. Yes, he was sweet and very likeable but also came across as being rather slow-witted and I just kept itching to comb his hair. And no, it’s not because I’m in love with Colin Firth. Unlike every other woman in the UK I can categorically state that I have never been in love with Mr Firth – my ideal Darcy has not yet been cast. (I think Jennifer Ehle may well have been my ideal Lizzie B though).
Other quibbles. The short length meant that Messrs Wickham and Collins were reduced to bit parts – a great shame in the case of the former, since he was played by the not-unattractive Orlando Bloom-alike Rupert Friend; whereas the latter was not nearly as pompous and objectionable as he should have been, merely a bit short. Judi Dench just phoned in her rendition of Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who is obviously a very close relative of Queen Elizabeth in Shakespeare in Love, while Donald Sutherland played Mr Bennet as a kindly relative of Santa Claus. (I did like Brenda Blethyn’s Mrs B though). The dialogue was, in parts, atrocious. No, you can’t always use Jane Austen’s exact words (interestingly in her books she describes dialogue more often than actually writing it) but you can at least employ a screenwriter who has a modicum of similar wit and sparkle.
Finally there was altogether too much sunshine. It felt like The Darling Buds of May.