Yesterday, as I fought off a monster head cold, (Brought on by a combination of allergy season, a weekend spent not getting enough sleep and drinking too much champagne, while playing with adorable dogs that I’m also allergic too.) I knew that I should have popped my DVD for Superman VS The Elite, and get back on track with The DC Animated movies, but I knew with the nap that would have happened if I hadn’t basically been mainlining tea and honey all day, I decided to fall back instead on a more comfortable pop culture friend than The Man of Steel.
I scanned through Amazon Prime and decided that it was about time I watched the 1994 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice again.
It’s good to revisit your favorites from time to time and there’s something really really comforting about this miniseries. Sometimes, you just want to watch Jennifer Ehles and Colin Firth enact every awkward agonizing syllable of Lizzie and Darcy’s courtship. Sometimes you want to marvel at the sheer number of feathers on every one’s heads in any given scene and attempt not to throw things at the screen every time you see Kitty and Lydia.
I didn’t finish, because without a jug of wine and my lit major friends there’s no way I’m making it through that baby in one sitting. But I did make it to Darcy’s first proposal and if you don’t know that speech you should check it out, because it’s amazing. And if you haven’t seen Colin Firth’s version, there’s so much angst and pathos and he’s one of the sexiest men to ever live.
But the truth is that there’s so much to that particular version of P&P besides Colin, including it’s slavish attention to Austen’s dialog. I mean, wow, just about every single word is there. Yes, Mr. Darcy’s POV is played up a bit more, but having the unabridged version of the proposal speech and the letter he sends to Elizabeth, all under Colin’s soulful gaze and half open shirt are worth the other 4 or so hours of Austenian meandering, even for non fans.
But of course Colin is only half of the equation. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Elizabeth as far as Austen’s heroines go. I prefer Emma and Elinor when it comes to the big 3, and Catherine Norton to them all. And while, yeah, I’m actually a big fan of Kiera Knightley’s portrayal, it pales in comparison to Ehles’s proper tomboy take on Lizzie. I’ve always felt like there was a spiritual and Atlantic spanning soul sister connection between Elizabeth Bennett and Jo March and Ehles’s Elizabeth lines up almost perfectly with Winona Ryder’s Jo (my favorite version).
It makes sense since the two versions came around at the same time. (Also, so did Sutton and Kiera’s respectively. If only Keira has sung, then it would be a perfect match up.)
It was a cozy afternoon and I was grateful for it.