No comparison needed though to other versions, this film, in my opinion, is a stand out, unique, and a masterpiece on its own. It clearly knows what adaptation means and had taken liberties to making it its own, with creative freedom of adding fresh, new and interesting things to appeal to not just the older, but younger, modern audiences of our generation, basically for everyone and all ages to love and enjoy watching this for many more generations to come, while at the same time still honoring the original source (the novel of the same title by the one and only Jane Austen) by staying true and faithful to capturing the heart and spirit of the book and re-telling the story in Elizabeth Bennet's point of view as the novel had originally intended it and we see the story and the events through her eyes the same way we read it in the book and the story's told through her point of view. While this version's not perfect and has its flaws and short comings, but that's only because the filmmakers chose to follow the two hours length of time and so they have to make sure they have all the most important parts of the book (ie. Elizabeth Bennet's story, the love story of Elizabeth & Darcy, and Jane and Mr. Bingley, etc.) to fit in the film's two hours time frame. Therefore excluding the least important and minor characters and parts from the book that you can read in the book. That's what the book (the original source not other P&P versions before this film or after) is for...it's supposed to make you want to see more and go back to read or re-read it for more details and info. that the film didn't cover or left out..isn't that what an adaptation is all about? I thought this film did just that. Two of the many things I love about this film: 1) it didn't make an exact replica of the original source (JA's novel) nor did it copy word for word every line the characters said in the film, but worded them different, yet similar in meaning and close enough, you can still relate to it or even understand it better than the book. And 2), the following 16 beautiful things below that made me love and enjoyed watching this beautiful film over and over again...probably a million times now or so like one of those classics that stood the test of time no matter how many times you've seen it (ie. The Sound of Music), you never get tired of watching it (or talking about it like I do with this film, lol), and it never gets old. It stays with you as you grow older and it becomes a classic. This film is like that (even though it's only been just almost six years and a lil' less than ten years since its theatrical release), for me, it already aged beautifully like a fine wine.
1. Breathtakingly Beautiful Cinematography
|Every screen capture of this film is a visual treasure!|
“The film was to be beautiful not pretty, romantic but not sentimental. We would set it in a countryside full of life, as muddy as things must have been back then”. (Paul Webster, P&P producer)Pride & Prejudice's brilliant Cinematographer/Director of Photography's Roman Osin won BIFA (British Independent Film Award) for The Warrior for Best Technical Achievement. Interestingly, he was only nominated twice for P&P for Best Cinematographer from the European Film Awards and for Best Cinematography from the Chicago Film Critics Association Awards (CFCAA Awards).
His other visually stunning work in the following...
This Beautiful Fantastic (starring P&P's Rupert Friend/Mr. Wickham)
2. Stunningly Beautiful Filming Locations
"Shooting through the summer of 2004 was a delight. We made the film all across England in half a dozen counties using seven different stately homes." (Paul Webster, Pride & Prejudice producer)The fact that the East Midlands region of England was used extensively for location filming for Pride and Prejudice is especially fitting given that Jane Austen drew on the Derbyshire landscape for some of her most descriptive passages in the novel. Austen's descriptions of the county refer to there being "no finer county in England than Derbyshire", and feature "all the celebrated beauties of Matlock, Chatsworth, Dovedale, and the Peak". (from VisitBritain)
P&P Locations (from P&P Companion Book)
“It is quite unusual for a movie this size to be shot entirely on location. Part of Joe’s idea was to try to create a reality which allows the actors to relax and feel at one with their environment.” (Paul Webster, producer)The approach proved viable early on; cast members, instead of retiring to movie trailers between scenes, would head into their own Groombridge bedrooms.
The challenge of casting and shooting3. Beautiful soundtrack
Wright's version is a fresh yet faithful adaptation of the original novel that retains its own identity, while remaining relevant for audiences of all ages to enjoy.
"We really got involved with the emotions and the realities of the characters, and that’s what’s important in any story, whether it’s set in 2005 or 1797.
Wright also chose to use actual locations where possible, to increase the authenticity, rather than resorting to filming in an airport hangar or studio lot at Shepperton.
It was a decision he admits was made easier by Austen's text itself.
"I hadn’t read the book before being sent the script, and I was shocked by how acutely observed the novel was, and how much it felt like a piece of British realism.
"So the idea to shoot in real locations came from that. We wanted to create 360 degree worlds in which the characters could perform."
Needless to say, this helped the cast immeasurably, especially since they were able to gain access in advance to many of the locations.
*Oscar Nominated for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score (Pride & Prejudice) - Dario Marianelli
4. *Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet"I first worked with Dario Marianelli on The Warrior and was very impressed by the scale and vision of Dario's music for that film. When Joe Wright asked me who I thought would be an interesting choice to compose the score of 'Pride & Prejudice', I had no hesitation in recommending Dario. His background in classical composition meant he had understanding of what this subtle story required. Joe and Dario hit it off and came up with the notion of a piano based score that would support the picture but not overwhelm 'wallpaper' underscoring that plagues so many contemporary films. The early sonatas of Beethoven were a key creative influence echoed the period accuracy that underpinned everything in the film. We were blessed in that Dario gave an enormous amount of time. Every film would benefit hugely from having a composer working from the very beginning. Dario provided us music at such an early stage that from the very first cut of the film we knew how the music was going to work, it help set the picture from the outset." (Paul Webster, producer)
*Oscar Nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Pride & Prejudice) - Keira Knightley
“I must confess that I think her as delightful a character as ever appeared in print, and how I shall be able to tolerate those who do not like her at least, I do not know”.
(Jane Austen about Elizabeth Bennet)
“Apart from any physical attraction, Darcy is enchanted by the liveliness of Lizzie´s mind and her mercurial qualities. It´s that intellectual playfulness and wit which I think, as well as being physically attracted to her, Darcy finds so enticing and intoxicating”. (Matthew Macfadyen)
Joe Wright on casting Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet:“It is terribly attractive when your pomposity is noticed and then punctured in public. It is infuriating and embarrassing and you hate that person. When Elizabeth humiliates Darcy at the Meryton Ball, he finds it incredibly funny. Darcy’s being thrown off balance and captivated against his will. By the end of that scene he should be on the verge of tears of frustration, because she wins the encounter. I mean, he is mortified and hates her but goes home and locks all the doors and laughs hysterically into the pillow. That is why she is so attractive.” (Matthew Macfadyen)
"I wouldn't say that I didn't want to cast her, I didn't go to anyone else before Keira but I felt perhaps that she was too beautiful to play Elizabeth Bennet. So I met her anyway, and she was the right age and I was very keen to cast people that were the right age. So I met Keira very late one night in a hotel bar in Montreal and discovered this scruffy little kid who's a tomboy really, sort of spiky knees and elbows, and suddenly it occurred to me that was perfect for Elizabeth. Elizabeth Bennet is a tomboy and she refuses to conform to the feminine ideals of the period. Then I started talking to Keira and discovered her to be incredibly bright, incredibly funny, independently spirited, very strong young woman who doesn't say what she thinks you want to hear, but says exactly what she thinks. All of those qualities made me think that Keira was perfect for Elizabeth Bennet."
"She was the most incredibly focused person of any age that I have ever met and I think that is part of her strength. She's extraordinary, she's almost Zen-like in that way, she's really extraordinarily focused. She conserves her energy; she puts it all into those moments when the camera is turning. She's incredible."
“She (keira Knightley) was a delight. She came straight on to the set from one film [P&P], and was going straight off to the next [Domino]. And she was fantastic. So self-possessed and connected”. (Matthew Macfadyen)
5. Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy
“I had never seen the TV dramas or the film, so I was able to look for the Darcy I had in my head -- and Matthew Macfadyen was the only one for me. Darcy is 28, and Matthew was 29 when we were shooting. I had no interest in casting just a pretty boy; Darcy is more interesting and complicated than that. He’s a young man who has less than ideal social skills and a huge responsibility. His parents have died and left him with a massive estate and a younger sister to take care of, and my sense is that he has had to grow up too fast. Matthew has incarnated Darcy as that complicated layered person who isn’t easy in his skin and who isn’t easy to love, yet who is a good person with a sense of honor and integrity. Matthew, unlike many actors, is not vain, and so was not afraid to be disliked by an audience at the beginning of the story; we have to dislike him because we are seeing him through Lizzie’s eyes. And we grow to love him as Lizzie does.” (Joe Wright)
“I went in to read with him (the "rain" scene) and I virtually couldn´t get my lines out. I just kept staring at him thinking what the hell happened between you walking in as Matthew and you starting to read because he actually did turned into Darcy.” (Keira Knightley)
The P&P 2005 Cast:
Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Rosamund Pike, Jena Malone, Carey Mulligan, Talulah Riley, Rupert Friend, Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, Judi Dench, Tom Hollander, Simon Woods, Kelly Reilly, Tamzin Merchant, and Claudie Blakley
"Got all the actors to improvise as much as possible to give it a kind of reality and a freshness." (Joe Wright)7. The First skin-on-skin touch between Elizabeth and Darcy
"The next decision was to cast the actors according to their characters' ages in the book. A young cast for the story about first love. The hunt for Elizabeth became easy once Tim (Bevan) said "Go to Montreal and meet Keira. If you like her and she likes you, you have a movie." We went, we loved her, Keira said "yes," and we had a movie. The search for Darcy was a long one. We meet everyone, but there was never really any doubt that it would always be our first choice, Matthew Macfadyen. Three of our teenagers had never acted before: Carey Mulligan ("Kitty"), Talulah Riley ("Mary"), and Tamzin Merchant ("Georgiana"). Balance was required, so along with Keira, we cast Jena Malone, at nineteen a veteran of more than 20 films. Donald Sutherland, Brenda Blethyn, Judi Dench added weight and experience to our youthful cocktail." (Paul Webster, P&P producer)
“I did find myself clenching my hands quite often. I had this secret: I thought that in Darcy’s encounters with Lizzie, whenever she gets at him, really hits him with a sort of verbal body blow, he couldn’t react right then. He’d be totally infuriated. But it would tickle him so much”. (Matthew Macfadyen)
While preparing for the film, Wright and Knightley were blessed with serendipity. They discovered Austen’s one misgiving about Pride & Prejudice. In a letter to her sister, Austen “basically said that she was very happy with the book,” explains Knightley. “But that her one criticism was that she wished that she had put more shade in it”. I thought, “Oh! That’s great. That means we’ve got something to play with”.
“And here the story starts to change. And we got into a much darker phase. Jane Austen described Pride and Prejudice, the novel, as being too light and lacking in shade. So one of the things I did was try and bring in a little bit of that shade…When they almost kissed was something that we actually talked about in the screen test that we did with Matthew." (Joe Wright)
Watch Mr. Darcy proposes to Elizabeth Bennet
in the First Proposal scene
in the First Proposal scene
“It was the most difficult scene. Just because it was quite complex.You want to get that sexual tension between them. You want to get the fact that they really fucking fancy each other but that they hate each other at the same time. And sometimes you go too far and wonder and you have to pull it back. But that is what is great about the job: it’s when it is difficult it is fantastic”. (Keira Knightley)
“We shot this scene for probably five hours, with many different camera angles and frame sizes and following him and following her.” (Joe Wright)
"You can get quite self-conscious at times, there’s this business of your close up coming up, but in that big ball scene he put three cameras on it. And in lots of the dinner scenes too, so you wouldn’t actually know when your moment was coming. That’s why it’s got that lovely unaware quality to it, you really did feel it’s being observed. I think it’s because people didn’t know they were being watched really, that’s what you get, this window on life." (Rosamund Pike)
Watch Elizabeth & Darcy dance
in the Netherfield Ball scene
“They´re very difficult dances to learn, these, and so when you´re having to do big dialogue scenes at the same time it´s very difficult. Matthew and Keira did brilliantly.” (Joe Wright)10. Chatsworth House as Pemberley
Jane Austen mentioned Chatsworth in the book, and the Duchess (Deborah of Devonshire) believes that the author was thinking of Chatsworth House (in Derbyshire) when describing Pemberley.
"...and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of a valley, into which the road with some abruptness wound. It was a large, handsome, stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills; - and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place for which nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were all of them warm in their admiration; and that moment she felt, that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!" - Pride and Prejudice novel (Volume III, Chapter 1 - Chapter 43, Page 235)11. The Second Proposal in the "Mist"
“This was a magical morning. We all got up at 3 am or something, and went out and we prepared in the dark. And then we had about 50 minutes to shoot this scene in. It felt really special doing it.
I battle with myself over this scene cos it’s probably a bit over the top and over-romantic and slushy, but if we haven’t earned it by now, then we never will have.
Again, this shot, I hold it for such a long time, I’ve probably gone too far, but if Matthew hasn’t earnt this moment, then…One of the make-up artists stood beside me while we were shooting this. And she whispered very quietly, ”I wish that was my life.” And I think wish fulfillment is…wish fulfillment serves a purpose. A lot of people consider it a cop out or a… or a cynical act, but I think wish fulfillment’s really important in drama. And it’s important for the people who watch it and the people who make it. We need to have something to reach for. To not settle for less. I think Matthew plays this beautifully. The three ”I loves”. I just asked him to do it really simply. You can’t fake that. And then, just as we got to this part of the scene, the sun began to rise, and we realized that the sun was coming up just exactly between the two actors. And, again, it was a fluke. Well, it was kind of prepared for, but we were very lucky.
So the film is completely circular. You start and end with the sunrise. This is basically the end of the film. What follows is a coda. And I like the fact that they never actually kissed”. (Joe Wright)
Matthew Macfadyen admits Austen’s deft satire and classic caricatures offered a little levity. So, too, did shooting the film. The reality of the sweeping, tear-inspiring climactic scene, when Darcy does his best Byronic stride across a misty field toward his true love Lizzie, was anything but romantic gravitas, he says. “I’m shortsighted, so I couldn’t see Keira and the director was waving his red jacket, screaming, `Left! Turn left´.
“Didn’t tell them to do this final kiss in a lingering way actually. They just kind of did it. I guess it felt right.” (Joe Wright)
PRIDE & PREJUDICE (2005)
It could have ended in a typical romance-movie fashion, with a beautiful wedding and our heroine Lizzie (Keira Knightley) rushing off into her future with her handsome Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen). Instead, we get something much more adult: a glimpse into their life post-wedding, with the couple bathed in the firelight from torches outside their gorgeous estate. The moment is intimate and sincere, as Lizzie lays out what her husband should call her when she is blissfully, ''incandescently happy'': Mrs. Darcy. —Connie Yu (Entertainment Weekly Magazine)
13. The Bennet Sisters/The Bennet Family
|The Bennet Sisters (from l-4): Jena Malone/Lydia, Carey Mulligan/Kitty,|
Keira Knightley/Lizzie, Rosamund Pike/Jane, and Talulah Riley/Mary.
Did you bond with the other Bennet sisters?
"Oh, yeah. No, Totally. I mean, this is the first time for me that I've worked with girls with my own age. You know, there were three of us who were 19 (Keira, Carey, and Jena) when we did it, one was 18 (Talulah) and Ros (Rosamund), you know is a tiny bit older. But we're all pretty much the same age. And it was just lovely for me to to work with people of my own age who share the same interest 'cause I've never had that before. So, yeah, I'm still friendly with a lot of people who worked on Pride & Prejudice. I'd actually count a lot of them as among my closest friends and it was a really special, special experience. Definitely, 'cause that rarely happens on a film set where everybody just loved each other and you can really see that on the film as well. " (Keira Knightley)
“This was the first film job for both, Carey and Talulah, and they were both huge Jane Austen fans. So they were so excited about the whole process that it created a heightened atmosphere for the family sequences.” (Joe Wright)
“The Bennets could certainly exist today and, I’m sure, do. It’s only the economics of the situation, the girls’ dependence on finding a good husband, which are germane to the period. All the emotions are equally relevant today. Take Lizzie, for example. She has a mother who is often embarrassing; a best friend who disappoints; unrequited love for someone [Wickham] who turns out to be a complete cad; sisterly loyalties, jealousies, and squabbles; and she falls madly in love with somebody [Darcy] she can’t admit she’s in love with.” (Deborah Moggach, P&P Screenwriter)
“I like the idea that behind closed doors they are a real family. But then anyone else comes to the door, immediately they close ranks.” (Joe Wright)
“In the novel, Austen’s characters are all very polite, waiting until the other person has finished speaking, before speaking themselves. But I know that, particularly in big families of girls, everyone tends to speak over each other, finishing each other’s sentences, etc. So I felt that the Bennet family’s conversations would be overlapping like that.” (Joe Wright)
*Oscar Nominated for Best Achievement in Costume Design (Pride & Prejudice) - Jacqueline Durran
“If you see closely Darcy costumes in the course of the film change quite radically. In the early scenes he´s wearing a very buttoned up, very rigid, very stiff style of costume. In the middle stage, he´s wearing the same style but in a softer fabric and a softer cut and, by the end of the film, he´s wearing a much looser cut, an open jacket, a more country style, less uptight, less rigid. His costumes reflect the other changes in his character”. (Jacqueline Durran, Costume designer)
“Lizzie Bennet was the tomboy, and wore earth colours because she loved the countryside. Jane was the most refined, and yet it’s still all a bit slapdash and homemade, because the Bennets have no money.
One of the main things Joe wanted was for the whole thing to have a provincial feel. Mary is the bluestocking: serious and practical. And then Lydia and Kitty are a bit Tweedledum and Tweedledee in a kind of teenage way. I tried to make it so that they’d be sort of mirror images. If one’s wearing a green dress, the other will wear a green jacket; so you always have a visual asymmetry between the two”. (Jacqueline Durann)
|Deborah Moggach |
at P&P's NYC Premiere
“I tried to be truthful to the book, which has a perfect three-act structure, so I haven’t changed a lot. It is so beautifully shaped as a story: the ultimate romance about two people who think they hate each other but who are really passionately in love. I felt, `If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.’ (Deborah Moggach, Screenwriter and novelist)
In her adaptation, Moggach paid extra attention to Jane Austen’s dialogue. She explains, “I’ve sort of pulled a comb through the dialogue; of course, you can’t reproduce Austen’s fiercely wonderful dialogue in its entirety. But we’ve kept quite a lot of it, because it’s like cooking with the very, very best ingredients. People love the book so much that they know it word for word. It was tempting sometimes to veer scenes towards a line that is so loved, one which you know that if people miss it they will be very upset.”
Memorable lines from the film (not in the novel, but written by Deborah Moggach)...
"A Mrs. Bennet, A Miss Bennet, A Miss Bennet, and a Miss Bennet, Sir." - Netherfield Butler
"Oh, for heaven's sake, are we to receive every Bennet in the county?" - Caroline Bingley
"Only to be obtained through intercourse...[pause. thunder.] Sorry, through the intercourse of friendship and civility." - Mr. Collins
"The glories of nature. What are men compared to rocks and mountains?" - Mary Bennet
"Oh, my goodness. Everybody behave naturally." - Mrs. Bennet
"What a superbly featured room and what excellent boiled potatoes." - Mr. Collins
"We are all fools in love." - Charlotte Lucas
"I love you. Most ardently." - Mr. Darcy
"You have bewitched me body and soul and I love, I love, I love you. And never wish to be parted from you from this day on." - Mr. Darcy
"Yes. A thousand times Yes." - Jane Bennet
"And those are the words of a gentleman. From the first moment I met you, your arrogance and conceit, your selfish disdain for the feelings of others, made me realized you were the last man in the world I could ever be prevailed upon to marry." Elizabeth Bennet
FYI: Deborah Moggach also wrote the screenplay to "Love in a Cold Climate" starring P&P's Rosamund Pike/Jane Bennet (one of my favorite miniseries starring our favorite P&P actors, which I recommended here, in my two parts of Movie Recommendations) directed by recent Oscar winner Tom Hooper of the Oscar winning film, The King's Speech.
Acclaimed director Joe Wright (director of the new film, Hanna. Also, The Soloist, and Atonement)
“I put my heart into this film and I thought about nothing else for two years, from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to sleep”. (Joe Wright)
“I got excited about new ways to film the story which I don’t believe have been done before. I wanted to treat it as a piece of British realism rather than going with the picturesque tradition, which tends to depict an idealized version of English heritage as some kind of Heaven on Earth.
Q. Did it seem like Joe’s first feature to the cast?
I wanted to make Pride & Prejudice real and gritty and be as honest as possible. Austen’s characters are young people, Lizzie is 20, Darcy 28, Lydia 15. The emotions they experience are those of young people falling in love for the first time. I was moved by that”. (Joe Wright)
Macfadyen: Not at all.
Macfadyen: Joe is an actor’s director. There are plenty of directors who aren’t that interested, but Joe likes actors I think, he’s interested in the process of it. So it was a treat, it really was.
“It was great being directed by Joe because he’s got a very clear vision of what he wants the entire piece to be like. So he can also say, ‘You can stray a tiny bit, that’s all right.’ And I think you have to do that to really own a character, to possess the role. It’s a different process to do a film based on a book, because the inner dialogue of your character is all written down. So if there was ever a scene where I was having problems, we would go back to the book and in some way or another it was right there. But, equally, you have to take a stand and say ‘OK, I know it says this in the book, but you know what? I can’t do it like that because it doesn’t make sense as far as this goes, so I’m going to have to change that slightly.’ And then you have to be brave and just do it.” (Keira Knightley)
16. The two-hours length of time of this P&P film version
Quality over quantity...
I would've love this film to be longer and epic, but what is Pride & Prejudice film with a 4-6 hours (miniseries) length of time if it doesn't accomplished (as well as captured the story beautifully and visually) what this film successfully accomplished in a lil' over two hours time? So, yeah, I'd go for quality over quantity!
Besides, after watching this 2-hour P&P movie...
- It left me wanting to see more!
- It made me love watching it multiple times...
- I never get tired of watching it!
- It never gets old and ages elegantly like a fine wine
- I've discover new things in every viewing...
- It made me love and care about the P&P characters Austen created more than 200+ years ago
- It made me go back and re-read the novel as I never did prior to seeing this film...
- It made me love Austen's P&P novel and a big fan of all things P&P in general
- It made me start the P&P fan forum, this blog, twitter, myspace, and facebook and the rest...well, you know...I love talking about this film, keeping it alive and fresh for my fellow P&P fans, those of you who loved and enjoyed watching this film as much as I did...this post is for all of us, dedicated and devoted fans of this film version of P&P.
Hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing/typing, compiling all the images, videos, quotes from the cast and crew, etc., and posting this here. Thanks for taking the time to read. :-)