JANE AUSTEN MOVIE CLUB: Pride and Prejudice (1940)

Welcome to the Risky Regencies JANE AUSTEN MOVIE CLUB!

Here we meet on the first Tuesday of every month (“and sometimes oftener,” as Wilde would say), to discuss TV and film adaptations of Jane Austen’s works.

Today: the 1940 film of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE!

First, let me say — Wow. What a poster.

“Five love hungry beauties in search of HUSBANDS!!” (And we think our back-cover blurbs occasionally lack in subtlety!)

While we’re on the subject of the poster…note how Olivier’s hair and clothing differ from what he’s wearing in the film (shown below) — the poster shows him in a 1940’s tuxedo! (And the sidewhiskers are gone!)

I know some folks love this film, and some hate it…and many have mixed feelings. So hopefully we’ll have some interesting discussion!

As usual, to aid everyone’s memory, here are the major credits from the film (courtesy IMDB):

DIRECTOR: Robert Z. Leonard

SCREENPLAY: Aldous Huxley and Jane Murfin
(based on the “dramatisation” by Helen Jerome)

(By the way, this wasn’t Huxley’s only screenwriting credit — He also co-wrote the screenplay for the 1944 JANE EYRE.)


Greer Garson: Elizabeth Bennet

Mary Boland: Mrs. Bennet

Maureen O’Sullivan: Jane Bennet

Edna May Oliver: Lady Catherine de Bourgh

Laurence Olivier: Mr. Darcy

(Fans of films set during the Regency and 18th century may also have seen Olivier as Lord Nelson in 1941’s THAT HAMILTON WOMAN, MacHeath in the 1953 BEGGAR’S OPERA, and as the Duke of Wellington in the 1972 LADY CAROLINE LAMB.)

Ann Rutherford: Lydia Bennet

Frieda Inescort: Caroline Bingley

Edmund Gwenn: Mr. Bennet

Karen Morley: Charlotte

Heather Angel: Kitty Bennet

Marsha Hunt: Mary Bennet

Bruce Lester: Charles Bingley

Edward Ashley: George Wickham

Melville Cooper: Mr. Collins

Marten Lamont: Mr. Denny

E.E. Clive: Sir William Lucas

May Beatty: Mrs. Philips

Marjorie Wood: Lady Lucas

Gia Kent: Anne de Bourgh

So: what did you think? What are your feelings on the casting, the costumes, the script, the music — anything?

All responses welcome!

And join us again on March 25, when we discuss the Kate Beckinsale version of EMMA, and on the first Tuesday in April, when we discuss the first half of the new SENSE & SENSIBILITY!

Cara King, author of MY LADY GAMESTER, who would be constantly dragging her sleeves in her dinner if she wore what those women were wearing!

About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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