Liveblogging Jane Austen: Part Two

After the first experience watching part of Pride & Prejudice [1], we all decided that we preferred the Colin Firth version, so we decided to watch it.

9:26PM:  Seeing Bingley and Darcy chat with each other about country manners and settling somewhere is definitely enjoyable, as is the score.  Jennifer Ehle makes a charming Elizabeth as well with her wry smile.  There’s not much new here, but much to enjoy.

[The comments got swallowed up by my computer acting up and erasing the posts.]

9:37PM:  The details of this adaptation are superb, something that many adaptations fail in.  It is easy to copy the dialogue of Jane Austen’s work, but to make it work as a film require the addition of things that are not found in the pages, including meaningful silences.  Some additional witty lines work well too–a strong constitution and a fondness for silly girls certainly does increase one’s opportunities for romance.

9:39PM:  Poor Darcy looks miserable standing at the assembly.  Colin Firth definitely captures misery in repose very well.

9:40PM:  “I’m not engaged.”  Not yet at least, Jane.  Well played.  “I rarely dance,” says Darcy, before fleeing from the importunity of Mrs. Bennet.

9:42PM:  One of the main differences between the two adaptations of Pride & Prejudice we have viewed recently is the difference in pacing.  The music of Haydn and Pleyel [2] and the firm use of tone and expression does make this a very excellent one.  It is interesting to ponder whether this version could be improved.

9:47PM:  “No lace, Mrs. Bennet, I beg you.”  Mr. Bennet is portrayed as very funny here.  I wonder why it is that so many adaptations do such a poor job at showing Mr. Bennet as misantrhopic.  It is easy to be generous to him, because he is intelligent and witty, even if he is somewhat lazy.

9:51PM:  Overhearing Meryton conversations is rather perilous.  This is not a very estimable group of people, for the most part.  Rarely has such attention to gossip been less well-rewarded on the part of the audience.  “Poor Darcy, what agonies he must be suffering.”  I wonder if the Bingleys kept a good slave trading fleet before their elevation to the gentry.  Colonel Foster looks about thirty or forty years older than his lady.  I wonder if the gossips wagged about that, or if we are only so lucky in our present age.  Charlotte Lucas is far from the plain Jane that the novel portrays her as.  It seems that adaptations are unable to cast plain looking female actresses.  “Allow me to present this young woman as a very desirable partner.”  Well played, Sir Lucas.  At least someone in the area has some graciousness.

9:58PM:  Ah, here we see Mrs. Bennet’s occult knowledge of the weather.  It is distressing that such a silly woman has such skills when it comes to guessing the weather.  Such a glorious rainstorm as well, and Jane looks pretty pale even before arriving at Netherfield.  “It is all going exactly as I planned.”  “People do not die of such trifling little colds.”  Mrs. Bennet is very quotable, if not very sensible.

10:01PM:  Lydia and Kitty are definitely two of the silliest girls in any country.  Herfordshire was the lucky country.

10:02PM:  “On foot?”  “As you see.”  A nice added touch of wit between Darcy and Elizabeth that sets up the romance between the two.

10:05PM:  Bingley is a kind gentleman, even if staying at Netherfield with the Bingley sisters is not something I would wish on anyone.

10:08PM:  And now we come to the humorous conversation about accomplishments.  I find it an interesting conversation prompted by Bingley and involving Darcy, Caroline, and Elizabeth in.  And then right after that we see Mrs. Bennet and her two silliest daughters providing an excellent contrast.  “Are we to be invaded by every Bennet in the country,” which is a line I would say under such circumstances.  I love the lines between Lydia and Mr. Bingley.  “It will be a great scandal if you don’t keep your promise.”  Good foreshadowing with that one.

10:12PM:  Speaking of foreshadowing.  I had forgotten that the Pemberley wet t-shirt contest was not the only Darcy water scene of interest for fan service purposes here.  Hmmm.  Now I know where the Angelina Jolie version of Tomb Raider got the idea for that scene(s) from.

10:16PM:  I love the pursed lip scenes between Firth and Elhe here.  You can see the smoldering chemistry between them.  And once again we see Bingley’s sweetness and goodness of character.  “I have never been so happy to leave a place.”  I can’t imagine Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst being enjoyable company.

10:21PM:  Too bad our VHS here is acting up at the beginning of the second episode of the miniseries.  Enter Mr. Collins, who if nothing else is good for a laugh when one ponders his ridiculousness.  Let’s see if we can get the disc to properly work.

10:22PM:  It works, and now we have Mr. Collins doing his own voiceover work of his pompous and silly letter.  Well done.  And then we get to see his folly in person.  It is easy to laugh at what he says, but one wonders if he is aware of how much he is an object of ridicule.  “She is unfortunately of a sickly constitution.”  It is amazing for just how long these witty comments go.  Lydia in a scarlet coat, more foreshadowing.

10:31PM:  Bingley’s friendliness causes him to miss that cutting recognition between the perfidious Mr. Wickham and Mr. Darcy.  And there are more tedious dinner conversations that the camera half listens to and overhears.  It is striking to see just how tiresome this sort of conversation is.  Mr. Collins has to be particularly gallant to overcome Mrs. Phillips initial concern that she was being insulted, and Elizabeth is very quick to release Mr. Collins.  Such elegant foreshadowing is always to be appreciated.  Once again Mary is given something to do by playing the pianoforte.  “Poor Mr. Wickham” for not having a dance for three months and then having to dance with Lydia?  Poor Mr. Wickham indeed.

10:38PM:  Watching Wickham’s case being talked about between Elizabeth and Jane is quite intriguing.  Lydia gets a lot of funny lines, and her voice is really grating and irritating.  Mrs. Bennet is the worst hinter ever, trying to urge Elizabeth to be friendly to Mr. Collins.

10:46PM:  Randam Nathanish question/comment:  I wonder how many skilled players of musical instruments there were to hire for private parties.  A French/natural horn and a chamber orchestra probably isn’t going to be cheap.  Were there enough such people in a small market town like Meryton or did these people have to be hired from London.  That would be pretty spendy if they came from London.  I imagine wages plus food and transportation and lodging would be required.  Of course, since Bingley has 5,000 a year, I’m sure that at least a few could be spent on musicians.

10:51PM:  Bad pun alert!  “Ah, that sounds like Haydn.”  “She’s not hidin’ from him.”  But she does want to hide from Mr. Collins.  It does appear that after Netherfield that a great many of the Bennet family regretted the way that they made themselves look ridiculous to those around them.  Mr. Collins’ marriage proposal is among the most awkward and uncomfortable ever.

11:05PM:  My typing is made more difficult by having a cat resting on my arm.  Live blogging is a bit more difficult that way.  Mr. Collins’ proposal is still going on…..

11:39PM:  My internet suddenly cut off and I couldn’t get back on it on the laptop, so I have switched to the desktop nearby.  So far we are looking at the third episode, just finishing with Jane’s sad letter going on at the same time as the defection of Wickham in order to chase after Mary King, her ginger hair and her 10,000 pounds.

11:42PM:  Now it is time for Elizabeth to go to Rosings Park, after a last conversation with Wickham and her father.  Sir Lucas and Mariah make for pleasant company, at least, by the standards of Herfordshire gentry, I suppose.  Mr. Collins is rather irksome company, though.  It is clever to see how Charlotte encourages Mr. Collins to spend as little time as possible with her, but to do so in a sensible manner.  That is a fate one would wish to avoid.

11:49PM:  This is an enjoyable conversation, to see Lady De Bourg have her conversation with Elizabeth, the first of their famous tete-a-tetes.  It is far more enjoyable to watch Lizzy deal with Col. Fitzwilliam and Darcy than their aunt.  Darcy’s intensity is likely a good thing only when attached to 10,000 pounds a year.  Otherwise it might be judged as a bit creepy.  There are many advantages to landed wealth and societal honor.

12:01AM:  We are nearing the end of this episode, I think, as Col. Fitzwilliam accidentally torpedoes Darcy’s first proposal with his discussion of Bingley’s being saved from an imprudent marriage, since he did not know he was speaking to a party involved.

12:04AM:  And now it’s time for Darcy’s first proposal, and the shock it causes to Elizabeth as well as to the untrained audience.  There is much more to see, but for me, at least, I am signing out, as it is late.

[1] See, for example:

[2] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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2 Responses to Liveblogging Jane Austen: Part Two

  1. Pingback: Liveblogging Jane Austen: Part Four | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Liveblogging Jane Austen: Part Five | Edge Induced Cohesion

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