Wednesday, February 20, 2013

P&P Challenge: 1980 BBC Miniseries

The 1980 BBC Miniseries version of Pride and Prejudice doesn't blow me out of the water. It's generally quieter, more low-key than the other versions I've seen, and perhaps that's because there isn't as much background music. I'm not sure who made that decision, but it's kind of distracting to me during most of the miniseries. Also, the dialogue is more similar to the book than in other movies based on Pride and Prejudice. This would be a good thing, but the lines are moved to different parts of the movie or shuffled around in conversations in a different order than originally intended. The effect is jumpy, as though some of the characters aren't listening to each other--they're just waiting a moment and then repeating their own lines without reference to those around them. And the acting on average is nothing to write home about. It's not that the actors are bad, but this is a very delicate story to act out. There have to be small nuances in facial expression and general body movement to communicate more than words. Without effective nonverbal communication I found it hard to immerse myself in the story as I usually would.

One thing I did like was David Rintoul as Mr. Darcy. At first, he seemed too standoff-ish and blank, but as the miniseries went on, I stopped comparing him to other movie Darcys and started only comparing him to the book itself. I found his version of Mr. Darcy to be an accurate representation of the original. The progression of his love for Elizabeth is detailed and very visible, too, which I liked.

Maybe I'm spoiled by the 1995 BBC miniseries, but the 1980 BBC miniseries disappointed me. It's not so much that it was bad, it's just that there are better ones I could be watching. I will say that this version of the story gets better as you watch it and each time you see it again. Also, due to time constraints, I couldn't sit down and watch the whole miniseries at once, so my mood probably affected my view of what was happening at the time more than it normally would.

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