23 October 2012

Pride and Prejudice - Screen Adaptations

My introduction to the story of Pride and Prejudice was perhaps a little unorthodox. I first saw the book when I was perhaps 8 or 9, it was a beautiful big leather-bound book, possibly fake leather I now realise, with bible thin pages. It contained all six of Austen's completed works.

It features in this picture of some of my favourite books which once upon a time was central in my blog header. At roughly that age I guess I had a vague understanding that it was a somewhat famous book and I read the first sentence. I then decided that maybe I'd come back to it when I was a bit older, I hadn't been reading 'real' books for very long at the time.

It then got pushed to the back of my mind until I was in high school. At this point I began to express an interest in period dramas. I liked, and still do, the pretty dresses, balls and strange words. I think I may have watched a bit of North and South with my mum, and for Christmas my parents bought me the boxset of the 1996 BBC TV adaptation. You know the one with the famous scene of Colin Firth walking out of the pond.

Me and my mum watched it on a day when it had snowed, I think both my siblings were playing outside and we spent the day with the fire and watched pretty much all six episodes. It was good, and it's one of the sparse times I can remember feeling really close to my mum, generally I have more in common with my dad. I was hooked and that day to this I've lost count of the number of times I've seen it. I'm pretty sure it reaches double figures though.

It was the third Jane Austen book I actually read, in year 11, and as I had all the books before I started I'm fairly sure this was more due to the prettiness of covers than anything else. It's actually not my favourite Austen, Emma is, but it comes a close second. And I actually prefer the TV adaptation to the book, a shock I know!

So when I recently acquired a secondhand copy of the Keira Knightly film I watched it. Because of comments various people had made I was fairly sure I wouldn't like it, but it wasn't that bad. It's not my favourite, I think the TV adaptation did better justice, mostly because it was three times as long. I also thought that the film was too crowded. But I found that the most interesting thing about watching it having watched the series so many times is that I was able to pick out a lot of the lines which were taken straight from the book. I think it was fantastic that this is possible. 

So hey a question or two. Which version of the book have you seen? Have you seen any? And which adaptation would you recommend, why?


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