I am currently listening to the audio version of this book, but I want to recommend the film produced by BBC Television in association with A&E Network. I have probably watched this film a half dozen times; admittedly, I can recite lines along with the cast. Until recently, I had never read the book, but enjoyed the story immensely. Now that I’m listening to the original work, I realize just how faithful BBC was with this production. Much of the dialog is verbatim from the book. The sets capture the time period so accurately. The homes, furniture, and costumes transport you to the 19th century English countryside. The actors do a wonderful job depicting the mannerisms and propriety of British society.
For those unfamiliar with the story, the central characters are the Bennet family—father, mother, and five daughters. Because there are no sons to inherit the estate, at least one of the Bennet daughters must marry well to provide for themselves and the rest of the family. The two eldest, Jane and Elizabeth, are both attractive and smart young ladies, which is more than can be said of their three younger sisters. Very early in the film, a wealthy young gentleman (Mr. Bingley), his even wealthier friend (Mr. Darcy), and his two sisters rent a nearby large estate for the summer. Mrs. Bennet is determined to ensure her family’s fortunes and insists her husband become acquainted with their new neighbor. The Bennet family finds Mr. Bingley amiable and very agreeable, while Mr. Darcy is snobbish and proud. The story continues with various encounters between the Bennet daughters and Bingley and Darcy. A few scandals occur, certain people show their true personalities, and the story ends with a satisfying, albeit predictable, conclusion.
After watching the BBC production numerous times, I was disappointed with the newer (2005) version, created as a two hour feature film. The BBC version is considerably longer at 310 minutes, but definitely worth the extra time.
Check the WRL catalog for Pride and Prejudice.