Pride and Prejudice 1996 DVD

Directed by Simon Langton
Written by Andrew Davies, based on the novel by Jane Austen
Starring Jennifer Ehle, Colin Firth, Susannah Harker, Alison Steadman, Benjamin Whitrow

Features:

  • Jane Austen Biography/Bibliography
  • Talent Biographies/Filmographies
  • Behind-the-scenes featurette: “The Making of Pride and Prejudice”
  • Booklet with cast and crew reminiscences

Released by: A&E Home Video.
Rating: NR
Region: 1
Anamorphic: Yes.

My Advice: Own it.

Elizabeth Bennet, or Lizzy (Ehle), a feisty Jane Austen heroine, is one of five not-so-well-off sisters. When a wealthy bachelor, Mr. Bingley (Crispin Bonham-Carter) moves in next door, Mrs. Bennet (Steadman) is determined for him to marry one of her daughters. As her sister Jane (Harker) is seemingly being wooed by Mr. Bingley, Lizzy is facing the cold pride of his friend, Mr. Darcy (Firth). But things are not always as they seem, and Lizzy finds that her first impressions are not always as sound as she thinks them to be. The two girls, as well as the rest of their family, are thrown into uproar over the anxieties over marrying for love or marrying for more material considerations. Filled with vivacious characters and many a plot twist, this is a classic story beloved by readers for over two centuries.

Okay, I may be a little biased about this DVD because not only is Pride and Prejudice one of my very favorite books, but I also loved this movie. To see it in widescreen format totally uncut (my worn-out VHS-taped-off-of-TV-version was a teeny bit edited, probably for time restraints) was heavenly.

The feaurette was also quite enjoyable. It gave a lot of tidbits into how the film tried to capture the essence of the novel and also the time in which it was set. However, the weak part was that it was just that–tidbits. I would have very much liked to see more details about the production, particulary the script adaptation and the research and execution of the sets and costumes. All of these things were touched upon, but just briefly enough to make me have twenty more questions to ask about the production.

On a similar note, I would have liked a commentary track, at least with the director and producer, and possibly with some of the actors or production staff. A well-crafted period film like this is incredibly complex, and it would have been nice to have some more insights about the process of making the film. The biographies were somewhat interesting, although they were mostly listings of credits; the actors’ looked like they might have been taken straight off of the Internet Movie Database. Still, it was nice to read about Jane Austen and see what else the mostly little-known actors have done.

Pride and Prejudice on location

Pride and Prejudice dance

Overall, however, this was a delightful DVD, and I was just so thrilled with the presentation of the film that I looked at the other features as extra treats. If you aren’t a big Pride & Prejudice fan, rent this, but if you are enamored with extremely well-done period films as I am, this is definitely one to own.

Where to Find It