Pride and Prejudice (1940)

2016 #122
Robert Z. Leonard | 113 mins | TV | 4:3 | USA / English | U

Pride and PrejudiceThe first adaptation of Jane Austen’s ever-popular novel, MGM’s film is a compromised endeavour: by executives softening dialogue and rewriting characters; by changing its setting to permit grander costumes; by Gone with the Wind using all the Technicolor stock, forcing the lavish production to shoot in black-and-white.

Nonetheless, it emerges a solid take on Austen (until the ending goes thoroughly astray). Laurence Olivier is a suitably moody Darcy and, though far too old for the part, Greer Garson makes a witty Lizzy.

Massively overshadowed by later adaptations, this remains an entertaining version for anyone not too concerned about textual faithfulness.

4 out of 5