‘Pride and Prejudice’ another remake of a classic

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Seeing an original screenplay produced by a major studio has become the Hollywood equivalent of a dodo sighting. It is rare indeed.

The result of Hollywood’s total lack of creativity is slumping box office returns. With revenue down nearly seven percent from last year why redo “Pride and Prejudice” a film that many think has been overdone.

“Pride and Prejudice” a remake of the Jane Austen classic, stars Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen as two people destined to fall in love. Macfadyen plays the mystery man Darcy in the film, bring him to life in with a smoldering charisma. Knightly on the other hand plays Elizabeth as a frustrated and confused damsel in search of true love.

Jane Austen, a writer who knows how to make falling in love glorious, provides a story line that is every woman’s fantasy. In order for their to be a twist in the movie the story ends with a passionate kiss that does not exist in the book or in other version of this story that has been told several time before.

In 1995 Colin Firth starred in the BBC’s version. Not to say the after the Brits did it “Pride and Prejudice” should have been left alone. Or at least given a 55-year stateside reprieve. In 1940, MGM adapted the film that starred Sir Lawrence Olivier as Darcy.

Knightly and Macfadyen are brilliant performers working with extraordinary material. As star crossed lovers, their slow burning passion fuels the film. However, great acting does not change the fact the Hollywood seems to be running short on ideas.

With animated movies like “Chicken Little” and blockbusters franchise films like “Harry Potter” arriving in theaters around the same time as “Pride and Prejudice” it is clear that the film’s producers are not going after big box office returns. They want to strike award show gold.

Knightly and Macfadyen are sure to receive studio driven Golden Globe and Oscar publicity.

The stars of the English remake, however, will be up against Joaqin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon who embody two American icons in an original screenplay. The combination should be enough for one or both to “Walk The Line” on Oscar night.

What the film does offer is an opportunity for set designers, costumers, makeup artist and musicians to take center stage.

“Pride and Prejudice” looks brilliant, the costumes and set transport viewers to a time when aggressive women were an oddity and men being cads was socially acceptable.

History and tradition are on full display. If there is an Oscar to be won the film’s visual design areas would win.

History and tradition do not change that fact there is no real anticipation for fans of Austen or anyone who has seen one of the many remakes.

For anyone unfamiliar with the story, “Pride and Prejudice” does not disappoint. For Austen fans and frequent, moviegoers save the $10 and see the movie on DVD.

Darren Dickerson can be reached ane@sundial.csun.edu.