I love the 2005 Pride and Prejudice movie staring Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen so much that it took me a while to warm up to the 1995 TV series starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. Now, I’ll have to say I love both equally.
In a previous blog entry, I compared the performances of the 1995 and 2005 cast for the Bennet family and chose the ones I liked better. I kept a tally (which I will continue here) to see which adaptation wins for me in terms of individual cast performances.The final tally for the Bennets showed 3 votes for 2005 (Jane, Lizzie and Kitty Bennet) and 4 votes for 1995 (Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, Mary and Lydia Bennet). Now, I will move on to the Bingleys and the Darcys, and will keep the running tally as well to include the Bennets.
Anna Chancellor (1995) vs Kelly Reilly (2005)
I got distracted watching Kelly Reilly because I kept trying to remember where I saw her before (I checked IMDB afterwards and found out that she was Mary Morstan in the latest Sherlock Holmes movie). My only problem with her is that I thought she was a little too openly mean, which makes it very obvious for anyone who’s watching that she detests the Bennets. Anna Chancellor was a bit more sly.
TALLY for Bingleys/Darcys – 2005: 0, 1995: 1
RUNNING TALLY (including Bennets) – 2005: 3, 1995: 5
Crispin Bonham-Carter (1995) vs Simon Woods (2005)
I liked both of them a lot, but I felt that Simon Woods’ Mr. Bingley felt rather flat to me (though he is more handsome). To be fair, there wasn’t enough time to flesh him out in the span of two hours of course, so this is not his fault. I really really liked the scene where he is practicing his proposal with Mr. Darcy, especially when he bowed to Mr. Darcy and said, “Miss Bennet” and Mr. Darcy bowed back and replied, “Mr. Bingley.” Despite this, I still thought that Crispin Bonham-Carter did a better job.
TALLY for Bingleys/Darcys – 2005: 0, 1995: 2
RUNNING TALLY (including Bennets) – 2005: 3, 1995: 6
Emilia Fox (1995) vs Tamzin Merchant (2005)
Tamzin Merchant wins this one for me without a doubt for three reasons: first, she looked like she’s really 15 (the age of Georgina Darcy) while I thought Emilia Fox looked older; second, she showed personality and life, even though she had probably less than 5 minutes of screen time; and third, she did her own piano playing – and she’s really good. I wish I could play “Georgiana” on the piano(forte) too.
TALLY for Bingleys/Darcys – 2005: 1, 1995: 2
RUNNING TALLY (including Bennets) – 2005: 4, 1995: 6
Colin Firth (1995) vs Matthew MacFadyen (2005)
This is definitely the hardest one I had to judge. I know that one of the criticisms for Matthew MacFadyen’s portrayal was that his Mr. Darcy was too mopey and had very limited facial expressions, but then we must consider that the movie only spanned two hours, which is considerably less time to flesh out the character as compared to what Colin Firth was able to do in six hours. I do think that Colin Firth is a genius and he was able to really portray the agony of Mr. Darcy. However, though I liked both of their performances very much, I will have to give this to Matthew MacFadyen mainly because of his intensity in the proposal scene in the rain.
TALLY for Bingleys/Darcys – 2005: 2, 1995: 2
RUNNING TALLY (including Bennets) – 2005: 5, 1995: 6
As a summary, I liked the 1995 Bingleys and the 2005 Darcys, so we end with a tie. However, since the 1995 was one vote ahead of the 2005 for the Bennets, the 1995 is still currently in the lead in my running tally.