Pride and Prejudice (Orgoglio e Pregiudizio) – USA 1940

Directed by: Robert Z. Leonard

Starring: Laurence Olivier; Greer Garson; Maureen O’Sullivan; Mary Boland; Ann Rutherford; Edmund Gwenn; Edna May Oliver.

Elizabeth Bennet had at least 10000 reasons (a year!) to reconsider her prejudices about the proud Mr Darcy…

This 1940 Hollywood adaptation (whose script, based on the Helen Jerome’s stage adaptation has been written by the English writer Aldous Huxley) of the most famous Jane Austen’s novel is set at least twenty years later than the original story. It seems that the famous costume designer Adrian suggested doing that to give to the film, promoted as a sort of screwball comedy, a most opulent look (not so strange thinking that the general idea of how a “Period movie” should look in 1940 must be based, for the majority of people, on Gone with the wind).

In 1936 MGM already planned to produce a film based on Pride and Prejudice. The role of Elizabeth Bennet should be played by Norma Shearer, while Robert Donat, Robert Taylor and even Errol Flynn were considered to play Mr Darcy. The sudden death of Irving Thalberg, the so-called “boy wonder ” of MGM and Shearer’s husband that was supervising the production, put an end to the project.

Though this film differs in many ways from the original novel (if you’ve never read it I just suggest you to read at least HERE), the brilliant performance of Mary Boland as Mrs Bennet (my favourite ever) and Laurence Olivier (that went to Hollywood in 1939 to play in Wuthering Heights) as the proud supercilious Mr Darcy make it worth to be seen once more today.

A related movie I love: Rebecca – USA 1940. Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock. Starring: Laurence Olivier; Joan Fontaine; George Sanders; Judith Anderson; Nigel Bruce

… and a related TV Mini- Series (I bet many of you have seen): Pride and Prejudice – GB 1995. Directed by: Simon Langdon. Starring: Colin Firth; Jennifer Ehle.

 

Elizabeth Bennet aveva almeno 10000 ragioni (l’anno!) per riconsiderare i suoi pregiudizi sull’orgoglioso Mr Darcy…

Quest’adattamento hollywoodiano del 1940 del più noto romanzo di Jane Austen (la cui sceneggiatura, basata su un adattamento teatrale di Helen Jerome, fu scritta dallo scrittore Inglese Aldous Huxley), è ambientato almeno vent’anni dopo rispetto alla storia originale. Pare che sia stato il famoso costumista Adrian a suggerire di fare così per dare al film un’immagine più opulenta (niente di strano se si pensa che nel 1940 per la maggior parte del pubblico, probabilmente, l’idea di come dovesse essere un film in costume si basava su Via col vento).

Già nel1936 la MGM avrebbe voluto produrre un film tratto da Orgoglio e Pregiudizio. Il ruolo di Elizabeth sarebbe andato a Norma Shearer, mentre per quello di Mr Darcy erano in lizza Robert Donat, Robert Taylor  e persino Errol Flynn. La morte improvvisa di Irving Thalberg, il produttore noto come “the boy wonder” e marito della Shearer che supervisionava la produzione, bloccò il progetto.

Anche se questo film si stacca per molti aspetti dalla storia originale del romanzo (se non lo avete mai letto, vi suggerisco di dare un’occhiata almeno QUI), la brillante interpretazione di Mary Boland nei panni di Mrs Bennet (la mia preferita di sempre) e soprattutto la presenza di Laurence Olivier (che si era trasferito a Hollywood nel 1939 per recitare in La voce nella Tempesta) come Mr Darcy fan sì che questa commedia valga la pena di esser rivista ancora oggi.

Un film collegato che amo: Rebecca, la prima moglie – USA 1940 Diretto da: Alfred Hitchcock. Con: Laurence Olivier; Joan Fontaine; George Sanders; Judith Anderson; Nigel Bruce

…e una mini-serie televisiva collegata (che, scommetto, molti di voi hanno visto): Orgoglio e Pregiudizio – GB 1995. Diretta da: Simon Langdon. Con: Colin Firth; Jennifer Ehle.

About Ella V

I love old movies, rock music, books, art... I'm intrested in politics. I adore cats. I knit...

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