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Pride and Prejudice (1938)

Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have five unmarried daughters, and Mrs. Bennet is especially eager to find suitable husbands for them. When the rich single gentlemen Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy come to ... See full summary »

Writers:

Jane Austen (book), Michael Barry (television adaptation)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Allan Jeayes Allan Jeayes ... Mr. Bennet
Barbara Everest Barbara Everest ... Mrs. Bennet
Antoinette Cellier ... Jane Bennet
Curigwen Lewis Curigwen Lewis ... Elizabeth Bennet
Eileen Erskine ... Lydia Bennet
Lewis Stringer Lewis Stringer ... Charles Bingley
Andrew Osborn Andrew Osborn ... Mr. Darcy
Catherine Salkeld Catherine Salkeld ... Caroline Bingley
Helen Horsey Helen Horsey ... Charlotte Lucas
Patrick Gover Patrick Gover ... Mr. Collins
Dorothy Green Dorothy Green ... Lady Catherine de Bourgh
Mervyn Johns ... Sir William Lucas
André Morell ... Mr. Wickham
John Whiting John Whiting ... Servant / Organ Grinder / Apothecary
Richard Gilbert Richard Gilbert ... Mr. Denny
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Storyline

Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have five unmarried daughters, and Mrs. Bennet is especially eager to find suitable husbands for them. When the rich single gentlemen Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy come to live nearby, the Bennets have high hopes. But pride, prejudice, and misunderstandings all combine to complicate their relationships and to make happiness difficult.

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Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 May 1938 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Connections

Version of Pride and Prejudice (1958) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Surprisingly good pre-war Pride & Prejudice - the BBC always had the best version
26 January 2019 | by UberhamsterSee all my reviews

This is the oldest adaptation of Pride and Prejudice ever, on television BEFORE WWII, and two years before the Garson/Olivier movie.

Even without the BBC's 1995 adaptation as a benchmark, you'd expect pre-war television to be primitive, clumsy, and silly. Also, it seems impossible to fit Jane Austen's novel in a 1 hour program. This could never have been a serious program. Or so I thought.

But all those assumptions are completely wrong for the BBC's 1938 Pride & Prejudice. There is a full transcript of the program and it must have been very enjoyable. The screenplay by Michael Barry starts off calmly, with the well-known characters and the favorite scenes. The silly arguments between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, the extremely silly Mr. Collins, they all get the attention and time they deserve. There are even some short outdoor scenes, that seem to be there only to let us know that these people weren't inside all the time.

Of course, big slices have been cut out of the story. There are many events that we don't get to see. But the longest jump forward is in fact quite ingenious: Darcy's letter is followed by the report of the elopement, which immediately vindicates all his claims. This way, all the characters can stay true to how they were written, and how you want them to be. Nothing they say or do contradicts expectations. That's quite a nice touch.

I'm giving this full marks because not only did they get the tone right, but it was so early on in television history! In fact, if they wanted to, the BBC could shoot the same script again as a re-enactment. (No reason why a one-hour version couldn't co-exist with the 1995 series.)

Note. No, this review is not written by a nonagenerian. A comprehensive script survives in excellent quality at the BBC, complete with description of sets and camera angles. This review is based on that document, and not on anyone's pre-war memories.


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