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Film / Pride and Prejudice (1940)

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The 1940 film version of Pride and Prejudice has a screenplay co-written by Aldous Huxley and starring Greer Garson as Elizabeth Bennet and Laurence Olivier as Mr. Darcy.

This film features examples of:

  • Adaptational Comic Relief: Lady Catherine goes from Rich Bitch to comic relief because of the typecasting associated with her actress Edna May Oliver.
  • Adapted Out: Mr Bingley's other sister Louisa does not appear.
  • Hollywood Costuming: The Gorgeous Period Dress in this adaptation is from the wrong period; the Bennet girls are dressed in 1860s hoop skirts and are all wearing heavy cosmetic makeup in the 1940s style, complete with false eyelashes and dark shiny red lipstick. It may have been necessary, given that Elizabeth and Darcy were played in that adaptation by actors well into their thirties. It should also be noted that in this instance, the costumes were recycled from Gone with the Wind — the studio was on the verge of bankruptcy and had to take as many shortcuts as they could. Likewise, heavier makeup was also common practice for black and white filming since it shows up better in the lack of color.
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  • Nice Hat: With the time period move forward, the females get to wear big bonnets in some scenes.
  • Secret Test of Character: When Lady Catherine de Bourgh shows up at Longbourn to talk with and intimidate Elizabeth, she warns Elizabeth that she is the trustee of Mr. Darcy's estate, and if he marries Elizabeth he'll be left penniless. Elizabeth says poverty would be nothing new for her. In this version, Lady Catherine is just testing Elizabeth to make sure she's not marrying Darcy for his money - and that she's got the gumption to stand up to him when he needs it.
  • Setting Update: The time period is moved forward to the 1860s in order to have more flamboyant costumes (that period was all the rage in Hollywood at the time). The adaptation of Wuthering Heights also starring Laurence Olivier did likewise.