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Trivia / Pride and Prejudice (1940)

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  • Adaptational Context Change: Lady Catherine's speech to Lizzie towards the end of the novel is a genuine "Reason You Suck" Speech and Kick the Dog moment for the haughty old woman. In the film, with Lady Catherine being softer, the speech is now a hoax that tests the sincerity of her love.
  • Creator Backlash: Laurence Olivier didn't think much of the film, saying "it was difficult to make Mr Darcy into anything more than an unattractive-looking prig". He also felt Greer Garson was the wrong choice to play Elizabeth. During production he felt that more emphasis had been placed on the sets and costumes than the actors.
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  • Dawson Casting: Lizzie is twenty in the original book. Greer Garson was thirty six. Laurence Olivier was the same age as Mr Darcy, who is also mid-twenties in the novel.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • Lady Catherine was given Adaptational Comic Relief in order to reflect the image associated with her actress Edna May Oliver.
    • The time period is moved to the 1860s in order to have more elaborate and flamboyant costumes.
  • He Also Did: The screenplay was written by none other than Aldous Huxley, during a period when his career was in a slump and he took several such jobs.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • As the Production Code prevented showing the clergy in a negative light at the time, Mr Collins being a minister had to be downplayed.
    • Producers intended to shoot the film in England but World War II broke out, necessitating shooting in America.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Filmmakers intended to shoot in colour and had been committed to shooting on a particular date. They then discovered that all the Technicolor film had been used up on Gone with the Wind. Thus despite all the lavish sets and costumes designed, the film had to be shot in black and white.
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    • Irving Thalberg was to direct in 1936, with Clark Gable as Darcy and Norma Shearer as Elizabeth. However Thalberg's sudden death threw a wrench into those plans and the film was shelved for a couple of years. Before the 1940 version was made, there were attempts at reviving the project with Robert Donat as Darcy.
    • Vivien Leigh was passed over for Elizabeth Bennett.
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