Pride And Prejudice: Keepsake Edition
"Pride and Prejudice," the grandmother of televised period costume dramas such as "Downton Abbey," is now out in a two-disc, six-episode "Keepsake Edition," including four new featurettes.
The BBC and A&E collaborated in 1995 to present Jane Austen's 1813 Regency romance, starring Colin Firth as the darkly distant Mr. Darcy and American Jennifer Ehle as the obstinate and headstrong Elizabeth "Lizzy" Bennet.
Awkward, middle-class Mrs. Bennet (appropriately hysterical Alison Steadman) is intent on marrying off her five daughters, while her weary husband (excellent Benjamin Whitrow) reads and tries to balance the family's books. Eldest Jane (blonde, lantern-jawed Susannah Harker) is first wooed by wealthy new neighbor Mr. Bingley (blue-eyed Crispin Bonham-Carter) whose rich friend Darcy is at first dismissive of witty, poised and forthright second daughter Lizzy.
The era's extremely polite manners are explored (and questioned), as is the shocking concept of marriage for love rather than for money or position. The other three daughters represent additional roles for women: Studious, spotty Mary (Lucy Briers, who walks around filming locations today in one of the featurettes, "An Impromptu Walkabout," with Adrian Lukis, who played professional cad and soldier Wickham); silly Kitty (Polly Maberly); and out-of-control, lusty and loud teen Lydia (Julia Sawalha, perhaps best-known as dour daughter Saffy in "Absolutely Fabulous").
Costumer Dinah Collin's designs are varied and gorgeous, including women's empire-waist dresses, shawls, bonnets, reticules and muffs, and the men's tall beaver top hats, tailcoats with cutaways, and tight riding breeches that leave little to an appreciative imagination. The hideous Georgian hairstyles -- an overabundance of curls, braids over buns, somewhat proto-mullets -- are also elaborate and accurate, and frame Lizzy's moon-shaped face and ever-present smile well.
Blu-ray extras include " 'Pride and Prejudice:' A Turning Point for Period Drama," "The Definitive 'Pride and Prejudice,'" "Love or Money? Courtship and Marriage in 'Pride and Prejudice,' " "The Music of 'Pride and Prejudice," "Lifestyles of the Wealth in Early 19th Century England," "Technical Restoration," and "Lasting Impressions."
"Pride And Prejudice: Keepsake Edition"