Time: 117 Minutes
Rating: Not Rated
AWARDS: Won Academy Award for Best Art Direction.
Though I'm a fan of both Jane Austen and drawing room comedies, I have to admit the only reason I sat through this classic flick was to see Laurence Olivier. He was touted as the best actor of his generation and though I haven't seen him in many things, what I have watched, he has been absolutely mesmerizing. I just can't resist his dark, brooding good looks. He, of course, is one of the best things about this adaptation and I think the best Mr. Darcy captured onscreen. There's a dangerous undercurrent to his performance that makes him more mysterious and entrancing than other versions.
What surprised me was Greer Garson. Even though she is way to old for the part (she was 36 playing 18), she just lights up the screen in this tale of love, marriage and social standing. She captures and holds your attention whenever she is onscreen. If you don't know, the film centers on the Bennett family and their trials and tribulations in trying to find wealthy, upstanding husbands for their five daughters. Garson plays the oldest, a smart, witty woman locked in a love/hate relationship with the rich, yet arrogant Mr. Darcy played by Olivier. While they are onscreen, the film crackles with energy, when they're not, the hijinks of the other daughters and their love problems get a bit tiresome.
For some reason, the younger sister didn't bother me as much when I read the book. Maybe because you got to know them better. The film just covers the basics here, much to its detriment. Overall, this is a pretty lively film when the leads are onscreen with enough romance to keep you interested, but nothing you'll remember the day after. Maureen O'Sullivan, Bruce Lester and Edmund Gwenn manage to acquit themselves well, making their characters stand out from the crowd. If you enjoy costume pics with wit and humor, this one will entertain you well enough.