Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mr. Darcy Through The Ages, 1936-2011 (SCREENOGRAPHY)

Anthology: Mr. Darcy Through The Ages
Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy has been appearing in theatre, films and TV around the world for over 70 years, in faithful adaptations and loose interpretations portrayed by a diverse set of actors including:

1936    (London stage production Pride and Prejudice) Hugh Williams.
1938    (BBC’s Pride and Prejudice) Andrew Osborn.
1940    (MGM’s Pride and Prejudice) Sir Laurence Olivier, who portrayed a flourishing, theatrical Mr. Darcy (dialogue sampler: “I am in no humour tonight to give consequence to the middle classes at play”) in this Gone With The Wind-style classical Hollywood film.  Darcyometer: D
1949-54 (The Philco Television Playhouse/NBC’s Pride and Prejudice) John Baragrey and Larry Gates.
1952    (BBC’s Pride and Prejudice) Peter Cushing.
1957    (Radiotelevisione Italiana’s Orgoglio e Pregiudizio) Franco Volpi.
1958    (BBC’s Pride and Prejudice) Alan Badel.
1959    (First Impressions, a Broadway musical) Farley Granger.
1961        (NCRV Television, Netherlands’ Vier Dochters Bennet, De) Ramses Shaffy.
1967    (BBC’s Pride and Prejudice) Lewis Fiander.
1980    (BBC’s Pride and Prejudice) David Rintoul portrayed a stiffer-than-starch Mr. Darcy in this low-budget production.  Darcyometer: D
1995    (BBC/A&E’s Pride and Prejudice) Colin Firth’s dashing Mr. Darcy is still widely considered the finest by critics and audiences.  Darcyometer: A+
1993-07 (Pride and Prejudice Musical) Bernard Taylor began this as a studio recording in London and it went on to worldwide theatrical productions.
2001    (Little Bird’s Bridget Jones Diary) Bridget’s primary love interest, Mark Darcy, is based on Austen’s Darcy. The fact that Colin Firth played the part of Mark Darcy was an intentional irony that doubled the Darcy appeal for viewers. Although the movie lacked a WWSS, there was a fight scene between Darcy and Hugh Grant’s Daniel Cleaver (based on Wickham) with It’s Raining Men playing in the background.  Darcyometer: B+
2003    (Bestboy Pictures’ Pride & Prejudice: A Latter Day Comedy) Will Darcy, played by Orlando Seale, is a British businessman who falls for Elizabeth Bennet, an American student at a Mormon university, in this unnecessary adaptation (dialogue sampler: “I find…I find…I find you strangely attractive).”  Darcyometer: F
2004    (Bride Productions’ Bride & Prejudice aka Balle Balle! Amritsar to LA) Martin Henderson’s William Darcy is a Beverly Hills hotel owner who initially finds Bollywood-bhangra dancing tacky (dialogue sampler: I'm a hopeless dancer, but this looks like you just screw in a light bulb with one hand and pat the dog with the other”) until he finds love with Aishwaria Rai’s Lizzie/Lalita Bennet/Bakshi, in Gurinder Chadha’s song-and-dance fiasco.  Darcyometer: F
2004    (Working Title Films’ Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason) Once again, Colin Firth plays Mark Darcy in the film, and Firth also appears as himself in the DVD version getting interviewed by an over-excited Bridget (Renee Zelwegger). There’s also a quasi-WWSS where Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver fight in a fountain. We love the Darcy-as-Darcy-as-Colin Firth-as-Darcy twist. Incidentally, Mr. Darcy—I mean, Mr. Firth—also fell in the water in 2003’s Love Actually (Universal Pictures) during a romantic scene.  Darcyometer: A-
2005    (Focus Feature’s Pride & Prejudice) Mathew Macfadyen’s brooding Mr. Darcy is captivated by Keira Knightley’s pouty Elizabeth and has no problem being passionate in the rain (dialogue sampler: “you have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love, I love, I love you).”  Darcyometer: A
2007    (Fragile Films’ St. Trinian’s).  Colin Firth here plays an Education Minister who tries to shut down the anarchic St. Trinian’s school. Not only is Headmistress Camilla (cross-dressing Rupert Everett)’s yapping little dog named ‘Darcy,’ but Colin Firth is also depicted in slow motion in a WWSS (he fell into a pool from an open window). Looks like Firth has given up and conceded that Darcy will be embedded on his tombstone!  Darcyometer: B
2008 (ITV’s Lost In Austen) Elliot Cowan’s gallant Mr. Darcy falls for a twenty first century Londoner despite being horrified by her not being “a maid” and agrees to wade in the lake for her Darcy-as-Firth’s-Darcy moment (dialogue sampler: “I have laboured so long in the service of propriety...Amanda, I would fight the world! You are the one I love).”  Darcyometer: A
2008    (Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice—The New Musical) with Broadway star Colin Donnell as Mr. Darcy.
2012    (Scarlett Pictures’ Jane Austen Handheld) ER’s resident Croat doctor, Goran Visnjic, is rumoured to be playing Mr. Darcy in this fly-on-the-wall reality show adaptation that also stars Stephen Fry as Mr. Bennet, Carrie Fisher as Mrs. Bennet, and singer Lily Allen as Lydia Bennet. Elizabeth Bennet: TBD.
2012 (Rocket Pictures’ Pride and Predator) Elton John’s production features aliens landing in and terrorizing Longbourne (no, they don’t look like Lady Catherine de Bourgh). Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet: TBD.
2012 (Lionsgate Films/Darko Productions’ Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) A film adaptation of the bestselling hybrid horror novel, Natalie Portman is the producer and Emma Stone will be running around as Elizabeth Bennet chasing zombies. Mr. Darcy: TBD.
2012 (Columbia Pictures/Mammoth Screen’s Lost In Austen) Adapted from the 2008 ITV miniseries and directed by Sam Mendes. Casting: TBD


trina said...

I loved your Darcyometer and agree with your spot on grades for the Mr.Darcys through the ages, Thanks this was fun

Laaleen said...

Thanks, Trina

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