Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Movie Review: Pride and Prejudice

By The Pleasant Times Movie Critic, Miss dePoint

Mr. Darcy Finds Elizabeth Bennet Tolerable

Mr. Darcy Finds Elizabeth Bennet Tolerable
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Thomson, Hugh
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I hope you all have been enjoying the beautiful and humorous A&E Pride and Prejudice series showing on Masterpiece Classics this month. In my opinion it is one of the best movies and all the actors do an excellent job. Whoever was in charge of casting got it just right.

I speak from prejudice, of course, for I have seen this film at least twenty times. There are a few films that I watch over and over and still cannot tell that people are acting in them! This series is one of them.

I really don't see how any newer versions can compare, or even why they bothered to make a newer version. As a matter of fact I refuse to watch the newer Pride and Prejudice. Why would I want to when the A&E one is just about perfect?

The scenery and locations are wonderful, and I quite envy Elizabeth her long country walks.

The music actually fits the scenes and characters, though I do not always care for the straining violins. However, it isn't nearly as annoying as some of the newer music scores have been in the Austen films.


Mr. Collins and Elizabeth, from "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen circa 1894
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Thomson, Hugh
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Mr. Darcy Enters a Room in Which Elizabeth Bennet is Seated at Her Writing Desk
Mr. Darcy Enters a Room in Which Elizabeth Bennet is Seated at Her Writing Desk Giclee Print
Thomson, Hugh
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The costumes are too low for the women, and that is a great pity and ruinous to the enjoyment of the film. It reduces it from being a family film to a chick flick (even then it is not so nice). I think the filmmakers could have had a wonderful film without the immodesty, and that way the men could have a decent film to watch (though there are no explosions, murders or spaceships, I am sure that there is a gentleman in all men that could appreciate the fine acting and humor of the story).

However, there are some gowns that are decent and pretty amongst the costumes and one can get great ideas from them. Indeed, since this and other Jane Austen films first came out, the regency styles have been quite popular even amongst fashion designers.

Elizabeth Bennet Refuses Mr. Darcy

Elizabeth Bennet Refuses Mr. Darcy
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Thomson, Hugh
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"I Have Not an Instant to Lose" Says Elizabeth Bennet to Mr. Darcy
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Thomson, Hugh
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The length of the film is satisfying, for those who like to see as much of the story as they can get. Towards the end, the Lydia mess gets a bit tiresome, as if they are running out of steam by that time, but that could be only noticeable when you are watching it in its entirety.

I have recently found another, fuller review of this series (with pictures!) done by someone more knowledgeable than myself about the film, the names of the actors, directors, etc. I really don't pay much attention to the names, and I think interested readers might enjoy these reviews. Here is the link, and if you scroll down to the P&P part one you will find an interesting comparison of the characters throughout several different film versions (This link is provided with all the usual disclaimers given for sites that one hasn't really read thoroughly).

Here are a few of my favorites from the film:

Which character would I invite to tea? Col. Fitzwilliam! He is such a fine, happy fellow, and so cheerful. One of my favorite characters, even though he is only a small part of the book and film.

Favorite lines:

Mostly come from Mr. Bennet:
Trying to prevent the re-telling of the ball: "No lace, I beg of you!"
"Would that he had sprained his ankle in the first dance!"

After meeting Mr. Wickham: "How kind of him to entertain us so eloquently with his misfortunes"

After Jane's Disappointment: "You promised me that if I called on him that he would marry one of my daughters!"

And his laying-down-the-law to his girls after Lydia goes astray: He was going to forbid a soldier to "pass through the town;" was not going to let his girls out unless they could prove that they had spent "ten minutes in a useful manner", "Balls will be strictly prohibited, unless you stand up with one of your sisters!" and after ten years "if you are a good girl, I will take you to a review at the end of them."

Favorite scenes:

I enjoyed seeing the changes in Elizabeth and Darcy as the film progressed. She found out he actually had a heart, and he found out that she was capable of being nice back!

Least favorite scenes:

The Bennets at the Ball (any ball) were quite embarrassing, even for the unrelated viewer.

Elizabeth's haughty look at Darcy when she meets him in the woods at Rosings Park. It was really very cruel!

Wish they had included: The ending of the book more accurately: Mrs. Bennet trying to get rid of the odious Mr. Darcy (for Jane and Bingley's benefit) by sending him on long tramps over the hills with Elizabeth, not realizing that they were engaged and found this treatment quite nice! And the "happily ever after" section that tells how it all turned out- what Lady Catherine thought in the end, and whether or not Jane and Bingley spent all their money.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I'll Fly Away

I have a special treat for The Pleasant Times audience today: A dear friend sent me a recording of her banjo playing and singing (she is the soprano voice, her friend is the alto). She has been playing the banjo for a few years now and I think she must be on her way to becoming a popular bluegrass artist!

I hope you all enjoy it!

The music on the sidebar has been removed for a while so you can listen to this while you read.

-The Editor

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Valentine's Greeting

Happy Valentines Day

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

Glittery Hearts by Mrs. Sherman, Craft Editor

A very Happy Valentine's Day to all of my readers! Valentine's day happened to fall this year on the same day that the Ladies' Bible class annually hosts their Valentine's Luncheon and Gift Exchange. It was decided that instead of exchanging gifts at Christmas time, when everyone is so busy, that the ladies here at church would have a special event at Valentine's time and give gifts then. The gift limit is a dollar or homemade! The church building is decorated in red and white. I'm sure we will have a lovely and delicious luncheon with of course, tea (my mother is the tea-cher, after all! And you know sooner or later that a tea-pot and proper tea-cups would make their way into the event).

Our simple program will be singing Love songs, a quiz to jog our memories on Love scriptures, and a scrapbook demonstration. My mother is making heart-shaped books for each lady to hold special poems and pictures, and we are bringing a scrap-book of my grandmother's to look at.

I am making up some scripture cards to scatter on the tables, and I wanted to share them with my dear readers. May your day be full of hearts and roses and all things beautiful!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Newsletters of Note!

I have been browsing these posts and remembering how much fun it was when I was a young lady to have my own newsletter (it is still fun!), that started out as a homeschool project. It is neat to see that many other young ladies have kept the idea going in their own ways. I remember at the time The Pleasant Times was printed on paper, so was Josephine's Journal and Ladybug Letters, two newsletters put out by the Miss Newtons. Didn't we have a time trying to figure out how to pay for postage and printing! I think I would have loved to subscribe to the Little Women Home Companion, and am glad that I can get a glimpse of it online.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A "Rosy" Cottage

Here is a pretty cottage to look at-- I just love the pink roses and calm whites!

Movie Review: Miss Austen Regrets

by Miss dePoint, The Pleasant Times Movie Critic

I am having the "Miss Austen Regrets" regrets. They started as soon as the movie was over. I regret that I ever watched the film. The bitter, jealous, drunken, flirtatious, immodest, cynical Jane Austen was more depressing than entertaining.

As a movie goes, there was little I liked about it, the music was again annoying, and I think that Miss Austen would have worn a bonnet more often in town, instead of that headdress. The few things I did enjoy were the locations, the hairstyles of Fanny and Cassandra, and some of the dresses (Jane's dark dresses with white sheer sleeves, and Fanny's outfits).

As a story goes, I didn't like it.

My idea of Jane Austen, to be sure, comes from the few bits I have read about her life, and mostly from her works. I have never read an in-depth history of the details of her life (as I understand it, there aren't many details left to work with), but I tend to think that this film was highly exaggerated in its portrayal of Jane Austen. They did warn us at the introduction that "nobody knows" if Miss Austen had any regrets. Maybe she didn't feel like dirt because she didn't marry. Maybe she didn't prance about the neighboring houses getting drunk and flirting with married men. And maybe her mother wasn't such a horrible monster. And don't you think that with all those neices and nephews, that Jane would have known how to hold a baby?

A friend of mine a long time ago told me that she would not read those kind of fiction books where the author takes a real historical figure and puts words in his mouth, lest the real history and the fiction mix in her mind and she gets the wrong impressions or ideas. I can see her point. People might go away from this film thinking that this is who Jane Austen really was.

I prefer to forget the film entirely, and go back to my first impression of Miss Austen, as a normal lady who acted just like any other girl in the village at the time, who liked to write stories to amuse her family. She would put her writing away when company came, and when they left no doubt she had more ideas as to what to write. She might have had a ready wit but maybe it was only seen to its fullest amongst her family and close friends, and in her writings. It seems to me to be more fun to think of her that way.
Portrait of Jane Austen (1775-1817)
Portrait of Jane Austen (1775-1817)
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Is it possible to have too much Jane Austen? I think so. The movie makers think that the public cannot get enough, so they are going to keep on with the Jane Austen re-makes and Jane Austen fictional biographies and Jane Austen: The Continuing Stories (movies that will come out based on book sequals written in the last twenty years) until it becomes boring and everyone is sick of it.

Though I do not mind if they keep trying to make a better version of one of the films, I think there is a time to quit for a while and leave it alone for, say, 25-50 years. Let some new people try it in the future, and see if any more accuracy comes of it.

I think that it is rare to find a skill and wit to match Jane Austen's, and that those attempting to write sequals should take their talents to making up their own characters and stories, and leave Miss Austen's alone. If she had wanted there to be a sequal, she would have written it.

I also wish that the modern literature analysts would leave Miss Austen and her works alone. They try to fit all this modern psychology and modern thinking into Miss Austen's life and times and how do they know if she was thinking the way we do when she wrote her books or her letters? I think Miss Austen would have laughed in her sleeve or been very angry to see all the fiction that surrounds her fiction or her real life nowdays!

I do not care to speculate about Miss Austen's regrets, whatever they may be, and much prefer reading one of her books.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Here is a great envelope idea link sent to us by a reader, just in time for your homemade Valentines.

Reader Enjoys Crafting for Valentine's Day

A reader and friend sent me some pictures of her cards and paper cones that she has crafted for Valentine's day. The red, pink and white is very cheery together. Some of her cards have sheet music as a background for hearts. And aren't the cones a sweet idea for a valentine gift or a party favor?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Graphic From Karen's Whimsy
Here is a cute valentine poem from an old book called "The Every-Day Book"
"Where can the postman be, I say?
He ought to fly—on such a day!
Of all days in the year, you know,
It's monstrous rude to be so slow:
The fellow's so exceeding stupid—
Hark!—there he is!—oh! The dear CUPID!"

Saturday, February 2, 2008


62495X: Valentine Cards; VictorianValentine Cards; Victorian
Bouquets of posies, lace doilies and vintage Victorian artwork decorate each card in four different styles for Valentine's Day. Box includes 12 full-size cards, 3 each of 4 designs, with KJV Scripture quotations.