433 of 438 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2010
Today we received on its release date, the newly restored version of Pride and Prejudice with Collin Firth and Jennifer Eyhle. And we are delighted. The colors and complections are healthy and vibrant. The sound is clear and offers extra enjoyment for the dance and singing scenes. And special mention must be made of the detail that is now available to be ejoyed. It is a historic costumers delight now, since the fine fabrics and textures can now be appreciated - it is far clearer and better detailed than the earlier versions of this spectacular mini-series.
And no advertising at the beginning - put it in and it starts.
I think they did a fantastic job restoring this, and this version has addressed the earlier complaints of the yellow or washed out color palate. I have also not noticed the deletion of any scenes from the original on video when it was first released. This is definately the version the collectors to keep.
FOR SOME REASONE AMAZON IS ATTACHING THE REVIEWS FOR THE 2001 DVD EDITION. THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE NEWLY RESTORED VERSION OF APRIL 2010.
392 of 405 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2002
There aren't enough superlatives in the English language to adequately describe the brilliance of this production. As a student and teacher of Literature, Theatre, and Film I can confidently and categorically state that this is the finest film adaptation of any classic novel ever produced. The screenplay is remarkably faithful, the art direction spellbinding, the costuming and settings are breathtaking, while the casting showcases the strongest ensemble of actors I have ever witnessed. Bear in mind that this is all coming from someone who has never seen an adequate film version of any classic novel, to the extent that I no longer thought it possible. Ladies, beware Colin Firth as the definitive Darcy for he is guaranteed to make you swoon. Jennifer Ehle, as Lizzy, stole my heart. Please don't tell my wife but I have never been so deeply in love with any actress. Her elegant and powerfully understated portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet does Austen's scintillating satire of manners great credit. In the context of recently produced Austen films I would say that Roger Michell's production of Persuasion was endearing, Emma Thompson's Sense and Sensibility was a treat for both, but Simon Langton's production of Pride and Prejudice is the most sublime, definitive, and unparalleled production of P&P yet produced. It is just pure Austen. Both First and Last Impressions remain the same on this one, it is a true classic. An absolute MUST for all Jane Austen fans. Yes, Virginia I have two copies. The 1996 edition and the 2001 Digitally Remastered "Special Edition." Although the audio is somewhat better on the remaster I would argue that the color and resolution are richer on the original. I wonder if the 2010 "Restored" Blue Ray version would be a good excuse to buy a third copy? Hmmm....
1,697 of 1,819 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2002
The current BluRay (BD) edition is fantastic - it is the "Extra Special Edition". Beautiful color and sound have been restored compared to the DVD edition that I initially reviewed in 2002 (below). There's pretty much nothing about my original review that is relevant any longer, unless someone is going to buy a second-hand copy of the 1996 Special Edition set. We still love the production, and give the BD version 5 stars.
I would not have thought that anyone would still be reading the 9 year old review below except for all of the comments ... apparently Amazon has cross-linked the reviews of all editions of this film, making this the 'most helpful critical review'. For those who said that I copied the review - not true. I reviewed a single product, back when we did not even have names attached to our reviews. (My amazon review ID now is "Karl".)
Do buy the BD release - it is wonderful. Five stars. (The 3 stars are not editable and refer to the 1996 release.)
The original 2002 review of the 1996 Special Edition DVD set follows...
This BBC/A&E production is one of the most well made films my wife and I have ever seen - superb acting, costumes, sets and location, music, directing, editing!! Like others here, we have watched the A&E VHS edition over and over. (It is a 'chick flick', but I enjoy romantic movies, too.)
Our excitement over getting the DVD faded upon loading both the VHS tape and DVD and comparing the images and sound. The widescreen image on the DVD is definitely more clear on our 50" high res screen, and it is a pleasure to see the full images framed as the Director intended.
HOWEVER, the colors are not just washed out. The digital remastering has changed the color tone of the film as if someone used a Photoshop/Premier digital filter without knowing what they were doing. The VHS and original not only had rich color saturation, but also had a warm tone that felt 'right' with the period film. The DVD is not only washed out, but has a strong blue-white tone to it that gives a cold modern feel to the scenes.
To get the image to look close to decent on our TV, I had to turn the color saturation up as far as it would go, bring the contrast down and the brightness up. It then almost matched the VHS images except for the blue-ish rather than warm overall cast.
The sound is tinny, much of the lower frequencies that are on the VHS sound track being chopped off.
There are no subtitles at all (we frequently turn them on for other DVDs when we cannot quite make out the dialog) - much less alternative language tracks.
So, why is this edition 'Special'? The only additions, other than the abysmal digital remastering (digital destruction) are:
(1) an 8-page booklet (that mentions only 3 of the actors)
(2) some text-only biography screens, that mention only 2 of the actors
(3) a 20-some minute 'making of' feature that gives the producer most of the credit (and she did of course put the team together, but the director/editor/actors/choreographer/costumers/etc produced the art) - and which still only visits with 4 of the actors - out of this tremendously talented cast.
What was supposed to be a 'special' Christmas gift, ended up being a tremendous disappointment. We can only hope that A&E and BBC will produce an 'Extra Special' edition that gets the color and sound back to the director's intention (did he even get to review this DVD?). That, and a rebate for all of us who bought this defective edition, would make us happy enough. Adding subtitles, profiles of everyone else involved in the production, and stills of the various homes, heritage buildings and towns used would be (delicious, but optional) gravy.
465 of 498 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 1999
This A&E/BBC miniseries is a true masterpiece, bringing Jane Austen's most popular novel to life in a near perfect production. It has everything: authentic Regency Period atmosphere, costumes, settings, a beautiful musical score, excellent performances by a well-chosen cast. Andrew Davis's script does full justice to Austen's original. Colin Firth is excellent as Mr. Darcy, but Jennifer Ehle just takes my breath away with her magnificent performance, which catches every nuance of Elizabeth Bennet's character exactly right in every scene. It is a pleasure to watch all 4 1/2 hours straight through again and again. As a longtime devoted admirer of Jane Austen's works, I am very critical of any movies based upon her novels, but this has to be one of the very best adaptations of any major literary work.
191 of 202 people found the following review helpful
"Pride and Prejudice" is one of the top 10 novels ever written. The BBC miniseries with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle is the finest adaptation to date. The actors are superb. The screen play is accurate, comprehensive, parsimonious, and entertaining. The dialogue is beautiful and preserves much of Jane Austin's witty and wry commentary. The cinematography is superb. The film was shot in authentic locations all over Britain.
I thought the film adaptation by the BBC and A&E was so fine, I bought the VCR tapes when they were released, then I bought the lazer disk version, and then I bought the DVD version. The DVD version is a big fat disappointment. The quality of the DVD transfer is NOT good.
First, the colors appear faded and with the Regency English palette of beige-greens, browns, ambers, and taupes, this is a serious defect. It makes the clothing look worn, the grass and trees look sunburned, and some places, the complexions look downright washed out. The film appears to have been shot in Arizona at high noon instead of England.
Second, for some bizarre reason, the DVD processors nipped and tucked some of the original material. The clipped portions might not bother one who has never seen the original--but I noticed. There was no need to edit this film. Four of the 50-minute sections are crammed on disk 1 (where the editing takes place) and the other two were recorded on disk 2. I guess it would have made too much sense to record three episodes on each disk? Seems like poor planning to me.
For the price of this 2-disk DVD package, more care should have been taken with the transfer process. My lazer disk version cost less, holds more, and has beautiful resolution.
246 of 262 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2003
I am a huge lover of Pride and Prejudice. I lost track of how many times I've seen the VHS version (I taped it off of A&E and then bought the tape set). It is a superb production; the acting, production, screen play and scenery are fantastic.
The problem with the VHS versions is that the one taped from A&E has a lot of the scenes cut out, and the box set keeps you switching tapes and fastforwarding through the commercials every 50 minutes. The DVD is much more convenient and even includes extra scenes (more like extra lines to a few scenes, something only a huge fan would notice).
It is true that the DVD contains no subtitles, which is a big disappointment, because there is a line or two where I never could figure out what is being said. I didn't notice the sound difficulties pointed out in other reviews, but the color is washed out. I had to adjust the "picture mode" on my television and it's still faded somehow. The DVD extras are nothing special, and I was disappointed not to find any interviews with the main characters (I wanted to see how they look "normally.")
In spite of these small problems with the DVD, I highly recommend it for all P&P lovers. The convenience of only having to get up once (and you probably don't watch the whole thing in one sitting anyway) plus the 5 minutes or so of extra footage make this DVD a must. Factor in that it is actually cheaper than the VHS set, and there's no question. Simply adjust the settings on your television before watching, and settle in to 2 hours and fifty minutes of continuous Jane Austen.
66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2008
After two dreadful DVD releases (the first and the 10th anniversary edition) in which all of the warmth had been drained from the glorious original 16mm print as seen on TV and on VHS, the BBC/A&E and 2 Entertain have finally repented and this, one of television's most beloved series has been restored to its former beauty. In 2005 I foolishly bought the 10th Anniversary Edition as the cover art-work suggested that the problems with the original transfer had been corrected. Upon viewing it, I wrote to the head of BBC in Australia with the challenge that if she could find any of the colours on the packaging actually on the DVD, I would happily walk naked down a Melbourne street at peak hour. Luckily for the locals, none could be found, and the offending item was returned. Now I am delighted to say that the original warmth has been lovingly restored in the Blu-Ray edition. Yes, as previous reviewers have stated, it was not shot in HD, nor even in 35mm - just humble 16mm, and at times some of the long-shots are not entirely distinct - yet it is a small quibble, and this is well worth the purchase to be able to once again see this iconic series in the rich tapestry of colours in which it was originally made. Thank you BBC/A&E/2 Entertain for restoring a true gem.
52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on May 19, 2010
First thing first: The adaptation itself is a classic, the best filmed version of this often-filmed novel. And the Blu-Ray release shows off the Super 16mm photography in ways never before possible. It is like seeing it again for the first time - only it never looked this good back then. But this "new" disc has EXACTLY the same contents as the "old" Blu-Ray release.
In 2009 the BBC undertook a major restoration of 1995 Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle "Pride & Prejudice". They went back to the original camera negatives to create a new hi-def master that was released on Blu-Ray in the spring of 2009.
In 2010 they took the same hi-def master and downconverted it to use for a new widescreen standard-def DVD release, adding some of the supplements created for the 2009 Blu-Ray version and creating new cover art to distinguish this release from previous DVD versions.
At the same time they decided to re-issue the 2009 using the same cover art as the new SD-DVD version. As far as I can tell, the packaging (and the SKU #) is the ONLY difference between the "new" 2010 2-disc Blu-Ray set and the "old" 2009 2-disc Blu-Ray set. Well, that and the price. As of May 19, 2010, as I'm writing this review, Amazon is selling the "new" version for $35.49, while you can still buy the "old" version - with identical disc contents but a different cover - for $23.99. BTW, the listing of the aspect ratio for this release as 1.33:1 is simply an error. This mistake appeared in the specifications on the A&E site when they first announced the U.S. release of the set, even though the description said "widescreen" and the video clip provided (a "before and after" demo from the restoration documentary originally included on the 2009 version) was obviously in widescreen.
So unless you really like the new cover art, and I'll grant you the old version had too much Colin and not enough Jennifer, I'd suggest you save the $11.50 and buy the old set while supplies last. You can order it here.
50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2006
Jane Austen once described her work as the painting of small pictures with a very fine brush. Small they might have been, as they did not take on the great issues of the epoch. But, in painting her small pictures of the types of people that attracted, bemused and annoyed her and her family, Austen created a series of exquisite masterpieces depicting the coarse currents of passion and pettiness that perpetually run just below the surface of whatever veneers of gentility and custom society creates. With her very small brush, she pushed aside mountains of Regency refinement to peer with both loving humor and sharp critique at the foibles of human nature that lay beneath.
Her plots are simple affairs, inherently entertaining, and relatively easy to turn into a good two-hour movie. But to grasp just how much there is in any Austen novel, one has merely to look at how many good -- yet utterly different -- films can be wrested from a single novel. Take "Emma", for example. It has yielded a delightful romp starring Gwyneth Paltrow, which focused on the comedic elements of the novel. It has yielded a darker and more substantive film with Kate Beckinsdale's portrayal of a young woman whose English class-consciousness brought her very near a capacity to injure that was not in her nature. And it has yielded Amy Heckerling's brilliant take on modern L.A. life in "Clueless".
What this A&E version of "Pride and Prejudice" attempts to do is mount a single production that distills all the elements of an Austen novel into one film. It's a stupendous task, and the fact that it is done so credibly here makes this effort a masterpiece in its own right.
Everything falls perfectly into place. From the slightly-tatty Bennett establishment to the grandiose de Burgh estate, the settings capture the range of lifestyles encompassed in Regency England by the broad concept of gentility that, in fact, glossed over a huge array of social striations that posed one barrier after another to any aspirations for social mobility . . . or to the pursuit of natural attractions between young people.
The casting is very strong, starting with a superb Jennifer Ehle as Miss Elizabeth Bennett, the young woman to whom the tasks fall of making her silly mother endurable, her ineffectual father responsible, her kind elder sister happy, her flirtatious younger sisters respectable, and the rigidly judgmental Mr. Darcy humane. This movie sent me on a quest to sample all of Ehle's other work, including film and Broadway. She has proven an excellent actress in all fare. But here she simply outdoes even her imposing self by giving the director a canvas fine enough to capture every single one of Austen's delicate brushstrokes.
This production pulls depth out of Colin Firth that few others have. Going back to his early turn in "Another Country" and his later work in "Valmont", he has always played a man dependent upon events and other people to awaken his humanity. Here, however, his well-honed act fills the bill perfectly. Supported by just the right costumers and hairdressers, he is the quintessence of baronial snobbishness cruising for its brush with emotional awakening.
I cannot find a really sour note anywhere in the extensive cast, from the noisy Mrs. Bennett to the hilariously obsequious Reverend Collins and the crabbed Lady Catherine de Burgh. Even Jane, whose purported beauty and excessively passive demeanor might not ring quite true with modern viewers, was a dead ringer for what the early 19th century viewed as a beautiful young woman comporting herself properly.
I reread Jane Austen's novels every few years, and I'm certain I will until the end of my days. And, if the first decade following this A&E production is any indicator, I will watch this film over and over again. The fact that novel and film each augments the other speaks to just how well done this movie is.
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2000
This adaptation of of Jane Austen's spectacular novel is absolutely brilliant! The direction (Simon Langton) is superb, Carl Davis's score is fabulous (I have the soundtrack), and Andrew Davies's screenplay, in keeping with the spirit of the literary text, sparkles with wit and eloquence. The acting is simply mahvelous! As Elizabeth Bennet, the lovely Jennifer Ehle is charming, witty, and perceptive -- everything she should be. Colin Firth's characterization of Mr. Darcy is appropriately brooding, subtle, and intelligent (and he's handsome, too). Though the entire cast is solid and talented, I would especially like to mention the wonderful work of Benjamin Whitrow as Mr. Bennett, Alison Steadman as Mrs. Bennett, Julia Sawalha (Lydia), David Bamber (Mr. Collins), Barbara Leigh-Hunt (Lady Catherine de Bourgh), and the adorable Anthony Calf as the pleasant and gentlemanly Colonel Fitzwilliam. In addition, Anna Chancellor and Lucy Robinson throw a delicious touch of upper-crust snobbery into the mix, and Adrian Lukis skillfully portrays the villainous Mr. Wickham. This is a rare production which has been so beautifully crafted that it is possible for one to watch it over and over and delight in it with each repeated viewing. Consequently, "Pride and Prejudice" is one of my favorite movies!