Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Video: Mr. Darcy & That Infamous Wet Shirt

Friday, July 19, 2013

Isabella reporting,

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is one of the most-filmed books in literature. For many fans of the book, the ultimate Mr. Darcy remains Colin Firth in the 1995 BBC production. Those same fans can be even more specific: in a recent poll, viewers named the scene where Darcy takes a fully-clothed dip in his pond as the all-time most memorable moment in British TV drama. It's so famous, in fact, that there's now a twelve-foot fiberglass sculpture of Firth as Darcy, right, rising up from the Serpentine in London's Hyde Park, which is really pretty scary.

Is the scene worth all the fuss? Here's the clip so you can judge – and enjoy – for yourself.


Anonymous said...

I hate that scene so much. It's just so un-Darcy-like. He knows he's coming home unexpectedly, and he knows that there is a good possibility that tourists will be on the property. There are plenty of reasons for Darcy to be flustered upon seeing Elizabeth, but being half dressed and soaking wet do not need to be among them.

It was the first scene I saw from that adaptation, and I became so incensed that I turned off the television and refused to watch the series for almost three more years. The series is fun, but it still pales in comparison with the 1980 version, which has been my favorite since I first saw it during my senior year in college.

Genevieve Graham said...

I adore the scene. I love his vulnerability, his human-ness and his obviously mortification upon being discovered in such a state of undress. I LOVE the awkward small talk, and I particularly love the way he races inside to get dressed properly so he can see her again.

But the statue? Please NO.

Anonymous said...

IMO Darcy would have been confident and lord of his own manor enough that if he felt like swimming in his own personal ornamental lake, he would have stripped to the buff. Why ruin a nice pair of buckskin breeches? Why walk around in nasty wet chafing breeches dripping into your boots and spoiling them too?

Better to strip off and dry off after with one's shirt and the sun. Except he's probably too fastidious to dive into a mucky lake when he has servants to bring him a cool bath.

But turnabout is fair play - two water scenes for Mr. Darcy. The lady viewers who are not sticklers are grateful.

Deana Sidney said...

SOrry, I think the scene is adorable but the statue is grotesque... UGH! Poor Colin must be cringing!

Karen Anne said...

Laurence Olivier... no more need be said:

Lady Wesley said...

Oh, I rather like that scene, but even without it, I would still consider Firth to be the definitive Darcy. Laurence Olivier was a good Darcy, but that movie was awful. Lovely Greer Garson was 36 years old. And as Ms. Chase, above all others, would know the clothes were totally wrong! I've always just assumed that MGM was pinching pennies and reusing old costumes, but according to IMDB, " Adrian, the costume designer, asked director Robert Z. Leonard to place the film in a later time period than that of the novel so that the costumes might be more opulent than those of Jane Austen's time."

tchistorygal said...

What a fun post. I loved the clip. They both did that bit of nervous chemistry beautifully. :)

Unknown said...

Love the whole show.
I wanted to contact any of you two ladies but saw no link on how to do that so I hope you don't mine me posting this here. I went to a medieval fair and took a photo of a lady with an umbrella and would like to know if anyone could give me some idea about what time period/location this might relate to or if it's just made up. Hope you don't mind me posting a link to the photo

Would appreciate any information on the outfit.
James Niland

The Creative Bohemian said...

This version of P&P was the one that got me reading Jane in the first place. I will always see Mr. Darcy with Colin's face.

Julia said...

No wonder this subject draws comments! So here are my own two (dozen) cents:

anonymous - the beauty of it is: rumour has it that colin firth suggested doing that scene naked. I may not be convinced of the logic, but if only for leveling the ratio of naked women to men on the screen, I would have just loved to see it. And imagine Jane and Darcy exchanging polite enquieries while Darcy is desperately clasping his family jewels! Priceless.

As for the statue: Good grief. It looks pretty hideous to me, and I'm sure Colin Firth (who, according to a different rumour, never liked playing Darcy) is cringing at the very idea and even more at the sight. Although, given the number of questionable teenage rom-coms he acted in: not much pity.

The scene in the movie - I'm not sure how likely or unlikely it might have been. But it does serve the purpose of getting across to a modern viewer how embarassing and uncomfortable that first meeting was to both of them. If they had just met, a 20th century viewer would not have gotten the sense of mortification that is, on Lizzie's side at least, described very clearly in the book.

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