IT is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
These are the first word from Jane Austen’s most famous novel Pride & Prejudice. Last year was the bi-centenary of this wonderful piece of fiction being published.
There have been many incarnations of the main characters of Miss Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy over the years and everyone who has watched these productions has their favourite. I was introduced to Mr Darcy by one of the most famous actors in the world, Sir Laurence Olivia with Greer Garson as his Elizabeth. Filmed in 1940 these two stars were at the height of their careers. Ignoring all the inaccuracies, I was hooked. It was the way they spoke, the cloths, their manners and courtesies, but most of all it was the idea of a happy ending. Of course today’s generation have the delectable Colin Firth and the iconic wet shirt scene to swoon over or the handsome Matthew McFadden from the 2005 film version. And although he didn’t walk out of a lake, his proposal during the thunder-storm was just as seductive. (Hands up all those who longed for him to kiss Keira Knightley in that scene?) Another was the rich voiced David Rintoul in the 1980 mini-series. And lets not forget the slightly different incarnation, Lost in Austen. If you haven’t seen this yet its a must for all Austen fans with the very yummy Elliot Cowen as Mr Darcy. So what is it that attracts us to this man? He’s rude, arrogant, proud, intolerant and full of his own self-importance, but let’s not forget he is also extremely handsome AND extremely rich. OK the last two items might have some influence on us but what about him as a person. Is it because we ladies like a bad boy? or maybe we like to think that we would be the one woman who could change him. Most people would probably say they like seeing the spirited Elizabeth put him firmly in his place. Personally I liked Darcy just the way he is, a little bit bad, a lot sexy and rich, just my kind of man. For whatever reason you like this novel, I would like to think Jane was sending a message to us through the ages. Love can cross any divide, that we should never give up hope and true love is worth waiting for. What do you think?
Sir Laurence Olivier Colin Firth Elliot Cowan