PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (1940) B/W 117m dir: Robert Z. Leonard
w/Greer Garson, Laurence Olivier, Mary Boland, Edna May Oliver, Maureen O'Sullivan, Ann Rutherford, Frieda Inescort, Edmund Gwenn, Karen Morley, Heather Angel, Melville Cooper
From The Movie Guide: "We may be prejudiced, but MGM can be proud. A remarkable example of Hollywood's not choking on the prestige adorning the filming of a classic, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE is an unusually successful adaptation of Jane Austen's most famous novel. Although the satire is slightly reduced and coarsened and the period advanced in order to use more flamboyant costumes, the spirit is entirely in keeping with Austen's sharp, witty portrait of rural 19th century social mores. ...
"The screenplay, by Aldous Huxley and old hand Jane Murfin, retains much of the novel's famous dialogue .... They have also added a few scenes to 'open up' the action a bit; our favorites are the hilarious carriage race and the enchanting archery lesson. The sets and costumes are lovingly rendered, and the cinematography by Karl Freund evokes a glorious sense of period. PRIDE AND PREJUDICE represents the finest directorial work by MGM perennial Robert Z. Leonard. Liked by actors whom he indulged, Leonard generally crafts his work smoothly but it often lacks personality or imagination. Here, however, the pacing is perfect and the details just right. For personality, all one has to do is turn to that amazing cast. Garson never did anything better than her Elizabeth Bennett. Genteel but not precious, witty yet not forced, spirited but never vulgar, Garson's Elizabeth is an Austen heroine incarnate. Olivier, too, has rarely been better in a part requiring the passion of his Heathcliff from WUTHERING HEIGHTS but strapping it into the straitjacket of snobbery. As Mr. Bennett, Gwenn makes a wonderfully wry and composed foil for his wife's antics, and Cooper rarely had the chance to huff and fluff quite so amusingly again."