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Posts Tagged ‘Lawrence Olivier’

First published in 1813, Jane Austen’s much beloved novel, Pride and Prejudice, has been adapted and imitated numerous times. Over the years it has spawned television programs, films, plays and a seemingly endless cycle of sequels, prequels and what-if alternatives. Among these:

The 1940 version of Pride and Prejudice with Greer Garson as Elizabeth and Lawrence Olivier as Darcy. This clip from youtube shows the scene where Elizabeth visits Charlotte at Rosings Park.

The much more recent television mini series from 2008, Lost in Austen, about a modern-day girl who finds Elizabeth Bennet in her bathroom and then switches places with her at Longbourn. Watch this clip from youtube where Amanda first meets Elizabeth.

If reading is more your style, here are two of the newest Pride and Prejudice spinoffs to take a look at:

The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet

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Pride and prejudice and zombies : the classic Regency romance — now with ultraviolent zombie mayhem!

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Ah, Friday again…at last. And to start the weekend off right, let’s take a look back at some classic movies that opened on this day in history. First on the list is That Hamilton Woman, which premiered April 3, 1941 at Radio City Music Hall. It was directed and produced by the very talented Alexander Korda and stars Vivien Liegh as the title character Lady Hamilton and Lawrence Olivier as Admiral Lord Nelson. Korda’s second wife was the beautiful Merle Oberon, who starred opposite Leslie Howard in the 1935 classic The Scarlet Pimpernel, another Alexander Korda production. Korda had a knack for stretching a dollar (or a pound, as the case may have been); and maintained incredibly high production values with ludicrously small budgets. In fact, Korda was so good at making his movies both high quality and entertaining, while still managing to keep costs down, that many Hollywood producers were upset with him because he routinely made them look bad. If he could save money and make great films, why couldn’t they? But then they weren’t Alexander Korda, were they?

Next on the rundown is an interesting 1956 film called The Man who Never Was. It stars Clifton Webb as Ewen Montagu, a British naval officer who is charged with the unenviable task of designing a scheme to trick the Germans into moving their forces out of Italy prior to the Allied invasion in WWII. This account of the highly successful ‘Operation Mincemeat’ is based on the true story of the fictional Major William Martin, the corpse who convinced the Germans that the Allied forces were planning to invade, not Sicily, but Greece and Sardinia. The film was based on the book of the same name, which described in detail the complexities of convincing the Germans that they had fortuitously stumbled onto actual British intelligence records carried by the made-up Major. It’s the sort of scheme that only works once, but when it did, it worked like a charm.

And last, the 1958 film, The Long Hot Summer, starring the then soon-to-be husband and wife team Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. This film also features Orson Welles, looking very much older than his forty-three years and giving one of his usual larger-than-life performances. Also in the cast is the inimitable Angela Lansbury, who is still going strong and opened in February on Broadway as the medium, Madame Arcati, in a revival of Noel Coward’s 1941 comedy Blithe Spirit. If you’re not familiar with this play, it concerns the plight of Charles Condomine, a writer who sets out to debunk the existence of ghosts, but ends up being haunted by the spirit of his first wife, Elvira, who is determined to bust up his marriage to his second wife. The play premiered on Broadway on November 5, 1941 with Clifton Webb as Charles. Blithe Spirit has seen numerous incarnations over the years and was made into a film in 1945 starring Rex Harrison and directed by legendary filmmaker David Lean. Noel Coward hated the film version of his comic masterpiece, which has an altered ending, and so did the few people who went to see it. Since then, however, most people consider this film to be a classic; but perhaps that’s because David Lean’s star has risen so much higher than it was in 1945.

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