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Pride and Prejudice ()

directed by
featuring Greer Garson, Laurence Olivier, Mary Boland, Edna May Oliver, Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O'Sullivan

Long before 19th-century novelist Jane Austen became a hot property in Hollywood, MGM produced this opulent and entertaining adaptation of one of Austen's best-known novels. The elegant and slyly satirical comedy of manners gets under way when socially conscious Mrs. Bennet (Mary Boland), with the begrudging assistance of her husband (Edmund Gwenn), begins seeking out suitable (and suitably wealthy) husbands for her five daughters: Elizabeth (Greer Garson), Jane (Maureen O'Sullivan), Lydia (Ann Rutherford), Kitty (Heather Angel), and Mary (Marsha Hunt). One of the least likely matrimonial prospects is Mr. Darcy (Laurence Olivier), a rich, handsome, but cynical and boorish young man. Naturally, Elizabeth Bennet, the strongest-willed of the Bennet girls, is immediately fascinated by him, and she sets out to land him -- but only on her own terms, and only after she has exacted a bit of genteel revenge for his calculated indifference to her. Though Austen's novel was set in 1813, the year of its publication, the film version takes place in 1835, reportedly so as to take advantage of the more attractive costume designs of that period. Not surprisingly, a few changes had to be made to mollify the Hollywood censors (eager to find offense in the most innocent of material): the most notable is the character of Mr. Collins (Melville Cooper), transformed from the book's hypocritical clergyman to the film's standard-issue opportunist. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi Hide synopsis

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