Pride and Prejudice (1995)
Main Menu Audio
Scene Selection Animation
|Year Of Production||1995|
|Running Time||309:58 (Case: 327)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Simon Langton|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Barbara Leigh Hunt
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||No|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, fade out of freeze of last scene|
Jane Austen was born 16 December 1775 at Steventon, Hampshire, England (near Basingstoke). She was the seventh child (out of eight) and the second daughter (out of two), of the Rev. George Austen, 1731-1805 (the local rector, or Church of England clergyman), and his wife Cassandra, 1739-1827 (née Leigh). She started writing at an early age (from about 1787 onwards) and early versions of the novels eventually published as Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey were all begun and worked on from 1795 to 1799. Jane Austen published four of her six novels in her lifetime, and the two others were published together soon after her death in 1817. She died on Friday, 18 July 1817, aged 41 (probably from Addison's disease) and was buried in Winchester Cathedral. Many have speculated to what extent Jane's private life mirrored that of her famous heroines, but in the end neither she nor her sister Cassandra ever married.
Structured into six episodes of just under an hour each, the story of Pride and Prejudice revolves around the Bennet family and in particular Elizabeth Bennet (Jennifer Ehle), a witty and captivating twenty-year old woman known as "Lizzie" to her family and friends. Besides Lizzie, Mr. (Benjamin Whitrow) and Mrs. (Alison Steadman) Bennet have four other daughters, all of a marriageable age:
In the meantime, two extremely attractive and eligible young men have recently arrived in town - Mr. Bingley (Crispin Bonham-Carter) and Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth). Mr. Bingley is well-regarded by all and soon becomes infatuated with the pretty Jane, but Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth did not quite hit off as well on first impressions. The younger sisters seem obsessed with the uniformed officers of the militia stationed nearby and Mr. Collins decides he wants to go wife-hunting! What follows is a very well-structured romantic comedy about first impressions, vanity, truth and falsehoods, re-evaluations, love and, of course, unyielding pride and blinding prejudice.
You can find the annotated and hyperlinked web-based text of the novel here. The screenplay (by Andrew Davies) follows the original novel reasonably closely (especially the dialogue), and the following fan site has a very good synopsis of the six episodes in the mini-series, but in the meantime this is my super-condensed abbreviation of the six episodes:
Pride and Prejudice was first shown on Australian television commencing on 2 March 1996. Although the US NTSC version (which is actually multi-region coded) of the DVD has been available since 1998, and the Region 2 DVD set has been out since late 2000, Region 4 fans of this mini-series have had to wait until May 2001 for the 2-disc DVD set. So, is the wait worthwhile?
Surprisingly (given that this is a TV production), we do get a widescreen 16x9 enhanced transfer. So, are we seeing more of the picture than was originally broadcast on TV, or are we seeing a version with the tops and bottom cropped off? I'm not sure - some of scenes where the tops of the characters' heads have been cropped off would indicate that we are watching a cropped version, and yet the exterior scenes of Rosings (29:20-29:36) seem perfectly framed for 1.78:1. At least one fan site seems to indicate that we do get to see detail on the sides not present in the VHS version. I suspect the original aspect ratio may well have been 1.66:1 (excerpts from the mini-series presented in the accompanying "Making of" featurette seem to be consistently presented in 1.66:1, and there is a part in the featurette where we get to see scenes in the film being edited on a monitor - 22:06-22:13 and 22:23-22.37 - these seem to be presented in what looks like 1.66:1) which is then cropped off slightly for the DVD but broadcast on TV centre-cut.
Unfortunately the transfer is somewhat soft and lacking in detail. The opening titles in particular, where the film pans slowly over embroidery, lace and satin seem curiously defocused and I would have expected a better quality transfer to really highlight the detail in the lace.
I am really disappointed by the colour of the transfer, which is consistently undersaturated, possibly because the colour in the film print from which the transfer has been sourced from has faded over the years. The film source could obviously do with some restoration and colour correction. What is really galling is that the accompanying featurette (derived from a video master obviously) contains excerpts from the mini series with much better colour saturation.
MPEG artefacts are thankfully minor, mainly limited to some ringing around the titles during the opening sequences. The film source exhibits fairly noticeable levels of grain throughout.
The episodes feature one subtitle track - English for the Hard of Hearing. I turned this on briefly, and during passages where I couldn't quite hear what the characters were saying, and found it quite helpful.
This is a two disc set containing two single-sided dual layer discs (RSDL). On both discs, the layer change occurs just before the last chapter of the second title - 36:25 on Disc 1 and 42:05 on Disc 2 - and in both cases the change results in a noticeable slight pause. In both cases, and especially on Disc 2 where there is an additional featurette encoded as Title 5, I would have thought it infinitely preferable to do the layer change between titles.
I found the dialogue to be generally okay, although occasionally the characters speak a little bit too fast which tends to muddy their lines. There are no issues with audio synchronization, and the background music matches the mood of the storyline perfectly.
|Surround Channel Use|
I have to make a comment about the DVD packaging - the copy I received was packaged using two C-Button Version 1 cases glued together, accompanied by a slick that seems to be formatted for a normal sized case. I'm presuming either the slick or the case will be replaced to match each other by the time the DVD set hits the retail shelves.
I was disappointed to find out the Colin Firth did NOT actually jump into the lake at "Pemberly" (in reality Lyme Park) - but then I don't think I'd like to try out those murky waters either!
There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-626D, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (203cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front left/right: B&W DM603; centre: B&W CC6S2, rear left/right: B&W DM601|