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Austen on Film > Death Comes to Pemerley adaptation

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message 1: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 679 comments Did anyone watch Death Comes to Pemberley? I passed on the book after reading several reviews but the adaptation was not bad. I loved seeing Pemberley though I have read that Chatsworth is probably more grand than Pemberley. It's gorgeous! The story wasn't bad. I didn't figure it out right away but wasn't surprised by the big reveal.

I wasn't crazy about the characters. Lydia was spot on, as was Mrs. Bennet. Lizzy seems to have lost some of her joy and wit. Darcy wasn't quite how I pictured him but not bad. I didn't like Col. Fitzwilliam AT ALL. His character was all wrong! I liked Georgiana and her love interest. They were so sweet but he's so ineligible. Wickham was an interesting character. He doesn't seem to have changed much. I did not quite believe that (view spoiler) I don't see that at all. I thought she was (view spoiler)

What did you think of the casting? I didn't like Lizzy and Darcy. She's way too old to be Lizzy, especially in the flashback scenes. Darcy didn't float my boat. I always pictured him as handsome but I guess making Wickham handsome and Darcy not emphasizes that first impressions based on looks can be decieving. Georgiana was just as I imagine her to be and while the actress playing Lydia was great, she's too petite. Lydia is the tallest of the Bennet sisters though she's the youngest.

I DVRd it so I can watch it again when I can concentrate better when no one else is home.


message 2: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana | 1 comments Although I really enjoy P. D. James's writing I absolutely didn't like Death Comes to Pemberley-the novel. That's why I was pleasantly surprised at the adaptation. I thought it was much better than the book, watching Chatsworth in action made it worth it. I wouldn't have cast Anna Maxwell Martin and Matthew Rhys as Lizzy and Darcy, but I think they did an ok job.


message 3: by Tina (new)

Tina (tinacz) | 55 comments I would've also preferred a different Darcy and Lizzie in this adaptation. In all, it was pretty good.


message 4: by Abby (new)

Abby I thought it was really good. I watched it months ago when I stumbled upon it on YouTube. Now I'm re-watching on PBS.


message 5: by Ann-marie (new)

Ann-marie Derkatch | 4 comments I'm in the UK visiting and I watched one episode of the "death comes to Pemberley" I agree with the casting of Lizzy and Mr. Darcy... Wouldn't have been my choice. Perhaps when I get to see the other 2 parts I might find I get used to them. You tube you say? Hope I can find it!


message 6: by AlegnaB † (last edited Nov 04, 2014 11:53AM) (new)

AlegnaB † (alegnab) I watched most of the first episode, but it bored me, so I didn't watch the second. I was unpleasantly surprised by the casting of Elizabeth and Darcy.

I recently listened to the audiobook and liked it (I rated it 3 stars), so I was looking forward to watching the movie. What a disappointment it was!


message 7: by Emilia (new)

Emilia Barnes | 268 comments Couldn't make it through the book - very boring. I agree about the Colonel, that was the biggest shock to me. He was like a completely different character, none of the good nature and sense of humour of the man from the original novel.

The casting of Lizzy and Darcy was very odd - JA gives few physical descriptions but among them was that Darcy was a tall, handsome man, and that Lizzy had fine eyes. I actually felt that the actors playing Wickham and Lydia would have made a better Darcy and Elizabeth, looks-wise.

Story-wise it wasn't bad at all, and it was great to see Pemberley and their life there after the happy ending as it were, but they could have done more with castings and costumes (Lizzy wears the same dress all the time, or at least so it seems).


message 8: by AlegnaB † (last edited Nov 04, 2014 07:06AM) (new)

AlegnaB † (alegnab) Maybe listening to the book was better than reading it would have been. The book was certainly more entertaining than the cooking, laundry, and cleaning I was doing while listening. LOL!


message 9: by Emilia (new)

Emilia Barnes | 268 comments AlegnaB wrote: "Maybe listening to the book was better than reading it would have been. The book was certainly more entertaining than the cooking, laundry, and cleaning I was doing while listening. LOL!"

I'll check out the audiobook, sometimes a good reader can make a mediocre thing good. I must confess I didn't actually get very far in the novel, it's possible it gets better as it goes on. Certainly the story as it was in the adaptation was not bad at all. The mystery was in fact very decent and entertaining, and I did not guess it all immediately or anything like that.


message 10: by Tina (last edited Nov 04, 2014 12:34PM) (new)

Tina (tinacz) | 55 comments "...I agree about the Colonel, that was the biggest shock to me. He was like a completely different character, none of the good nature and sense of humour of the man from the original novel."

Yes, that surprised me too. I liked the Colonel in Pride & Prejudice but not so much in Death Comes To Pemberly. I was also surprised that Lady Catherine graced the Darcys with her presence particularly after their abominable union and "horrors" offspring produced from it. Darn.


message 11: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 679 comments Lizzy did wear the same dress and the same color the whole time. She also went outside without a bonnet and her fichu was so flimsy. It wasn't at all proper.

I was surprised at Lady Catherine's appearance too but Jane Austen does say she did eventually forgive them. I thought she was a little too tame but added some humor to the story.

The real star was Chatsworth though. It's stunning!


message 12: by Emilia (new)

Emilia Barnes | 268 comments I don't know if this was in the book, but one of the main things I disliked, beyond the things mentioned above, was Lizzy and Darcy's relationship. I know that there was need for conflict to make the plot, but I just don't believe that Darcy and Elizabeth would be the sort of couple that doesn't speak to one another. Not after everything they went through. The opposite, in fact, the last chapters of P&P suggest they talk and understand one another perfectly, that they are keen talkers (after all it is supposed to be one of Lizzy's misconceptions about the man that he is taciturn and brooding, when actually he isn't when he is comfortable and among people he knows and likes). And if the Lydia/Wickham business in P&P did not cause Darcy to go all cold on Elizabeth when he wasn't even betrothed to her, then I think it is entirely unbelievable that he would have done when they were married and had a child together.

But I agree with Qnpoohbear - Georgiana and her love interest was one of the highlights, loved them together, that bit was lovely!


message 13: by Tony (last edited Nov 05, 2014 05:02PM) (new)

Tony (tony_aguila) | 39 comments Emily wrote: “…I just don’t believe that Darcy and Elizabeth would be the sort of couple that doesn’t speak to one another. Not after everything they went through. The opposite, in fact, the last chapters of P&P suggest they talk and understand one another perfectly…”

I concur, Emily. And I find it hard to believe that Lizzie was not privy to so much about the family, especially the family secret (enough said, no spoilers)—not very much like the Lizzie we know and love, and after six years of marriage… come on. Anna Maxwell Martin is a fine actor but she’s not handsome enough to be the Lizzie that we picture her to be.

Colonel Fitzwilliam looked more “macho” in this one, but I agree, he turns out to be a much darker, more villainous character—quite a disappointment especially since he was supposed to be Darcy’s confidant, and as we all know, Darcy is no pushover. And to even give Wickham the time of day… give me a break!

As for the (audio)book, don’t bother. Don’t waste your credit. Much of it is a retelling of P&P, e.g., the retelling of Lydia’s elopement went on and on without adding much relevance to the present situation. P. D. James might as well have provided a copy of P&P as an introduction to her book (it’s in the public domain, after all) because she could not have written it any better than Jane. That would have shortened her book by at least half. In the end, she’s just another amateurish fanfic writer, her titles and awards notwithstanding.


message 14: by Geetha (new)

Geetha | 1 comments The fact is Anna Maxwell Martin was 35 when she played the part of Elizabeth at least 10 years older than Elizabeth at that stage. So she did look old for that part and yet as I watched through the entire series, she kind of grew on me. She portrayed the character of Elizabeth very well and soon I actually quite forgot that I had been disappointed initially. Yes Darcy could have been handsomer. Lydia, Mrs.Bennet and even Wickham fit in perfectly. Colonel Fitzwilliam was the dark horse. In P&P, Austen did not elaborate much on his character. P. D. James did so cleverly to give us a different perspective. Death Comes to Pemberly is one of those rare instances where the TV/movie adaptation is far superior to the actual book.


message 15: by Emilia (new)

Emilia Barnes | 268 comments @Tony: thank you for your opinion on the audiobook - I felt disappointed when I started the book and it took forever to get to the point. Usually I will read anything P&P or Austen related simply because I love her world and characters, but this was just overkill in terms of exposition and so I didn't get far.

Agree on Anna Maxwell Martin - lovely actress, very talented, but terribly miscast. It is not just that she looked old, she looked kind of haggard and tired, her eyes are definitely not her strongest physical feature, and so to me, her talents not withstanding, it was a disappointment. The same goes for the guy who plays Darcy. I have seen him in other things and I like the actor, but he is not tall enough and we know Darcy is "a great tall fellow" (Matthew Rhys is 5.9ft, compared to Colin Firth or Matthew MacFadyen's 6.2ft).

I wonder if the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies adaptation will be any good. Matt Smith is too cute to play Mr Collins, I think :)


message 16: by Elena (new)

Elena | 5 comments I saw the movie, too, and wasn't too impressed with the choices for the actors who played Lizzie and Darcy. I too noticed that Lizzie wore the same color (or same color family anyway) during the show, and I had to laugh at that. It was just funny. :) I did read that Anna Maxwell Martin wanted to show Lizzie as being more natural and not fussy-looking since that was the type of person she had always been, even though she did now live at Pemberley. She also mentioned something about the women of Austen being in nature a lot and maybe that's why the color green was chosen for her clothing, although I personally think she should have worn different colors as well. I'll be glad to post the link, if link sharing is okay here, when I find it! :)


message 17: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 498 comments I just finished watching last night. It was beautifully shot, but I agree about the casting, especially of Lizzie (though they did give her a little more personality than the book did). And it reminded me about all the things that frustrated me about the book! The complete transformation of Col. Fitzwilliam's character (he was very urbane in the original, sorry, you can't make him a "simple man"), the many implausible plot twists, the unlikely scene with the perpetrator (won't say more), the anachronistic conduct of the trial, the snogging out in the gardens. Even the use of Chatsworth--above Darcy's touch! Ten thousand a year is nice, but you'd need more to run that barn.


message 18: by Ann-marie (new)

Ann-marie Derkatch | 4 comments Emily wrote: "I don't know if this was in the book, but one of the main things I disliked, beyond the things mentioned above, was Lizzy and Darcy's relationship. I know that there was need for conflict to make t..."

I agree, they had been through so much to be together in the first place, one would think they would fiercely guard their love and relationship thereafter.

I am writing a short book with my version of life the year after the book written as letters and Lizzy's journal entries. I am trying hard to keep the integrity of the characters portrayed in the book and the PBS version of it I love so much. It is still a work in progress but I hope to get to having it to editing soon. (One of the reasons for being on here... See what people are reading and like about books in this genre)


message 19: by Valerie (new)

Valerie | 22 comments I read the book when it first came out after a friend recommended it to me. I'd never read anything by that author before, but it was a pretty good story. I enjoyed the PBS production, and I have to agree... I was sad that Lizzie & Darcy just didn't seem to have that "fire" anymore... just bored me :( Lydia was spot on... I love to hate her! LOL Overall, it was good & I'll probably watch it again at some point.


message 20: by Susan (new)

Susan (wottt) | 41 comments Qnpoohbear wrote: "Did anyone watch Death Comes to Pemberley? I passed on the book after reading several reviews but the adaptation was not bad. I loved seeing Pemberley though I have read that Chatsworth is probably..."

I agree casting was all wrong, both Lizzy and Darcy were played by actors too old even to play their older selves and neither were particularly attractive. The author didnt understand the characters, drifted from the original P&P a great deal and only got Lydia right.


message 21: by Susan (new)

Susan (wottt) | 41 comments Emily wrote: "@Tony: thank you for your opinion on the audiobook - I felt disappointed when I started the book and it took forever to get to the point. Usually I will read anything P&P or Austen related simply b..."
I found his lack of height distracting and agree about the actresses eyes. They are both fine actors, but were miscast.


message 22: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Bradshaw (llawryf) | 11 comments Well, I loved it. The actors were fine as far as I was concerned. Some really wonderful cinematography. I watched it twice (recorded), and may buy the DVD.


message 23: by Denisa (new)

Denisa Dellinger | 44 comments PD James is certainly no Jane Austen. Where was Lizzy's sense of wit and humor? It seemed to leave her. She was so brooding and although I liked the actress in other things she surely was not beautiful enough for Elizabeth. We hardly saw her family except for Lydia. They came in as sort of an appeasement for story's sake to remind us that she did have a very unique family. They came and went in five minutes. Lydia was true to style, she was a drama queen and her screaming as she raced by carriage into Pemberley only added to my endearment of her. I did like the actor who played her and Wickham. We get to see Wickham as a war hero which redeemed him a tad for me. The actor who played Darcy was good but the relationship between he and Lizzy in the story didn't make sense. Wickham sort of got what he deserved but being accused of murder did not suit him. He was pretty much his old self and by fathering a child by someone other than his wife, spoiler alert, made his character pretty much as it always was. Lydia refused to listen to the truth but believed the lie she built up for herself for her hasty actions of running away with him and marrying him. Mr Fitzwilliam was a good guy in the original and a bastard in this tale. I didn't like destroying his character by making him Georgianna's suiter and fiancé. It was an interesting story but I was left disappointed because of gaps in the story.


message 24: by Lariela (new)

Lariela | 45 comments Didn't care for the casting. Or much of the characterization. Especially with Colonel Fitzwilliam (he's my fave minor character).


message 25: by Inactive (new)

Inactive  (afellowofinfinitejest) | 4 comments I agree that some of the casting was a bit...out of place, but I actually quite enjoyed it. It was dramatic and interesting with plenty of Austen references. I think it was true to the book and well done.


message 26: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments I agree Ellen!


message 27: by Inactive (new)

Inactive  (afellowofinfinitejest) | 4 comments Thanks Soph! :-)


message 28: by Janet (new)

Janet Aylmer (janetaylmer) | 27 comments I agree with many of the comments above. The actors portraying Darcy and Elizabeth in "Death comes to Pemberley" are very competent, but seemed miscast in this film.

P D James, who died aged 94 towards the end of 2014, wrote excellent crime novels, but you need to be more than a JA fan (as she certainly was) to transfer to a different genre.

I recently finished my sequel to P&P (and Darcy's Story), and hope that readers will prefer my solutions to the matrimonial dilemmas of Georgiana and Fitzwilliam - and, no, they do not end up together!


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