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Geek Out!

Gifts for Trekkies, Anglophiles, and arthouse obscurists

By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Dec. 14, 2007

Geek Out!

Pride and Prejudice: 10th Anniversary limited Collector's edition

A&E Home Video, $59.95

1995 was a banner year for Jane Austen adaptations, with Ang Lee's Oscar-winning Sense and Sensibility, Amy Heckerling's Beverly Hills revisionist Clueless, and this, the BBC miniseries that set women worldwide swooning for some Mr. Darcy. Face tight with grimace, even – or especially – as he's declaring his love, Colin Firth was spot-on as the proud Mr. Darcy, and Jennifer Ehle (perfectly cheeky) matches him barb for barb as the headstrong, perchance too-quick-to-judge Elizabeth Bennet. A far sunnier picture than the recent (quite good) Keira Knightley feature, the miniseries benefits from five hours to unfurl in an unhurried fashion, meaning more time to revel in the period dances, lush country estates, and, of course, Firth's celebrated pond dip (this is the adaptation that kicked off the sexying up of Ms. Austen). The two-disc set, which debuted last year and remains one of A&E's bestsellers, comes with a commemorative book, The Making of Pride and Prejudice, a surprisingly detailed account that goes so far as to include pictures of fabric swatches used in the film. The DVD extras are less impressive: a fairly hokey Jane Austen biography (way to shill for your own show, A&E!) and several long-form features that include interviews with almost everyone involved in the picture but the leads. Sure, the lower-billed Crispin Bonham-Carter (Mr. Bingley as well as Helena's cousin) is an amiable guy, dishing about why writer Andrew Davies opened the film with Bingley and Darcy thundering about on horses (to establish that this would be an altogether more robust – meaning, well, sexy – adaptation), but still: What gives? One would think Firth might have something to say about the film that rocketed him into a sex symbol for the thinking woman, but no matter: We'll always have that pond dip – newly remastered, no less.

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