Colin Firth Was Originally Supposed To Be Naked In 'Pride And Prejudice?' That's The Sound Of A Million VCRs Overheating.
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Colin Firth Was Originally Supposed To Be Naked In 'Pride And Prejudice?' That's The Sound Of A Million VCRs Overheating.

By Joanna Robinson | Miscellaneous | October 9, 2013 | Comments ()

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We all know how much women of a certain age and temperament love BBC’s Pride And Prejudice. I’m one of them. One of you. I taped it off A&E when I was 14 and we rewatched those VHS tapes over and over. Oh yes, tapes. There were two. And if we rewound the bit where Colin Firth emerges, shirt clinging, from a dip in the lake. Well, it’s no different from the lads who have a healthy appreciation for Phoebe Cates in her red bikini, Bo Derek on the beach or whatever it is the kids look at these days. Jennifer Lawrence-shaped things, I’d imagine.

So save your sneers and “cat lady” accusations, fellas. And ladies? Gay dudes who dig period pieces? In vain have I struggled. It will not do. We’re going to talk briefly about nudity and Colin Firth. According to a recent piece in The Guardian Andrew Davies, the writer behind that famous drip-dry scene, originally wrote the shirt and britches out of that scene. He said:

The wet shirt scene was intended to be a total full-frontal nudity scene. Darcy was an actual man but he spent all his time being constrained by demands of society. He’d just spent weeks and months in London being polite with a group of stuffy people. He would have had a few hours in which he could be blissfully alone. It’s a hot day, he arrives at this lake - so I thought he would strip completely off and dive down and just become a creature, an animal, just for once…I don’t know the reason why - maybe they felt it would have taken too long to get him undressed. They could have always cut to him standing on the bank diving in naked so it might have been something about Colin’s anxiety about love handles or something…But it’s kind of nice that it turned out the way it did. The whole thing would have been different. I suspect we wouldn’t have have been allowed to get away with full frontal. I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t.

I’m with Davies, you know. I’m glad it wound up the way it did. I like the BBC’s Pride & Prejudice for Darcy, but for many other reasons behind. Bonnet and waistcoat reasons. Stripping the film of that robs it of the gentility that makes the passion of the story retrained and slow-burning rather than lurid and obvious. Besides, wouldn’t Lizzie have fainted dead away when she saw Darcy’s, er, Pemberley? At the very least, we would have had even more reason to suspect her reasons for marrying him. When she tells her sister Jane that her affections for Darcy “date from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley.” Well that’s where we’d snicker and say “huge tracts of land.” Yeah, it’s better the way it is.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Uriah_Creep

    Well that’s where we’d snicker and say “huge tracts of land."

    I'm sure guys didn't do much manscaping back then, so it might more likely have been "huge tracts of shrubbery."

  • e jerry powell

    I always vote for gratuitous, excessive, unnecessary male nudity. ALWAYS. Appropriateness be damned.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I thought the diving scene, while delightful, was sufficient.It was enough of a departure and served its purpose of humanizing him.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    And it's more shocking to get those breeches & shirt ruined, when they are so light colored and pristine. That seems more about thumbing the nose at society than going starkers. (also would've made me think of Julian Sands in that EM Forster movie.)

  • Mrs. Julien

    A Room with a View?

    Daniel Day Lewis looks like my brother in that one, but not as much as Benedict Cumberbatch looks like an amalgam of my mother and brother in Stark Trek Into Darkness.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Yes, that's the one. "Mother says Beethoven makes me peevish."

    (all I could think of was "Boxing Helena" haha, which is an entirely different Julian Sands movie.)

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Boxing Helena is forever my reference point for Julian Sands. Whenever he pops up in anything, I anticipate an amputation.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Anticipating an Amputation will be title of the vengeance chapter of my fourth novel. I'm going to save it up. It's that good.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    Thank Julian Sands and Jennifer Lynch's inspired arms montage. I was going to use the title if I ever wrote a film history of horror movies, but the vengeance angle is better.

  • zeke_the_pig

    Foreshadowing of a Fatality is a great little hidden gem from Austen's Mortal Kombat period.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I heard of a twitter gag over the weekend - adding one word to movie titles to ruin them. Perhaps we should reverse and add one word to improve movie titles: Boxing Helena Bonham-Carter sounds like a much more satisfactory movie.

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    My favorite one that I've heard is "All About Summer's Eve", but I would TOTALLY watch Boxing Helena Bonham-Carter

  • zeke_the_pig

    I was just thinking about these today actually, how adding or subtracting, or slightly changing one word can make everything lame.
    'The Fight Club'
    'No Country for Older Men'
    'The Lord of the Ring'
    'Gone, with Wind'
    Well, maybe that last one's a bit better.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I love that movie. The way Julian Sands is kissing her at the end while she reads the letter just melts me.

  • fluff_fluff

    Not to give the impressive that I'm OPPOSED to male nudity, but full-frontal could have gone so very wrong (Exhibit A: A Room with a View and flapping junk making everyone look ridiculous, even hot teenage Lestrade). Bless you, Colin Firth's Wet White Shirt.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    (I do think the point in Room with a View was to turn ridiculous)

  • ZbornakSyndrome

    I remember seeing that movie when I was young-ish and thinking "oooh! Full Frontal!" Then after a second, it was so deeply silly with the flapping and splashing that my young libido was crushed.

    I think a wet shirt was totally the way to go. Plus Darcy really doesn't strike me as a skinny dipper. Maybe Wentworth, but definitely not Darcy.

  • BWeaves

    Whoa, Lestrade? Must go rewatch ARWAV.

  • Anne At Large

    My thoughts exactly. Love silver fox Lestrade, but totally spaced ARWAV Lestrade. God everyone in that movie was so good.

  • Pants-are-a-must

    I keep forgetting that's hot teenage Lestrade in Room With A View.

  • Guest

    They wouldn't have had to go full frontal, just a bit of Darcy's bum and that would have made my decade.

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