That was the final straw.
No, I did not like the 2005 film adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley.
The Bennetts are portrayed as a working class family. In fact, they are landed gentry, "poor" only in relation to the Bingleys and the Darcys. Mrs Bennett's anxiety over her daughter's future is to do with the fact that their father's property must be inherited by a male relative. It's a common problem of the time. Otherwise, the family lives comfortably and hold a respected position in society.
Elizabeth Bennett would never traipse around her father's estate barefoot! Or kiss Mr Darcy's hand ... no matter how much she's bewitched his body!
People of the time were strictly bound by rules of propriety. A respectable man would never have entered a respectable woman's bed chamber. And so, Charles Bingley would never have enter Jane's bedroom, as he does when she is ill at Netherfield.
I dread to think how Hollywood will portray Austen herself. Anne Hathaway plays the author in Becoming Jane (out in August)
Over in the UK, ITV will screen new adaptations of Persuasion, Mansfield Park (starring Billie Piper!) and Northanger Abbey. The station will also be re-running their 1996 production of Emma, starring Kate Beckinsale, who, in my opinion, is much more believable than Gwyneth Paltrow was in this role. (Samantha Morton is also a better Harriett than Toni Collett. Harriet is supposed to be beeeutifool, for crying out loud! But I guess Paltrow''s contract stated that she could be the only cute one in the film.)
British television has, so far, done a tolerable job of adapting Austen novels, although, in the 1983 miniseries of Mansfield Park, Sylvestra Le Touzel played Fanny Price like she had learning difficulties.
My favourite adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is the 1980 BBC miniseries, starring Elizabeth Garvie as Lizzie and David Rintoul as Darcy.
I daresay Joe Wright's Pride and Prejudice will not be the last adaptation. I'm also pretty sure that it won't be the worst.
At very least, the fact that Austen's novels continue to be turned into movies (good and bad) means that she continues to be loved and read. Germaine Greer's article in the Guardian Unlimited talks about the secret to the novelist's staying power.
I should have curled up with Persuasion rather than sit through Knightley's performance as Lizzie. In Mr Hurst's words, it was a "damned silly way to spend an evening".
PS Apparently, Pride and Prejudice (the movie) ends differently for American audiences. In their version Mr Darcy kisses Lizzie repeatedly while murmuring "Mrs Darcy, Mrs Darcy, Mrs Darcy." I'm so glad my DVD does not end with this scene!