MCM: Mr. Darcy

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Who looks all the more handsome for having £10,000 a year? Who detests dancing even though he’s always hanging around balls? Who puts the “pride” in Pride and Prejudice? Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, that’s who! Jane Austen writes him as “having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance” and he’s rude to most everyone, plus he treats his BFF Bingley like a child who can’t sort out his life for himself.

But onscreen, Mr. Darcy becomes a bit more palatable when we have dishy fellas playing his grumpy-then-smitten-and-noble act. Everyone has their favorite version, and while I suspect one rises damp-shirted above the rest, ehem, I’ll entertain discussions of other actors’ merits for this Man Candy Monday. So let us compare with some hot Darcy-on-Darcy action!

 

 

 

Laurence Olivier in Pride and Prejudice (1940)

Pride and Prejudice (1940) - Laurence Olivier Laurence Olivier, Pride and Prejudice (1940)

 

David Rintoul in Pride and Prejudice (1980)

Pride and Prejudice (1980) - David Rintoul Pride and Prejudice (1980) - David Rintoul

 

Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice (1995)

Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice (1995)

 

Matthew Macfadyen in Pride & Prejudice (2005)

Pride & Prejudice (2005) - Matthew Macfadyen Pride & Prejudice (2005) - Matthew Macfadyen

 

 

Elliot Cowan in 2008 in Lost in Austen (2008)

Lost in Austen (2008) Lost in Austen (2008)

 

Matthew Rhys in Death Comes to Pemberley (2013)

Death Comes to Pemberley (2013) - Matthew Rhys

 

Sam Riley in Pride & Prejudice & Zombies (2016)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016) -Sam Riley Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016) -Sam Riley

 

 

 

Who is your favorite Mr. Darcy on screen? Why?

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Trystan L. Bass

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A self-described ElderGoth, Trystan has been haunting the internet since the early 1990s. Always passionate about costume, from everyday office wear to outrageous twisted historical creations, she has maintained some of the earliest online costuming-focused resources on the web. Her costuming adventures are chronicled on her website, TrystanCraft. She also ran a popular fashion blog, This Is CorpGoth, dedicated to her “office drag.”

38 Responses

  1. Susan Pola Staples

    Colin Firth is my favourite Darcy, although Sam Rily in P&P&Z is nice eye candy

    Reply
      • Shashwat

        I liked Firth most,as well as Rhys(though I admit he had a “wise mathematician”personna,much different from the general perception of Darcy).But 1995 P&P was my introduction to Austen so I am biased.Is it wrong if I felt more for him than our leading lady?Well he was a douche in some moments.And a glorious douche in others.
        The pool scene in Lost in Austen was…gratuitous.The pool scene was supposed to be funny because how awkward the situation was for the elites,not because a hunk emerged from the pool like Daniel Craig(Sanditon referenced it.Craig,ofcourse).

        Reply
  2. Sarah Walsh

    I’ve seen the 1940s film once, the 1980s miniseries a couple of times, the 1995 miniseries more times than I care to admit, and the 2005 film once, maybe twice. I haven’t seen the spinoffs. Colin Firth is THE ONE for me because he plays Darcy as deeply introverted, which I think is the most accurate reading of Darcy. Olivier has “arrogant” covered, but that’s about it. Matthew McFadyen plays him shy and awkward and hangdog – almost petulant – which isn’t how I interpret Darcy. David Rintoul is so stiff and monotone he might as well be a robot.

    Reply
    • M.E. Lawrence

      I agree with Sarah’s point about playing Darcy as introverted. Firth’s performance works within the story’s arc because you see the Prince Charming in him slowly, slowly emerging, and by the end he is pretty bloody charming.

      Reply
  3. LadySlippers

    I am going to get chastised for this but the 1995 P&P is my not a favourite because how Darcy is in the mini-series. Darcy comes off not haughty but abusive. I had recently gotten out of an abusive marriage when I first watched it and that Darcy was triggering for both me and my daughter. That’s part of reason the 2005 version is better because shy/awkward Darcy isn’t threatening.

    Colin Firth doesn’t come across that unintentionally in other movies (except for the ones that are supposed to be that way). So it’s my guess it’s the direction and/or the way the character was written.

    Reply
    • MoHub

      Not a fan of 1995, either. I’m Team 1980, and I actually like the evolution in Rintoul.

      Reply
      • Kelly

        He’s very formal at all times, but I like him, too–and though it’s off-topic, Elizabeth Garvie in 1980 is my fave Elizabeth. Darcy just isn’t my fave Austen hero, though. Yes, he is highly intelligent, with a lawyer-like acuity when talking to Elizabeth–and that’s really when he starts getting interested in her, when he realizes that she’s not just going to be his cheerleader, like Miss Bingley–and he has a strong character arc, but he has almost no sense of humor. Give me Henry Tilney any day!

        Reply
  4. Shashwat

    I liked Firth most,as well as Mathew(though I admit he had a “wise mathematician”personna,much different from the general perception of Darcy).But 1995 P&P was my introduction to Austen so I am biased.Is it wrong if I felt more for him than our leading lady?Well he was a douche in some moments.And a glorious douche in others.
    The pool scene in Lost in Austen was…gratuitous.The pool scene was supposed to be funny because how awkward the situation was for the elites,not because a hunk emerged from the pool like Daniel Craig(Sanditon referenced it.Craig,ofcourse).

    Reply
  5. Constance

    Not a P&P fan, but always enjoy Matthew & Colin…did NOT like Olivier or anything about Greer Garson in anything, the least as EB.

    Reply
    • MoHub

      Not my first, but to me all the casting in the 1980 version was spot-on with the novel—which I had read before I saw any dramatizations.

      Reply
    • Wendi Grezlak

      Really? I just started watching that one. I’m on episode 1. He’s so cold and rude to the Bingleys in private. If he is so warm and kind at home, and the Bingleys are his close friends, why isn’t he kinder and more relaxed with them?

      Reply
  6. Lynne Connolly

    I think your favourite Darcy partly depends on the one you saw first! Mine is David Rintoul. He was the Darcy of the book. And Elizabeth Garvie was a wonderful Elizabeth.
    Olivier did well, but the costumes and the cutting of the story hampered him, Firth was too sexy, McFadyen was too awkward.
    Did you know Peter Cushing had a crack at it? And apparently Alan Badel was really good, but I’ve not see that one.

    Reply
    • Katie O.

      I think so too! My first was Matthew Macfadyen, and it came out in 8th grade when I was just starting to get into Jane Austen so he’s my favorite, probably followed closely by Matthew Rhys. Even though it was a P&P sequel, I thought he seemed to embody Darcy at home really well.

      I disliked Pride and Prejudice and Zombies for a lot of movies, but one of those was definitely Sam Riley. He’s a fine actor, but it felt more like he was a brooding guy in a teen movie than Mr Darcy.

      Reply
  7. Naomi Lazarus

    Colin Firth, and also the costumes are best in that one. Shout out to Dinah Collins, for doing a spectacular job with a small budget!

    Reply
  8. SarahV

    I must have watched Death Comes to Pemberley multiple times, but the Darcy was a complete cipher to me and made no impression (I Mean, how could it, with Matthew Goode as Wickham?…swoon)

    Now, after having ingested Perry Mason I realized that’s why Matthew Rhys looked so familiar to me. I feel like I need to watch Pemberley with new eyes.

    Reply
    • Frannie Germeshausen

      We’ve enjoyed the heck out of Perry Mason. I need to re-watch Death Comes to Pemberly for the same reason.

      Reply
  9. The Scrivener

    Colin Firth, now and forever. Everything about that 1995 production is great.

    Matthew Macfadyen was the only decent thing about the 2005 “pigs in the parlor” adaptation. Everyone else felt woefully miscast. (Particularly Rosamund Pike as Jane instead of Elizabeth.)

    Really liked Matthew Rhys in Death Comes to Pemberley. Overall I thought it was a really good update, interesting without being fanfic.

    The 1940 one is … interesting. ‘Nuff said.

    Reply
    • SarahV

      The 1995 cast is the platonic ideal (well, except the Wickham actor). I can never imagine any other Lizzie except Jennifer Ehle, Caroline Bingley (Anna Chancellor) is a pure acidic delight, and even the obnoxious Mrs. Bingley and Lydia are pitch perfect.

      Reply
    • Angharad

      Now that you mention it Rosamund Pike would make a GREAT Elizabeth! I’m thinking in particular of her performance in the movie about Seretse Khama–beautifully done character.

      Reply
  10. Lily Lotus Rose

    Colin Firth. 2. Laurence Olivier. 3. I LOVED Matthew Rhys as Darcy in Death Comes to Pemberley and thought the whole story showed an “honest” aging of all the characters. But as someone else said, it was so hard to concentrate on Rhys as Darcy when Matthew Goode was smokin’ up the screen as Wickham!

    Reply
  11. Claudia Trent

    I feel that Elliot Cowan was THE most fascinating Mr. Darcy I have ever seen on screen. The most fascinating. He gave one hell of a performance in “Lost in Austen”.

    Reply
  12. kt

    Laurence Olivier every time – sooo gorgeously haughty, but with some physical mannerisms conveying a touch of awkwardness. I have seen that version many times and I still love it, although the costumes aren’t right and they tried to redeem Lady Catherine at the end.

    Reply
  13. Jillian

    I mean, Lizzie Bennet Diaries said it best: Darcy has the personality of an agoraphobic lobster, but he does mean well. Georgiana, along with his staff and land tenants, all speak glowingly of him.

    That being said, I like Sam Reilly as Darcy. I’ve never seen P&P&Z, I just think he’s pretty.

    Reply
  14. Nzie

    I guess I have some catching up to do.. I’ve seen 1995 and 2005.. and Death Comes to Pemberley, which has actors for both Elizabeth and Darcy that I generally like when I see them… But I was disappointed in 2005’s (I mean, it’s fine, but meh.. and I swear some lines it almost sounds like Keira Knightly is just copying Jennifer Ehle’s intonation). Thus the virtues of 1995 are magnified in my mind and Colin Firth is my default Darcy.

    Reply
  15. Brandy Loutherback

    Colin FIrth! Though the 2005 P&P&Pigs did do a good job with the chemistry of Elizabeth and Mr Darcy, I have to say. Especially during the Carriage scene where he takes Lizzie’s hand to hel her into the carriage.

    Reply
    • HEATHER

      I don’t have a favorite, though Firth and Olivier are sexy actors IMOO, I just find it amazing that there were NO film productions for 40 years. Almost app the versions are fairly recent. What’s that all abou I wonder?

      Reply
  16. MJ

    Matthew Rhys in Death Comes to Pemberley. I live everything about his portrayal and dearly wish he’d do a straight adaptation of the original novel.

    Reply
  17. Kristina

    It’s irritating that the Elizabeth Bennets in the 1995 and 2005 adaptations are more conventionally attractive than their respective Mr. Darcys. To be accurate to the novel, it should be the other way around: Darcy as a very classically handsome man, and Elizabeth as a “little” woman who is quite pretty but not exactly stunning. Jennifer Ehle is this tall and busty brunette with a gorgeous face, and Keira Knightley is also tall (though not curvy, as everyone always points out, LOL) and quite stunning by modern standards.

    And then you have Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen, who are rather good-looking and “hot” (in a modern way) but not classically handsome at all. I think that this is evidence of a double standard in film and TV casting. Men in leading roles can look like almost anything, but leading women must be extremely gorgeous, even when the characters they play aren’t supposed to be strikingly beautiful.

    The casting in the 1980 P&P seems to be slightly more faithful to the book. I haven’t seen that one in a while, though. The cruddy 1980s videotape doesn’t do anyone any favors.

    Reply
  18. shirasade

    Colin Firth forever – the 1995 P&P was one of the very first DVD box sets I ever bought and will forever remain one of my favourite comfort watches. My runner-up, though, isn’t on your list: it’s Daniel Vincent Gordh from the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Like Colin Firth his interpretation manages to portray Darcy’s introverted, reticent manner and how it can easily be read as arrogant (although he’s much funnier, once he begins to thaw, as befitting a show that’s all about snappy dialogue).

    Reply

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