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Sunday, May 17

Jane Austen Movie Throwdown

Inquiring Reader,

The Jane Austen Character Throwdown will take on a more peripheral role as we explore Jane Austen movie and television adaptations. Lately, our character questions have been heading in that direction. Last week's character throwdown showed Mr. Knightley winning over Mr. Wickham by a margin of 2:1. It is interesting to note that the voting trend settles early on in the week and doesn't change. We'll see if this pattern remains the same for the movie throwdowns.

Three years ago we asked this question about Mr. Darcy and the votes went viral, putting our blog on the Austen map. It doesn't hurt to start our movie throwdown with the same question again, since our readership has evolved and changed. Drum Roll please: which Mr. Darcy do you prefer? We now have so many actors to choose from that, for the sake of brevity, we shall limit the choice to the last three Darcys.

Favorite Mr. Darcy

Elliot Cowan, Lost in Austen, 2008

Our latest Mr. Darcy, Elliot played the role of straight man in Lost in Austen. His surprisingly effective turn as Mr. Darcy helped to make this t.v. adaptation a huge success the world over, and I doubt he belongs to the League of Obscure British Actors any longer. He has signed on to play Captain Hatch in Heaven and Earth along with Pierce Brosnan and Natascha McEllhone. We can't wait.

Matthew Macfadyen, Pride and Prejudice, 2005

Who can forget his rain scene proposal to Lizzy? Though it was placed in the wrong setting and the day was cold and rainy, he managed to smolder and sizzle. Matthew's career is hot as well. He recently appeared in Little Dorrit, and will appear in the BBC production of Enid Blyton and as the Sherrif of Nottingham in Robin Hood. Oh, how delicious.

Colin Firth, Pride and Prejudice, 1995

With Colin you can take your pick. He's played Darcy in Pride and Prejudice and the Bridget Jones's Diary franchise, oozing British wit and charm. His career has not slowed down since playing Darcy and we will have six opportunities to see him in future productions: A Single Man, Main Street, A Christmas Carol, Dorian Gray, The Meat Trade, and David Copperfield. Be still my beating heart.

DEAR VISITORS: What an exciting three days it has been. We've changed the poll to allow only one vote per visit.


Lynn said...

Matthew is my choice.

Although I prefer the A&E 1995 version of "Pride & Prejudice" as a whole over the stumbling, bumbling, grimy, pigs in the garden, silly romping version with Keira K. ( I can't stand her ) the redeeming grace of the whole movie is Matthew M, who smolders with passion and longing in every scene he's in, making everyone else except Judi Dench look like a bunch of cartoon characters !!!

As for Colin Firth, he still holds a special place in my mind and heart but is not the best of the 3 and I think Nigel had a bit to do with that... and the other guy, who is quite forgettable in my opinion, did an O.K. job in "Lost in Austen" which I thought was rather awful !

Ru.Ru said...

I couldn't decide between Matthew Macfadyen and Colin Firth (I like both portrayals)... but, if I really have to choose, it will be Matthew.

Before watching the 2005 movie, my perfect Mr Darcy was Colin Firth. He brought the character to life just as it's portrayed in the book. I kind of changed my mind a bit when I saw the movie. To me, Matthew's version looks like a "solemn" version of Mr Darcy. He seemed to show more passion (supressed attraction, maybe?) towards Elizabeth (compared to other portrayals) but at the same time he remained aloof and indifferent to her. I like Elliot Cowan's version too but not as well as the other two. "Lost in Austen" displayed a different way to look at the Darcy-Elizabeth interaction with Amanda as [the] Elizabeth which made it interesting.

Barbara said...

Matthew as the Sherrif of Nottingham? He should be Robin Hood!

Vic said...

Russell Crowe plays Robin Hood in Ridley Scott's latest film. Matthew will play against type as the Sheriff, which will make the movie all the more exciting.

Charleybrown said...

I often think that the votes for Colin and Matthew are split depending on the ages of the voters with the younger generation preferring Matthew. I know it's not as clearly defined as that and I (counting myself among the older fans) have a greater appreciation for Matthew's portrayal after seeing the 2005 film again. However, COLIN FIRTH will forever be my iconic Mr. Darcy, the one to which others are compared!

As for Elliot Cowan, it took me a while to warm up to him but I found him to be quite charming in the end.


I read P&P first at 14 - so long ago! sigh! :( - and in my mind , I don't know why, Mr Darcy had always been something like Wickham in the 2005 adaptation. So ... blond, long hair, blue/green eyed. Then I saw Matthew/ Darcy and ... he was perfect. He is my Mr Darcy. You know? I saw the 1995 BBC adaptation only after watching P&P at the cinema in 2005. It is for this reason that Colin Firth only comes ...second in my mind.:)

Ruth said...

I went with Colin Firth as my choice, but I was very, very torn...Matthew M. is SO good as Darcy, and Eliot Cowan was a wonderful surprise in his turn as Darcy - well, Colin was first. :) I'm really looking forward to seeing him in EASY VIRTUE with Ben Barnes and Jessica's hoping it will open in my area on Friday, even though Fandango says 5/22 is a "limited release."

Miss Janine said...

wow... what a coincidence! I was blogging about that (which Darcy is the best) last friday! :))

I say I like Elliot Cowan but Matthew Macfadyen's voice is a dream while Colin Firth is dreamy.
But, I think, my favorite Darcy is Matthew Macfadyen because for me he is Darcy.
They all have wet scenes! that's so funny!

Sandra said...

Colin Firth all the way. Smouldering intensity in those dark eyes... I've never seen an actor say so much without saying anything at all. He will always and forever be Darcy to me.

Elliot Cowan I would choose second; I went into watching "Lost in Austen" preparing to hate him, but I was completely won over by his portrayal.

Matthew McFayden I found to be kind of stiff rather than passion-restrained (not to mention I thought the dialogue of the adaptation was a little silly, though that's hardly his fault). That and I just don't find him handsome... *waits for hailstorm of hate mail* ;)

Ruth: the tango at the end of Easy Virtue would be, for me, worth the price of a ticket. :)

kaye dacus said...

Hello...??? Where's David Rintoul in this list? He's MY favorite Mr. Darcy!!

Out of this list, I'd have to give Matthew the edge---mostly because I just don't like Colin in the role.

Vic said...

Hi Kaye, We left the earlier Mr. Darcys out because the field is getting crowded and so we opted to use the last three Darcys. Plus I am tired of seeing poor David get trammeled every time we trot him out. He and Laurence Olivier barely pull in double digits when they're included.

bookwormans said...

My vote will probably have to go to Matthew as well. I liked Colin Firth in the role to, but like some of the other commenters, I didn't see that version until I had already fallen for the '05 version. Really, it all depends on what kind of mood I'm in. It's raining outside, so I guess I'm in a Matthew mood!

I wasn't too impressed with Elliot Cowan's Darcy.

Emma said...

I love Colin. He's my Mr. Darcy. Plain and simple.

Sandra Leigh said...

Oh, such a decision. I've finally decided to go with Colin Firth, because of his perfect eyes, but it was a close call.

Oh, and Sandra - I remember commenting to a friend, when I first saw Matthew Macfadyen's performance, that it was uncanny how much more handsome he was at the end of the movie than at the beginning.

Deb said...

In all my years of reading books, I still find Colin Firth as Darcy the epitome of a character brought to life on the small or large screen. Hands down. Watching him make that first entrance as Darcy was surreal because he was everything I'd always imagined Darcy to be and more. I've seen every television and movie adaptation and I still think Colin's the one...he IS Darcy!

Adriana Zardini said...

I already voted! Although Matthew M. Was my first Mr. Darcy I think Colin Firth is the one! :)

Dear friends from Jane Austen Today, We, Janeites from BRazil, are proud to anounce you that we already started our JASBRA - Jane Auten Society of Brazil. As soon as possible we will translate the letter inviting you all to our society! :)

By this time, the blog is written in portuguese, but you you can use the tranlator machine! Thanks for your time!

Adriana Zardini

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I'm not sure, it is such a close call. I say all three do a retake of the wet shirt scene and let us decide then.

becca said...

I have a hard time deciding. I used to vote for Colin Firth, but then I noticed how sexy Matthew can sound. Then I saw Lost in Austen and fell for Elliot. Can we vote for all three?

Selah said...

Colin Firth is Darcy. Long looks definitely beat the fog!

lovelovelove said...

how can you deny the amazing-ness which is Elliot Cowen... especially the "post-modern moment" with the water and the white shirt-ness and the smouldering eyes... *swoon!*

darcycolin_1960 said...

The first time I saw one source in Colin that beautiful miniseries Pride and BBC London What struck me were his eyes and his gaze over time surfing the internet looking at reviews of other people said the same thing has a look of another state with their eyes that let all demuetra
My lord Andrew Darcy, Colin Firth .. will be always in my heart who tanbien interptreto Darcy and stayed in the heart of many of the other players do not want to say
each interprets what he feels his manera.ademas Colin is the largest of the three, and each generation has its favorite actor
Darcy is your stay in my heart skip and a time to remember his 35 years when he Darcy
saludos desde Argentina

Felicia said...

Thank you for making it one vote per person.

Jane Austen Movies said...

Wow, I can't believe that Colin Firth lost! He has held preeminence for such a long period of time. I suppose the winds of change are upon us and it is time for a younger generation of Darcy portrayals to take their place. For me it will always be Colin Firth - the first always makes such a lasting impression. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.

Charity U said...

I can't believe all the people who say Matthew M. He totally butchers the "not handsome enough to tempt me" line. Not nearly as good as Colin Firth, who is my total favorite. He so far excells the others! I'm sorry there are so many confused people out there who don't recognize the best Mr. Darcy when they see him.