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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
In early 19th century England, in the fictional town of Meryton, Hertfordshire, somewhere near London, the five Bennet sisters -- Elizabeth (Greer Garson), Jane (Maureen O'Sullivan), Mary (Marsha Hunt), Kitty (Heather Angel), and Lydia (Ann Rutherford) -- are coming of age. It's the aim of Mrs Bennet (Mary Boland) to marry them successfully. When wealthy (and single) Charles Bingley (Bruce Lester) purchases Netherfield estate and moves in with his haughty sister Caroline (Frieda Inescort) and arrogant friend Darcy Fitzwilliam (Laurence Olivier), Mrs Bennet tries to interest them in her daughters. At the Assembly Ball, Bingley and Jane take an immediate liking to each other, whereas Darcy finds Elizabeth to be beneath his station and the headstrong and 'decided' Elizabeth abhors him as well, their pride and their prejudices affecting their obvious attraction to each other.
Yes, albeit indirectly. The film is actually based on a stage adaptation by Helen Jerome that, in turn, was based on the novel Pride and Prejudice (1813) by British author Jane Austen [1775 1817]. The stage play was adapted for the film by English writer Aldous Huxley and American screenwriter Jane Murfin.
They were playing piquet, an early 16th century card game that uses 32 cards (the 7s, 8s, 9s, 10s, jacks, queens, kings, and aces). The rules for playing piquet can be found here.
There was a provision in the inheritance, called an 'entailment', which restricted ownership of the property to particular descendents. In the case of Longbourn, the estate could only be passed to a male. Because the Bennets had only daughters, Collins (Melville Cooper) became the beneficiary since, as a cousin, he was the closest male relative.
As the Bennets are celebrating Lydia's return from London and the discovery that she and George Wickham (Edward Ashley) have married, Lady Catherine de Bourgh (Edna May Oliver) makes an unannounced visit and asks to speak with Elizabeth. She denounces Elizabeth for being insolent and headstrong and threatens to revoke Darcy's inheritance should they marry. Elizabeth reveals that she and Darcy are not engaged. However, when Lady Catherine tries to make her promise to never become engaged to Darcy, Elizabeth refuses, even when Lady Catherine threatens to stay there until she will make the promise. Instead, Elizabeth offers to have the butler prepare a room for her. Lady Catherine finally decides to leave but not before telling her that it was Darcy who found Lydia and presented Wickham with a sizeable fortune if he married her. She returns to her carriage where Darcy is waiting and, in an about face, tells him that Elizabeth has 'refused to refuse' to marry him. She admits that she thinks Elizabeth is the woman for Darcy and gives her blessing to their marriage. As her carriage pulls away, Darcy stays to speak with Elizabeth. They take a walk in the garden where they see Mary and Bingham have reunited. Elizabeth thanks Darcy for intervening on behalf of her family and admits that she loves him, and he once again asks her to marry him. In the final scene, Mrs Bennet claps her hands in delight as she watches Darcy and Elizabeth share a kiss. In the parlor, Kitty is gazing lovingly into the eyes of a soldier, while Mary sings along with an admiring flautist. 'Three of them married,' exclaims Mrs Bennet to Mr Bennet, 'and the other two just tottering on the brink.'
Those who have both seen the movie and read the novel say that the movie is substantially different from the novel in that it omits certain characters, re-conceives others, and condenses the action of the story. One noticeable difference is the changing of the time period from Regency [late 1700s] to Victorian 1830s, said to be so that the clothing styles could be made more elaborate and flamboyant. Another notable difference is the ending. In the movie, Lady Catherine's haughty demand that Elizabeth never marry Darcy is changed to a hoax, contrived to test whether Elizabeth is truly in love with him or just after his money. In the novel, there is no test of Elizabeth's mettle. Lady Catherine's demand is authentic and, in fact, she wants Darcy to marry her daughter Anne. A third divergence is that, in the movie, the characters of Darcy and Elizabeth are toned down from the extremely rude Darcy of the novel and the more feminist (for the time) portrayal of Elizabeth.
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