Pride and Prejudice (1940) Poster


The studio's first choice for Darcy was Clark Gable.
Vivien Leigh was passed over for the role of Elizabeth Bennett in favor of Greer Garson.
In keeping with the style of screwball comedies, the ad campaign for the film warned, "Bachelors beware! Five gorgeous beauties are on a madcap manhunt!"
MGM considered Robert Donat and Robert Taylor to play Mr. Darcy, and Norma Shearer supposedly wanted MGM to borrow Errol Flynn from Warner Bros. for the role.
According to Ann Rutherford, although the filmmakers were committed to begin shooting on a particular date, they discovered that David O. Selznick had used every available reel of Technicolor film in existence to make Gone With The Wind. Therefore, despite the lavish sets and opulent costumes, Pride And Prejudice had to be shot in black and white.
Phil Silvers was asked to screen test for a role as a vicar despite having a strong New York accent. It turned out to be a cruel prank by studio executives who passed the screen test around Hollywood. In his autobiography, Silvers says "These three minutes were perhaps the funniest I've ever done."
According to Edward Maeder, Adrian, the costume designer, asked director Robert Z. Leonard to place the film in a later time period than that of the novel so that the costumes might be more opulent than those of Jane Austen's time.
Initially scheduled to start pre-production in 1936, under the supervision of Irving Thalberg with his wife, Norma Shearer as Elizabeth Bennett, but pre-production was put to a halt after Thalberg's death.
The play by Helen Jerome, also called "Pride and Prejudice," opened in New York on 5 November 1935 at the Plymouth Theater, New York City, and closed in May 1936 after 219 performances. The opening night cast included Adrianne Allen as Elizabeth Bennet, Colin Keith-Johnston as Mr. Darcy, Lucile Watson as Mrs. Bennet, Alma Kruger as Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Helen Chandler as Jane Bennet and Joan Tompkins as Lydia Bennet. There were 2 Broadway revivals: "All the Comforts of Home" with Celeste Holm in May 1942 which closed after 8 performances, and "First Impressions" in 1959, which lasted 92 performances and starred Polly Bergen, Hermione Gingold and Farley Granger.
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Halliwell Hobbes and Jane Drummond are listed in the Hollywood Reporter production charts for this movie, but they did not appear in the released print.
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