Mr. and Mrs. Bennet have five unmarried daughters, and Mrs. Bennet is especially eager to find suitable husbands for them. When the rich single gentlemen Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy come to live nearby, the Bennets have high hopes. But pride, prejudice and misunderstandings all combine to complicate their relationships and to make happiness difficult.
Though doubtless the emphasis of this film must be on the two leading stars, I found that an huge degree of the richness of this Jane Austen story came from the wonderfully characterful supporting cast: Mary Boland as the mother, constantly and brazenly seeking advantageous marriages for the "Bennet" brood, with Edmund Gwenn as her husband; Melville Cooper ("Mr. Collins), EE Clive ("Sir William) and the redoubtable Edna May Oliver as "Lady Catherine" all contributing splendidly to this otherwise rather loosely adapted story of "Elizabeth" (Greer Garson) and her rather complicated on/off courtship with "Mr. Darcy" (Laurence Olivier). This is certainly one of the latter's more engaging performance. Though still in ultra-ham mode, he does actually manage to convey the humour of his part, as well as his (largely self-inflicted) struggles to woo, rather well. Garson always was somewhat underrated. I feel she'd have made for a wonderful silent movie star - she had the eyes and the mannerisms that convey what a thousand words could not - and she holds the attention well here as the lively, independently-minded "Elizabeth". The other sisters get more of a look in too - Ann Rutherford ("Lydia") and Maureen O'Sullivan ("Jane) deliver well as they seek out their own beaus. This adaption, led by Aldous Huxley, cuts some of Austen's ever-present wordiness and helps focus the story better, if perhaps less potently and stingingly than the writer intended. I am not really a fan of this genre, nor of this author - but this is entertaining and well made with strong performances, sumptuous settings and quite a bit of charm. Easily the best version of this story to make it onto the silver screen, in my view.