Romance: Pride and Prejudice

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Download Pride and Prejudice from the Old Time Radio Classics Broadcast Archives

CBS Radio, 28 May 1947
Another in the series of old-time radio adaptations of Jane Austen's classic, this version by Jean Holloway was first broadcast in an anthology series that ran sporadically from 1943 to 1947, and again from 1947 to 1957.  This was the sixth entry in the second series.
The title says it all: Austen's story has been reshaped into a love-story with Elizabeth Bennet (Naomi Campbell) being described as "too proud for love," and Darcy (Eric Dressler) as "too prejudiced for romance."  The 25-minute long episode describes their gradual change of character, as Elizabeth learns about Darcy's fundamentally decent nature, as he helps both Bingley and Mr. Wickham in their love-affairs with the other Bennet sisters.  In this version Darcy declares his love for Elizabeth very early on; she rebuffs him, until she finds out about his true nature.  The two of them end up by falling into one another's arms, vowing to love one another "till the end of time."
The romantic central plot has been broken up by several scenes of comic relief involving exchanges between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet (the actors' names, alas, were not listed in the end credits).  Mrs. Bennet's sole desire is to see her five daughters married off; when they are about to be married, she bemoans the fact that she will have to live life alone.  Mr. Bennet wearily agrees with her, but still wonders why she has experienced such a rapid swing of mood.  Mrs. Bennet's answer is straightforward; he has "never been a mother," and would not understand.
Constructed as a series of two-person dialogues, linked by violin interludes (setting the mood for the story), this version proves wildly entertaining, if only for the wry observations of the narrator (Sandy Becker), whose slight pauses in dialogue suggest that he doesn't treat the characters' vicissitudes very seriously.