By Mary Joanne Pauline C. Arnante
“Sometimes the last person on earth you want to be with is the one person you can’t live without.”
The novel Pride and Prejudice deems it’s true. Originally titled as First Impression, Pride and Prejudice is one of Jane Austen’s most famous novels. This novel has been adapted to film and television many times before the 2005 film, Pride & Prejudice was released. The story tackles a common reality in England especially during the Romantic era (early 19th century) and this is the Marriage hunt. Women without or lacking in fortune have to marry well, and the Bennet sisters are one of the players in this time of Marriage hunting. The Bennets is a family with five beautiful daughters of eligible age and lived in Longbourne, England. The family is a relatively well-off one. However, having no son in the family has made Mr. Collins heir to Mr. Bennet’s possessions. This has made Mrs. Bennet very eager to find well-to-do husbands for her daughters.In fact, she was deliriously happy when she found out that Mr. Bingley, a wealthy, eligible bachelor who just arrived in his mansion near their home, and her daughter Jane are attracted to each other. Along with Mr. Bingley, Mr. Darcy, another rich and eligible bachelor visits the place as well. Eventually, Mr. Darcy finds himself attracted to Elizabeth, the second daughter of the Bennets. At first, he was too proud to admit this, even to himself. Mr. Darcy proposes to Elizabeth but she declines it. Elizabeth’s prejudice has prevented her from seeing Mr. Darcy’s sincerity.
In this emotional roller coaster ride, much of England’s greatest architectural works were featured. In fact, there is only one set that was made for the movie in particular and this is the set for the dance where Mr. Darcy first appeared in the movie. One of the most prominent sets in the film is the Rosings Park-the palatial home of a formidable and opulent Lady Catherine de Bourg. The scenes featuring the Rosings Park was actually filmed in the Burghley House, a grand country house which stands near the town of Stamford, Lincolnshire, England. It is actually one of the largest and grandest houses of the Elizabethan Era and was built by William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I, between 1555 and 1587. It was built as a residence of its descendants. It is noticably designed in and according to the Elizabethan architectural style. This is very evident because of its large, square structural build-up and assymetrically designed towers. Its historic parkland was actually designed by Lancelot “Capability” Brown, who is known to be England’s greatest gardener. Both the interior and exterior of the Burghley place was used in the making of the film.
Its interior was used in filming the scenes wherein Mr. Collins, together with Elizabeth and Charlotte who is now his wife, visits his employer, the noble and daunting Lady Catherine de Bourg, who is also the aunt of Mr. Darcy. Basically, Mr. Collins, Charlotte and Elizabeth are frequently invited over to the Rosings Park. It was also used in filming the part wherein Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth meets once again and this time, Mr. Darcy impetuously proposes to her. Apparently, Elizabeth rejects it. The Burghley House was also used in filming other movies and programs like The Da Vinci Code and Royal Upstairs Downstairs.
Watching the film and at the same time, learning more about the architectural and historical feats behind it has really been a very enriching experience. I always remember watching a lot of movies and not even knowing about such places. I used to see then as part of the act, the purposely-made set and visual effects but apparently, these are actual spaces in actual life existing in actual time. This is indeed, one of the things that I enjoy and appreciate very much about being an Interior Design student. It helps me see places as spaces filled with meaning and not just boxes to put everything else inside it.