Category Archives: Robert Redford

Pride and Prejudice characters: Charlotte and Mr. Collins

Charlotte & Collins

For a woman who came from a family of clergymen — her father, two brothers and four cousins wore a collar — Jane Austen certainly enjoys poking fun at them in her novels. And Pride and Prejudice’s  Mr. Collins is her most ridiculous clerical caricature. How on earth does sensible Charlotte wind up with such a buffoon?

A clergyman was a professional, just like a lawyer or doctor. He made his living in the pulpit, not at the bar or in the examining room, but he still needed to be a well educated man. Add to that a vicar needed have a high moral standard, be a good speaker and have compassion for the poor and needy.

David Bamber is Mr. Collins  in the 1995 series [Image courtesy BBC Home.]

David Bamber is Mr. Collins in the 1995 series [Image courtesy BBC Home.]

Instead we get conceited, pompous, narrow-minded, silly, self important Mr. Collins. He is a mixture of pride and obsequiousness, a social climber with a very good opinion of himself and his patroness Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

He comes to Meryton to visit the Bennets. As closest male relative he is set to inherit the Longbourn estate on Mr. Bennet’s death. That is something, to his credit, that he feels some guilt over. So he decides to marry one of the five Bennet sisters. Jane is all but engaged to Mr. Bingley so he sets his sites on Lizzie.

Tom Hollander as Mr. Collin in the 2005 movie

Tom Hollander as Mr. Collin in the 2005 movie

Poor Lizzie receives two of the worst proposals  of marriage in literature. The first is from Mr. Collins. He wants to get married because:

  1.  as a clergyman it would set a good example to the parish.
  2.  it will add to his happiness.
  3.  it is “the particular advice “ of Lady Catherine.
  4.  he has a violent affection for Elizabeth

Of course he doesn’t expect a rejected. For one thing he’s SUCH a catch, and for another he’s chosen well. The girls are desperate and he has them in a corner.

He literally can not believe that she declines his offer. Neither can her mother. And for a while Longbourn is long born with strife.

Queue Charlotte.

Charlotte Lucas is plain, pragmatic, good-tempered, funny, sensible, intelligent and unromantic.  She is 27 years old and Lizzie’s intimate friend. She’s such a good friend, in fact, that she comes to the rescue when Lizzie refuses Mr. Collins. She keeps him in good humor by listening to him and, one assumes, diverts him, making sure he’s out of ear shot of the shouting Mrs. Bennet and the giggling Lydia and Kitty.

Lucy Scott in the 1995 series

Lucy Scott in the 1995 series

Lizzie thanks her friend,  but “Charlotte’s kindness extended farther than Elizabeth had any conception of; — its object was nothing less than to secure her from any return of Mr. Collins’s addresses, by engaging them towards herself.” With a little encouragement on her part Mr. Collins transfers his ‘violent affections’ form one lady to the next and…

”In as short a time as Mr. Collins’s long speeches would allow, every thing was settled between them to the satisfaction of both… he earnestly entreated her to name the day that was to make him the happiest of men… and Miss Lucas, who accepted him solely from the pure and disinterested desire of an establishment, cared not how soon that establishment were gained.”

Lizzie is surprised that Mr. Collins could so quickly change his mind  and settle on another life partner. But she is astonished that Charlotte could accept his proposal.  Charlotte reminds her however that she is…

”not romantic, you know. I never was. I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr. Collins’s character, connections, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state.”

In some ways Charlotte winds up in same situation as Mr. Bennet in the marriage department. Neither of them respect or love their partners. And both do what they can in daily life to avoid interacting with their spouses Mr. Bennet shuts the door to his library, while Charlotte sits in her parlor and encourages Mr. Collins to work with his bees or visit Lady Catherine.

Claudie Blakley in the 2005 movie

Claudie Blakley in the 2005 movie

At the end of the novel Mr. Bennet writes to Mr. Collins informing him that — despite warning to the contrary by both Collins and Lady Catherine — Lizzie and Darcy are soon to marry. Mr. Bennet advises Mr. Collins to  “Console Lady Catherine as well as you can. But, if I were you, I would stand by the nephew. He has more to give.” If Mr. Collins heeds this wise advice he’d shift his alliance to Darcy who would never put up with the vicar’s toady behavior. That, combined with Charlotte’s even handed temper–which (hopefully) would rub off on Collins–MIGHT make him a more tolerable fool.

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Here’s a clip of the wonderful Julia Cho and Maxwell Glick in a scene from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries…


Thought of the Day 8.18.12 Robert Redford

“Why do they have to mess with things that were perfect the first time around?”

Robert Redford

English: Robert Redford in Barefoot in the Park

English: Robert Redford in Barefoot in the Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Charles Robert Redford, Jr was born on this day in Van Nuys, California in 1936. He is 76 years old.

Redford had a comfortable upbringing — his father was an accountant for Standard Oil –but he had a rebellious streak. He did well in sports and played football and tennis for Van Nuys High School. But he was more interested in what was going on outside the classroom than in what was on the syllabus. He got into trouble for drinking and stealing hub caps. He was good enough at baseball to get a scholarship the University of Colorado, but he lost it because of his drinking.  He dropped out of college and went to Europe to pursue painting.

When he returned to the US he met Lola Van Wagenan in New York and the two were married. Redford studied art at the Pratt Institute and then switched to acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. In 1959 he landed his first small role on Broadway in Tall Story. The  Little Moon of Alban followed, and then came his breakthrough role in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park opposite Elizabeth Ashley.  Park was Simon’s longest running Broadway show and Redford revised his role as Paul for the 1967 movie (this time opposite Jane Fonda.)

Cover of "War Hunt"

Cover of War Hunt

1962’s War Hunt marked Redford’s film debut.  The movie tells about a new recruit (Redford) and a war weary psychotic killer named Private Endore  (John Saxon). It was well received both at the box office and by the critics, and was named one of the ten best films in 1962 by the National Board of Review. One of Redford’s co-stars, Sydney Pollack went on to direct him in This Property is CondemnedJeremiah Johnson, The Way We Were, Three Days of the Condor, The Electric Horseman, Havana, and Out of Africa.

The late 50’s and 1960’s also brought a number of television appearances in shows like Playhouse 90, the Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Film poster for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance...

Film poster for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – Copyright 1969, New Films International (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He was a solid actor with a very pretty face. After several successful, movies where was a dashing blond guy in a suit, he turned down roles in The Graduate and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf to avoid being typecast.  He opted instead for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid where he played gritty, lovable, outlaw. The movie co-starred Paul Newman.  Newman and Redford hit gold again with The Sting a few years later.

After the box office hits of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, Jeremiah Johnson and the Way We Were Redford could pick and choose his film projects. Some notables (not already mentioned) are: All the President’s Men, The Natural,  and  (the voice over for )A River Runs Through It.

Ordinary People was Redford’s directorial debut. (He did the unimaginable and made Mary Tyler Moore come off as a bitch). Redford won the Best Director Oscar. He hit directorial pay dirt with River, Quiz Show and The HorseWhisperer.  In 2011 he directed The Conspirator.

Robert Redford

Robert Redford (Photo credit: http://dirtywhorelebrity.com/)

He founded the Sundance Institute in 1981 to promote independent film making. The Sundance Film Festival soon followed.


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