The Who2 Blog

Mr. Darcy Inches Toward Fifty, Fully Clothed

Good heavens. Colin Firth, also known as Mr. Darcy in the iconic 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice, turns 48 today.

Which gives us the chance to scratch our head publicly over one of the most famous moments from that film: the lake scene. We’ve heard many, many times about the moment in which Firth strips down to take a swim. The scene is supposed to have the power to make strong women go woozy, and make weaker women swoon outright.

We saw (and dug) the film years ago, but didn’t remember this scene. Hearing about it, though, we always supposed that Firth doffed his shirt to reveal a chest of rippling muscles, or possibly grizzly-type fur… or, alternately, that he came dripping from the water bare-chested in a golden glow, like Neptune emerging victorious from a raging sea.

But in fact, we’ve now watched the lake scene on video (the BBC has it on YouTube but won’t allow us to embed it here) and… wha-?? Turns out “strips down” means Mr. Darcy removes his jacket and vest, then dives into the water in full shirt and breeches. (Those Victorians!)

That’s it. Not only does he not emerge dripping, he doesn’t emerge at all. Next we see him, he’s walking across the heath, rumpled and mostly dry. ??? This is the big scene we’ve heard so much about?

Ladies, what gives?

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