1 April 2024 Susannah

Colin Firth’s Shirt

Colin Firth’s Wet Shirt

One iconic literary object has recently made big news around the world. The white linen shirt worn by actor Colin Firth in the 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice has been sold at auction for £25,000 (A$39,000), over twice the sum expected. Of course, in Jane Austen’s novel, Mr Darcy never actually goes for a swim in a lake, shirtless or otherwise, but the invented moment struck a real chord with viewers and has been voted ‘the favourite TV moment of all time!’ No, I am not the lucky new owner of the shirt, though had Colin been inside it, I’d have been seriously considering spending large amounts.

I have been asked why that moment of Darcy’s swim became so adored. Part of it must be the undeniable good looks of Colin Firth. Then there’s the fabulous setting – the stately home, the green lawns and lovely trees, all providing a truly English backdrop to his swim. There’s beautiful music playing and building up to a climax, which also adds powerfully to the atmosphere. But perhaps mostly it’s the idea that this proud and wealthy man is so much in love, so tormented by his passion for a spirited woman who has rejected him, that he has to cool off his ardour in a weedy lake. Women (and gay men) around the world almost swooned with satisfaction while watching him (although I believe it was actually a stunt man who did the swim – Colin did not have to dive into the weeds!). Do we females love the idea of having such an effect on a man? Why do you think this scene has been so memorable?

The (now very dry) shirt, has been purchased by a Yorkshire museum, so no doubt will be on display there before long.

You can watch the famous scene and learn more about the shirt at this link. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment.

, ,

Comments (3)

  1. Brian

    It’s leaving the shirt on rather than taking it off that makes this scene so memorable and tantalising and pantalising
    Do you know who sold the shirt and where the proceeds went Susannah, if Colin came with the shirt I imagine there would have been a worldwide internet bidding meltdown . Pleased it’s gone to a museum as opposed to an individual and will no doubt draw more visitors than the Turin shroud

  2. Cynthia Parsons

    A most memorable scene, it always gives me goosebumps even though I am 79. It was the turning point in the relationship in my opinion, his whole demeanor changed by the time he addressed Miss Bennett at the coach. I see that it was not in the original novel but it was a visual masterpiece and a wonderful addition. The scenery also added to the beauty of that part of the movie. I am enjoying your newsletters very much.. Cynthia

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Thanks, Cynthia. I am so glad you enjoy my newsletters.
      Yes, Darcy ahs come to learn the error of his pride and treats Elizabeth and her London relations with such courtesy, even though he is so taken aback to find her in the ground of his home. It’s such a fabulous scene!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *