Happy 50th to Colin Firth, Actor Extraordinaire

Victoria here, wishing many happy returns to Colin Firth, another actor that fascinates me — handsome, talented, versatile and all the other adjectives one can apply to British actors in the tradition of Olivier,  Gielgud, and so many others.  I wonder if Firth ever realized what a heart-throb he would become by playing Jane Austen’s memorable hero in the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice, with a screenplay by Andrew Davies, produced by Sue Birtwistle and directed by Simon Langton for the BBC and A and E.

Of course, some of that had to do with the famous wet shirt scene, at which one might swoon — over what Jane Austen would have made of it!! 
But it also had to do with the smoky, sexy looks Darcy cast Elizabeth’s way — sigh!  Talk about “fine eyes.”  Firth made an excellent Darcy, looking suitably grim and bored at the beginning, and changing over the six episodes to recognize his love for Lizzy. This did not preclude his continued arrogance and his reluctance to share the real story of Mr. Wickham. But in the end, was anyone in doubt of the happy- ever-after ending?  Not I.
Firth did a sort of reprise of his P and P role when he played Mark Darcy in the Bridget Jones movies in 2001 and 2004.

Colin Firth was born September 10th, 1960, in Grayshott, Hampshire. He lived in Nigeria during part of his childhood later spent a year in the U.S. as a teen. He studied acting at the Drama Centre and was “discovered” while playing Hamlet.
Firth has appeared on the stage in London but has kept very busy with films, such as the role of the artist Vermeer in The Girl with the Pearl Earring (2003).  He appeared in Valmont (1989), The English Patient (1996), Shakespeare in Love (1998), and Love, Actually (2003), among many more.
Firth has worked with many fine actresses, none better than Judi Dench in Shakespeare in Love.  Kristen Scott Thomas, Jennifer Ehle, Meg Tilly,  Renee Zellweger, Isabella Rossellini, and Emma Thompson, to name a few more.
If I had been advising Colin Firth on his choice of roles, I guess I would have nixed Mamma Mia (2008).  Perhaps they had a great time filming it. Or working with Meryl Streep was impossible to give up.  Although Colin’s singing was just fine, Pierce Brosnan was dreadful.  But that last scene with all of them dressed in those shiny suits fro the 70’s and parading across the stage made me howl with laughter.

Firth received international kudos for his role in A Single Man (2009), including the BAFTA, an Oscar nomination, and awards from the Venice International Film Festival.   In the role of Professor George Falconer, he mourns the death of his long-time companion.
In the meantime, A Single Man has been released on DVD. Colin Firth’s performance is truly excellent.  His co-star is Julianne Moore who is also very good, much better than in her usual roles. 
Among Firth’s upcoming films is his starring role as King George VI in The King’s Speech, co-starring Geoffrey Rush as the coach who helped the King, father of the current Queen Elizabeth II, overcome his stammer. It should be released later in 2010.

I am sure that Colin Firth will continue to engage us with his portrayals on stage, screen and television, into his middle age.  And aren’t we lucky that we all can own a copy of Pride and Prejudice to watch whenever we like? In fact, you can watch a damp Firth in the  “lake scene” from Pride and Predjudice here. And the marriage proposal here.

4 thoughts on “Happy 50th to Colin Firth, Actor Extraordinaire”

  1. Like Elizabeth I can't believe he is 50 either, just two years younger than me! I loved him in all the roles you mentioned (Valmont is a particular favorite,) but don't forget one of my all-time favorites, Nanny McPhee !! Loved the film and loved him in it! And I am intrigued by the upcoming film in which he plays George VI. Looking forward to it!

  2. My eldest grand-daughter Zoe fell for Colin Firth when she saw him in Mamma Mia! Then I showed her parts of Love, Actually (had to censor segments) and she loved him in that, too. Oh, my, wait until she sees him in P&P…

    I love Another Country! Forgot Firth was in it.

Leave a Reply