The Popular Portrayal of Mr. Collins
|Pride & Prejudice (1940)|
In the 1940 version starring Lawrence Olivier as Darcy, Mr. Collins is played by Melville Cooper. Cooper takes on the role at the age of 44, playing a tall, bombastic, attention seeking Collins. Cooper wore stage makeup during filming that was intentionally designed to make him look older than his 44 years. Now, one should never expect or demand precise casting in movies. Casting directors have to look for talent, availability, presence, a whole list of qualities, and sometimes those qualities aren't found in someone who fits the textual descriptions in the novel.
That being said, it stretched credulity to cast a 44 year old actor to play a character that Austen describes as "a young man of five and twenty", who has only just been ordained a minister six months prior.