I’m back! Really happy to start blogging again. I had the lamest reasons for putting it off. Everything basically went to crap as I got really sick and had to have surgery last year right as school was starting. Even after I got better, I barely visited this blog. I have spent most of my free time this past year instead reviewing (nearly all books) on my youtube channel instead. Click if you want to visit. My videos have never been great quality due to my poor editing skills and lack of a real quality camera, but it’s just for fun anyway- not something I would actually invest money in.
So now we come to the review that has been nearly a year in the making! For reals. I started watching the 1970 version of Jane Eyre LAST FALL and still had notes saved from the very little I was able to get through before I was bogged down with schoolwork and decided to put it on hold. Then, when it was winter break and I had a chance, I got the case off the shelf intending to restart my endeavor when I was shocked to find….It was empty! I still have no idea what happened to the disc. I’ve recently given up on looking for it (I’m also missing my 2005 version of Bleak House, but that is everything including the case so at least I’m not worrying about it being damaged or anything). I still have no idea what happened. I think it most likely one of my siblings wanted to watch something and took the disc out of the player and just laid it anywhere, since they have never exactly been careful with these things. Sigh… Anyway, I’ve since found other means to watch it (aka, a copy of the same DVD version) so here we go!
This is the edition of the DVD I have. The picture is clearly not from the adaptation itself, since Rochester is not that old in it! I find this really funny! This version was originally aired in theaters in the UK, but only on television here in the US. Although the DVD claims to be “digitally remastered,” the quality is still, quite frankly, terrible. Apparently the story goes that the original film was lost somewhere along the line, so the video releases use the TV version. That is apparent with bad, cuts and jumps in scenes that pop up occasionally throughout the movie, most likely at points where there were commercial breaks. The picture isn’t good, and despite boasting a score by John Williams, the sound isn’t either.
Despite being only an hour and a half, the film starts with a length opening credits scene before young Jane arrives at Lowood. What the purpose of that was, I’m still not sure! There is no Gateshead at all, only a brief mentioning of Jane being sent by her aunt. Mr. Brocklehurst cuts Jane’s “wavy” hair for some reason. It looked pretty straight to me, but okay… Miss Scatcherd in this version is a true sadist who seems to get real pleasure from torturing Helen for no reason. She makes Helen stand on a stool outside, for hours, in a storm, just because she got a stool for Jane? And as is common in the adaptations, Helen’s piety and religious devotion is cut out.After Helen’s death, we cut to an adult Jane putting flowers on her grave. Brocklehurst is still in charge and offers Jane a position as teacher. Jane tells him off to his face and says she will never forgive or forget what he did. ???
Then we move on to Thornfield, where my notes are less detailed! It is here that some of the random cuts are so jarring. After the fire in Rochester’s room, Jane asks him if Grace Poole started the fire. One problem with that- there was no mention of the name “Grace Poole” at any time in the movie before this! That must have been a scene to have gotten cut, or the writers are morons. Take your pic. There are no gypsies or charades scenes, likely due to time constraints. Nowhere in the film does Gateshead appear- Not in the beginning or the revisiting later on. There is no mention of Jane getting an inheritance or the Rivers being her cousins. The ending was very understated, with Jane and Rochester simply holding hands and holding each other on a bench. There was no epilogue, it just stopped there.
Sara Gibson as Young Jane
She did a good job with what she was given, although it wasn’t very much.
Susannah York as Jane Eyre
She is quite obviously gorgeous, so like in most adaptations, it’s kind of ridiculous to hear her called plain. Yeah, I don’t think so. I thought her performance was okay, but she was way too old. She was already 34 at the time of production, compared to the character’s 18 years. She was just too mature.
George C. Scott as Rochester
One of the few to play the role who could actualy be described as “not handsome!” Ironically (and unfortunately), though, this adaptation did not include the bit where he asks Jane if he is handsome and she says no. What a missed opportunity that was! He was a bit older than the book Rochester, but since Jane was so old I guess they had to go that way. His American accent came through a lot but I thought his performance was pretty good. Like most adaptations, he does not lose his eye or hand.
Nyree Dawn Porter as Blanche Ingram
Well, at least she’s good looking and dark-haired, despite also being too old. But I guess that was inevitable, given the ages of the two leads! It would really have looked ridiculous if she was younger than Jane! This version includes Rochester singing along to her piano, although she does not sing with him.
Kenneth Griffin as Richard Mason
I only included this picture because I thought he was scarier looking than Bertha!
Ian Bannen as St. John Rivers
Like the other leads, too old, but what can ya do? Strangely, his proposal to Jane is actually quite fiery and passionate- not cold and unfeeling like the book St. John for some reason. Jane immediately refuses him and hears Rochester’s voice calling her right then, causing her to go right back to Thornfield.
This version was actually pretty decent. I couldn’t find many negative things to say about it, really, which is a good thing. . Despite being too old, the cast did a pretty good job overall. Ultimately it suffered from time constraints. Other than the horrible picture and audio quality of the DVD, it’s really not bad It’s a shame that the original film was supposedly lost! Maybe it will somehow be miraculously found one day?
My Rating: 7/10