Jane Eyre 2006 Delay

28 Aug

I would have posted the review of Jane Eyre 2006 either today or tomorrow, but something was bothering me after watching my DVD. It turns out is a shortened version that was played on PBS’s Masterpiece. I had seen the original UK version which was 4 hour long episodes before, so something seemed off as I watched my DVD, which was two, two hour long episodes. I have actually watched my DVD once before, but I guess I wasn’t paying as close attention. This time I noticed certain scenes I had remembered from the UK version being gone! So, I have ordered a version that includes the full miniseries the way it was meant to be seen originally.  It should hopefully be no more than a few days.

Jane Eyre 1997

24 Aug

The 1997 version of Jane Eyre was originally shown on ITV and runs for only 108 minutes. It stars Samantha Morton as Jane and Ciaran Hinds as Rochester. I originally saw it as it reran on television here in the US several years ago, missing only the very beginning (I turned to the channel during Helen’s death scene). I purchased a (new!) DVD for only a dollar on Amazon Marketplace within the last couple years and watched it again when I received it. This time, for the review, makes for the third time.

I didn’t like this version the first time I watched it. Or the second. Or even now, the third, sadly. It is way too short and rushed- leading to a lot being cut from the novel, the production values are little better than older versions from the 80s and before, and a lot of the casting and characterizations do not ring true to the book characters (for me, at least). A lot of voice-over is used, but it’s not from the book (or at least the majority is not). Instead, most seems to be used to truncate scenes and just tell the audience what has happened rather than to show it. It’s not exactly horrible (there are a few good points), but this adaptation is just way too truncated for me to enjoy it.

The Reeds

Just like the 1996 version, this one starts with Jane immediately being put in the Red Room. Then Brocklehurst comes to take her. The Reeds have even less of a presence here, though. Deborah Findlay as Mrs. Reed is given little to do other than talk to Brocklehurst about Jane’s faults, and the children don’t do anything at all, really. We do get to see a bit of Bessie, at least. Again, in this version, Jane stands up to Mrs. Reed in front of Brocklehurst. While Jane does go to visit Mrs. Reed later on, we do not get to see that visit- just Jane leaving and then coming back. And Rochester complaining that Jane has written to everyone, including Pilot (yes), except him during that time.

Gemma Eglinton as Helen Burns and Laura Harling as Young Jane

Neither of them is really given anything to do, aside from Jane standing up to Mrs. Reed. The death scene is included but Helen’s piety, and indeed her entire personality, is nowhere to be seen. Unfortunately most of the Lowood scenes are only told through voice-over, so aside from Mr. Brocklehurst’s visit (which is kept), and the death scene, that’s all we get to see. Helen dies of typhus in this one.

Samantha Morton as Jane Eyre

The only other thing I’ve ever seen Samantha Morton in was the ITV Emma, which I also didn’t like too much. She didn’t impress me here either. She looked the part well enough. She was very close to the right age and they did their best to make her look plain, but I wasn’t fond of her performance. She was at times very reserved and meek, other times more confident and defiant. Her attitude with Rochester was quite rude and insubordinate in their conversations.

Ciaran Hinds as Edward Rochester

I usually love Ciaran Hinds (especially as Wentworth in Persuasion) but this was the exception. Like Samantha Morton, he looked the part, but that’s as far as it went. I hated his portrayal as Rochester. I doubt that he ever read the book. Even so, I don’t know what the whole production team was thinking. Whereas William Hurt was too subdued and emotionless, Hinds was the exact opposite, constantly getting angry and whiny to the point of shouting every line. It was ridiculous. He and Jane had absolutely no chemistry, and if she didn’t tell us in the voice-over that she was growing fond of him, we wouldn’t know it. In their scenes together, such as the proposal, Morton underacted and Hinds overacted to the point that it was ridiculous. The kissing looked rather uncomfortable to both parties. They may as well have fake kissed, like in 1996.

Timia Berthome as Adele

Adele was fine, but Rochester was way too affectionate with her in this. He holds her on his lap, gives her presents, and teases her. He does not seem to resent her presence because of her mother at all. Speaking of affectionate, he is also that way with Bertha- holding her to him like a child and kissing the top of her head. She is kept in a padded room. I know Rochester’s treatment of Bertha was actually enlightened and unconventional for the time, but I think that was taking it a bit too far.

Abigail Cruttenden as Blanche Ingram

I feel evil and shallow for saying this, but she was not beautiful enough. Blanche’s two big (only) characteristics are that she is beautiful and haughty. Cruttenden was neither. She was actually very kind and sweet to Adele, and only showed hints of her original nature (wanting Rochester’s money). And I actually didn’t find her attractive at all. She looked almost masculine to me. Maybe her strong features and jawline coupled with the girly hairstyle accentuated it, I don’t know. The charades and gypsy scene were both cut, but there was a bit with her reading Rochester’s palm.

Gemma Jones as Mrs. Fairfax

I liked her in the role (one of the few high points) and she actually looked more like a housekeeper than some others to have played Mrs. Fairfax. She apologizes tearfully to Jane after the aborted wedding and the reveal of Bertha, insisting she thought Bertha was Adele’s mother, but not that she and Rochester were married. That’s probably along the same lines of what Mrs. Fairfax thought in the book, and I actually liked getting a concrete answer as to the extent of her knowledge in this version.

Rupert Penry-Jones as St. John and Elizabeth Garvie as Diana Rivers

Yes, we have two Captain Wentworths in this! And RPJ is actually a very handsome St. John, for once. Unfortunately, the whole ending including the Rivers storyline was very rushed, and frankly, all wrong. Jane leaving Thornfield is not the moving, sorrowful scene that it is in the book and some other adaptations. It’s all anger. Jane does not seem sad or conflicted. She holds her head up high as she leaves. Rochester is just angry and yelling,  as usual. He tells Jane she is too predictable and needs to be more original, accusing her of only wanting to become mistress of Thornfield- even saying she is no better than Blanche. Jane does wander on the moors for a bit before collapsing and being found by St. John, but there is none of the begging or desperation from the book.

Although St. John is actually good-looking for once, his personality was nothing like his book self. He was actually a very warm and kind, understanding guy, always with a smile on his face. Um, what? Elizabeth Garvie, while I liked her as Elizabeth Bennet, was way too old to be Diana. (This time Mary is the sister to get cut). But that doesn’t really matter anyway, as she does essentially nothing. After Jane wakes up (and does not hide her identity) it skips ahead two months to her working as a teacher. Then it skips ahead to St. John proposing (in which Jane’s only argument is that they barely know each other) before she hears Rochester and runs back to Thornfield immediately. There is no inheritance, no Rosamund, nothing. Rochester, as usual, did not lose an eye or hand. There is a brief epilogue, in which their elder child is clearly a girl for some reason, and that’s it.

Like I said, way too rushed and truncated. And even what we did get ranged from poor to mediocre. The very few decent parts were nowhere near enough to make me like it. I have no desire to watch it again.

My Rating: 5/10

Jane Eyre 1996

22 Aug

I first saw the 1996 version of Jane Eyre when I was still in middle school. I believe it was shortly after I first read the book. I didn’t like the book very much on first read, but when I happened to see that the film was playing on one of the movie channels, I decided to give it a shot. The movie was already about halfway through, but I had nothing else to do anyway. What did I think? Let’s just say I was not impressed. I have seen it twice more since then. Once a couple years ago after buying the DVD, and once for this review. How did I feel those times? Still not impressed.

This movie is really just not very good. The story was largely rushed and truncated- especially the ending. I know things have to be cut to fit it into such a short time frame (less than two hours) but I feel it was just handled clumsily. The first two thirds of the movie were just mediocre, nothing to write home about, but the last part was just a mess. The acting was nothing special either. Those who were good were wasted in their too-small roles. Those who were featured more were not very good. The two words that appear most in my notes are “flat” and “emotionless.”  It was an all around disappointment, devoid of all of the passion and fire of the book.

Fiona Shaw as Mrs. Reed

Fiona Shaw was very good, but was entirely wasted as Mrs. Reed, in her very limited screen time. Gateshead was way too rushed. All of the Reed children push and attack Jane for no reason and Mrs. Reed locks her in the Red Room. There is no scene of her hiding in the window and John hitting Jane and her fighting back at all. Mr. Brocklehurst comes the next day to take Jane to Lowood. It seems like Mrs. Reed was just sending Jane to school to get rid of her. In this version, she also knows that Jane has an uncle in Madeira. I’m surprised she never tried to locate the guy to get him to take Jane!

Leanne Rowe as Helen Burns and Anna Paquin as Young Jane

Helen is made to be the curly redhead to get her haircut in this, because Jane asks her to let it loose in order to paint her portrait. Anna Paquin is very good as Jane, but the character is even more feisty than in the book. She stands up to Mrs. Reed in front of Mr. Brocklehurst, and she stands up to Brocklehurst again when he makes to cut Helen’s hair- she demands that her hair be cut as well. Helen was good in her limited role, and mentions meeting Jane again in heaven, but as usual, her extreme piety is cut.

Geraldine Chaplin as Miss Scatcherd and John Wood as Mr. Brocklehurst

Miss Scatcherd is made into the headmistress in this for some reason. I guess to make the situation at Lowood even more dire, what with her being on Brocklehurst’s side? Mr. Brocklehurst is evil and does not lose any power in this after the typhus outbreak….because there is no such outbreak. Helen is the only one who is sick.

Amanda Root as Miss Temple

Amanda Root was lovely in the role. Her Miss Temple is just a lowly teacher with no power in this, having to obey both Miss Scatcherd and Brocklehurst in this. She also does not get married, and actually tells an older Jane leaving for Thornfield that she feels it is God’s will that she remain at the school. Poor thing!

Charlotte Gainsbourg as Jane Eyre

Even though she was near 25, she did look the right age for Jane and they did a pretty good job making her look plain. She was way too tall though (with an very long neck) and although she had everything to make a good Jane, she was pretty dull actually. She was even more reserved and quiet than the book Jane, which, given how passionate her younger self was in this, was especially jarring.

Joan Plowright as Mrs. Fairfax

Her Mrs. Fairfax was kind and on the flighty/absent-minded side, but she also had a sort of regal air to her. I could kind of see how Jane would mistake her for the lady of the house. Her distant relationship with Rochester is cut. She also seems to be fully aware that Bertha is Rochester’s wife, but that might just be my imagination.

William Hurt as Edward Rochester

If I thought Gainsbourg’s Jane was lackluster, that was nothing compared to William Hurt’s Rochester. My original feelings on  him were “block of wood” and my opinion remains unchanged upon the latest viewing. My above mentioned “flat” and “emotionless” apply to him more than anyone or anything else in this film. Not only did he and Jane not have any chemistry (I’m unsure how they even fell in love in this, since they have so few scenes together), he just didn’t seem to care at all. He was so dull! The proposal scene was so passionless, and even their kissing looked staged (i.e. their lips did not really touch). He did not show Rochester’s brooding/angry side or the humorous side. He just played a block of wood.

Elle Macpherson as Blanche Ingram

Another particularly bad bit of casting. She was  horrible! I have not seen her in anything else but I thought she was a model, not an actress? She was pretty, yeah, but she could not act. There was also no scene of Rochester singing, no charades, and no gypsy. They just had one dance together, pretty much.

Edward de Souza as Richard Mason

Odd beard on this guy. I didn’t know Mason was supposed to be that old.

Josephine Serre as Adele Varens

Adele was fine, I guess. I was not really happy about the above pictured scene between her and Rochester, however. They are both missing Jane when she goes back to Gateshead to see a dying Mrs. Reed. Adele leans on Mr. Rochester and he puts his arm around her. Yeah, right. Adele in this version is sent away to school before the wedding. I didn’t buy that Jane would do that, but it turned out to be for a reason.

Maria Schneider as Bertha

She was fine too. Adele was sent away so early in this version because the ending was so rushed. After the aborted wedding, Jane packs and leaves in a carriage immediately. Despite letting her walk out the door, Rochester decides to chase after her on his horse once the carriage is actually moving. He doesn’t get far, however, because he’s called back- Bertha has already started the fire. This is all in the middle of the day, by the way. He doesn’t help any of the servants out, instead going to Grace Poole, who is calling him for help in getting Bertha out. They are on the top stair landing, not on the roof. Bertha pushes Grace over the railing and kills her before jumping herself. We also see Rochester get  injured. Kind of ruins any surprise there. I’m only surprised that Jane didn’t see the smoke from the carriage and go back.

Samuel West as St. John Rivers

Two 1995 Persuasion actors in this! St. John in this is the parson of Gateshead, who originally summoned Jane to see a dying Mrs. Reed. After traveling for a while in the carriage, Jane decides to go to see him and Mary (there is no Diana). She does not run out of money and have to wander on the moors, desperate and begging for food. Not at all. Yet she is so exhausted somehow from just the carriage ride that she still has to be in bed for a month at the Rivers’??? Okay. Jane does not work as a teacher. Her inheritance is included, but she is not related to the Rivers. Instead, she gives a portion of her money to the girls at Lowood and part for St. John’s mission work. St. John does propose, and Jane says she will consider it, but the next we see of her is going back to Thornfield. Okay?

Rochester and Mrs. Fairfax are still living at part of Thornfield. Jane never actually learns what happens, she just goes straight inside, ignoring Mrs. Fairfax and then sees that Rochester is blind. His eye is gone, but not hand. They have another stage kiss and then we have the epilogue, which is pretty much intact except that they take Adele in and raise her as their own, which is not exactly the case in the book.

Conclusions

Yeah, this movie was pretty bad. Up until Jane fleeing after the wedding, it was just dull and boring. Then it became truly butchered! Such a waste.

My Rating: 5/10

Jane Eyre 1983

19 Aug


The 1983 version of Jane Eyre is the second adaptation of the novel that I saw (and the first that I watched in full). The first one I saw was the 1996 version, but only the second half, so that doesn’t really count. My 9th grade class watched a portion of it after reading the book (at 11 episodes a half hour long each, it was too long for us to spend so much class time on!). I later checked it out of the library to watch it in full. I remember I wasn’t too impressed with my first viewing.

But first impressions do change! I have seen it again since then (and once more now for the review) and I like it more each time. Like the 1973 version, it is very faithful to the book. I preferred it, on the whole, to that one as well. The acting is much better, overall, and it does not have such intrusive, redundant voice-overs. Some very minimal narration by Jane was used at times, but only for transitional purposes- not in the middle of scenes so that the characters have to work their conversation around it. This version includes even more scenes than 1973 as well- such as more of Bessie’s personality from the book, Miss Temple’s marriage,  the grown-up Eliza and Georgiana, and more of Jane’s journey on the moors before being taken in by the Riverses.

It was not perfect, however. In addition to the usual stagey production values of the time, there were a few flaws throughout that bothered me. Not every single thing from the book was kept, of course. One cut scene, in particular, really upset me- Helen Burns’ death. This was a crucial scene from the book, which for some reason was not kept in this version! Yet we did get an added scene of Rochester meeting with Briggs after Jane has left Thornfield, trying to make sure she is alright. I found that scene very odd, because Jane wasn’t present. We should have kept Helen’s death instead!

 

Judy Cornwell as Mrs. Reed

I found the Gateshead portion to be pretty underwhelming in this version. The Reeds just didn’t seem intimidating enough. John Reed, for instance, looked practically punier than Jane. She had no reason to be afraid of him. She looked like she could (and indeed she did) easily take him in a fight. Mrs. Reed, as pictured, looked too old to be the mother of such young children. These scenes were not bad, but could have been just a little better.

Sian Pattenden as Young Jane

I’ve thought all the young Janes were really cute so far, and she is no exception. I think I like her a little better than 1973. I think her acting and look was just a little better. But I kind of think I like the actress from 1970 better than both of them. Hmm.

Robert James as Mr. Brocklehurst

Very true to the book. Just as in the novel, he lost some power after the typhus outbreak, but due to his connections was able to keep his position and was not put down so severely as in 1973.

Helen Burns

She is not credited on IMDB. Her character with all her piety was intact, but my biggest pet peeve with this miniseries concerns Helen. THEY CUT HER DEATH SCENE! One of the saddest, most tragic  scenes in the book and other adaptations is when Helen dies in Jane’s arms. But not so here. The sickness outbreak is described, Jane learns Helen is ill and can’t see her, and then we cut to her grave. It was so disappointing that with everything this version includes, that such a key scene was cut. For shame!

Zelah Clarke as Jane Eyre

I thought she looked a little too old (I think the actress was close to 30) but overall she had the right look for Jane. They did their best to make her look plain (that severe, unflattering hairstyle helped) and she was pretty tiny. I was happy with her performance, overall. Definitely better than Sorcha Cusack and her eyebrows. Her hair actually moved and got mussed at times. More time was spent on her advertising to leave Lowood in this version. That’s one thing I could have done without in favor of Helen’s death instead.

Timothy Dalton as Rochester

My favorite thing about this adaptation. Yes, he was definitely too handsome, but he’s probably my top Rochester to date. He really made the character come to life and his scenes with Jane oozed chemistry. His past with Celine Varens was kept intact and he actually did a believable gypsy scene. (His face was covered and he did a decent job disguising his voice). And this is the first (and possibly only?) adaptation to have him lose his eye AND hand.

Jean Harvey as Mrs. Fairfax

Something kept nagging me about her whenever she spoke. She looked, and especially sounded, so familiar. Yet I couldn’t place what I had seen her in. It turns out she played Mrs. Reed in the 1973 version!

Mary Tamm as Blanche Ingram

I was not impressed with this version’s Blanche. The never really focused on her, which was just as well, because she was not all that beautiful. The charades scene was included, at least.

Andrew Bicknell as St. John Rivers

He had the height and overall appearance of St. John, as well as the cold and rigid personality and piety. He wasn’t quite handsome enough but overall he was good. Jane almost looked like she was going to finally give in and agree to marry him at one point, before going back to Rochester. And…

Moira Downie as Rosamund Oliver

This is the first (and one of the very few) adaptations to include Rosamund Oliver! I was really happy that she was finally shown, but unfortunately, she was not in it enough to show that she and St. John were really in love. Oh well, at least she was there.

Conclusions

This is my favorite of all the versions up to this point. Unfortunately, it is not perfect. So much was kept in that the cuts they did make irritated me even more than they would have otherwise.

My Rating: 8/10

 

Jane Eyre 1973

16 Aug

Arguably the two most faithful Jane Eyre adaptations are the BBC miniseries from 1973 and 1983, respectively. The fanbase is divided over which is the better one on the whole. While I have previously seen the 1983 version, this was actually my first time watching 1973, for this review. It is comprised of 5 episodes of approximately 50 minutes each, and stars Sorcha Cusack as Jane and Michael Jayston as Mr. Rochester. This is the only production I have seen either one of them in.

I do have to say, it is true that this version is very faithful to the novel. This was quite refreshing after seeing all of the older adaptations that changed so much! A lot of the dialogue is lifted right from the book, and most of the characters remain intact and true to their original book selves. The entire series is actually narrated by Jane as well, almost as if she is really reading the book. The result is a faithful adaptation that is sure to please purists, but it didn’t exactly come to life for me, either. The production values are not up to par with modern adaptations, as usual. The narration, while true to the book, was often redundant and just plain unnecessary. There was no need for Jane to tell us what was happening on screen when we could see it ourselves! The actors at times seemed to pause their conversation to make room for the narration. It even made me LOL at a couple points.

Mr. Brocklehurst and Mrs. Reed

The scenes with young Jane at Gateshead are mostly true to the book, except Bessie’s kind personality is cut. A scene I found odd was Mrs. Reed discussing Jane’s subordinate position with her children. It just didn’t seem like a conversation the kids would have! It was also interesting that this version includes a scene, after the typhus outbreak, of Mr. Brocklehurst getting put down by men whom I assume are the school governors, for the terrible conditions he has imposed on the school. The actors for Mr. Brocklehurst and Mrs. Reed are not listed on IMDB, and I don’t have the DVD right now to see if they are in the credits.

Young Jane and Helen Burns

Neither of these actresses is listed on IMDB, either, for some reason! It’s a shame because I liked both of their performances. I actually liked young Jane better than the adult Jane. For once in this version, Helen’s piety is not cut. Their scenes together are very true to the book, including Helen’s death. The only funny thing about it was the actress was clearly breathing when she was supposed to be dead! Miss Temple and Miss Scatcherd are also included and faithful to their book selves, though I don’t recall a mention of Miss Temple marrying later on.

Sorcha Cusack as Jane Eyre

Get used to that expression, folks, because it is the same expression that is on her face for almost the entire miniseries.  She had her eyebrows raised the whole time. I don’t know if that was a stylistic choice to make her look uglier, or it was just because she was a newbie at acting. Either way, it was very distracting! Even so, she’s not exactly plain, but not gorgeous either. Certainly more beautiful than her self-portrait.

Jane’s Self Portrait

The scene of Jane painting a portrait of herself and the beautiful Blanche Ingram of her imagination was kept, which was neat to see. As you can see, Jane sees herself as much uglier (and about 20 years older!) than she actually is.

Michael Jayston as Edward Rochester

Aside from those hideous sideburns and eyeliner (seriously, why was he wearing eyeliner???), he is not ugly. He never is, so I guess I just have to get used to it. His performance was pretty true to the book, including the gypsy scene. And he did lose his hand, if not his eye.

Stephanie Beacham as Blanche Ingram

I loved her performance as Blanche. She captured the character’s haughty personality AND she was actually beautiful! What a surprise to see a Blanche that is actually more beautiful than Jane, as she is supposed to be. Rochester did sing to her on the piano, but the charades scene was cut.

Geoffrey Whitehead as St. John Rivers

He was definitely St. John come to life- portrayed St. John’s cold, pious personality perfectly. There was just one thing that bugged me- he’s not handsome! He’s much older than he’s supposed to be and it cracked me up a little to hear Jane telling Rochester later on of how handsome St. John was. Sorry, but no. Rosamund Oliver is cut from this version, which I found very jarring, since almost everything else was left in! That was a vital part of St. John’s character/story in the book and it was disappointing she wasn’t in it.

Conclusion

If I haven’t mentioned anything specifically above, it’s simply because there is nothing to tell. If I haven’t mentioned that something is omitted, chances are, it’s in. Adele, Mrs. Fairfax, Grace Poole, Bertha- they are all true to the book characters and storylines. The visit to Gateshead (minus the Reed sisters) is there, as well as Jane’s inheritance and kinship with the Riverses.

This adaptation was definitely true to the book, so much so that when things were cut out or changed, it was almost shocking. I enjoyed it on the whole, even though it wasn’t magical or anything.

My Rating: 7/10

Jane Eyre 1949

11 Aug

So, today, I’m going to “review” (I use that term very loosely) the 1949 version of Jane Eyre. I had other plans for today, actually, but I wasn’t feeling well enough to do any of them so I watched this instead. This version aired on US Television as part of a series called Studio One. I downloaded it from The Internet Archive, where you can also watch streaming video. The video has the commercials from the broadcast intact, which are actually pretty neat!

This adaptation is only one hour long, seriously. Actually, including the commercials and everything, it would technically be even less than that! So, as you can probably guess, A LOT was cut. And I really mean a lot. Several key scenes and characters from the book are missing. And what we do have is, honestly, not that great, either. The acting is just not very good- some tried a fakey British accent, others didn’t even bother. The costumes are nothing to look at and not really historically accurate. The set design? Well, the front room at Thornfield is where nearly all of the scenes actually take place. I guess that shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the low budget and time constraints. The result is unintentionally funny, more than anything.

We begin with an adult Jane leaving Lowood. Yup, no Gateshead or any scenes of Jane as a child at all. Her teacher berates her for leaving and says she will be punished, but Jane tells the teacher off, saying she will instead be punished.

Mary Sinclair as Jane Eyre

Of course, as usual, she is beautiful. She is quite outspoken and happy to be at Thornfield right away. She has no relatives in this- no Reeds, no Eyres, no Riverses. She apparently grew up at Lowood. Mary Sinclair did not even attempt to hide her accent. On Jane’s first night at Thornfield, she hears maniacal laughter and screaming coming from Bertha’s room. She goes to find Grace Poole, who warns her away.

Meeting

There is no scene of Rochester falling from his horse when coming upon Jane out on the road. Instead, she is called in to meet him in, of course, the front room. For the first few minutes, we don’t see his face- just his hands playing with his stick like that. It made him seem kind of menacing, actually! I don’t know what they were going for with that.

Charlton Heston as Edward Rochester

Yes, Charlton Heston is Rochester. Of course, like Jane, he is good-looking and it is silly to have them call each other plain and not handsome. Really? Audiences are not blind! He is quite kind to Adele in this version and she calls him “Papa” even though he is adamant to Jane that he is not her father. Great.

Bertha setting fire to Rochester

Instead of setting fire to Rochester’s room, it happens in (no surprise) the front room, where he has fallen asleep in front of a chair. We actually see a crazy old Bertha come in and mischievously light the fire with her candle- on either the rug or Rochester’s chair, it looks like? There is actually no fire shown, only smoke. Bertha looks old enough to be Rochester’s mother, and she seems to be happy and sneaky about what she’s doing.

Rochester is not injured at all by the fire and does not wake up. Somehow, Jane hears Bertha laughing and sees her candle outside Jane’s door. This leads her to know to go downstairs, apparently? I guess when her room is technically the only other room in the house, she knows there’s only one place to go! Despite the smoke filling the entire room, she and Rochester are able to easily able to put out the fire with a couple swats with pillows. Rochester says it was the coals from the fireplace that did it….despite there never having been a fire in the grate. Right.

“Party”

The house party consists of only Blanche and Lady Ingram. No expenses spared! Hee hee. I think Blanche is decent-looking at least, but that may be because you never really see her face up close. Rochester makes Jane play the spinet for them. What a jerk! Afterwards, she cries and confides her love for Rochester to Mrs. Fairfax! After Rochester sees her going to bed crying, he tells Blanche right there his story about losing his fortune.

The next day, Jane is already packing to leave for Ireland, hoping to do so before Rochester returns from taking the Ingrams home. How did she already find this position to go to? Rochester comes back early and they have their love confession.

Wedding

We cut to the wedding, which looks like it’s the next day, since there’s no indication time has passed. But apparently, it is sometime later, as Mason and his solicitor have somehow heard about the wedding and came to meet with Grace Poole for some reason. The wedding itself does not take place at church, but rather on the patio just outside the main room at Thornfield. At least it wasn’t in the room!

Bertha

All the while, Bertha is watching from her window, which happens to be right above the patio. I’m still not sure how Mason and Briggs found out about the wedding, but okay…

Jane in the Wilderness

After Jane leaves, the next we see of her is the above scene. She is somewhere out in the wilderness, debating with herself whether she should go back to Rochester. She suddenly hears his voice calling her and decides to go back to Thornfield. Okay…WTF? How much time has passed, here? Has Jane been living outside this whole time? How did she survive? No answers as to any of the above.

Reunited

Thornfield appears to be intact when Jane returns. We find out from Mrs. Fairfax that only the west wing was burned. For some reason, Rochester was not awakened during the fire until all of the servants got outside.  Nice one. Like most adaptations, he did not lose his eye or hand. His and Jane’s reunion takes place on the patio outside the front room. They hug, and that’s it.

Conclusion

Yeah, so, not a good adaptation! I laughed several times while viewing, but not at anything that was intentionally funny. It wouldn’t hurt to check it out, just for a chuckle, but don’t expect anything good or faithful!

My Rating: 4/10 (for the laughs)

 

Jane Eyre 1970

10 Aug

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.

The Characters

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.

In Conclusion

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