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This next film adaptation of Jane Eyre is from 1944. The movie is in black and white which gives it a sort of somber feel. Jane is played by Joan Fontaine, and Mr. Rochester by Orson Welles.
I would classify the overall look of the film as more old-fashioned than period. Jane’s hairstyle is unique and definitely reflects the time period when it was filmed. She is very demure and lacks the well-disguised vivacity that Jane possesses in the book. Mr. Rochester is big and burly. He is very stormy, almost too stormy.
This film portrays Jane’s childhood differently from other movies, with some portions of it being completely fabricated. I’m not sure why this was done, except maybe to establish more sympathy for Jane.
While the actors recited their lines well, they seemed to be lacking emotion or sounded fake. I also didn’t sense a great deal of chemistry between Jane and Rochester.
My other criticisms:
Miss Temple and Mrs. Reed’s daughters are completely missing. Adele’s French accent is awful. The excerpts read from the book are made up. There are plot devices that have been made up, such as Jane going to investigate the tower herself, and Rochester and Blanche talking about money. The garden scene between Jane and Rochester was disappointing. Instead of Jane ending up with St. John Rivers when she wanders off, she goes to Bessie. I don’t know why that was changed. Finally, Jane and Rochester’s kiss was almost frightening.
I didn’t care much for this adaptation and won’t ever need to see it again. Watch it if you’re a Jane Eyre fan, otherwise I’d say skip it.
Rating: 1 1/2 Stars
Until next time…
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