Jane EyreDirector: Robert Stevenson, Orson Welles, Joan Fontaine, Margaret O'Brien
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Director Robert Stevenson collaborated with novelist Aldous Huxley and theatrical-producer John Houseman on the screenplay for this 1944 adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's gothic romance Jane Eyre. After several harrowing years in an orphanage, where she was placed by a supercilious relative for exhibiting the forbidden trait of "willfulness," Jane Eyre (Joan Fontaine) secures work as a governess. Her little charge, French-accented Adele (Margaret O'Brien), is pleasant enough. But Jane's employer, the brooding, tormented Edward Rochester (Orson Welles), terrifies the prim young governess. Under Jane's gentle influence, Rochester drops his forbidding veneer, going so far as to propose marriage to Jane. But they are forbidden connubial happiness when it is revealed that Rochester is still married to a gibbering lunatic whom he is forced to keep locked in his attic. Rochester reluctantly sends Jane away, but she returns, only to find that the insane wife has burned down the mansion and rendered Rochester sightless. In the tradition of Victorian romances, this purges Rochester of any previous sins, making him a worthy mate for the loving Jane. The presence of Orson Welles in the cast (he receives top billing), coupled with the dark, Germanic style of the direction and photography, has led some impressionable cineasts to conclude that Welles, and not Stevenson, was the director. To be sure, Welles contributed ideas throughout the filming; also, the script was heavily influenced by the Mercury Theater on the Air radio version of Jane Eyre, on which Welles, John Houseman and musical director Bernard Herrmann all collaborated. But Jane Eyre was made at 20th Century-Fox, a studio disinclined to promote the auteur theory; like most Fox productions, this is a work by committee rather than the product of one man. This in no way detracts from the overall excellence of the film; of all adaptations of Jane Eyre (it had previously been filmed in 1913, 1915 and 1921, and has been remade several times since), this 1943 version is one of the best. Keep an eye out for an uncredited Elizabeth Taylor as the consumptive orphanage friend of young Jane Eyre (played as child by Peggy Ann Gardner).
- Release Date:
- Original Release:
- 20th Century Fox
- Region Code:
- [B&W, Full Frame]
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Cast & Crew
|James Basevi||Art Director|
|Charlotte Brontë||Source Author|
|Ross Dowd||Set Decoration/Design|
|W.D. Flick||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Roger Heman||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Bernard Herrmann||Score Composer|
|Rene Hubert||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Wiard Ihnen||Art Director|
|Thomas K. Little||Set Decoration/Design|
|William L. Pereira||Production Designer|
|Fred Sersen||Special Effects|
1. Main Titles [1:25]
2. My Name is Jane Eyre [5:08]
3. Lowood [3:51]
4. A Friend [10:34]
5. A Governess [10:10]
6. Mr. Rochester [8:03]
7. A Difference of Opinion [5:41]
8. Madness in the Night [7:36]
9. House Guests [9:33]
10. Behind Closed Doors [7:31]
11. Jane's Request [5:30]
12. Love [3:09]
13. An Impediment [5:49]
14. Jane Says Goodbye [1:14]
15. A Visit to Bessie [5:34]
16. Return to Thornfield [5:19]
Language and Audio
Commentary by Orson Welles Biographer Joseph McBride & Actress Margaret O'Brien
Commentary With Film Historians Nick Redman, Steven Smith and Julie Kirgo
Isolated Score Track
Commentary by Orson Welles Biographer Joseph McBride & Actress Margaret O'Brien: On
Commentary by Orson Welles Biographer Joseph McBride & Actress Margaret O'Brien: Off
Commentary With Film Historians Nick Redman, Steven Smith and Julie Kirgo: On
Commentary With Film Historians Nick Redman, Steven Smith and Julie Kirgo: Off
Isolated Score Track: On
Isolated Score Track: Off
Locked in the Tower: The Men Behind Jane Eyre
Know Your Ally Britain: United States War Department Film Directed by Robert Stevenson
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Jane Eyre is certainly a classic novel; many of us have read it in high school or college English classes. It's no surprise to learn there are no less than 22 different versions [according to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb)], including 6 TV mini-series and even 2 weekly TV series. But this is the classic classic! Orson Welles is the dark and brooding Edward Rochester. Joan Fontaine is the shy and lonely Jane Eyre, an orphan banished by her unfeeling Aunt to a girl's school where she was regularly and cruelly punished. As two isolated loners, living outside the societal constraints of Victorian England, Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine capture the real essence of Rochester and Jane, both frightened creatures who have been dealt cruel blows by the people in their lives and dare not let anyone draw close enough to hurt them again. Still, as they gravitate toward to each other in their isolation, Fontaine seems to grow stronger and lovelier, while Welles displays a sort raw sex appeal few could match..and no one ever brooded more mysteriously! Though newer adaptations have used 'on location' footage and color cinematography, there is much to be said for the haunting B&W images of the English moors, candles in dark hallways, and unseen voices behind locked doors. A great film classic, and definitely "an essential" for the Old Hollywood buff!
Of all the many versions of Jane Eyre that I have seen this is by far the best. I consider it the benchmark by which all others must be judged.
There is no other Rochester but Orson Welles as there are no eyes more haunting or expressive as Joan Fontaine's as Jane. All other attempts at capturing this story have been futile. This dvd is a must have.
Orson Welles is the ONLY Rochester! This is the only JANE EYRE. The modern editions aren't worth watching. This version is the only film that faithfully evokes the mood of Bronte's classic novel. I first watched this film as a ten-year-old girl, and Jane Eyre became one of the books the influenced me to pursue first a BA in English Literature, then my Masters Degree, and finally a PhD. Watch the film and read the book; the same holds true for Emily Bronte's WUTHERING HEIGHTS. As with Welles in Jane Eyre; Olivier is the ONLY Heathcliff worth watching.
I believe that this Jane Eyre was good, but as for being thebest that is a long shot. The best is the lastest Jane Eyre released in 2011, i promise you'll love that one even more.
I saw this film on the Turner Classic Moview channel. An excellent version of Bronte's book. The casting was perfect, especially Orson Welles, Joan
Fontaine, Peggy Ann Garner and Elizabeth Taylor. Agnes Moorehead and Sara Allgood were perfect as part of the supporting cast. Moorehead and Allgood were great character actresses during the 1940's. Allgood was terrific in "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir", 1947.
Besides, any movie with Orson Welles was great during his prime in the
late 1930's and early to late 1940's!!!
Superb direction, exemplary acting and beautifully filmed. This is a dark smoldering film. It's filled with all the social misery, class induced loneliness and religious depravity that was Victorian England. I own all of the versions of this film and this is definitely the best. A true classic!
This is one of those films I remember from my childhood--so well acted and staged. It brought me back into another world very different from the one I knew. There was something very real about it as if it were a true story of a time gone by. Perhaps even though it is fiction parts of the story really did happen. The characters display a wide range of human conduct from the very best to the very worst. We can all in some way identify with the happenings that unfold in the story that we have experienced in out own lives.
Please release this on DVD. I am absolutely captured by this film.....and yes I also love Rebecca!!!
Truly amazing!!! great actors and good story you should watch REBECCA another great movie
as always, a sucessful adaptation requires that the movie be true to the book itself. if not dialouge-wise, then the film must capture at least the essence of it. Jane Eyre is one of the best movie adaptations i have ever seen. in the book, Edward Rochester is a dark and brooding man, with an incredible presence. Orson Welles supplies that to his character. Joan Fontaine portrays her character with sensitivity and steel, the perfect combination for Jane Eyre. this is also a movie that spreads through many different genres. it is a movie for mystery lovers, because of the mystery behind the door. the mystery is also solved tastefully, revealing just enough to keep the viewer interested. It is a drama because it is so dark. it is a love story, and a powerful one at that.
I recommend this movie to all those who love romance classics. this film is true to bronte's novel and both welles and fontaine capture the essence of rochester and eyre.
More recent versions are better to watch.