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Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre

1.6 3
Director: William Christy Cabanne

Cast: Virginia Bruce, Colin Clive, Beryl Mercer


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Alpha Video's release of William Christy Cabanne's Jane Eyre (1934) is one of the more interesting public domain titles to show up on DVD from a major distributor. The movie has been out of copyright for decades, yet it was virtually unknown on public domain videotape, and never appeared at all on laserdisc. Its presentation here is surprisingly good -- there


Alpha Video's release of William Christy Cabanne's Jane Eyre (1934) is one of the more interesting public domain titles to show up on DVD from a major distributor. The movie has been out of copyright for decades, yet it was virtually unknown on public domain videotape, and never appeared at all on laserdisc. Its presentation here is surprisingly good -- there are some vertical scratches and a missing frame or two, and the contrast and detail aren't all they might be under optimum conditions, but this is generally a very watchable and enjoyable presentation of the movie, especially for the low price. The film-to-video transfer makes the most of the source and until the final reel, even the dark scenes show more than enough detail to discern the action, and the sound is steady throughout. The six chapters standard to all 2003 Alpha releases are present, and the disc is overall nicely made, as a bargain release from a company that is full of little surprises like this.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Monogram Pictures' Jane Eyre (1934) dates from the short-lived period in which the low-rent Hollywood studio tried its hand at filming literary classics and also reached out beyond the confines of its contract players to engage such stars as Colin Clive. It's about as sincere an effort, if not quite as successful, as William Cowan's version of Oliver Twist (done at the same studio the previous year), though with a short running time, it is rather rushed, with none of the psychological depth of Robert Stevenson's 1944 version of Jane Eyre, starring Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine. After an introductory sequence featuring ex-Our Gang (and future Broadway) star Jean Darling as young Jane and future director Richard Quine as an extremely obnoxious (and totally convincing) John Reed, nine chapters of the book and eight years in the title-character's life pass with the flipping of some pages onscreen at seven minutes in. We then meet the grown-up Jane Eyre, played by Virginia Bruce, who does a surprisingly good job, given the limitations of the production, which, at early moments in the film, seems more like "Scenes from Jane Eyre." The direction is at times very arch and the camera work flat and unimaginative, at least until Edward Rochester is introduced. Few of Colin Clive's movies, apart from the two Frankenstein films that he made at Universal, and perhaps Christopher Strong, are extant today, and it's fascinating to see him in something other than those three movies. He shows greater range here, and more warmth, than one is accustomed to seeing from him in the Frankenstein films -- there's no question that he was a better actor than Christy Cabanne was a director of actors, because he quietly runs circles around the rest of the cast as he reads his lines or moves across the screen. There are some interesting scene transitions in which the camera suddenly becomes mobile and a scene involving a ball that tries hard to look like one of the most expensive in the history of Monogram. Otherwise, there is little here to recommend on artistic grounds, and other than its appeal to Clive's fans or to Charlotte Brontë completists, this Jane Eyre is merely a strange, diverting curio from an extremely unlikely studio.

Product Details

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Virginia Bruce Jane Eyre
Colin Clive Edward Rochester
Beryl Mercer Mrs. Fairfax
Jameson Thomas Charles Craig
Aileen Pringle Blanche Ingram
David Torrence Brocklehurst
Lionel Belmore Lord Ingram
Joan Standing Daisy
William Burress Minister
Jean Darling Young Jane
Claire Du Brey Bertha Rochester
Edith Fellows Adele Rochester
Gretta Gould Miss Temple
Ethel Griffies Grace Poole
Anne Howard Georgianna Reed
Olaf Hytten Jeweler
Edith Kingdon Lady Ingram
Richard Quine John Reed
Des Roberts Dr. Rivers
John Rogers Sam Poole
Clarissa Selwynne Mrs. Reed
Hylda Tyson Bessie
William Wagner Halliburton

Technical Credits
William Christy Cabanne Director
Adele Comandini Screenwriter
Abe Meyer Musical Direction/Supervision
Carl Pierson Editor
Robert Planck Cinematographer
Ben Verschleiser Producer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Chapter 1 [9:15]
2. Chapter 2 [12:36]
3. Chapter 3 [8:42]
4. Chapter 4 [12:16]
5. Chapter 5 [8:30]
6. Chapter 6 [11:36]

Customer Reviews

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1.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you love Jane Eyre, you'll hate this movie. Great liberties were taken with both the characters and the story line, which is totally diced up, scrambled and disjointed. It satisfied my desire to see the oldest available Jane Eyre movie, but left me more frustrated than the end of the Orson Wells version. It gets one star because NO star wasn't a rating choice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my least favorite film version of Jane Eyre but with that said I still enjoyed watching it. It is one of the oldest fim adaptations of Jane Eyre and is black and white and from 1934 and directed by William Christy Cabanne and stars Virginia Bruce as Jane Eyre and Colin Clive as Edward Rochester. Yes this movie takes liberties with the book. Jane is a tall beautiful blonde and Adele is a clutzy ditz with an annoying giggle and Young Jane Eyre comes across as more mean spirited than feisty but as a fan of old black and white movies I allowed myself to enjoy this version so if you like old movies and are able to watch this without constantly comparing it to the book and the other more faithful movie adaptations you just may enjoy this. I know I did! The movie is only 60 minutes (that's just 1 hour and 2 minutes) so it really doesn't take that much time to view it! Despite the liberties I enjoyed the story and the spirit of the book does come through!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is a complete abomination to the book, absolutely ridiculus, yet a little funny.Rochester dances, Jane sings, and even calls Mr. Brocklehurst an 'ugly old crocidile'! Also Jane is blonde and beautiful!? What? Bertha in this movie looks more plain and quakerish than Jane. And in the end, when Jane declares that she would never leave Mr.Rochester (or uncle Edward, as he is so often called in this film), he makes this really scrunchy cranky-pants face. He looks really annoyed that he has to spend the rest of his life with Jane Airhead. The only real redeeming factor in this movie is that little Adele falls into a vase, and it is terribly funny. Besides that, this film is complete heresy.