I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Weird Circle - Jane Eyre

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
I've wanted to review all the radio adaptations of Jane Eyre that I have (Warning! I have a few!) for awhile now.  A year ago I would have put this on my website for Jane Eyre adaptations but now, I want to post them here and maybe interest a reader into listening to the episode. They are all mostly from the forties and fifties and really entertaining.  Check out all the radio adaptations of Jane Eyre here.

I'll start off with the adaptation for the radio series "Weird Circle" that aired December 26, 1943.  Unfortunately I have been unable to find any information on the cast.  Amidst the sound of rolling waves it begins:

In this cave by the restless sea, we are met to call from out of the past, stories strange and weird.  Phantoms of a world gone by speak again the immortal tale... Jane Eyre.

Dramatic much?  This should be called Weird Adaptation because it doesn't really take much from the book.  Absolutely none of the original dialogue is used, pretty much all scenes disregarded except for the interrupted wedding, goodbye faithful characterizations, and Mrs. Fairfax is inexplicably changed to Mrs. Campbell and clearly ripped off from sinister Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca.  (Rebecca the film was released in 1940 by the way)  The creep factor is turned way up by Mrs. Campbell's sneering threats, very unnerving noises coming from the attic, and a Bertha who maniacally says she likes death and fire.  But let's get back to the plot being pathetically stripped down to just include scenes that indicate 1) timid Jane has a new position as governess, 2) Something strange is going on in that attic 3) poor Adela is scared 4) Mr. Rochester and Jane have nice conversations (off microphone) but even Jane is surprised by how abruptly he declares his love, 5) Interrupted wedding, 6) as Jane is leaving she turns around and sees the house afire, and 7) she sits by Rochester's bed waiting for him to wake up so she can love him.  Wow.  I guess this vaguely reminds me of Jane Eyre.

Obviously this is a ridiculous, over the top adaptation.  It turns the multi-faceted story into a hackneyed ghost story with no ghost.  And yet I find it hilarious and very entertaining.  I'll leave you with my favorite part - twice Jane asks Mr. Rochester about the noises in the attic and this is what she gets:

Jane: Then why is the attic shut off that way?
Rochester: It saves fuel.
Jane: Well that's nonsense, the attic's heated.
Rochester: Let's say it saves fuel, and let us go with that.

Rochester: You had a nightmare probably, Jane
Jane: It wasn't the first time I heard those footsteps.
Rochester: Probably Mrs. Campbell rummaging up there.  She has insomnia at times.
Jane: Mrs. Campbell doesn't walk on all fours, Edward.
Rochester: Well, uh, probably the wind.
Jane: Adela heard it too.
Rochester: Let's say it's the wind and forget it, shall we?

Omigod what?  Jane, you are INSANE to just let those feeble answers go!   It's so terrible it's kind of brilliant!

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  1. LOL I remember this one, SO much fun..to snark at!

    1. LOL, your snarks about this one still make me laugh! I like to re-read the radio ones you did sometimes. :)

    2. I miss doing writing those, not much lately to snark..most of the adaptations I have seen lately have been good..it's a shame LOL

    3. LOL, what has gotten into people lately - so weird to be true to source material! :D

  2. Thank you for the information. I am doing this whole year with Jane Eyre in one shape or form and am taking part in the Books of Eyre Challenge. I am listening to one of the shoes as we speak. It has Betty Davis in it!

    1. Oh yay, I'm so glad to hear that! And if I would love to know your thoughts on them, if you decide to post some kind of review! :)

  3. Those transcripts are just *made* of awesome! I'll have to ask Alisa if she can dig out her copy. :)

    1. Yes, and have Alisa did out her copy of the snarks! :D

  4. I remember listening to that one ... it's hilariously atrocious! :D It's as if it should be branded, "May contain traces of Jane Eyre".

    1. LOL totally agree! Alot of adaptations of JE should have that warning! :D