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

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Awesome Adaptations (35) - Jane Eyre (1943)

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,

Awesome Adaptations is a weekly bookish meme, hosted at Alisa Selene’s books blog, Picturemereading.  Anyone can play along! Each week there is a new category of adaptation to blog about. Any format (television series, film, web series, etc.) is acceptable as long as it is based in some form on a book. If you’re playing along on your own blog, just mention Picturemereading in your post and include the banner above. Let them know which film you’d pick and why it is an awesome adaptation worth watching. Oh, and don’t forget to share the link to your own post in the comments for that week’s challenge so that everyone can read your thoughts!

An Awesomely Atmospheric Adaptation
Title: Jane Eyre
Adapted from: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Normally I wouldn't count this film version of Jane Eyre as "awesome"because I do have a few issues with the script and characterizations, but as a film and not an adaptation, I think it is compelling because the atmosphere of the movie is the most prominent aspect.

Jane Eyre has many Gothic elements and this film plays up those aspects.  The mysterious manor, the eerie moors, the brooding master, and the dark secret in the attic are all elements that are played out very well in this film.  The stark black and white cinematography captures the Hollywood idea of Northern England in the 19th century as stark and forbidding.  And the lighting just adds to the moodiness.  It makes the story much more mysterious and the romance between Jane and Rochester darker and foreboding.

The acting adds to the foreboding atmosphere as well.  Orson Welles as Rochester can especially be very intense and that adds to the unease that builds to the revelation of Rochester's secret.  Joan Fontaine is all innocence and good intentions which makes her Jane rather insipid, but it makes sense to see her matched to Orson Welles' overpowering Rochester and it's completely true to Gothic norms.  Watching this adaptation is a way to watch an approximation of the power and beauty of the original novel, but it is a wonderfully moody and Gothic film from the Golden Age of Hollywood and well worth the time for that alone.

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  1. I agree this is definitely the most classically gothic of the Jane Eyre adaptations..I especially like the scene when the tree splits in half!