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Jane Eyre Reviews

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Spencer S

Super Reviewer

April 9, 2012
Jane Eyre is a widely filmed adaptation from the Charlotte Bronte book of the same name. It has a story that I can only describe as a meshing of Beauty and the Beast and Rebecca. Maybe I see these parallels because Joan Fontaine is in the principle role, as she was in Rebecca, and similarly she is the stranger in a mysterious home with a gregarious and yet handsome master of the house. The story follows the always unloved and plain Jane Eyre, who is an intelligent woman with a biting wit. Finally able to leave the awful home she was raised in as a girl and ready to make a new life for herself, she becomes a governess to a French girl at Thornfield, owned by the contemptuous Edward Rochester. The film was beautifully shot, dark and foreboding. The newest adaptation from last year had amazing art direction and some vivid and disturbing scenes, but this is far more mystifying, and grandiose in comparison. This film was made to be in black and white, made to be a Victorian romance and a deep comparison to other tragic romance stories from every era. The book itself is not timeless, but the sentiment and appeal is in every person's heart, and Jane is just as reasonably loved by her audience as ever. This adaptation does not take from the literature at all times, instead choosing the story as one of devotion from Jane, who is shown as a piteous soul who has very little in the way of gull, which contemporary films have changed. Though I didn't like Jane as such a lowly creature, in contrast Orson Welles is so brooding and such a rogue, they almost balance each other out. It's gothic and heart wrenching, mostly because many of the details are not shown, especially towards the end when the unpleasantness starts. There is so much sacrifice and inherit romance to this story so it never wanders away from being over the top or unrealistic. Yes, the ending is far too feel good and wraps itself up in too neat a bow, but that was what Hollywood called upon in its romances at that time, and I cannot fault it for that. I only took issue with the booming voice of Welles, who almost seems to be compensating for his lack of knowledge towards the character. Still, he is lively, and his presence didn't take anything away from my pleasure. One of the best adaptations I have ever seen of this source material, and certainly the darkest.

Super Reviewer

September 5, 2010
I haven't read the book, but seeing this movie makes me want to read it. Not only is the story fantastic, the acting is great too: Orson welles and Joan Fontaine. I highly recommend this movie weather or not you have read the book.

Super Reviewer

July 7, 2008
Brooding adaptation of the book gets the gothic feeling just right, Fontaine is good as Jane but is overpowered, who wouldn't be, by Orson Welles great take on Rochester. He is incredibly charismatic even when he is dark and menacing.
Jeremy S

Super Reviewer

June 6, 2006
Stevenson's Jane Eyre is the scariest film I have ever seen just ahead of Hitchcock's Psycho. It simply chills the mind and soul to the deepest possible level. Winner of my Scariest Film.
William S

Super Reviewer

September 19, 2007
A beautiful and gothic masterpiece that is a little under-valued. Welles is surely the benchmark for Rochester - how can anyone come close to matching his brooding presence. I would go as far as to say I prefer this over Hitchcock's Rebecca - it's certainly a more juicy and atmospheric melodrama. Given a more emotional wallop by Bernard Herrmann's rich score.
One of cinema's greatest endings

Super Reviewer

April 24, 2007
The usual mixture of bonnets and frockcoats, handwringing and staring tearfully in the middle distance you'd expect from an Bronte adaptation. Orson Welles intensity devours the camera, but this kind of stilted melodrama not only leaves me cold, but seems faintly absurd.
David S

Super Reviewer

April 17, 2012
Hardly the classic I was expecting this film looks great (there is some dispute over whether Welles or Stevenson actually directed most of the film. Certainly some shots are reminisient of Kane) and the score by Herrmann is strong but Fontaine is stuck playing exactly the same role as in 'Rebecca' and Welles seems too distant and stiff most of the time. When he is more relaxed and natural the film works brilliantly but at other times he looks out of his depth and you can't help but smile at his false nose. The film is still enjoyable and the set design and direction is more imaginative than most films today but it left me slightly cold.
Marion R

Super Reviewer

May 11, 2007
Welles again. I really like this version of the film, I have seen many others, but this one has a certain atmosphere which I quite like.
January 10, 2012
Whenever you see Orson Welles' name on a film, you know that you are looking at a quality film; however, who knew that Joan Fontain could steal the spotlight from one of Hollywood's greatest stars. The character of Jane Eyre comes with a lot of depth but Fontaine exposes every subtle feature in her portrayal. The character also shines through Peggy Ann Garner as Young Jane - I was struck by the amount of convincing emotion in the eyes of this young actress, perfectly setting the scene for the rest of the film. I was also giddy when I realized that Young Jane's friend, Helen, was played by a young and uncredited Elizabeth Taylor! All of the actors are fantastic and a joy to watch, but the credit is truly due to this wonderfully tragic love story. This Charlotte Bronte story is so interesting, all because of one intriguing mystery that will explain the disposition of its male lead. Talk about skeletons in the closet (or in the tower, as it were)! This story is a lot more than a love story between Edward Rochester and Jane - it is an examination of their strong personalities and the factors that have shaped them this way. Jane Eyre has never been portrayed with as much intensity as in this 1944 version and it simply must be experienced.
September 17, 2011
Oh beautiful drama. I've finally seen this classic and I am truly moved. The story, the deftness, the acting. Orson Welles as Edward Rochester truly stole my heart - his voice and eloquence, his depth, the sheer bluntness of his honesty. His dialogue alone captivates me. And Joan Fontaine as Jane Eyre, so shy and faint and realistic. There wasn't a dull moment in the film. From Jane's tragic childhood to the mystery of her adulthood to the unspoken passion of her relationship with Edward Rochester. The cinematography is outstanding - shadows are dark and contrasting, cutting across Orson Welle's face in striking symbolism of his character. Symbolism and meaning are rife and rich. Feelings are pure and deep - on the screen and definitely in my heart.
May 18, 2010
"And then one day when our first-born son was put into his arms, he could see that the boy had inherited his own eyes as they once were - large, brilliant, and black."
April 13, 2010
This is my favorite version of Jane Eyre. First time I watched it was when my dad made me tape it off AMC while he was at work. The making of the movie has a lot of interesting history.
April 17, 2009
Meh. They butchered the book, Orson Wells is just too over the top for me. Although there was a few times it felt close to being good. I just couldn't get into it.
February 23, 2007
Orsen Wells is awesome as Mr. Rochester and of course, who could overlook the bit part that Liz Taylor played.

Super Reviewer

May 26, 2006
My favorite version-wouldn't bother with the others. Every actor is great- even down to the girl who played Jane as a child. Great story
Dave J
January 22, 2014
Wednesday, January 22, 2014

(1944) Jane Eyre

Adapted from the Emily Bronte novel starring Joan Fontaine as the title character, and it appears that she could've been a heiress had it not been for the wicked step mother. She then goes to a boarding school and while there finds that the authoritarian Henry Brocklehurst( Henry Daniell) is a Christian fanatic- you know the ones who punishes underlings heavy for minor things. And as Jane improves her studies, she then rebels against his offer since Henry wanted to hire her to be another instructor that just stands there taking orders. And goes to work for a wealthy baron Edward Rochester (Orson Welles) teaching 8 year old daughter Adele (Margret O'Brien) with more mysteries in regarding to the crazed lady who lives by herself in one of the towers.

Gothic and sometimes predictable but because of the performances particularly Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine makes this one worth watching.

3 out of 4 stars
August 24, 2013
Call this version of Jane Eyre Citizen Jane and leave it at that. Fontaine is totally miscast, while the Wellesian touches at the Lowood school are spectacular. Of all the Janes, and there are many so many, this one is probably the best, or would be if Joan Fontaine, reprising her Rebecca performance, didn't sleepwalk through the film.
March 24, 2013
Doesn't matter if you hated getting through the book in high school- Orson Welles's masterful performance and Bernard Herrmann's chilling score are well worth the admission.
March 17, 2013
Orson Welles' Edward Rochester is the essence of Bronte's character. The movie seems to roll around Orson even in the movie credits, but that doesn't taint the story. Enchanting from beginning to end.
February 21, 2013
Jane Eyre is an amazing film. It is about an orphan (Jane Eyre) who is hired by Edward Rochester, the brooding lord of a mysterious manor house to care for his young daughter. Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine give incredible performances. The screenplay is well written. Robert Stevenson did a great job directing. I enjoyed watching this movie because of the drama and romance. Jane Eyre is a must see.
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