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All Critics (11)
| Fresh (11)
| Rotten (0)
| DVD (2)
Stevenson would go on to become Disney's most bankable director (Mary Poppins, The Love Bug, etc.), but don't expect any spoonfuls of sugar here: Jane Eyre is a dark, foreboding film.
One of the best Hollywood versions of Bronte's classic text, largely due to Orson Welles' powerful performance, dark visuals, and ominous music by yje genius Bernard Herrmann.
The whole picture seems to fuse a relentless, revisionist Mercury Theater "take" on Jane Eyre to an obvious attempt on the part of Fox to ride the post-Rebecca wave of Gothic romantic mystery.
It's difficult to watch the film without considering aspects of authorship, but if you can, there's a very good film underneath.
A well-constructed piece of studio work, with vivid black-and-white cinematography under matte painting skies that creates a turbulent, oppressive mood.
...that this Jane Eyre is more Orson Welles's movie than co-star Joan Fontaine's or director Robert Stevenson's may be a blessing in disguise.
Solid, unimaginative version of the book with great cast.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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