Skip to content

Jane Eyre

August 30, 2010

Jane Eyre (1944)
Director: Robert Stevenson
Actors: Joan Fontaine, Orson Welles, Peggy Ann Garner

faoKhIZPM2PHJPqfK9fI0blcBaV.jpg (342×192)

Synopsis: Orphan, Jane Eyre (Joan Fontaine), becomes governess at the residence of the mysterious Mr Rochester (Orson Welles).

Review: If ever a film could serve as memoriam to the transcendent splendour of black and white cinematography, this is it. The narrative element itself is pretty trite but the sheer beauty of the film’s “look” in spite of that mediocrity is undeniable. The film’s arch gothic tendencies find full expression in the amazing contrasts director of photography, George Barnes, finds between light and dark. The documenting of Jane Eyre’s bleak schooling days receives apt depiction in the drab greys of the harsh borstal Lowton, and her travails as governess of Thornfield find representation in the various shifts from darkness in Mr Rochester’s company to the lighter, softer scenes with his ward Adele and other society.

Though a beautiful film to watch, its very melodramatic élan makes for a progressively more absurd storyline. Mr Rochester, as essayed by Orson Welles in a ridiculously pompous and indulgent performance (all gruff tones and raised eyebrows), slowly overwhelms the film from his over-the-top entrance forwards, and Jane is reduced to passive, romantic support, when the film should be about her psychology and gradual metamorphosis. The ending is particularly silly as Jane’s ‘sabbatical’ with St John Rivers is almost totally abbreviated for a rushed, dramatic reunion with Rochester – storm clouds and all – which trivialises the otherwise consummate craftsmanship on show. (November 2006)

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: