That’s how many adaptations the 1847 novel Jane Eyre has inspired to date. One of the most memorable was the 1944 movie starring Orson Wells, Joan Fontaine, and Elizabeth Taylor as Helen, who befriends young Jane with tragic results. How could the novel Jane Eyre inspire so many performances? And is it justified? You can make your own judgement at the next Classic Movie on October 10th in Bigfork. This 20th Century Fox movie was one of the most successfully produced of the Hollywood system of “owning” stars and movie theaters. Bigfork’s resident movie authority, Jack Nachbar, will show the movie along with a cartoon from the same period and provide informative commentary. All this on October 10th at 7PM. Admission is free along with appropriate goodies during intermission.
Jane Eyre is a fictional 19th century novel by Charlotte Brontë, an intense work that changed the face of fiction forever. Charlotte Brontë has been called “…the 'first historian of the private consciousness' and the literary ancestor of writers like Joyce and Proust.” It has everything the reader of the period found fascinating. As an intense tour of a women’s life, it included a strong sense of morality, social criticism, and a great love story. It was published in 1847 in London and released in America the following year. It was beyond its time and changed the face of fiction with a story that probably will inspire more versions in the future. Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Eyre
When 20th Century Fox produced the movie in 1944, it had been “packaged” by David O. Selznick. The production became famous for its recreation of the dark brooding environment of the Yorkshire Moors.
The long shadows and the enveloping, rolling fog (Jane Fontaine above) are said to be the creation of Orson Wells, who was offered a producer’s credit and declined. The first choice for the music composer was Igor Stravinsky, but it was Bernard Herrman whose score was used. He was already writing his only opera “Wuthering Heights,” and some of the music in “Jane Eyre” is reminiscent of that opera. The hunting scene music was written by Igor Stravinsky before Herrman’s involvement. Reference:
Elizabeth Taylor (above) has a minor part in the movie, but even at such a young age, she provides an impressive presence.
And of course there is Orson Welles (above). It is said that when he enters the movie, the whole perspective changes.
Jane Fontaine (above) also provides a remarkable performance.
An influential reviewer of the time, Bosley Crowther of the New York Times, characterized the movie as follows: “The dark, malignant side of Charlotte Brontë which flashes fiercely through the pages of her Jane Eyre, sets the tone for the moody film version of this great novel, which came to the Music Hall yesterday…” Reference http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=940DE6DC1F3CEE3BBC4C53DFB466838F659EDE
This is a great movie and will leave you with a sense of how life was portrayed in 19th century England: the religion, morals, class system, and love’s challenges. What a great choice for the Classic Movie Series at The Edge Center in Bigfork. Come and experience the intensity of a story that has so captivated people since the novel’s release. And don’t forget the lighter side of the evening with a cartoon from the 1940’s. All this on October 10th, at 7PM. Admission is free and there are appropriate goodies during intermission.