You know what I’m going to say. On Monday I went to the store and while there, trying to distract myself from the cookie ailse I went to have a look at the movies to see if there was anything new in and there was! There was a double box set for £6.99 that included the BBC version of Jane Eyre made in 2007 and the BBC production of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South (she was a friend of Charlotte Bronte). I saw North and South on television and LOVED it. That was a really good deal for North and South (the story takes place in England about the heroine from the South of the country and the hero from the North). So having wanted North and South I bought it and since I’d seen it I thought, I’ll just watch Jane Eyre a little to see if I’m wrong. I could be wrong! It could be great!
Well…yes it could have been. Even though the two main actors aren’t exactly perfect they have a lot of charisma and they’re very good actors, but the script writer…why bother spending all the tax payers money (in Britain we have to pay a tv tax to the BBC or we get fined £1000…and the tv police don’t believe anyone can be alive or dead without a tv so they waste more tax payers money sending endless notices to people who’ve died etc) so since they’re spending tax payers money to film a classic book, WHY can’t they get it right? The book doesn’t need tweaking or changing…yes it’s long…so make a longer film!
I got to the end of the third section of this adaption and though I’d been irritated by the fact all the important scenes were screwed up…(the part where she’s terrified so she runs to meet him and he pulls her onto his horse…in this version it’s not dark…it’s barely wet and he dismounts. Why? That is such an important scene! But the script writer did a rubbish job leading up to it so if you’ve never read the book you might not understand why she’s not letting him take her hand and therefore you wouldn’t get why its important that she practically leaps into his arms…something she’s been avoiding the whole month. Anyway, that scene ruined I thought…surely they’ll get the proposal scene right. No! They shot it in the daylight…AND they managed to screw up one of the most romantic scenes in literature…it wasn’t rocket science…all they had to do was enact the original lines in the book! It takes place in the evening…in dimming light and ends up in the dark with the rain pouring down…they’re sitting on a bench under an oak tree…and talking…he’s taunting her…she starts to cry…it’s really good, but they screwed it up. I could see how they were compressing the story and I thought, OK…the acting is good and I like the two main characters so as the third section ended I was quite excited to see what they’d do with one of the MOST important scenes in the book…it’s perfect…the characters completely reveal their true selves and from a distance you can see why they love each other and why they make such a good couple.
I was quite excited to see how they’d handle it. I put in the second CD and waited for it to start…and then…THE SCENE wasn’t THERE!!!!!!!! NO!!!!!!!!!! It was like being stood up by the person you’ve been secretly in love with who finally asked you out on a date…only they never arrive! It skips the important scene and all of sudden without explanation…you see her looking dirty on the moor, but the film doesn’t explain before hand that Jane had made up her mind to leave Mr Rochester…you don’t know why she’s dirty on the moor… Give us a break! That’s not good writing…that’s just stupid! So last night about one o’clock I stopped the film and went to bed not caring if I saw the ending or not because I was SO disgusted that they could leave out THAT scene!
In that scene, Mr Rochester whose madly in love with Jane (and already married with a mad wife locked in his attic) tries to persuade Jane to come away with him to France (they can pretend to be married…no one will know the difference). Jane (who has her own moral standards and no desire to be a kept woman) says no…that she has to go away. She can’t stay with him. He’s a married man and she has to leave him. He freaks out and threatens to kill her if she tries to leave him him, but she stands her ground. She’s tempted because she’s human, but she has to be true to her core values which consist of a high moral standard. She can’t be a kept woman and be happy and have internal peace…end of story! Jane’s strength of character is contrasted with Rochester’s weaknesses. She loves him, but that dosn’t mean she can destroy herself. Jayne is awesome! There’s no…Oh Mr Rochester I love you…alright…I’ll lift my skirts and be your mistress because I don’t need self respect…and you have needs. As Mr Rochester has to accept, he might be able to break her, but he can’t force her to give him what he longs for.
It wasn’t a waste of money. North and South deserves 5 stars (I’ve never read the book). The hero is a mill owner who falls in love with an educated Vicar’s daughter from the South of England who has connections to much higher social circles than he could ever aspire (though he does have more money). She looks down on him because he’s not as educated (though he’s trying to educate himself and hires her father to help him study classics). The hero is played by Richard Armitage who has one of the sexiest voces (and he’s really good looking as you can see). It’s just really good, but as I said…I haven’t read the book so I don’t care if it matches up or not. It’s 233 minutes of romantic tension…lovely!
Because I’m a glutton for punishment, I looked up Jane Eyre films on Amazon and found that the one from 1973 (which I’ve never seen) is supposed to follow the book exactly (though the heroine sounds slightly weird) I shall order it and see if it’s true…could there be a Jayne Eyre on film worth watching?
I’ll let you know what I think, but interestingly it gets nothing lower than three stars so if it’s no worse than the one I just bought…it won’t be as bad as the Timothy Dalton one which I HATED. I think the person doing the casting for that production was on drugs…either that or being blackmailed by Dalton because he had a secret dream to play Rochester. I’m sorry Timothy, you failed. You failed at James Bond too, but that’s another post.
P.S. THAT important scene in Jane Eyre finally appeared in “flash backs” and they screwed the flash backed scene up too. Please God, can I see one decent Jane Eyre film before I die? All we need is one film where they cast actors who look like the characters and the script writer resists compressing the story into oblivion and ruining all the best scenes… I know…it will take a miracle!
You should watch the Cusack/Jayston version (1973), which is not only faithful to the book but is splendidly acted, and the 1983 version (Dalton/Clarke), which also follows the book, only from my point of view lacks chemistry between gorgeous Rochester, nicely portrated by Dalton, and not so brilliant Zelah in the main role.
Thanks for the tip! I’ll definately watch the 1973 version. I’ve put it on my Amazon “want to buy list”! I’m afraid I didn’t like Timothy Dalton at Rochester or that woman who played opposite him as Jane. I got to go down to London the other week with a friend though and we went to the British Library to see their medieval manuscripts and there on display was the original Jane Eyre manuscript…open to the page where it says, “Reader, I married him…” It was fantastic to see it…I think Charlotte would be pleased how many people still love the book however many years later!!!
Do let me know if you ever find a good version! I watched the 1996 version, which was all perfect, except for one thing: Mr. Rochester. That’s rather a large thing, but it was so unfortunate because I thought Jane was utterly perfect!!! I watched part of the 1983 version and while Mr. Rochester was alright, Jane was TERRIBLE! I thought the 1973 one was rather unconvincing as well… As for the 2006 version… What I’ve seen of it is alright, but I don’t really like Jane because she seems to modern. I really did like the 1996 Jane… Sigh.
North and South was AMAZING though!!! I loved that film!
If I ever have the money I’d like to make a film of Jane Eyre…where the characters look like the characters in the book (not too tall or too good looking or too lippy – why have the last several actresses to play Jane had weird lips?) and the story follows the book exactly…not this ruining the best scenes messing about with the characters…that drives me crazy! I don’t see why it’s so hard…if the story is too long for a film then make it into a series for TV…not rocket science…at least not to me! Ah well…dreams are free…and push come to shove we can always read the book! 🙂
Like many other readers have posted, for sure you should check out the 1973 version with Sorcha Cusack and Micheal Jayston (in my opinion the best version out there); the chemisrty between the two is utterly amazing and the acting & script are the best I’ve ever seen. And yes! The version with Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke was almost the worst, and yet perhaps most enjoyable version I’ve ever seen! The scene that got me the most was during Jane’s pre-departure- I have never seen an actor freak out like that like that and go totally berserk and I have never laughed my ass off so much! By the way, they’re setting up a new adaptation with Ellen Page as Jane Eyre!