"Jane Eyre," reviewed by Jennifer Anne Messing.
Drama/Period Romance. Not rated. Recommended for viewing by adults with teens ages 13 and up because of brief disturbing themes. Check your favorite local and online movie rental stores or the public library for availability.
“Jane Eyre” is a one-hour, fifty minute, 1970 Omnibus Productions film release, in color, directed by Delbert Mann, starring George C. Scott, Susannah York, Ian Bannen, Rachel Kempson, and Nyree Dawn Porter. It is a heart-wrenching drama based on the classic, best-selling novel, “Jane Eyre” (1847), written by British author Charlotte Brontë, set in England in the mid-1800s. There have been many movie versions made of Jane Eyre; this 1970 version is an excellent production and is basically faithful to the plot and overall tone of the original novel.
“Jane Eyre” (played by Susannah York) tells the story of a girl who was orphaned at a young age and who was sent to live at a relative’s home. Jane’s aunt and the aunt’s three children were very mean to her and treated her as the unwanted family relation. Jane was soon sent by her aunt to Lowood School, a boarding school for orphans—where Jane endured cruel treatment from the school’s teachers for many years.
When Jane became a young adult, she advertised and quickly landed a position as a governess at Thornfield Hall, owned by Mr. Edward Rochester (George C. Scott), a mysterious man who was often away on business. Jane was employed to teach a young girl named Adele, who was Mr. Rochester’s legal ward.
As the weeks passed by, Jane grew to love her work and her life at Thornfield Hall. She was also drawn to Mr. Rochester, and despite the chasm in their ages and background, they developed an affection for each other. There were, at times, mysterious occurrences at Thornfield Hall, events Jane could not understand—but overall, her more stable life at Thornfield was so much better than the horrible childhood she had endured that it was no doubt easy for her to ignore these unexplained happenings. And just when Jane Eyre’s dreams of love and happiness were about to come true, Thornfield Hall’s brooding, dark secret came to light. It was then that Jane made an important, life-changing decision upholding her convictions about what kind of woman she wanted to be and which would alter the course of her future.
“Jane Eyre” is a stirring movie about a mistreated orphan girl who grew into a self-reliant, confident woman with courage and strong values. The journey she took from the time she left Lowood School until the story’s conclusion is remarkable and at times unbelievable. “Jane Eyre” speaks on the themes of love, forgiveness, faith in God, and the determination to live out one’s moral convictions even when it isn’t easy.
This version of “Jane Eyre” is made particularly moving by the excellent performances of George C. Scott, who won an Emmy Award nomination in 1972 for his performance as Mr. Edward Rochester, and Susannah York, who convincingly portrayed Jane Eyre. Their screen chemistry, combined with the hauntingly beautiful musical score, the authentic period costumes and the picturesque English countryside settings, make this film a real treat for classic movie lovers.
I recommend this movie for adults and/or parents with teens ages 13 and up because of its brief disturbing themes, but not because of any sensuality or inappropriate language. Viewers who enjoy this film may want to read the original novel, “Jane Eyre,” by Charlotte Brontë, or check out other novels written by the Brontë sisters, and the movies based on them, including “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Brontë, and “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” by Anne Brontë.
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"Jane Eyre" makes a great addition to your family movie collection!
Click here to purchase "Jane Eyre" from Amazon.com.
Portland residents can borrow "Jane Eyre" (1970) on DVD, at the Multnomah County Library, tel. 503-988-5234. "Jane Eyre" in DVD format can be rented at Movie Madness, 4320 SE Belmont, Portland, Oregon, 97215, tel. 503-234-4363.
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Author, poet, speaker and singer Jennifer Anne F. Messing of Portland, Oregon, is a wife, and mother of three children. She has a bachelor's degree in Christian Education and a diploma in Journalism and Short Story Writing. A past president of the Oregon Christian Writers, Jennifer Anne has over 180 articles, movie reviews, and poems published in 60 magazines and books including "The Christian Journal," "Evangel," "LIVE," "Standard," "Bible Advocate," "Christian Fiction Online" and "Nudges from God." Her poetry gift book, "MORNING'S PROMISE: Poetic Moments in His Presence" (194 pages, Ellechor Publishing) is now available in trade paperback. CLICK HERE TO ORDER, or find more information on her website: www.JenniferAnneMessing.com.
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