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Tricia's retro film review: Jane Eyre (1943)

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Jane Eyre (1943)


Jane Eyre is the 1943 adaptation of the book by Charlotte Bronte. Jane Eyre has a hard life, as she goes from her aunt’s house to Lowood Institution. As an adult, she accepts a job as a governess for Mr. Rochester’s young ward, Adele. While Mr. Rochester is grumpy, Adele turns out to be a joy. It turns out that Edward Rochester isn’t such a bad person. There are strange hauntings happening at the house and Rochester refuses to talk about it. Jane and Edward soon fall in love with each other. But the secret that is revealed may drive Edward and Jane apart just as they are about to marry each other.

This adaptation is mostly good with one needless change. In the book, Jane’s situation at Lowood improves. The director deliberately made it worst just for the sake of drama. Although to be fair, individual punishment is more visually striking than dying from an epidemic. The lighting nicely captures the gothic moodiness of the setting. The narrative captions are pretty good, although viewers should be warned that it’s not taken from the book. Orson Welles does a great job as Mr. Rochester. His bombastic style fits the Gothic Romance genre. Adele isn’t overly cute lie some child actors. The only false note is that she’s trying too hard on her French accent. Other than that, she’s fine. She does dance pretty well for a child. While Mrs. Rochester is supposed to be more of a bogeywoman than a character. You’d think the director would let us see her clearly once she was revealed. Jane Eyre is suited to the Hollywood era film style as it has a guaranteed happy ending. Honolulu film fans should at least rent it first.

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