Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Jane Eyre Project - The Eyre Report - Update #3

Yes, I'm still slogging my way through Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre."  Well, I guess I shouldn't say "slogging" because I am actually rather enjoying the book.

I'm up to Page 500 out of 643, so I'm in the home stretch, sort of.

Jane has left Thornfield Hall and has be taken in by St. John Rivers and his sisters. She is still struggling with her feelings for Rochester

In the interest of gaining a "total" experience - I talked hubby into letting me rent a couple of movie versions of "Jane Eyre."

We found the recent 2011 version, and happened upon the 1944 version - so a Jane-a-thon ensued over the weekend. (you can imagine hubby's delight - NOT!)

It's a Jane-off!  Left - Joan Fontaine, 1944.  Right - Mia Wasikowska, 2011

Here are my thoughts:

The 2011 version:

Description: When orphaned governess Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikowska) arrives at imposing Thornfield Hall, she's intrigued by her brooding wealthy employer, Rochester (Michael Fassbender). His dark moods and the strange occurrences in the house lead her to discover a terrible secret that he had hoped to hide from her forever.

Mia Wasikowska was a rather dour Jane, especially compared to the hunky version of Rochester played by Irishman Michael Fassbender. I know Jane is supposed to be plain and unassuming, but my goodness, I kept wanting to see her crack a smile once in a while!  Dame Judi Dench was perfect as Mrs. Fairbanks! The imagery of this version is just gorgeous, with amazing outdoor scenery. 

The 1944 version:

Jane Eyre (Joan Fontaine) secures a job as governess to the child (Margaret O'Brien) of the troubled Edward Rochester (Orson Welles), sire of Thornfield, a mysterious English manor. When she hears strange cries and noises from a distant wing, her inquiries are rebuffed. As time goes on, Jane and her master fall in love and decide to marry. But their halted when a visitor suddenly reveals the shocking secret that Rochester has kept for years.

This version of Jane Eyre gives a little more attention to Jane the child (played by the amazing child actress Peggy Ann Garner). She truly is how I pictured Jane to be as a little girl. The cameo appearance of a very young Elizabeth Taylor as Helen, Jane's friend at Lowood School, was a delight. And Agnes Moorhead (of "Bewitched" fame) was just perfect as the mean old Aunt Reed.

The movie segways rather quickly to Jane the Adult, and Joan Fontaine takes over the lead role duties. I personally thought she was a little old for this role (not believable as an 18-20 year old woman at all!) But Orson Welles was magnificent as Edward Rochester!  He had the brooding mannerisms down pat.  I understand from reading about the film that he had a heavy hand in directing the movie as well, and you can tell from it's Gothic-influenced drama that he probably did.

I personally enjoyed this version more than the modern one. It seemed more true to the story.

So, back I go to the reading.  Watch for another update soon as I continue my waltzing with Jane! :)


Melissa Bo said...

Im a new follower, love your blog, its so pretty!

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries said...

I flew through Jane Eyre when I read it last year. I wanted to see the 2011 movie, but was put off by the criticisms that it was not really true to the story. Maybe it's available on Netflix streaming; I'll have to look.