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Jane Eyre is an orphan who was raised by her aunt until she came to Thornfield Hall as governess to the young ward of Edward Rochester. But Jane is attracted by the intelligent and energetic Sir Rochester, a man of almost twice her age. But just when Sir Rochester seems to pay attention to her, he invites the beautiful and wealthy Blanche Ingram to stay at his house. Written by
I was very curious to see this film for a long time, and was happy to finally get the chance to see it when it came out on DVD not long ago. I've always liked Colin Clive, and it seemed to me that he would be a good choice to play Edward Rochester. I wasn't disappointed. He was nervous, agitated, sympathetic and quite tormented as usual. I wasn't familiar with Virginia Bruce going in, and was absolutely astounded that she was chosen for the part of Jane Eyre. What we have here is a big, buxom, beautiful blond with a flawless, pale complexion and a gorgeous smile. With her shoes on she's nearly as tall as Clive & that sultry, fleshy body of hers suggests she outweighs the gaunt actor by more than a few pounds as well. During the party Rochester has for his guests he says to Jane, "You're a funny little thing..." which I thought was a hoot since the script writer must have wrote the scene before clapping an eye on Ms. Bruce, who is anything but a "Funny little thing."
What does all this mean? Well yes, as others here have said, this film has only a glancing similarity to the novel. The discrepancies are so outrageous that they border on being quite charming and sweet. Aileen Pringle as Blanche Ingram is an attractive actress, yet Virginia Bruce has a huge advantage in looks over her that actually leads to dialog suggesting as much! In the novel Rochester is tormented and difficult, but he is a powerful and dominating figure. Here, Colin Clive as Rochester is tormented and weak, and as such we have a romance where he is all but consumed and comforted by Jane's tall figure and ample charms. The sequence where Rochester tricks Jane into choosing jewelry, clothes and other items out for herself and not Blanche Ingram (which is Jane's mistaken notion) is consistent with the novel and other film versions and is very touching. This is the no stress version of Jane Eyre that I found very pleasing to watch.
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