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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Patrick Allen. March 17, 1927 - July 28, 2006

Patrick Allen, one of the finest actors to play Mr. Rochester has passed away at the age of 79. His obituary makes no mention of his excellent portrayal for the BBC's 1972 radio adaptation of Jane Eyre.

Just today I was describing some of his marvellous scenes, and singing his praises. Moments ago, in fact, I was listening to his performance once again. I regret that I cannot post clips from the production at the moment. I hope to be able to do so in the future, and to truly celebrate it.

He played opposite Megwynn Owen (aka Meg Wynn Owen). Her Jane was likewise astonishing. There is no doubt in my mind that if the radio adaptation had been a mini-series (it was in 5 parts) it would be among the other excellent BBC productions. Sadly, as a radio adaptation it was aired and then vanished except for those who recorded it. It was singular especially because not only were its Rochester and Jane masterfully portrayed but so was St.John Rivers. So much so, that the effect was quite disturbing and made me reread the chapters in which he appeared very carefully!

Alas, we probably will never know his thoughts on the character but we can thank him for all he has done.


trougher said...

I'm very sad to hear of the death of Patrick Allen - what a wonderful voice he had! I remember him in many productions, the one that sticks in my mind is Hard Times by Charles Dickens - I can't remember the name of the character, but it was the one who spouted 'facts, facts facts'! I can imagine him making a wonderful Rochester with that incredible deep voice.


Liz said...

What sad news! He was a wonderful Rochester, deep and full of feeling – a really touching performance, I think, and the medium made it all the more intimate and emotive.

mysticgypsy said...

Oh this is sad news indeed :(

Brontëana said...

to Lynne:

Ah, Mr. Gradgrind! I can't imagine him in the role. I've never heard any of his other work. His Rochester went through the whole scale from frantic and growling to tender and quiet- quieter than Jane, in fact. His authoritarian moods never seemed stressed, but came off as natural as they should. It does seem a mater of course that people listen to him, and he doesn't have to shout and bully to have his orders heeded.

He sings in the production as well- although not long enough!

Brontëana said...

to liz:

I am glad that I could share it with everyone so that more people could know and appreciate his work. And perhaps you are right... not having visuals make you focus on the slight tones of voice, and the rhythm and pace of the breathing.

marshalsea said...

R.I.P. Patrick - I, too, remember you from 'Hard Times'.