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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"Impertinent and, uhm... pretty!" "And very intelligent." "Ah hah!"

By request, here are two more clips from the first talkie film adaptation of Jane Eyre from 1934, and starring Virginia Bruce and Colin Clive. Ms. Bruce has almost incandescent blond hair, Mr. Clive is better known as the classics Victor Frankenstein! (Appropriate for a Hallowe'en post!).

This first clip has almost nothing to do with Jane Eyre other than it is from an adaptation of the novel. Adele manages to get herself stuck up a tree, fall and hurt her knee, fall into a vase (while singing 'My Bonny Lies over the Ocean'), and make fun off all of the party guests- all in 10 minutes! One bit of clarification here: in this version Mr Rochester was intending to marry Blanche Ingram until he met Jane. After the fire, he goes to London and realises there that he's in love with Jane.

But this clip is certainly the most interesting. The proposal is marked off for us by the cute lullaby music (the theme music for the film is an actual lullaby). And you know that rather plain woman, the one in black quaker-like dress, and piling loving words on Mr Rochester? That would be Bertha. She seems to be mad because she is going to be separated from her 'dear Edward.' Jane's dilema is odd... Mr Rochester is having his marriage anulled. The final papers will be arriving any minute. But she leaves anyway.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Fruit and Veg Wuthering Heights

This is certainly the best vegitable and fruit adaptation of Wuthering Heights I have seen today. It really evokes the sprit of the novel as no other fruit and vegitable adaptation has to date. A true classic!

Bronte Boxed Set

Well, Tenant of Wildfell Hall is still unavailable in any format other than VHS and region two but they have come out with a boxed set of three BBC Bronte films. Available November 6th, it can be pre-ordered now and includes the 1983 Jane Eyre with Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke, 1996 Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and 1978 Wuthering Heights. A free imaginary cookie to anyone who can guess why Tenant of Wildfell Hall gets top billing.

From the BBC:

The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall (Dir. Mike Barker, 1996): This is the fantastic BBC adaptation of Anne Bronte's novel.

When Helen Graham becomes the new tenant of the dark, decaying Wildfell Halt, her independent spirit and radical views set her apart from the staid rural community around her. Gilbert Markham, a young farmer, finds himself powerfully drawn to her and a series of dramatic events brings them closer together. But the enigmatic Mrs Graham's unconventional life and behaviour disguise a hidden past with many secrets, secrets the world of Victorian England would rather bury forever...

Jane Eyre (Dir. Julian Amyes, 1983): Jane Eyre (Zelah Clarke) is a mistreated orphan who learns to survive by relying on her independence and intelligence. Her first job in the outside world is governess to the ward of Mr. Rochester (Timothy Dalton), a man of many secrets and mercurial moods. The tentative trust between them slowly develops into romance, but their hopes for happiness will soon be jeopardized by a terrible secret.

Wuthering Heights (Dir. Peter Hammond, 1978): Emily Bronte's classic tale of all-consuming love. When Mr. Earnshaw encounters Heathcliff, a ragamuffin orphan, he kindly brings the boy into his home and makes him part of the family. And from the start, Heathcliff falls hopelessly in love with the daughter of the house, the beautiful, headstrong Catherine. She adores him, too, but when a wealthy neighbour woos her, Catherine's material instincts get the better of her, and she agrees to marry the man. However, Catherine discovers that she cannot forget Heathcliff so easily... and that not even death can make them part...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Chinese Illustrations

These illustrations from a Chinese edition of Jane Eyre are courtesy of Thisbeciel and the League of the Extraordinarily Rochester Obsessed. These are only a sampling. The rest of the illustrations will be added to the Bronteana Resource Page once I find a proper home for it. While attending the round table discussion of digital Romanticism I realised how important it is to have insitutional support. And so, I will not be using the university account I have as a graduate student since that will expire after my MA. I hope that it won't take me too long to find a permanent home for Bronteana.

Anyway, here we have Mr Rochester on the left and St.John Rivers on the right. Mr Rochester's stubble grows as the book progresses.

Selections from Jane Eyre 1957

First, I have a word or two to say about comments and email. I am still far behind in replying to everyone. I have no idea when I will not be rushed off of my feet, so please be patient.

And now, these are two of the most memorable scenes (aside from the first 'interview') from Jane Eyre 1957. Thisbeciel had already posted the first scene- Mason's attack. The other clip is from the proposal scene and the farewell scene. Naturally, I find both of these clips amusing. The second clip is especially silly, although it mixes the silliness with the disturbing.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Critical Muse

Now that I have a free moment I've started working on my ph. d thesis proposal, and what fun it is! I have found a whole new batch of bad criticism on the Brontes! One of my professors used to say what a pity it was that so many trees had to die for so much bad writing to be published.

I have not read most of what has been written about the Brontes but before long I came across the absurd and the sloppy (such as imaginary scenes and characters popping up in the novel, articles which mispell the names of the Bronte novels...). Only a few days ago I was talking to Glaukopis- my Cambridge Classics chum- about more bad criticism I had just come across on Elizabeth Barrett Browning. She suggested that when we publish fiction we will include a note expressly denouncing certain readings of our narrative (ie. 'there are no phallic symbols in this novel.'). But then I thought, if I did include such a note I would then have to load my novel with blatant phallic symbols just to torment the critics (not that they wouldn't look for them anyway).

What does this have to do with the Brontes, you ask? As some of you know, I began writing a Bronte-inspired work some months ago. I used it as an example, and mixed in some actual Jane Eyre criticism I've come across. The result is pretty dire:

"Jane could be considering her place in the world and wishing she could return to the primordial womb-matrix of the uber mother goddess. Then Mr Rochester could walk by and say he'd lost his penis. And Jane could suggest looking in the dictionary since she has heard that this sort of thing happens when the gendering of pronoun subjects implodes."

Ah, I loved that Freudian-Structural linguistics article. I just came across a line summing up the reunion with Rochester as Jane finally finding something to do that "doesn't bore her to death or threaten her life." What about knitting? Afraid of poking herself in the eye? Too boring? What about painting?

More Fun with YouTube

This attempt is a little better, but the top is still cut. It is quite a long clip including everything from Mrs. Fairfax asking Jane to go to the party, to 'Sirens' at the end of act one. If you are not familiar with the show they did rearrange the plot to make it fit into a 3 hour show with an intermission in the middle but why they put The Gypsy into act two I cannot say. I'm still working on getting it to the right size so that none of the picture is cut off.

So, in the space of ten minutes Blanche puts Jane down, Mrs Fairfax invites her to the party, the guests dance, Blanche and Rochester sing their duet, Mason arrives, Rochester goes wibbly, and then Jane and Rochester angst out act one.

During 'How You Look in the Night' Rochester is actually making fun of Blanche. I thought he was drunk the first time I saw a screencap of this scene. It actually looked like either he was drunk or Blanche had just punched him in the face and he was reeling to the floor from the blow... I still might have that screencap somewhere... (It was from a different performance. He doesn't look so wretched here).

ETA: Found it! (plus caption by one of my writer friends).

The Pledge and Sirens

I have been trying to upload a clip for one of my readers (Kathleen I think?) of the song Sirens from Jane Eyre: The Musical but I'm experiencing some technical difficulties. I did get a clip uploaded but it looks like cravat porn. For some reason there's a 200% zoom or something trained on Mr Rochester's cravat and Jane's bust.

Oh dear.

This is the act one finale. It actually includes two songs, The Pledge and Sirens. Since there's the 200% zoom I should explain that they are talking in the garden when Robert the butler interrupts them.

I'll keep trying to upload a normal clip!

ETA: Oh, there is one other thing I should mention and since there's such an extreme closeup of his hands you can see this perfectly. There is a ring of Mr Rocheter's hand. Throughout the show he will look to it or touch it as a memento of his father and brother- although this is never explicitly stated in the show. It is a way of keeping his past before him, as it were.

ETA: Oh... and I suppose you can't see this either. At the end we can see Bertha through a window above them holding a candle and singing (she's the third voice which comes in near the end).

La Jolla 'Child in the Attic'

Another piece of Jane Eyre theatre history has turned up mysteriously. This is a scene from the La Jolla production of Jane Eyre: The Musical. Tiny pieces of this recording are surfacing when I least expect them to. This one is especially exciting because it is the ballad Child in the Attic which was only used for this production- and there's something peculiar about the staging...

It appears that Mr Rochester is watching from upstage left. The book she holds is Milton's Paradise Lost which plays an important role in the musical.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Memory Lane

Here is part of the farewell scene from the 1983 version- one of the so-called 'difinitive' adaptations. It is one of the best scenes in the series, I think, and one of Timothy Dalton's finest moments.

Contrastingly... there's this. This 1997 version still is my least favourite of them all, if only because in it Mr Rochester is a loathsome man: mysogynistic, puerile, emotionally and physically abusive. This adaptation has been called the one 'with only one good scene' but I'm not sure which scene is supposed to be the good one. It is hard to tell that Rochester is angry here because in all seriousness this is his tone of voice about 90% of the time. At least with Jane, he's often barking at her like this. The actor once described Rochester as 'less interesting than a horse's behind' and this is reflected in this clip, I think.

A good contrast is this clip from 1970 where Mr Rochester is 50 years old, I believe? And he's practically inanimate. This version fills me with horror because St.John Rivers shows more passion than Mr Rochester- he is more moved by Jane's piano playing than Rochester is throughout the entire film. And of course St.John has this scene where he clutches Jane on the moors begging her to be with him because he needs her strength. His confusion when she leaves has my sympathy.

I love this. This is from the 1944 film with Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles- considered a classic in America it is unavailable now, and not very well known apparently. Someone once pointed out to me that Rochester looks like he is conquering France as he walks across the lawn. He has a nice deep voice, though.

'Cut the Religion and Psychology- Get to the Bonking'

The presentation went very well (I think), and now I am free to write another on a 18th century Derbyshire manuscript my professor stole has, and I'm going to publish for the first time. yay! But in the meantime I took a look around the blogs for Janian news and met quite a lot of bile- bile which I confess that I sympathise with in part.

The disappointment of Bronte fans has been let loose on the recent BBC adaptation of Jane Eyre. I have not entered the debate fully because to be honest I need to think over a few things. Anyway, here are some thoughts:

From the Enthusiast's Guide to Jane Eyre: Beautiful cinematography and music are featured in this BBC miniseries and Ruth Wilson makes a really fantastic Jane- presenting her many emotions in a believable and subtle way. Toby Stephens is not quite the Rochester of the novel, he's more of a charming "rake" and his absolute love for Jane is not as apparent as his absolute love for tail. A thoroughly modern interpretation, sensationalzing the novel and turning it into more of a Gothic/Harlequin romance.

I have to agree that from the first episode it seemed more Harlequin romance than Jane Eyre to me.

From 'Reader, I Adapted Him': "Adapting a 19th century book and expecting the characters to adopt 21st century attitudes is precisely like going on holiday to Spain and insisting on drinking fish and chips and Courage best. There may have been a time when the BBC adapted Great Books in the hope that the Unwashed Masses who hadn't read them would be encouraged to discover the wonderful world of reading; or else they did radical reworkings of the classic to challenge and titillate the people who had. Now, it's just a matter of scouring old books for period love stories. Historical tourism. "

By the way, those huge sentences are not Charlotte's fault- if she were writing this paragraph you might see something like this- she wrote with a lot of dashes because she- she was reflecting the ways that actual speech is often broken- her publishers then went in and replaced most of them with semicolons- so blame them! Also, I think Mr Rochester is the 'thoroughly good Christian' not St.John but that is the topic of a whole other post...

From 'Jane, you ignorant slut': "The second problem is that Jane Eyre walks a fine line between eroticism and morality. Jane herself is a hot little number in a morality-mad age that divides the world into passionless "respectable" women and whores, yet she refuses to fall into either category by denying or yielding wrongly to her desires. By insisting on the right to self-definition, Jane ennobles her own story. A governess marrying the master, for God's sake -- it's the early Victorian social equivalent of being a gold-digger or sleeping with your boss. But Jane Eyre wants to sleep with the boss on her own terms, in a way that allows her to keep her self-respect and her independence. She will not consent to be his lover, but neither will she be content to remain his governess. That's what makes the story so exhilarating, and that's why women love it -- any woman of spirit struggles with sexual self-definition in a society that wants to own her snatch. "

Monday, October 23, 2006

More Favourites

Well, my plan to write a substantial post was undermined by having more work to do on a conference paper I'm presenting tomorrow. Not that I've forgotten about the Brontes. I have nothing else to console me in the rare moments when I am not studying. Here are two more clips from the archives.

Believe it or not but I can identify the very frame in this clip which first caught my interest, and led me to read the novel!

And this is just precious. I think I must be the only person on the planet who does not hate this adaptation with a passion but I have an extremely high tolerance for bad adaptations. However, if you think about it, all they did was modernise the novel by taking out anything remotely troubling and adding a puppy. Everyone loves puppies. This is the 1934 version- the first talkie Jane Eyre.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

1952 Jane Eyre

This is the last clip that I will post for awhile, I promise. I won't flood Bronteana with video clips and neglect discussion. This is a clip from the 1952 production of Jane Eyre for Westinghouse Summer Theatre in 1952, starring Katherine Bard and Kevin McCarthy. If it looks a little familiar there is good reason. The set is nearly identical to the 1947 version with Mary Sinclair and Charleton Heston.

This scene is the scene where Jane rescues Rochester from the fire. Most stage adaptations find it difficult to stage this scene as written in the book. A very common solution is to shift the scene to the drawingroom where Rochester has fallen asleep in his chair. This solution produces another problem- the audience know that Grace Poole is not behind the fire. Although this is a televised play, and they could have filmed the scene elsewhere, they have stayed with the theatrical conventions in this regard.

It is a little bit silly... Jane looks like she pushes him into the flames. Rochester seems to have a problem with his lines throughout. He repeats himself constantly, as if needing a moment to remember the next piece of dialogue.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Poor Jane

One of the books I will be using for my thesis is called 'Jane Eyre and What Adaptors Have Done to Her.' Here are two examples of precisely what these adaptors have done to her. It has been very interesting for me to witness the response to the newest version of Jane Eyre. In many ways I did not anticipate the ways people react to the novel and previous adaptations when they consider the newest incarnation. One of the surprises has been the belief that because the most recent adaptation is the most recent, it must be 'new' and 'fresh.'

One aspect of the novel which distinguishes it from other romances is that the relationship between Jane and Mr Rochester is not based on physical attraction. They do not lust after eachother as so many experts, and adaptors would have us suppose. And yet, there are but few adaptations that have not attempted to 'sex up' the book. I might be in the minority when I say this, but I find that the real passion of the novel evaporates when it is reduced to some exploitation, panting, and petting.

All of this is preface to the return of Patrick MacNee as Mr Rochester. I thought this was pretty bad until I saw the 2006 Jane Eyre's farewell bedroom romp (you know, the scene where Jane refuses to let Rochester kiss her because he's married? Or, maybe she lets him lie on top of her and pleasure himself. I can't remember, but chances are it is true-to-the-spirit-of-the-book /end sarcasm).

And then, half a century later, the very modern (or 50 year old, however you would prefer looking at it) idea of Rochester the lech:

There really isn't a point to me including the clip where Rochester says: "I want a wife. I want a wife in my bed all night or all day if we choose. If I can't have that I'd rather die."

Wuthering Heights 1970 Clip

I couldn't help myself. I had to make this clip. This is about 50 seconds of footage from the 1970 Wuthering Heights. This scene made me laugh hysterically the first time I saw it. It still gives me a chuckle whenever I see it. The film itself isn't as bad as this clip. I suppose my readers who have only seen Timothy Dalton play Mr Rochester should be prepared for some rather unRochesterian acts involving hysterical women and a poker. (I always think those women look like fangirls...)

Jane Eyre 1949 Mary Sinclair and Charleton Heston

Remember when I said that I wasn't technologically savvy enough to make my own video clips, and how much I would have liked to share some of the material in my archive? Well, by sheer coincidence someone has shown me how to make my own clips. Here is the first of such clips from my video archive. This is the proposal scene from the 1949 Jane Eyre starring Mary Sinclair and Charleton Heston. The production was made for Westinghouse Summer Theatre (the commercial breaks are just as entertaining as the feature. Who knew that self-cleaning ovens could be so exciting?).

The recording is blurred and grainy throughout and not the fault of my editing skills or lack thereof. If the clip is not available yet wait a few minutes. I only just uploaded it and it should take a few minutes to be processed properly.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Secret Soul in the Studio

Thisbeciel sent me this clip long ago, but only now did I realise that I could upload it to YouTube! Here is a clip of Marla Schaffel and James Barbour recording part of the duet 'Secret Soul' from Jane Eyre: The Musical.

It's a shame that I'm not technologically savvy enough to make my own clips. I would love to make available some clips from my archives. I know how much everyone must be missing that Patrick MacNee!Rochester and his lechery, in light of the unbounded lust for Toby Stephens unleashed last weekend. And many of you are surely curious about Charleton Heston as Mr Rochester. Alas.

Upcoming Regional Productions of Jane Eyre The Musical

Thanks to Mrs. Dionysius O'Gall, here is a brief list of productions to keep an eye out for (hopefully) in your area:

From 12/15/2006
Until 12/15/2006

From 11/3/2006
Until 11/12/2006

From 11/30/2006
Until 12/23/2006

From 11/17/2006Until 11/19/2006

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Jane Eyre: The Musical (2000) La Jolla Disc Two

Here are the rest of the tracks from the soundboard recording of a 2000 performance of Jane Eyre: The Musical from its pre-Broadway run in La Jolla California, starring Marla Schaffel and James Barbour. This half includes only a few songs which do not appear in the other revisions of the show, including the beautiful ballad 'Child in the Attic.' Once again, since this was made from the soundboards of the theatre the sound effects are very loud. 'The Chestnut Tree' will be known to my long-time readers as 'Rochester Triumphant.' As much as I like the show, I am very glad this was cut. It sounds like Rochester hit the jackpot at a slot machine and won a marriage to a plain, quakerish governess.

If you're new to the show, no one knows what the apricot thing is about, although there are theories. In one recording I have Rochester is always rubbing his chest and smelling his hands. We suspect that he's very scent-oriented and has picked up a subtle fruity smell about Jane which is not otherwise perceptable. And this is good since he is blind for two years of their marriage.

I have posted disc one here. And here you can read more about this version of the show.

http://www.sendspace.com/file/194hwh Secret Soul
http://www.sendspace.com/file/ennxwd Presentiments
http://www.sendspace.com/file/p3f91a Sirens Reprise and scene
http://www.sendspace.com/file/4adgvp Painting Her Portrait
http://www.sendspace.com/file/rhf6zt In the Light of the Virgin Morning

http://www.sendspace.com/file/qa8pkl The Gypsy
http://www.sendspace.com/file/ww3s8l The Proposal (Second Self)
http://www.sendspace.com/file/739gct The Chestnut Tree
http://www.sendspace.com/file/6ol3s8 Slip of a Girl
http://www.sendspace.com/file/yhetr6 The Wedding

http://www.sendspace.com/file/d8q94qScene: Bertha is revealled.
http://www.sendspace.com/file/ss01t2 Wild Boy, Gypsy Reprise, farewell scene
http://www.sendspace.com/file/ifdr1g Farewell, Good Angel
http://www.sendspace.com/file/asger6 My Maker Reprise, scenes at Morton and Gateshead
http://www.sendspace.com/file/q6ibzi Child in the Attic

http://www.sendspace.com/file/jkw0umForgiveness Reprise, Morton
http://www.sendspace.com/file/d098dn A Voice Across the Moors
http://www.sendspace.com/file/x29aim Graveyard Reprise, Poor Sister
http://www.sendspace.com/file/ldu5bq Return to Thornfield
http://www.sendspace.com/file/skwjo4 Finale

Monday, October 16, 2006

Testamony of Jane Eyre 1956

I am still trying to piece together this BBC version, not having access to their archives. But one of my readers wrote in with this brief comparison with the recent production. If anyone remembers the 1956 version as well, please write in and let me know your recollections! The following is a comment left on the archive for this post. (Comments sent to the archive do not always reach me. Also, as a reminder, please make some sort of reference to which post you are commenting on if it is older than a week or so because I cannot locate your comment in order to reply in some cases!).

Daphne Slater was Jane Eyre likewise Stanley Baker was Rochester the 1956 production covered the whole of the book, it wasn't dumbed down or made more sexually explicit.The meeting in the garden with the cigar smoke was sexy enough I am frankly amazed that the 2006 production has received so much praise and not one mention seems to have been made about the far superior 1956 version.

This post contains the bulk of my information on this adaptation, which seems to be clinging onto its fanbase despite not being available for half a century!

Screencaps Jane Eyre The Musical 2001

Thisbeciel, dear Thisbeciel has come across yet another tape of Jane Eyre: The Musical and this time you can actually see things! Well... you can see more of the action if not more of the detail than in the other tapes out there. Unfortunately the special effects are still invisible but that cannot be helped, I suppose. Still, these are pretty nice:

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Actors on Playing Jane and Rochester

Another good thing about a new adaptation is that it brings out all of the previous ones! The Daily Mail posts this survey of mini-interviews with Janes and Edwards past (thanks to siansaska!) Also, the images from this post are from the internet and not my archive so this explains why some are tiny while others are huge:

"Unknown actress Ruth Wilson has shot to fame as Jane Eyre in the BBC’s current adaptation of the classic novel. The series, one would assume, would guarantee her a glittering thespian future. Costume dramas are often a springboard to fame and fortune for young actors: Samantha Morton was 20 when she played Jane in 1997 and then went on to star in Minority Report with Tom Cruise and Enduring Love opposite Daniel Craig. But they can also be a one-way ticket to professional oblivion. Here, we find out what happened to previous Janes and Mr Rochesters, and why they now look at the role as a double-edged sword.

SUSANNAH YORK starred with George C. Scott in the 1970 version of the film. Susannah, 64, is starring in a touring production of The Wings Of The Dove next year. As well as acting, she also writes film scripts. She recalls: At the time I was asked to play the role of Jane, I was quite hot, so to speak. Offers were coming fast and furious, so I was delighted when I got the part. I loved the book and it was a part I had always wanted. I was bewildered and upset, however, when people said I was too pretty to play a plain governess. I have always thought of myself as a character actress and I longed to be noted for my acting ability and hated it when people paid attention to my appearance.

I’ve never thought of myself as pretty and truly felt I was Jane. She’s not a showy character, but she is still passionate, and that’s what I liked about her. People are also saying that Ruth Wilson is too pretty. But I think she has just the right qualities and seems to have the same view and feel of, and feeling for, Jane that I did.

My co-star, George, was a big, craggy, gruff creature, and he was great for a chat. But our approach to filming was totally different. I liked to rehearse, but he would do a scene in one take then go back to playing backgammon. I thought he made a pretty good Rochester, though, as he had a real presence — although he was perhaps a bit too old. I must confess that I have yet to see my perfect Mr Rochester. Even Toby Stephens in the current adaptation, while a great actor, is not the Rochester of the book as he’s a bit too young.

I wouldn’t say I was typecast, but people tended to see me as a more serious actor afterwards. As a result, although I refuse to accept it when people put limitations on me, I’ll admit that it hasn’t always been easy to get roles since.

I don’t regret playing Jane, though. It was a brilliant part. Usually I curl up with embarrassment when I watch my performances, but when I watched my version of Jane Eyre, it seemed to me that I had struck the right note.

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MICHAEL JAYSTON played Mr Rochester to Sorcha Cusack’s Jane in the 1973 BBC miniseries of Jane Eyre. Michael, 70, currently on tour with the play Heroes, says: I landed the role of Rochester as a result of a practical joke. My then wife, Heather, sent a funny letter to the director, Joan Craft, saying, ‘It’s about time Michael played Rochester’, and we used to think that I got the part as a result.Looking back, though, I was on a roll at the time. I’d just come from playing several highprofile roles such as Tsar Nicholas II in Nicholas And Alexandra, and A Bequest To The Nation opposite Glenda Jackson. And here was the ultimate romantic part.

Sorcha was only 23 and I was 37. People said there was an electrifying chemistry between us, which was true. I did find her attractive, but we kept things quite jokey on the set to alleviate the intensity. It’s not that romantic performing love scenes on a cold morning at 8am, with a props guy holding a hot fan right next to you to stop your lips freezing. Professionally, playing Rochester didn’t do me much good. I never played a romantic part on TV after that. I was baffled because when it was shown on TV, I received the biggest fan mail I’ve ever had.

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SORCHA CUSACK, 57, never made the big time after playing Jane Eyre, but has had roles in such shows as Morse, Casualty and North And South. She is currently starring in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Romeo And Juliet. She says: Jane Eyre was my first TV job and, to be honest, I felt I was rather hopeless. With no major roles under my belt, my performance was flat. I was very lucky to get the role in the first place and I think I got the part because I’m plain-looking and, because I was born and bred in Ireland, I was ten years behind other girls in terms of sophistication. Both were key ingredients to the character.

As a child, people were always saying, ‘Isn’t Sinead [her actress sister] gorgeous?’ But my look was perfect for Jane. Rochester, Michael Jayston, said, ‘After this you’ll be huge,’ and, while we were filming, I did go to my bank manager and say, ‘I won’t need the overdraft any more.’ But I did need it as I didn’t get any big breaks afterwards. There was plenty of work, but not a role that changed the course of my career.Lots of theatre work followed, but several years after playing Jane, I put my career on hold for a while to return to Ireland to care for my late mother, who had heart problems. It’s nice looking back on the whole Jane Eyre period, and it’s lovely that I still get letters saying, ‘You’ll always be my Jane.’

ZELAH CLARKE starred in the lavish 1983 BBC adaptation of Jane Eyre opposite Timothy Dalton, who was said to be too handsome to play the brooding Rochester. Zelah, 52, says: Jane Eyre is the ultimate poisoned chalice. Everyone remembers the Rochesters, but no one recalls the Janes. I hoped the role might be a springboard — I never thought it would force me to retire. Before Jane Eyre I had done lots of TV costume dramas, but not a lead role, so I was thrilled when I got the part. Tim Dalton wasn’t a superstar then — in fact, I had more TV experience than him.

It was depressing when things suddenly stopped after Jane Eyre, especially as I had no idea why. But then I got married and my life changed. There is something undignified about old actors scraping around for work. I would never go back into the theatre; it ruins your social life and breaks up families. If I hadn’t done Jane Eyre, perhaps I’d have felt that I hadn’t proved myself. But I did and I have. Now, looking at the series, it seems old-fashioned, but I was pleased with my performance. Between roles I became interested in art, so perhaps I didn’t have such a desire to be a famous actress after all."

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Sounds of Quiet

I think this is a lovely tribute to the novel and to Ruth Wilson, from an article on Jane Eyre 2006 from the Belfast Telegraph:

Some writers describe [Jane] as a timid little thing compared to the masterful and overbearing Mr Rochester, but I have never understood the book that way.

On screen she shows a face both enigmatic and revealing and close-ups show an almost wordless communication with her new employer. She displays a respect tinged with asperity and limits her responses to "Yes, sir" or 'No, sir' while maintaining eye contact, her small smile displaying underlying dignity and seriousness of purpose.

Jane comes over as an indomitable character whose quiet ways hide an intellect at least as good as her master's. It did not take him long to discover that the new governess possessed an inner beauty that contrasted vividly with the glamour and artificiality of the beautiful women expected to appeal to Mr Rochester.

The actress playing Jane conveys all these emotions with an almost deadpan face and in a respectful manner, yet with a little smile on her face and a twinkle in the eye that makes you realise she is not intimidated or overawed. She seems to understand all the foibles of human nature and remain confident about her ability to cope with them.

No wonder Mr Rochester told her '? that look could prise secrets from the blackest soul'. The attraction he felt for her was a love governed by intelligence.

This new production of the book focuses more acutely on the personal interplay between the characters, and the proliferation of close-ups and facial expressions help enormously to make up for the loss of the human voice we deaf people suffer. The words by themselves lack impact unless we can see and feel the emotions, and this televised adaptation of Jane Eyre does it wonderfully.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Words of Wisdom

I have not had a proper anecdotal post for months, I believe. So, here is one. This has been a very harassing week. First I had to present a seminar on a Marxist poet for a Canadian modernism course, and I've been toiling away marking essays from a first year English course. I was finishing the last twelve papers today in one of the more secluded study areas on campus: a small Edwardian library. There were two other students there- one young man who would stare at a pile of papers covered with crypic biological symbols, and repeatedly cry 'Oh, ____! ____! ____! ___!' every few minutes. The other was more talkative. He inquired about my work, if I was a TA, and the mysteries of the grad student. When he asked what I intended to write my thesis on, I replied the Brontes. He shook his head. He had never heard of them. And so, one thousand miles from home, I find that here too the Brontes are forgotten.

I am extremely proud of my students. I know that I have no right to be proud of them but they're the best English class ever and I often brag about them behind their backs- as I am doing now. The professor apparently got most of the papers which were in the D-C range but I had mostly B papers. Today I finally reached the lower grade papers, and they provided me with some amusement. For instance, one paper on the importance of heritage and the sea to fishermen on Cape Breton island, Nova Scotia, Canada begins with a brief discussion of Chinese culture (there are no Chinese characters in the story, and no furter commentary on the Chinese in the essay...). I learned that I was born within in the Victorian period which, apparently extended until at least 1984. I am also indebted for this piece of knowledge: 'do not take money for granite.'

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

And Now a Word from St.John Rivers

We finally hear from (and about) the new St.John Rivers- Andrew Buchan- appearing this weekend in the last episode of Jane Eyre 2006.

Former Rivington and Blackrod High School pupil Andrew Buchan plays Jane's love interest, clergyman St John Rivers, in the last of the four part series.

"I didn't even get to snog anyone and felt like walking out, " he joked.

"Rivers is a stubborn one, quite uptight, and someone who always keeps things to himself.
"We both have blue eyes but I'm not sure if I match up to the other descriptions of him, the square jaw."
Andrew was in America when his agent offered him the audition for the part.
"I said, Oh come on, this isn't me,' but I went for the audition and I got it. I learned my lines in a bar in Soho, with big bad techno beats in the background which was ridiculous, but I still got the part.
"Filming was hilarious because they got me in all the gear - a massive hat and ruffled shirt - and took me to the middle of Derbyshire.
"All the crew were standing around and the producer held an umbrella over my head and said Welcome, this is your church.'"
His character in the adaptation is a local clergyman who rescues Jane from the moors.
He nurses her back to health and a year later he proposes to her, offering her a life of companionship as a missionary.
Jane finds herself with a dilemma: Should she stay with dependable St John Rivers or go back to Thornfield to face the demons of her past.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Dredging out the Archive

I confess, I enjoyed the third episode of Jane Eyre 2006 but I felt the passion was a bit flat. I knew I had a clip from the BBC's 1973 version somewhere, so I went looking for it (my DVD isn't working properly on my laptop!). I didn't find the clip but I did find these other interesting items!

In the name of harmony and world peace (at least among those who admire BBC dramas), here are Mr Rochester and Mr Darcy dancing together at last! (There is in fact a finer clip of Rochester dancing- actually he strips off his skirt, swirls it around like a matador cape and leaps off a chair...).

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Can you guess what this is?

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That's right. Colin Firth did play Mr Rochester but his scene ended up being cut from Saturday Night Live. They eventually replaced him with Jude Law (and NO I do not have any footage of Colin Firth as Mr Rochester!).

And lastly, I believe Bronteana reader chrisv wanted some proofs of my artistic talents. Here is my 'illustrated Rochester is love' bar (sorry I had to shrink it to fit the blogger page but if you click on it it will enlarge)*:

*Actually, it is no use. Just click here.

From left: 1980s RD edition, my (in)famous Jane Eyre comic book, two donations from a friend in Australia, detail from an india ink sketch by me, another detail from an india ink sketch by me, and that last one- my favourite- flying stickman Mr Rochester from a comic strip my friend Kristin created over a year ago. In it I heard that there was going to be a new adaptation of Jane Eyre starring Arnold Swartzenegger. He kidnapped Jane from the novel in a foul plot to 'crush their dreams like daisies.' Anyway, long story short I met a flying Rochester. Here he is flying into my arms! Look at how happy and sparkly he is! He's also naked, but radiating pink sparkles (everyone was naked, actually, except for Jane which was odd and probably caused a lot of brooding).

Monsieur de Rochester est un Vrai Menteur!

Yes, episode three brought back the snark, yo.

Carriage Scene! Yay! This is truly my favourite part of the novel, and this is the only time it has been adapted for film. It's lovely, but the best part of the scene is the dialogue, which was replaced of course. But it's still very nice. You should know that I'm calling Mr Rochester 'Ned' because that is his nickname with we of the League of the Extraordinarily Rochester Obsessed (that and 'Rochy'). And the Latin? I'm a Classicist, and I did actually figure out what his name would be in Latin (thanks also to a ph.d friend of mine studying the early moderns *tips bonnet*).

Ned: "You're not coming. Get out."
Jane: Yes, he can't come without his bonnet. It would be absurd!

Now, watch carefully the subtle and unique courting ritual of the rare Eduardus Rocastrum in his natural habitat. The Eduardus exhibits a peculiar fascination with hands, especially those of elfin governesses. Let us watch as he attempts to make contact...

Oh, bad luck there. She has shaken of his advance. But he will try again.

What will the fellow do now, met with a definative negative vocalisation as well as physical reprof (she said 'no' and pushed his hand away)? He's trying again! Plucky boy!


Ah, the Janet has used a very clever ploy there. A girl-child as a deterrent to the amor of the Eduardus. However, she has not counted on the call of the Eduardus- his 'badinage.' No one can resist.


New Spin on the Darcy Moment

Well, we have heard a lot about this being Toby Stephens' 'Darcy Moment.' This article, however has a different approach:

And does this (praise be!) mark an end to the tiresome lionisation of Mr Darcy? I say Mr Darcy, but of course we all know I mean Colin Firth.


The slow burn ignited, and up in flames went effigies of Rochesters past; William Hurt (impressive sidewhiskers, but a bit bland), Timothy Dalton (rather shifty, but not in a good way), George C Scott (not dishy enough) and of course, Orson Welles (impressive, but I've never forgiven him for Citizen Kane, surely the most over-rated movie ever made).


All of which brings me back to the disagreeable cult of Mr Darcy, who in recent years has been consistently voted the greatest romantic hero in literature.

Last year a survey of heroes (romantic or otherwise) by the literary website Books.co.uk saw the aloof incumbent of Pemberley Hall triumph over the likes of Romeo Montague, Heathcliff and Rhett Butler, with Mr Rochester languishing very unfairly, I feel, at 15th - just ahead of Mr Pickwick.
It doesn't take a Nostradamus to predict malign forces at work; Mr Darcy's position has rather more to do with Colin Firth than Pride and Prejudice. How else can one account for the fact that Mark Darcy, of Bridget Jones' Diary - also played by Firth - somehow managed to insinuate his way into seventh position.

But why? Charlotte Bronte's Edward Rochester is a passionate, powerful man, by comparison to whom Jane Austen's Fitzwilliam Darcy appears not merely repressed, but sexually continent to the point of constipation. Yes, he's proud and insufferably arrogant, which - shhh! don't tell the feminists - always goes down well with us career girls, but there's something rather unmanly about his prickliness.

Unfortunately for the Darcy camp, last year I witnessed a 'literary death match' between Darcy and Mr Rochester in which Rochester beat Darcy more than two to one. And I'm sorry to say that most of the pro-Darcy aguments were nothing more than 'how could you not like him?' or 'how could you like Rochester? I don't understand.' How can that compare with: "my bride is here because my equal is here," "my second self, and best earthly companion," "I longed for thee with soul and flesh," with his intriguingly complex character? It just wasn't fair.

I think Charlotte Bronte still says it best in this letter where she defends her creation:

Mr. Rochester has a thoughtful nature and a very feeling heart; he is neither selfish nor self-indulgent; he is ill-educated, misguided; errs, when he does err, through rashness and inexperience: he lives for a time as too many other men live, but being radically better than most men, he does not like that degraded life, and is never happy in it. He is taught the severe lessons of experience and has sense to learn wisdom from them. Years improve him; the effervescence of youth foamed away, what is really good in him still remains. His nature is like wine of a good vintage, time cannot sour, but only mellows him.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Tenant on Television

This is blatantly an advertising ploy to bank on the new fans of Mr. Stephens, but who cares? Tenant of Wildfell Hall is on television! I won't get to see it, but do watch it. It is the only available adaptation of Anne Bronte's novel. Many cast members from this film found their way into Jane Eyre 2006...

I have never seen this film, but I imagine it will be a little strange to see Toby Stephens playing a romantic lead opposite Tara Fitzgerald now that I'm used to these actors playing Rochester and Mrs. Reed! This link is less spoiling.

I would actually advise against visiting the link above if you are not familar with the story, because it completely unravels the plot, in my opinion. I also don't care much for the comment below about Toby's career. Humph!

This adaptation was originally broadcast in 1996, and is only the second screen version of Bronte’s novel in history (the first was made way back in 1968). The far more lavish 1996 version stars the strikingly beautiful Tara Fitzgerald in the lead role. Tara was already a well-known actor by this time, having appeared alongside Hugh Grant in two films (Sirens and The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain) and Ewan McGregor in Brassed Off.

Yet there was a time in Tara’s early years that she thought she’d never make it as a performer. At 17 she failed to get places at either RADA or the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and ended up travelling around Europe and working as a waitress. She then returned to London, more mature and self-confident, and landed a place at the prestigious Drama Centre, where the likes of Anthony Hopkins and Pierce Brosnan trained.

Rupert Graves, who plays the Byronic and flawed Arthur Huntingdon, had a similarly rocky road to success. As a teenager he was a punk rocker, before running away from school at 15 to become a circus clown (!) His boyish good looks eventually got him noticed, and he was soon appearing in such posh productions as A Room With a View.

By contrast, Toby Stephens (who portrays Gilbert Markham) had a far more assured path to stardom. After all, his mum happens to be Dame Maggie Smith, which must have opened a fair few doors! His early career was marked by Shakespearean roles on stage, but he’s since become more mainstream – and even played a Bond baddie in Die Another Day.

Tenant of Wildfell Hall is airing October 21st at 8 pm on uktv.

Jane Eyre 2006 Preview and Competition

The BBC are giving away two scripts signed by Ruth Wilson, Toby Stephens, Sandy Welch, Diederick Santer, and Susanna White. Details here.

And here's the preview clip for the... *sniff* for the last episode.

Jane Eyre: The Musical, La Jolla Production

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Back by popular demand is the full audio recording of Jane Eyre The Musical. The recording was made when the production was playing in La Jolla California before its run on Broadway. This version is half-way between its Toronto and Broadway incarnations and includes some songs which are not in any of the other versions. It is taking me awhile to upload these track so please be patient.

I think this recording was made in 2000, and is obviously from the theatre soundboards (the sound effects are very loud). It includes most of the regular cast with the exception that Helen is played by a little girl. It stars Marla Schaffel as Jane Eyre and James Barbour as Edward Rochester. If you're not familiar with this show, the chorus is used to express Jane's thoughts at times although the chorus includes all of the cast members (thus, we hear Mr Rochester commenting on being the unloved orphan Jane. You'll know him by his deep, resounous voice). There are many posts in this blog about the musical, but this is the my main critique of this version. Here they experiemented with the Jane/Bertha duality.

Video clips from this and other productions are available from my YouTube group for the show, here.

CD one of two:

http://www.sendspace.com/file/tf00dp (A Voice Across the Moors)
http://www.sendspace.com/file/ej72oo (scene with John Reed)
http://www.sendspace.com/file/flgyie (The Orphan)
http://www.sendspace.com/file/ehjyjg (Naughty Girl)
http://www.sendspace.com/file/52s5hx (Forgiveness)

http://www.sendspace.com/file/te8kxa (Helen's Death)
http://www.sendspace.com/file/qukpfj (The Graveyard)
http://www.sendspace.com/file/ezihnf (Sweet Liberty)
http://www.sendspace.com/file/allz51 (Secrets of the House)
http://www.sendspace.com/file/vpvlr9 (Perfectly Nice)

http://www.sendspace.com/file/q2jmem (scene in Hay Lane)
http://www.sendspace.com/file/jos3fa (scene of preparing for the master)
http://www.sendspace.com/file/tos41q (The Governess)
http://www.sendspace.com/file/h3qwa6 (scene with Adele acting out an opera)
http://www.sendspace.com/file/dvdh6u (As Good As You)

http://www.sendspace.com/file/tksa1l (As I Retired for the Night)
http://www.sendspace.com/file/1mnfya (scene of the fire)
http://www.sendspace.com/file/ldszt9 (Sirens)
http://www.sendspace.com/file/joo74r (The Aristocrats)
http://www.sendspace.com/file/km2uoo (scene with the aristocrats)

http://www.sendspace.com/file/82sbad (The Finer Things)
http://www.sendspace.com/file/ya2oe2 (How You Look in the Night)
http://www.sendspace.com/file/mm1z8n (The Pledge)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Hello! Magazine's Article on Jane Eyre 2006

Thanks once more to Penny!

Bronte News

Wuthering Heights has inspired an art exhibit on display this month in Massachusetts:

LIBRARY EXHIBIT. "The Colorful World of Wuthering Heights - in Watercolors and Drawings," by artist Mary Haig, is on view in the auditorium at the Morse Institute Library, West Central Street in Natick. The exhibit will run through October.

Bronte Historian extraordinaire, Juliet Barker will be making an appearance at the Examiner Literary Luncheon is Huddersfield:

The ticket price of £19.50 includes a three course meal at the Galpharm Stadium, with coffee and the chance to meet our authors.
Tickets are available only from the Lawrence Batley Theatre box office, telephone 01484 430528. The ticket sales will close on Saturday.

Lastly, remember our debate about fan fiction? The Brontes come up in this article on the subject.

Fanfic has a long history.
In the 19th century, the Bronte sisters wrote fan fiction about the Duke of Wellington, a popular figure in their time.

Not so. Only Charlotte wrote fan fiction about Wellington. (If you believe the scholars, and follow their theories to their natural conclusions than Mr Rochester is nothing more than her invented son of Arthur Wellesley- or his son, however you prefer to look at it: the Duke of Zamora!).

After Mrs Rochester in Pennsylvania

Polly Teale's play After Mrs Rochester is playing at the Quantum Theatre at Braddock Carnegie Library, 419 Library St., Braddock, Pennsylvania Through Oct. 22; Wed.-Sat. 8 p.m.; Sun. 7 p.m.

Identifying with her, sympathizing with her, Rhys writes "Wide Sargasso Sea," fusing bits of her own life and pain with Bronte's shadowy wretch.

Playwright and theater artist Polly Teale and the company Shared Experience imagine Rhys further into Bronte's world in "After Mrs Rochester." Scenes of Rhys' life are interspersed with scenes from "Jane Eyre." Rhys becomes a character who uses writing to exorcize her demons, but they leave her only briefly and never venture far. The "madwoman" that plagues Rhys lives alongside her, sometimes ignored, sometimes acknowledged, ever present.

Quantum Theatre stages "After Mrs Rochester" in the Music Hall of the baronial Braddock Carnegie Library. The space hovers between disrepair and renovation, modern and historic, the old and new sitting side-by-side, not always comfortably, much like Rhys herself and certainly like her writing, which is hailed now as drastically ahead of its time.

Tickets are $24-$27; $15 students. To order call: 412-394-3353.

"I really am awesome you know...did you know Professor Mcgonagall is my mother?"

I'm not the only one snarking Jane Eyre 2006! Missmomoko has come up with this 'picspam' to encourage her friends to watch the series. Rochester is trying to get Jane to admit that he's handsome. Here's a sample with Missmomoko's captions:

Sure....at times I may have ridiculously silly hair.

And sometimes I dress exactly like Rupert the Bear...

But by God......I'm gorgeous

What do you think???

Friday, October 06, 2006

Poor Mrs Fairfax...

Christmas came a little early for Bronteana. Lily, one of my readers, unofficial research assistant and Santa's Jewish Helper sent me the special edition DVD of Jane Eyre: The Musical Classic (not to be confused with Jane Eyre: The Musical - or the six or seven other productions of that name). The parcel also enclosed a short note: "Enjoy. I guess. Good luck getting past intermission!" How I laughed... but, it is a good thing I don't have a kitchenette in my dorm because I was tempted to bake some muffins during act one.

I have actually seen worse acting. I defy anyone to find worse acting than the cast of Amazons and Gladiators. It will explode any delusions you have about what bad acting is like. The acting in JE is suitable for a middle-school production, I think. The blocking is very bad, and the performances remind me of my high school's productions. I think one of the problems here is that these actors are obviously singers, not actors who can sing- or, alas, singers who can act. They can sing very well (most of them). There is only one poignant moment and this is during the gypsy scene, but even then how seriously can you take a man when he looks like he is wearing his grandmother's underwear on his head?

One truly interesting element of this production is the treatment of Bertha. She gets a whole song. The song doesn't make too much sense, and is mostly an ear-piercing 'AAAAAAAAAASHES!' and 'pretty, pretty FIRE!' but there is some character work at least... She doesn't like being in cold, damp England so I assume this is why she likes the fire so much. She comes downstairs after the first interview, sings, then goes back wherever she came from. It also wasn't long before I realised that this show is based on the 1996 film with Charlotte Gainsbourg and William Hurt. Although it isn't credited, several pieces of dialogue were lifted directly from the film.

Generally, the show was super camp Jane Eyre. The guests were especially campy and made the show somewhat bizzare. What is Blanche Ingram exactly? A whore with a heart of gold? I'm not sure. She swaggers around talking about going to 'see the har- ohh! I mean starletts!' at the opera and actually pinching one of the men. The men, by the way, sing a cheery little ditty about cuckoldry and debauchery before grabbing their suspenders and having a good laugh. The ladies advise eachother to appear as dumb as their hats. The sight of Blanche and Rochester doing the tango was only bettered by Rochester dragging Blanche across the stage when she falls into his arms. She witnesses the exchange between Jane and Rochester after the fire in his room, and she and Jane then sing a duet 'He Was Nearly Mine' in which she laments losing the man she... loves? Wants because she can't have? She looks sick as she hangs, clinging desperately to the railings and eventually ends up in a heap on the landing. This song also has a seemingly endless passage with nothing but the two crying "If only I was the one to touch him!" When he finally proposes, he calls in Mrs. Fairfax and forces the poor woman to dance with him, he's so giddy.

I think its his red housecoat. I can't see any other reason why these women keep throwing themselves at him, unless they want his house with its drywall and poster paint walls.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Taking Plant Imagery Too Far

I have begun marking some essays for a first year course. The professor and I got to talking about hilarious essays in general. When I was a TA in Classics we used to pass around a sheet of paper to keep track of all of the hilarity (anything from temples to Jesus being built in 100 BC... to the Ancient Greeks playing 'Polisopoly' or that the Ancient Greeks 'invented the atomic bomb and possibly medicine'). I think my favourite was how 'illiteracy' was one of the foundations of the Roman education system. Have little Gaius flogged! He's not done his not reading today! I've never taught the Brontes before, but here's a lovely example the professor shared with me of a hilarious Jane Eyre essay.

"When Mr Rochester is talking with Jane in the garden romaine will fall."

I wonder what our friend Rochester the Botanist would say about such potentious lettuce! That would make getting back to the house more perilous and less romantic, I think with Jane and Rochester trying to duck the flying lettuce.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Reader, I Married Him- Jane Eyre

Again, Penny saves the day with this download of the Jane Eyre episode of Reader, I Married Him. There are screencaps here as well as on Penny's blog.

The Ruperrochy.

I must be feeling a little better. A few readers were disappointed that I didn't have any snarky commentary for the second episode. They also pointed out that Rochester looks like Rupert the Bear, so I thought I would do a side-by-side. I think this is quite damning evidence, really. Although the term I coined sounds a bit like Scooby saying 'Super Rochy' but that would be... well, possibly that Victorian illustration of Rochester flying through the air). Never fear, it is de rigeur that Rochester have at least one hideous outfit per adaptation. His robe usually suffers this fate, although some robes have been so hideous as to spawn fan clubs of their own. That's right, Mr Rochester is so wonderful that there are fan clubs for his ugly clothes. 'Adorably hideous, just like Edward.' On second thought, perhaps I'm not getting better. Perhaps this is just the begining of delirium.

More Jane Eyre clips...

Here's one of the best scenes from episode two, thanks to ruthiem!

And, some more from the musical. I've also set up a group for clips from the musical (18 clips so far!) here. Here's Farewell, Good Angel with Marla Schaffel and James Barbour, and Forgiveness with Marla Schaffel.

Forgive the lack of editorials lately but I've been ill. I nearly passed out during the Victorian literature seminar yesterday (I'm not sure I'm making the best impression- I probably looked half asleep).

Trailer for Episode Three of Jane Eyre 2006

Penny is three for three. Thanks Penny!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

More Clips from Episode Two

Here are a few more clips from episode two of Jane Eyre 2006, courtesy of ruthiem.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Screencaps from Episode Two

While I was not impressed with the first episode, this time I'm delighted. They changed far less than I thought they would, and this time around the additions were very good. There was about 3 minutes of stupidity, but the rest more than made up for it. I actually find it to be more faithful to the novel than most. I think the powers of the novel are evoked nicely, and much more of the events and characterisation are more 'canonical.' Lady Ingram reminds me strangely of Miss Rigby, who hated the novel for its revolutionary ideas concerning class (Jane was nominated a 'moral Jacobin'). Charlotte wrote a snarky rebuke which her pubishers eventually persuaded her not to include as the preface to her next book. Oh, Charlotte... Anyway, it was very well done.

Rochester Clip from Reader, I Married Him

A Special thanks to Midnight Muse for making this clip available. This is the Mr.Rochester segment from 'Reader, I Married Him.' Among other things, there's a brief interview with Toby Stephens, and several clips from Jane Eyre 2006- including one from a scene with Jane and St.John Rivers.

You can download the clip here.

That would be our St.John Rivers in the photo above. The clip is interesting: it presents a lot of varied views on the character. I was surprised, however, at how much I disagree with Lucasta Miller. She even went overboard on Charlotte's criticism of Jane Austen. She didn't object to there being 'no romantic tempests' in her novels. She wanted more penetrating psychological realism, and more poetry. The way this sounds, Charlotte wrote... well, Harlequin/Mills and Boon romances. Mr Rochester the 'quintessential regency rake?' The kind that rape women because they happen to be alone at night and so therefor must be a prostitute? Or maybe she means the romanticised Regency rake? 'Loads of mistresses?' He has three mistresses in ten years, and one of these was for a few months. She also makes it sound like he married Bertha knowing she was mad, just because he was after her money and now he wants to drag Jane down with him. Pft.