Friday, July 9, 2010

Jane Eyre (1970)

I have watched many versions of Jane Eyre over the years, but somehow I had missed seeing the 1970 version starring George C. Scott and Susannah York. I finally watched it almost two weeks ago and I enjoyed it.

This version completely starts at Lowood School and completely misses Aunt Reed and company. It also varies from the novel in several other instances as one would expect in a two-hour movie from such a long and complex novel. Most noticeably is at the end Jane’s time with the Rivers cousins is shown, but decreased substantially from the novel. Indeed they are never referred to as her cousins and she never receives her inheritance from her Uncle. I was glad the Rivers were shown as they are often left out, but I thought it did Jane a great disservice to not have her receive her inheritance. I love how in the novel she goes back to Rochester as an independent woman.

Truthfully I thought that Susannah York was too old to be playing Jane. When Jane goes to Thornfield she should be closer to 18 if my memory serves, but Susannah York is more like 30. She did an okay job portraying Jane, but is definitely not one of my favorites. On the other hand, I wasn’t so sure about George C. Scott as Rochester, but his surly method of playing Rochester soon grew on me. By the end, I really loved his performance as Rochester. I still love Toby Stephens and Ciaran Hinds as my favorite Rochester’s overall though.

I thought there was a spark missing from York’s Jane Eyre and Scott’s Rochester. In fact, if I had just watched the movie and had never read the book, I would wonder why and how Jane Eyre had ever fallen in love with Mr. Rochester. It wasn’t very apparent. This Jane Eyre seemed more about being misty eyed over Mr. Rochester and less about being an independent woman who loves Mr. Rochester.

Overall, I enjoyed watching the movie, but I would not rate it as one of my favorite Jane Eyre movies overall.

This was my seventh and final item for the All About the Brontes Challenge.


  1. Great review of this adaption! I have never seen it. That is interesting that they left out the Reeds. I've never seen the Ciaran Hinds version either, must check that out!

  2. Ohhh...I couldn't get through this version.

  3. I never saw this version. And it's been awhile since I saw a Jane Eyre movie. Now I'm itching to see one...

  4. I agree with you! It's lacking in a lot of ways. While I never could get into this adaptation properly, the scene where he holds Bertha after the wedding was very tender and a nice touch. The rest - not so much!

    I read somewhere that Ciarán Hinds never bothered to read the book before playing Rochester. If he had, I'm sure his performance would have been better. Enjoyable though it was, I just felt like he was too angry a lot of the time. :/ Although, that being said, his morning-after-proposal "Mrs. Rochester" did bring on the squees properly. <3

  5. Thanks for the review--I'll definitely have to pass on this version. There are too many good versions to fall back on.

  6. I can agree that my favorite Ciarán Hinds role was actually as Captain Wentworth in Persuasion, but I still liked him as Rochester. My overall favorite is Toby Stephens . . . although he is technically too goodlooking to be Rochester!

  7. This is one adaptation I haven't seen and it looks like I can skip it!