31 July 2006


I completely agree with the Little Professor, who notes:
Apparently, there's yet another TV adaptation of Jane Eyre in the works, as if the world needed yet another adaptation of Jane Eyre. (Incidentally, isn't Francesca Annis a little over-qualified for a two-bit character like Lady Ingram?) Even more so than many Victorian novels told in the first person--or, for that matter, many Victorian novels with strong narrative voices--JE is not at all suited to cinematic realism. It's not just that the novel's literary effects depend on JE's very distinctive, complex POV, but also that its events themselves often seem bizarre or bathetic when rendered in "objective" form. The "Red Room," the symbolic lightning bolt (when it's included), Rochester's "telepathic" connection to Jane, and so forth frequently appear uncomfortably comical--especially when, as is usually the case, the filmmaker strips the narrative of its theological underpinnings and turns it into a straightforward twentieth- or twenty-first century romance. That being said, I think that in JE's case an overtly stylized or even surreal aesthetic might work in an adaptation's favor.
Exactly. There isn't an adaptation out there that hasn't come off as clumsy or melodramatic in parts--and the final act is invariably botched (or passed over altogether), completely missing the point of how the force of Jane's convictions fuel her strength of will. (And I liked Toby Stephens and Tara Fitzgerald in The Tennant of Wildfell Hall...but Stephens as Rochester? Doubtful.)

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