Sunday, August 1, 2010

Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre" - A Classic Book Available As A Classic Public Domain Movie

Jane Eyre (1970 film)Image via Wikipedia
I have always heard of the novel Jane Eyre but in my fifty plus years of existence have never read it, seen a movie version of it, or even bothered to read what the story was about.  It just seemed to have an air of being a stuffy novel from centuries past and I just had no interest in that type of film.  There are many novels in that regard in which I know of the titles but have always steered clear of.  I ended this boycott last night.

At Target the other day I "splurged" and bought one of those cheapie DVDs for five dollars that contained fifteen classic films.  I was surprised to learn that such titles as "The Last Time I Saw Paris", "The Jungle Book", and "David Copperfield" were all in the public domain.  How else could they sell so many movies for so cheap?

Scanning through the beginning of the films I soon realized that the quality of some of them left a lot to be desired.  But, most of them were very good copies and "Jane Eyre" was among them.  The version that was on this DVD  was a 1970 British version starring George C. Scott and Susannah York that appeared on American television in 1971.  From the first few minutes of the film, I was hooked.

So, what's the plot of Jane Eyre?  Probably most of you already know.  For those who don't, here is a short synopsis provided by Wikipedia.Org:

Jane Eyre is an orphan, sent to the cruel school institution of Lowood. Upon maturing, she is positioned as governess to a girl named Adele at Thornfield Hall. Fully aware of her low-rank and plain countenance; she makes the best of her situation. But Thornfield holds many secrets and despite mysterious occurrences that Jane cannot comprehend, she and Edward Rochester, owner of Thornfield and Adele's guardian, fall in love. Suddenly, when Jane is about to win the happiness she deserves, a dark secret comes to light, and it will take all of her courage, love and maturity to triumph.
That tells the tale in its simplest form. And I won't give anything away by adding more.  For those who have read the book, this film version does omit several characters (I assume for the sake of time limits) and changes a few minor scenes.  From what I've read of this film however, the thrust of the story remains intact and the cast is excellent.  The reason I started to watch this film in the first place was because George C. Scott was in it and knowing the excellent job he did as Ebeneezer Scrooge in the television version of "A Christmas Carol",  I figured he would do the same here.

It turns out that since this is in the public domain, it is available at Archive.Org.  Also, as you can see, I have embedded it here for you to watch.  If you have always turned away from watching a film such as Jane Eyre, I suggest you give it a try.

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