There's a fairly comprehensive piece on the new film version of Charlotte Bronte's JANE EYRE opening Friday, in today's NY Times online. (Can't wait to see it.) Here's a link to the new trailer. The piece in the Times has several links to previous adaptations of the story as well. While reading it I was remembering all the versions of JANE EYRE over the years and thinking I'd probably seen them all except for the very earliest. I only go back as far as the Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles 1944 film which I first saw on early television.
But there have been several that I've judged my favorites. The one with Orson Welles, certainly. He was the epitome of dark and brooding, his eyes lit by tiny pinpoint lights which heightened his mysterious allure. Joan Fontaine was a bit mealy-mouthed for Jane, but on the whole I didn't dislike her.
I liked the version with, of all people, George C. Scott as Mr. Rochester. The truth is, I mostly like George C. Scott in anything. Suzanne York played Jane. I haven't seen this in years since it's not currently available on Netflix, but maybe I can hunt it down somewhere. I really do want to see it again.
There are two I didn't like much: one with Ciaran Hinds as Mr. Rochester, he just wasn't right for the part. And the more recent one with Toby Stephens. Neither of these men embody Rochester for me. The one with Ciaran Hinds also had a not very winning Jane Eyre as well.
My favorite I must admit is the series done in 1983 starring Timothy Dalton. Though the idea of Dalton not being deemed 'handsome' is a laugher. I thought Zelah Clarke playing Jane was a bit too old, but other than that, I loved this episodic version.
Here's the Review from today's NY Times, for the new JANE EYRE film, by critic A.O. Scott.