Jane Eyre (1983)

Season 1
 (986)
1983TV-14
After a wretched childhood as an orphan, Jane Eyre accepts the position of governess at Thornfield Hall. She soon falls in love with the brooding owner, Mr Rochester. Jane gradually wins his heart but, before they can find happiness as man and wife, they must first overcome the dark secrets of his past.
Starring
Timothy DaltonZelah Clarke
Genres
DramaRomance
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English

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  1. 1. Episode 1
    October 9, 1983
    27min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    The passionate, tender love story of Jane Eyre and her Mr Rochester is one of the most famous in literature. Tormented by cruel cousins, unjustly punished by her aunt, Jane resists tyranny with the fiercely independent spirit that will later delight and intrigue Mr Rochester.
  2. 2. Episode 2
    October 15, 1983
    29min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Jane's open defiance of her unjust and tyrannical aunt has led to her dismissal from Gateshead Hall.
  3. 3. Episode 3
    October 22, 1983
    27min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Conditions improve at Lowood and Jane finds peace both as a pupil, and later, as a teacher.
  4. 4. Episode 4
    October 29, 1983
    29min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Happy in her new post as a governess, Jane forms a bond with her young french pupil Adele and warmhearted housekeeper Mrs Fairfax.
  5. 5. Episode 5
    November 5, 1983
    29min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Jane is baffled and fascinated by her employer, Mr Rochester, who seems more than usually interested in her.
  6. 6. Episode 6
    November 12, 1983
    30min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Mr. Rochester is entertaining guests and Jane is upset by his fondness for Blanche Ingram.
  7. 7. Episode 7
    November 20, 1983
    28min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Summoned by her dying aunt, Jane returns to Gateshead Hall, the scene of her unhappy childhood. On her deathbed Mrs Reed confesses that some years ago Jane's wealthy uncle in Madeira offered to provide for her. To revenge herself on Jane Mrs Reed told him that his niece was dead.
  8. 8. Episode 8
    November 27, 1983
    29min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    The wedding ceremony of Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester is interrupted by a lawyer, Mr Briggs. He claims that the marriage cannot go on. 'Mr Rochester has a wife now living ...'
  9. 9. Episode 9
    December 3, 1983
    26min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    After days of travelling, Jane collapses outside the home of the Rivers family and is offered shelter.
  10. 10. Episode 10
    December 10, 1983
    30min
    TV-PG
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Jane learns that she is the sole heir to her uncle's fortune. Subsequently, the Rivers family discover her true identity.
  11. 11. Episode 11
    December 17, 1983
    28min
    TV-14
    Subtitles
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    English
    Jane visits Thornfield Hall and is horrified by the state in which she finds it.

More details

Directors
Julian Amyes
Producers
Barry Letts
Season year
1983
Network
BBC
Content advisory
Foul languageviolence
Purchase rights
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Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

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Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

986 global ratings

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Top reviews from the United States

puckReviewed in the United States on November 13, 2007
5.0 out of 5 stars
GUTSY AND ON THE MARK
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I watched the recent 2006 Masterpiece Theatre adaptation of Jane Eyre, with a nagging certainty, this wasn't the dark, complex tale I remembered from childhood. So I revisited the book, which confirmed my suspicions. Over the next few months people started buzzing about a 1983 adaptation which, among other things, was more faithful to the novel.

I obtained a copy and as promised, it was more faithful to the novel . . . among other things.

- For the pervasive dark tone, only the 1944 adaptation with George Barnes' exquisite black and white photography and lighting captures the mood VISUALLY, at least to me. The necessary rewrites (this one's only 97 min.) are well crafted and tonally consistent. But the story is woefully incomplete and the acting may at times, seem a mite self conscious to the modern ear.
- The 2006 (228 min) is visually lovely, but maybe TOO lovely, even sumptuous in places where understatement or stark ugliness would better serve. And Rochester has been so neutered, he's unrecognizable, if not out-and-out awkward. The rewrites here range from prosaic to shamefully expository. And the Gateshead-Lowood segment is so truncated, her grim childhood context barely registers. To her credit, Ruth Wilson (Jane) makes the most of what she is given...but sorry, no cigar.

One of the most defining elements in Charlotte Brontë's story telling, is her language. Her words not only tell us of feelings and events, but through sharp, deliberate dialog, also keenly shape her characters and by corollary, their relationships. For this, only two adaptations are notable. Both by the BBC, done in '73, and '83.

- 1973 (275 min) The plot and language here is faithful to the novel. But personally, I found the performances, too intellectualized to capture the passion and subtleties in the story. It's also rather wordy. Like the '83, the '73 has comparatively low production values -- video interiors, film exteriors, bad lighting, unimaginative camera work. I realize for some folks, that's the deal breaker. But if it's not, read on, because the similarities end there.

- 1983 The more emotionally charged '83 adaptation (which clocks in at 5 hrs.18 min.), staring Zelah Clarke and Timothy Dalton, not only beats out '73, but in my opinion, trumps all the others by deftly balancing all the story's components the best. Here Jane's bleak childhood is given it's weight. From her marginalized upbringing with her hateful aunt, Mrs. Reed, to her perilous life at Lowood Institution -- where beatings, humiliation, unfounded accusations and a relentless barrage of damning judgment, were administered on the regular. Sean Pattenden as young Jane plays the more feisty, rebellious side of Jane's nature, than the sympathetic one, but she does a fine job. Robert James as the sadistic Mr. Brocklehust is sensational. And this may be the first time, Helen Burns is portrayed as more than just a abused, saintly martyr. This Burns is also distant and alarmingly passive, which casts shadows on her rabid dogmatism. Fully fleshing both these characters, allows the controversial "Evangelism" thread, enough presence, to smoothly carry over to her year at Moorhouse. A thread that's usually obscured at best.

Zelah Clarke as adult Jane is restrained, curious, appropriately guarded and willful. Each time I view her performance I'm struck by how profoundly she listens. And how subtly responsive she is. Watch her look of shock and disgust as Rochester nearly hurls the portfolio of art work at her, then blames her for keeping Adele up too late. Initially some of this might be missed due to the shock of her costar's thunder.

What can I say about Timothy Dalton that hasn't already been said? How about this...
He is the Tony Soprano of Edward Rochesters. Most times you can't tell if he's going to kill her, f*ck her, or shake her hand. Which works spectacularly well. Rochester is after all, about attraction/repulsion. He's the ultimate forbidden fruit. Sure close ups reveal an unfairly handsome man, but that's okay, because Dalton manages to capture Rochester's conflicting nature, with energy to spare... balancing his magnetism, desperation, warmth, wit, playfulness, against his imposing stature, manipulation, sarcasm, brazen sexuality, ethical elasticity, and of course his taste for outrageous debauchery -- like a master juggler. And apologizes for none of it.

And he's sometimes flat out bratty.
When *his* Rochester explains to Mrs Fairfax (Jean Harvey), that Jane bewitched his horse, HE MEANS IT! Which gives Harvey, (who's terrific), a wonderful fall-off-your-chair-in-disbelief moment, when she stammers out, "s-sirrr!?."

Clarke and Dalton are never better than during the first crucial interviews. When Rochester explains to Jane that, "[he's] a trite, commonplace sinner, hackneyed in all the petty dissipations of the rich and worthless."... we don't doubt it. His transitions are flawless. Watch him turn away -- as he conceals from Jane, he's been studying her -- then slip into a trance, fixed on some distant point imperceptible to us, uttering what sounds like nonsense. Lines that might easily land with a thud, move unselfconsciously over the man's tongue. Here Edward also plays the corrective teacher, when he tells her, with certainty, "[repentance] is not the cure..." for what ails him. This is probably the first time Jane's heard anyone say those words and it's a VERY IMPORTANT LINE. Through it all, Clarke 's Jane grapples intensely, turning her enigmatic boss's words over in her head. Opining only when asked, in a balance of poised candor, and soft, deep-seeded concern. And from here this relationship is off to a running start, developing from the point from which Brontë intended. It is also here, we first appreciate the power of the author's language and an artist's ability to translate it.

OTHER NOTABLE SCENES
- About Adele (Jane's Smack-Down) Jane verbally flogs her boss for his abhorrent behavior toward Adele, without breaking a sweat, while exuding moral superiority in the process. You go girl! This is also the first Rochester who actually seems to do something. I mean like work. He even seems good at it. Dalton establishes this in one decisively delivered line at the end.
- After The Fire: Edward holds Jane's hand with an expression of profound warmth and gratitude, while pulling his panicked but entranced employee closer to him. He needs her to stay with him tonight. He cannot justify overpowering her, but he enjoys knowing he can. This scene superbly captures the duality in this character. I think more artful camera work might have helped amplify Jane's POV.
- The Gypsy Scene (Dalton In Drag) He's mostly hilarious and solidly on the mark as he uses Brontë's words to soothe, shock and ultimately manipulate Jane. The scene shifts and Clarke is mesmorizing as she moves from impatience with the feeble fortune teller to near hypnotic fascination by her faint recognition of the words and their oddly insightful messenger.
- After Richard's Departure: The louder he gets, the softer she becomes. Rochester raptures on sardonically, about the virtues of Blanche. In response, Jane softly says "yes sir" three times, hitting the line three different ways. The third time, is in pained resignation and is barely audible. They're both phenomenal here.
- Mrs. Reed's Deathbed: Clarke's spin on Jane's forgiveness of her aunt (Judy Cornwell)is a sharp departure from every other actress I've seen play this scene. Here there is a bite in Eyre's tone. Whatever forgiveness means to *this* Jane, it may not be so generous as to permit forgetting, nor rendering Mrs. Reed free from Eyre's own judgment and disgust. What's important is she's now free of any damage Mrs Reed may have inflicted. To me, this interpretation is closest to the Jane in the novel. And Cornwell is superb, as she hisses out her last words of condemnation at her "tormenter."
- The Proposal: Notable mainly because, Dalton is the only Rochester who really seems to know how to kiss his girl. And his rambling justification about atonement is chilling and exquisite. Otherwise the scene clearly needed reworking and is one of the few instances where you can see the effects of a tight budget and scheduling intrude.
- The Tell-Tale-Torn-Veil: In this explosive scene, Dalton and Clarke lock horns over Grace's continued presence at Thornfield. This helps make the absurd Grace Poole story line a touch more palatable (Carol Gillies as Grace delivers some rare moments).
- Aftermath Of The-Wedding-That-Wasn't: Perhaps the most sensual scene EVER. Jane leaves her room, stumbles, Edward catches her, securing her on his lap, and starts talking softly into her neck in a deep, throaty voice. Jane is palpably exhausted, disheartened, depleted. Sexy and poignant, what more can you ask for.
Unfortunately some of the scene that follows tips into melodrama, even after a good start, (which is rare here). I think this is likely due to time constraints and/or directorial assy-ness. Still there are some great moments to be had. Clarke, who's nearly despondent, fully captures a woman brutally injured, by a mighty blow to the heart.
- Moorhouse: Andrew Bicknell hits a home run as St. John Rivers. He embodies the icy, remote man, whose kind acts are more motivated by securing his box seat in the kingdom of heaven, than his full capacity to feel on earth. "You are ... forgive the word . . . impassioned," he warns Jane, with the hesitancy of telling someone they have a boil on their chin.
- Return To Thornfield: Many great moments here, from his tearful discovery that his wayward faery has returned, to Janes teasing him into a fury.

I could quibble that this or that, might have been tweaked (The occasional scoring is bad and it runs in half hour segments which is annoying. A few scenes needed to be reworked, but only a few). But with 90% plus of remarkable drama, at likely the lowest budget per hour... "quibble" don't amount to a hill of beans. And you know the director Julien Aymes deserves a lot of the credit for that. And Alexander Baron who wrote the dramatization, also did a bang up job.
51 people found this helpful
K. Ann SeetonReviewed in the United States on October 3, 2011
5.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent miniseries adaptation of this book!
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I was skeptical that a modern rendition of this story could do it justice; so often, the more modern adaptations use a story from another era to promote modern issues and thus do violence to the story itself and to my delight, this version avoids that sin. No adaptation is perfect but this one does a better job than most. At times, the story drags slightly, but what pleased me into five stars is how thoroughly this story is transferred from the book to the movie adaptation. Clearly, choosing to make this a mini-series was the correct choice as this gives the opportunity to be so thorough.

I loved the development of the relationship between Rochester and Jane, the book leaves murky the efforts of Rochester to bring Jane from her limited view of her position in society to the mature declaration of their equality and this adaptation seemed to me to show this more clearly.

Timothy Dalton played Rochester brilliantly. He managed to convey the layers of the character in a way that other performances of this role lack. His performance conveyed the affection Rochester felt toward Jane even though his many machinations, in particular, the warmth of his gaze in many scenes. The scene after the gypsy fortune-teller incident where Rochester responds to the news that Mason has arrived showed how his heart had come to rely on her support and was, in my opinion, particularly sensitively played.

As for the many other actor performances I was not unhappy with the performance of any of the other roles. I thought that Mrs. Reed was played with a bit more contrition on the part of that character than is in the book but it did not jar. The story did ignore the Reed sisters' fates which was disappointing. St.John Rivers was handled well, with his steel will in resisting romance and disciplining himself in a strongly Calvinist manner giving a proper chill to how fond the viewer might have felt of him. I especially liked the way the housekeeper's part was managed with the firmness of guarding the door, protectiveness of her family and the warmth of the housekeeper once the need to resist intrusions was gone; all were well handled.

The details of Jane's childhood were faithfully followed. John Reed played the role of the cruel bully quite nicely and his and Aunt Reed's attitudes toward Jane contrasted nicely with the role of the kindly sympathetic doctor. After she went to school, the miniseries showed a bit more anti-Catholicism than did the book although not inappropriately for a Calvinist religious view of that era; the film developed the friendship between Helen and Jane without the confusing elements of Helen's reading preferences which was a good thing; however, there was a lack of focus on the epidemic that swept the school and took Helen's life. It seems rather odd to add to the Calvinism with a teacher speaking a highly anti-Catholic line (however appropriate) and then to avoid fully portraying the depth of the greed in the management of the school and to skip over the later choice of the one Reed sister to join a convent in France. If a religious prejudice is to be emphasized in one place then the balances to it, found in other places in the book, should not be avoided, nor should the sins of the Calvinist elements be lessened.

The efforts of Rochester to keep Jane after the truth came out were handled beautifully with the full scope of all the emotions portrayed quite well. The levels of degradation Jane experienced while alone and lost on the moors and wandering friendless and without money were thoroughly managed, even to the initial reception at the River's home, were transferred from the book to the film with far more detail intact than in most versions of this story.

I liked that the link of relatedness between Jane and the Rivers family was established properly as it made the distribution of the fortune make sense. Her enthusiasm for finding family to love was faithful to the book and acted brilliantly.

The scenes with Jane and the injured Rochester were marred by the worst make-up job I have scene on film. My high school theater group had better make-up artists! I don't understand why, after doing such a fabulous job with the rest of the mini-series, that this was permitted to stand. I think the actors were handicapped by awareness that the scars were coming loose during filming and it limited the scope of emotion portrayed. With better make-up these scenes might have been as well acted as the earlier scenes between Jane and Rochester. In spite of the make-up fiasco, the ending scenes were satisfactory.

Of the many film adaptations of this book, this mini-series is my favorite. I feel that it does the best and most thorough job of transferring the complete book to film without adding junk or leaving out essentials. FIVE STARS!
8 people found this helpful
Andrea K. JohnsonReviewed in the United States on June 16, 2008
5.0 out of 5 stars
Surprising
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I'd never have believed that anyone could make the long, flowery, ornate, 19th century language in Charlotte Bronte's novel sound natural in a modern-day production -- "my pet lamb" -- and "Jane, you strange, almost unearthly thing," etc. etc. or that I would find a James Bond actor believable as Rochester. Wrong on both counts. Timothy Dalton's performance here is really a tour de force. He's mercurial, explosive, intense, brooding, cunning, manipulative, self-pitying, insightful, mischievous, sexual, tender, loving, gentle, sometimes all at the same time or at least in the same five minute scene. He's the original "mad, bad, and dangerous to know," to use Caroline Lamb's words about her lover Byron. That is, of course, like catnip. You watch him on the screen and know he's very bad news and you also know you wouldn't be able to resist. I'm not quite sure how Zelah Clarke's Jane is able to resist. Too handsome and too young, yes, but the portrayal more than makes you forget that.

Clarke is an interesting Jane. There's a scene the morning after she accepts Mr. Rochester's proposal where she literally runs into his arms, absolutely beaming, that made me physically gasp. This is a Jane whose primary trait is her desire to be loved. She's not really meant to be mouselike or long-suffering or patiently enduring, though she's learned to put on a facade. When Rochester loves her, she loves him back innocently and wholeheartedly, which makes the scene after the big reveal about Rochester's mad wife in the attic all the more heartbreaking. Clarke's Jane resembles someone who's been kicked in the stomach, hurt too badly to cry or react or shout at Rochester like he's begging her to. Clarke plays all those subtleties expertly.

Like other reviewers, I did think she looked older than 18 or 19, but so do all of the other actresses who've played the part. On the other hand, I think Jane is supposed to be one of those ageless looking characters. She likely looked older when she was young and would have looked younger when she was old. Her life experiences would have provided her with a sense of self-possession that would have given her more maturity than a young debutante of the era. Clarke is physically very small, particularly next to Dalton, which is right for the character, but a bit more rounded out than the Jane of the book.

Comparing the recent screen versions of Jane Eyre, I've found something I like in most of them. The 1940s version with Orson Wells had the best young Adele in Margaret O'Brien. She's an adorable, enchanting little girl in that movie, as young as she should be according to the book. This movie also gets the Gothic air right, in part because it's black and white. On the other hand, Jane is too blonde and too composed, while Orsn Wells is too bombastic. The 1970s BBC version also uses all of the dialogue from the book, but I thought it was a bit more mannered than this 1983 version. The 1996 A&E version with Samantha Morton is shorter, very condensed, the language updated and the story cut to focus on Rochester and Jane. I preferred the ending scene in the A&E version when Jane returns to Rochester, over the 1983 version, which although true to the novel, seems to somehow diminish Rochester a bit, if not Jane. Morton's version of Jane doesn't drag out why she came back. She leaves Rochester in no doubt that he's still a man and she'd take him any way she could get him. I also thought the 2006 BBC version did a better job with those ending scenes than the 1983 version did, though some people object to its physicality. To paraphrase, as the 2006 version of Rochester says, "I don't want a nurse. I want a wife. You and I aren't platonic people, Jane." The 1990s big screen version with William Hurt is mopey and melancholy and makes you long to put Rochester and Jane out of their misery. If you're a Jane Eyre aficionado, you'll probably want all of the above and, as I do, mix and match the various actors from each movie until you have your perfect daydream cast. I think Timothy Dalton's Rochester is the current headliner. This is a very good version that is well worth the trouble of buying. I have just ordered it myself after renting it through Netflix.
16 people found this helpful
Rosie CottonReviewed in the United States on May 7, 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars
Lovely -- THE definitive Jane Eyre! DVD NOW, PLEASE!!!
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A few months ago I watched both this 4-hour BBC production and the more recent A&E version starring Ciaran Hinds and Samantha Morton in one sitting ... an Eyre-athon! And in my opinion, this version EASILY won hands-down as the best (I've already seen just about every other filmed version). I've since watched it many times and never tire of it. If you love the novel, what a glorious, breathtaking treat this is!!

Yes, this production is long (good news for Bronte fans!) and it has a somewhat dated feel, but both the casting and acting are so brilliant that you won't want to watch any other version!

Timothy Dalton IS Edward Rochester... it's that simple. I don't care that other reviewers claim he's too handsome. Dalton is attractive, certainly, but no pretty-boy. In fact he possesses a craggy, angular dark charm that, to my mind, is quite in keeping with the mysterious, very masculine Mr R. And he takes on Rochester's sad, tortured persona so poignantly. He portrays ferocity when the scene calls for it, but also displays Rochester's tender, passionate, emotional side as well. (IMO the A&E production suffers in that Ciaran Hinds - whom I normally adore - seems to bluster and bully his way throughout. I've read the book many times and I never felt that Rochester was meant to be perceived as a nonstop snarling beast!)

Whenever I reread the novel, I always see Zelah Clarke as Jane. Ms. Clarke, to me, resembles Jane as she describes herself (and is described by others). Small, childlike, fairy... though it's true the actress doesn't look 18, she portrays Jane's attributes so well. While other reviews have claimed that her acting is wooden or unemotional, one must remember that the character spent 8 years at Lowood being trained to hold her emotions and "passionate nature" in check. Her main inspiration was her childhood friend Helen, who was the picture of demure submission. Although her true nature was dissimilar, Jane learned to master her temper and appear docile, in keeping with the school's aims for its charity students who would go into 'service'. Jane became a governess in the household of the rich Mr. Rochester. She would certainly *not* speak to him as an equal (as Samantha Morton does in the A&E version). Even later on when she gave as well as she got, she would always be sure to remember that her station was well below that of her employer. Nevertheless, if you read the book - to which this production stays amazingly close - you can clearly see the small struggles Zelah-as-Jane endures as she subdues her emotions in order to remain mild and even-tempered.

The chemistry between Dalton and Clarke is just right, I think. No, it does not in the least resemble Hollywood (thank God! It's not a Hollywood sort of book) but theirs is a romance which is true, devoted and loyal. And for a woman like Jane, who never presumed to have *any* love come her way, it is a minor miracle.

The rest of the casting is terrific, and I love the fact that nearly every character from the book is present here. So, too, is much of the rich, evocative dialogue. This version is the only one that I know of to include the lovely, infamous 'gypsy scene' and in general, features more humor than other versions I've seen. In particular, the mutual teasing between the lead characters comes straight from the book and is so delightful!

Jane Eyre was, in many ways, one of the first novelized feminists. She finally accepted love on her own terms and independently, and, at last, as Rochester's true equal. Just beautiful!

Now, WHEN WILL THIS BE RELEASED ON DVD?

EDIT: This has just been mastered and released on DVD in its original unedited format, which means a whole extra hour of footage... it's now 5 hours instead of 4, woot woot! You KNOW I'm happy! Buy it NOW!!
542 people found this helpful
onlyme1234Reviewed in the United States on March 29, 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent adaptation of well loved book
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'Is it better to drive a fellow creature to despair than to trangress a mere human law - no man being injured by the breach?'

'Still indomitable was the reply - 'I care for myself'.

'I am sure, sir, I should never mistake informality for insolence: one I rather like, the other nothing free-born would submit to, even for a salary'. 'Humbug! Most things free-born would submit to anything for a salary; therefore, keep to yourself, and don't venture on generalities of which you are intensely ignorant'.

I have read an re-read Jane Eyre several times and every time the book manages to amaze me with lines like the above. It seems to me that Charlotte Bronte wrote about ideas and feelings easily transferred to the 21st century. Which would explain the popularity of the novel. And maybe that is the one characteristic that distinguishes great literature from everything else written: the timeless quality of the ideas and feelings.

What I like about this 1983 adaptation of Jane Eyre is, that almost all of my favourite lines are there, keeping the best and the most romantic ones and deleting the more biblical references, which to a modern audience would be incomprehensible and dull anyway. The acting is superb and although I have read many reviews stating that Dalton might be too handsome and Clarke too old.. who cares? (The only weak spot in the acting might be the (French?) girl who plays Adele).
Age and appearences do not matter so much anymore when something is acted so well that you are almost spellbound.

I liked the theatrical feeling to this adaptation, no music played to disburb the beautifully written dialogues. This series depends on the suberb acting of the players and a well-written script. (BTW Bridewell is a London prison, which explains Dalton in chains when playing 'plain charades' in company, this part for me the only incomprehensible thing before I found out about Bridewell).

The Dalton/Clarke version displays all the depth of the main characters and their wealth of feelings. The video is well worth your money.

Every other Jane Eyre I have seen (and own) could not satisfy me, because the plotline was changed, it was poorly acted, important characters were deleted, the story moving too fast or the dialogue was written poorly and very incomprehensible. And most of the time it would be a combination of all things mentioned. Let's face it: like Austen's Pride and Prejudice this book can not be comprised in a mere two hours.

I am only waiting for the (uncut?) DVD version to be released. WHEN? I found the DVD version on Amazon.co.jp, but who can read Japanese? I certainly can't. Why was this series released in Japan and not in Europe or the USA? Anybody know the answer?

PS the uncut DVD version has been released in the USA on April 19th 2005 and I am the happy owner of it. What puzzles me is that it has not been released in the UK/ Europe.
18 people found this helpful
K. MorrisonReviewed in the United States on March 3, 2005
5.0 out of 5 stars
Best film version ever!
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I fell in love with the story of Jane Eyre when I saw the Orson Welles/Joan Fontaine version years ago. I read the novel then, and ever since (20+years) it's been my absolute favorite book. I re-read it at least once a year. I was thrilled to find the VHS version of this BBC miniseries about 15 years ago, and I have never seen a film that so well captured the essence of the book. The series may seem a bit long, but for those of us who savor Charlotte Bronte's novel, it's wonderful! Timothy Dalton IS Rochester,and Zelah Clarke is a marvelous Jane. Some say she was too old to play Jane; I disagree... she was approximately 25 years old when the movie was made. Hardly ancient. I have also seen reviews that call her fat. She is definitely NOT...I have seen pictures of her in modern dress and she is rather petite. The wardrobe in the movie made her look a bit dumpy, but then, Jane Eyre is NOT a beauty! I think she had plenty of spirit and spunk in this film and it's truly a shame that her acting career didn't take off after this role.

I have seen other versions of Jane Eyre; Ciaran Hinds and Samantha Morton did a decent job, but the story was hacked to bits; William Hurt was a HORRIBLE Rochester. He had no spirit..dull, listless,and passionless. UGH. I even rented the movie once to see if it was as bad as I'd remembered it from the theater. YUP. People who are true afficianados of the book will love this production. Some of the movie making is a little under par (this is a made for TV miniseries, and is 20 years old, after all), but the script and the acting make up for the poor makeup and lighting. I give it thumbs WAY WAY WAY UP!!

UPDATE: I received my DVD today (Thanks to Amazon for shipping it so that I received it on the day it was released! Woohoo!!) The restored footage was marvelous...no new footage of Timothy Dalton, but lots of footage involving Sian Pattenden, who played the young Jane (and a lot of great background establishing her passionate personality!)...and much new material involving St. John, Diana and Mary! I loved it! They even included Rosamund Oliver, who was completely cut out of the 4 hour VHS version. Thanks BBC for finally releasing this marvelous TV miniseries on DVD for us "Eyre-heads." What a treat. However, one small complaint..couldn't you have given us just a little extra? Maybe a short little interview with Zelah Clarke and/or Timothy Dalton or even Sian Pattenden about the filming of? I guess for the price I shouldn't complain...but I would have paid more for a special edition. Thanks, though, really!
26 people found this helpful
Steven C. MillhornReviewed in the United States on April 10, 2007
5.0 out of 5 stars
An English education and history lesson all rolled up into one!
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In describing my thoughts and feelings for the movies Jane Eyre and Middlemarch, it's like telling someone of an old friend. I love to watch these movies over and over again, just to get the raw education and great historical lessons from the land of my ancestry. In Jane Eyre, you have Mr. Rodchester slinging out so many ten dollar words that are not so commonly used in our American discourse, that you feel like you've just been to college and your among the elite in society. You also have the typical themes of the Rich verses Poor, and unprincipaled verses the godly and chaste. But what I like most about Jane Eyre beside the education, was how that one line spoken by Mr. Rodchester seemed to sum up what happened, and what would eventually turn to his good. He said: "fate has out maneuvered me or providence checked me" and to that the minister said Amen! Mr. Rodchester's fate of trying to force a marriage with a godly sweet angel before it's time, was rewarded at the end of the show by the Providence of God. God allowed him to be judged by fire, but then answered his hopes and prayers by letting the whisp of his anguish travel over the air, hundreds of miles to the awaiting ears of his true love. And with Jane about to enter into a marriage with a steely cleric with no heart of love for her, she received the message on the wind from God and from Mr. Rodchester just in the nick of time, and she fled to her fulfillment. I highly recommend Jane Eyre for viewing over and over again, it's an education and a heart throbbing love story all wrapped up into one. Now as far as the history lesson of MiddleMarch is concerned, time and space will not allow enough to be said about this show. It was not your typical English film, this is a series of many plots and sub plots, which show the true nature and character of a growing nation. A snippet out of time, a viewing of the developing countryside society of England's heart land. Once again though, the English protray the villian as a clergyman, and the so called good clergyman, was a pool playing, card playing, pub attendee. But the other plots of love and of riches carries well, and one wishes that Dr. Lidgate would have married Dorothea. This film has many of your favorite English actors in it, and is the kind of movie that you have spend a lot of time with and engross yourself in, to really enjoy......When we want to watch an old favorite, MiddleMarch is right up there with Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Sense and Sensibility. You'll be enriched and educated if you spend time with both of these films. We loved them!
3 people found this helpful
Kindle CustomerReviewed in the United States on October 11, 2009
5.0 out of 5 stars
Once upon a romance
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During the first half of the 19th century, two of the three Brontë sisters wrote books that have endured as great British literature. The middle sister, Emily, wrote _Withering Heights,_ which became one of the golden year, 1939's, films, Charlotte Brontë, the eldest, wrote the great romance, Jane Eyre, whic has been issued in multiple editions, and filmed 19 times.

The plot is simple: a "plain" young woman, having spent 10 years in an emotionally sterile, still manages to capture the heart of an equally plain man 20 years her senior, loses him, and then, in the end finds him again, after his mad wife has burned down his manor house, taking his eye and hand in the process. This is not the ordinary meat of a great romance, but somehow over the years, millions of people throughout the world have read and watched this story and come away moved.

In this mini-series, the 16th filmed version, Timothy Dalton plays Rochester to Zelah Clarke's Jane. Dalton is probably one of the ugliest handsome men I've ever seen who nevertheless has played the central character is a number of films (remember his two James Bond movies?). Clarke is a wonderful character actress, and probably the closest to Brontë's decision. Each of them do expert performances, playing their characters with warmth, humor and great passion. The sexual tension, never brought to fruition on screen, creates a longing that transfers itself to the viewer.

Dalton's character, believing he will never find real love, growls and snaps at everyone around him, never compromises to the world, and unable to show kindness to his "natural" child, Adéle or any of his servants. However, his willingness to bring an illegitimate daughter into his house, to be raised as a daughter shows his great heart But as Jane begins to fill his world with a shy joy, he that heart to soften to her.

None of the Brontë sisters ever married. It was only through their romances that they could draw their ideal men. The saddest thing about their heroes is that they are all drawn from the withdrawn father who could not show them love. Their stories are testaments to their beliefs that a gentle woman could change such men's personalities, a dream none of them was able to fulfill.

Men and women can related to this romance. Find yourself curled up in your love's arms, crying for the cries of a different time and different kind of story that, I hope, you will never experience.
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