Jane Eyre 1943

Joan Fontaine, Orson Welles

"Duty is what you have to do even if you don't want to do it." -Dr. Rivers

"Don't eat toasted cheese for supper." -Rochester

There's a much better attempt to adapt the actual novel in this version (as compared to the 1934 film version) which makes for an interesting transition from light to dark. The 1934 film being a little too happy and this version being a little too dark. Orson Welles plays the role of Rochester with such an intensity that makes him a little intimidating. No wonder Joan Fontaine's Jane looks like a deer caught in headlights most of the time.

The script has some interesting changes to the story that perpetuates through several movie adaptations to follow. Helen Burns has her hair cut at Lowood instead of Julia Severn in the novel, and Jane heroically demands to have her hair cut as well. Jane is more directly the cause of Mr. Rochester falling off his horse as he looms up on her and she is unfortunately in the way instead of standing quietly by the side of the road. Jane also feels she has to defend Adele and asks Rochester to treat her more kindly- something Jane never does in the novel.

Other interesting innovations to the story include a St. John Rivers who is the Doctor for Lowood, and who provides Jane with lessons of morality instead of Helen Burns. Overall, this film is fantastically moody and quite romantic, and a very good film if you aren't too concerned about fidelity to the novel.