Jane Eyre 1949

Mary Sinclair, Charlton Heston

"Sometimes when you speak to him, its as though he were listening for someone else." -Mrs. Fairfax

"You're hurting my hand." -Jane

Jane Eyre 1952

Katharine Bard, Kevin McCarthy

"I should be of little assistance to you in a swoon, sir." -Jane

"This is not a house for anyone subject to nervousness" -Mr. Rochester

"Mr. Rochester, will you stand on the bride's right side." -Mr. Wood

I'm combining these two versions into one review since they were produced by the same television series - Studio One - and make use of a similar script and similar set. But they are not completely the same. The changes mostly revolve around the fact that innovations in television were improving, and even though the staging and sets are similar they are a bit better in 1952. They are also able to pay more for extras as Rochester has a larger house party in 1952 than he did in 1949 (just him and Blanche then. And Jane had to play piano for their amusement!)

Both Mary Sinclair and Katharine Bard as Jane do not bring much to the role. They say their lines and act smitten as needed. Charlton Heston is a trifle more aggressive than Kevin McCarthy as Rochester. Kevin McCarthy walks a line between bonhomie and imperiousness that falls more on the former. Although he is much more gruff with Adele than Heston's Rochester. Perhaps it's because it is revealed that Adele is Heston's Rochester's daughter. (?!)

Since both versions are about an hour long (with quaint five minute commercials), the script centers on the Thornfield section with only the 1949 version showing Jane leaving Lowood, while in 1952, Jane is sort of thinking about Thornfield in the beginning like in Rebecca ("Last night I dreamt I went to Thornfield again"?). The reveal of Bertha is the same in both versions- Mr. Mason appears (for the first time) to visit Bertha and it happens to be Jane and Rochester's wedding day. Both Rochesters actually make an attempt to hit Mason. Jane leaves and wanders around for a minute (literally) until she hears Rochester's voice and returns to him.

These adaptations are serviceable if you like to dwell on the romance and enjoy old movies, but they aren't much as adaptations.