Thursday, December 05, 2013

Gothic tripe

DVD Talk reviews the Blu-ray edition of Jane Eyre 1944.

Jane Eyre (1943 in the U.K., 1944 in the U.S.) is an excellent adaption of Charlotte Brontë's 1847 novel. The movie is often compared to Alfred Hitchcock's film of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca (1940) which likewise starred Joan Fontaine. Rebecca was produced independently by David O. Selznick, as Jane Eyre was to have been, but he sold the project (along with the talent he'd already assembled) to 20th Century-Fox and the project ended up being made there.
More than Rebecca though, Jane Eyre resembles the two Charles Dickens films director David Lean made soon after, Great Expectations (1946) and Oliver Twist (1948). The Gothic, film noir-influenced lighting, intelligent paring down of material, larger-than-life use of colorful characters, and aggressively cinematic approach are similar.
It's also, a bit, like an Orson Welles-directed movie. Fresh from the triumphs and tragedies of Citizen Kane (1941), The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), Journey into Fear (1943) and the aborted It's All True, Jane Eyre was Welles's first acting role in the movie he did not produce and direct. (He was to have directed Journey into Fear, but in the end Welles hired Norman Foster to helm most of that one.)
Welles did not direct Jane Eyre; Englishman Robert Stevenson did. However, Welles did function as a kind of hands-on Associate Producer, and his influence can be felt in myriad ways.
A Twilight Time release, Jane Eyre was sublicensed by Fox. For reasons unknown the black and white production has never looked great on television or home video, where it often appears so dupey and washed-out as to resemble a kinescoped TV production. The Blu-ray, while far from perfect, is the first truly acceptable presentation I've seen. Most of the film takes place in dimly-lit, cavernous rooms, or on fog-shrouded moors at night ("Man, this movie is BLACK!" I heard myself exclaim while watching this) and in high-definition one can appreciate Karl Struss's daring cinematography really for the first time in years. (Stuart Galbraith IV)
The Washington Post has tips on 'inspiring the reluctant reader'. One of which is
For older readers, middle school can be an important turning point, and a time when some encouragement can help move a child from being a reluctant reader to being a voracious one. That’s when the classics — “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Jane Eyre” — come in. And there really hasn’t been a time in Young Adult Literature (YA, that is) like there is now. (Amy Joyce)
While Patheos's Schaeffer's Ghost reviews the 1983 film The House of Long Shadows.
Sure, Wuthering Heights was fine for its day, but the modern novel has progressed beyond that. In fact, these days anyone with even a tiny bit of talent could sit down and crank out that sort of gothic tripe in less than a day! At least, so claims modernist writer Kenneth McGee—an author interested only in telling the truth and making money (not necessarily in that order). But when his publisher bets McGee that he can’t write such a novel in 24 hours, McGee (played by Desi Arnaz, Jr.) finds himself seeking the appropriate writing atmosphere in an abandoned mansion. And atmosphere he gets in spades, when Grand Moff Tarkin, Saruman, Kung Fu’s Dad, and Vincent Price all show up at that same house on that same dark and stormy night. Awesomeness ensues in the otherwise obscure film The House of the Long Shadows (the only film featuring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, John Carradine, and Vincent Price). [...]
It turns out that movie does in fact have as much complexity as Wuthering Heights, if not always the same literary quality. (Dr Coyle Neal)
You Made It Here. You Must Like Books! posts about Wuthering Heights. Brona's Books reviews Jane, le renard et moi in its English edition.

Comments :

0 comments to “ Gothic tripe ”
Post a Comment