Saturday, May 13, 2006

Saturday, May 13, 2006 1:15 pm by M.   No comments
We have some Brontë-related references in the news and somehow all of them echo recent or old adaptations of the novel in the cinema or theatre.

Did you know that Katharine Hepburn played Jane Eyre? Well, if you visited the Eyre Apparent exhibition at the University of Virginia then you saw the 1937 souvenir program on exhibition there. We read in the New Yorker how she went off (in 1937) in a Theatre Guild touring production of “Jane Eyre”—which she hoped to lure John Ford into filming. When neither her performance nor a headlining affair with Howard Hughes made Ford jump at the project, she returned to Hollywood. The production never reached Broadway. A Jane Eyre with Katharine Hepburn and directed by John Ford... wow! In the Broadcastellan blog we read some more about how Katharine Hepburn played Jane:

(...) and a title from the Directors Guild of America Oral History series, an interview with television pioneer Worthington Miner. Prior to entering television in the late 1930s (yes, NBC did have a television schedule back then, even though only a few thousand Americans owned a set), Miner had been a theatrical producer in the 1930s; and, in March 1937, his leading lady was none other than Ms. Hepburn, who starred in an adaptation of Jane Eyre.

According to Miner,"Katie was a wonderful Jane; it was her cup of tea, and she sparkled. But we had a dreadful Rochester and an even worse last act. [. . .] As a result, we decided to book it on the road for a few months and not risk bringing it into New York. For weeks on end it battled the elements, storms and tornados, floods and disasters, without an empty seat in the house. Katie’s name was already a prodigious drawn in the hinterlands. Jane Eyre made a tidy profit, but the kudos was nil for any of us, even Katie herself.

More details here.

The Manila Bulletin in an article about the Batanes Islands reminds us how these islands where the locations of a Filipino Wuthering Heights adaptation: Hihintayin kita sa langit (1991) .

Finally, the actress Tara Lynne O'Neill reminisces in the Belfast Telegraph how she was in a Lyric Theater production of Jane Eyre ten years ago where

"I was a bit player in the stage version of Jane Eyre - and I died", says the Andersonstown girl.
"The character I was playing was k
illed off after just seven minutes."

We suppose she played Helen Burns.

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