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|Another 1981 JE fan (spoilers)
Written by Elbč
(2/3/2013 11:22 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Jane Eyre - the 1981 Timothy Dalton/Zelah Clarke version (spoiler, penned by StephenB
I must also report an opposite reaction. This 1981 version is my favourite adaptation of Jane Eyre. I am, to be honest, not quite sure whether or not I like the novel Jane Eyre. Let us say I am fascinated by it. The first time I read the book, I didn't like it at all, yet I remained curious enough so that I have seen every adaptation I could find - and read the book about four times.
Now for the 1981 adaptation - yes it is stagey but IMO the most faithful to the book, its characters and atmosphere. Timothy Dalton was exactly the moody, eccentric vulcan image of Rochester the description of him in the book conjured up in my mind. A friend, who didn't like Timothy Dalton as an actor, agreed that he was the best incarnation of the character she had seen too. As for me, I had never seen Timothy Dalton in anything else, so I had no expectation regarding him as an actor. Each to his own, however.
I remember being slightly appalled by Rochester's behaviour in the book. I often raised an eyebrow at what seemed to me like a silly, grown man throwing tantrums whenever he didn't get his way, yet at times I pitied him. And even at times he seemed sturdy and impressive. I could not fall in love with such a man, but I did find him interesting. This creature, I felt, I would like to dissect (in a purely literary sense). This reaction I had to Timothy Dalton's Rochester as well.
It also took me some getting used to Jane Eyre's world (and that of the Brontes'in general) - it felt like some alternate mythical place of sweeping passions and melodrama (minus stereotypical characters) - not quite grounded to this world. It is like being in a confusing dream. I much prefer Jane Austen's world - which is more like warm, calming sunshine in a familiar place with fond old memories.
But I did admire Jane's strength of character in resisting Mr Rochester - I am still making up my mind whether or not it was ok for her to return to Mr Rochester once he had been 'tamed' somewhat.
I agree with you regarding Zelah Clarke. For the most part, she is very much like the Jane of the book, but I did not think that she pulled off her passionate declaration convincingly enough when her emotional dam eventually broke. And she and Timothy Dalton didn't have very good chemistry.
I didn't like the 2006 adaptation very much, but I haven't seen it in a long while, so a revisit is in order. I do remember that I didn't like the changes they made from the book that I felt was important aspects of the story. I did like the chemistry between the lead actors, though.
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