Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

February 25, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 12:47 am

Jane Eyre 1952 (with Katharine Bard and Kevin McCarthy)

This is the only one of the films known to be extant which I have not yet seen, but thanks (again!) to Thisbeciel, this will soon no longer be the case. In fact, I come bearing gifts of very rare screencaps (as far as I know, these are the only screencaps). I came to know of the existence of this version through ‘The Pleasure of Intertextuality: Reading television and film adaptations of Jane Eyre‘ by Donna Marie Nudd, an article specially written for the Norton edition of Jane Eyre. Here is an excerpt from her brief discussion of the production:

Structural norms change for commercial television, where the director, adapter, and editors also have to contemplate exactly where the corporate sponsors’ ads will appear. Westinghouse Studio One: Summer Theater produced Jane Eyre in 1952. This production appears to be primarily one or two cameras capturing a live theater production, a production with very limited sets. During intermissions, an actress comes out and informs us of the glories of Westinghouse’s self-defrosting refrigerator and later of the technical wonder of the “electronic clarifier” that stops the flutters on its all-new twenty-one inch, television. The structure of this adaptation is definately informed by the need to stop the action at the appropriate moment for Westinghouse commercials.

Another strong, nonliterary influence on this particular Westinghouse adaptation was undeniably the budget. Early in this production, for example, jane is situated in one of the five or so standard, theatrical stage sets–a garden. The audience and Jane hear the neighing of a horse and then a crash. Then, with fake blood on his chin, Rochester limps into the garden and tells the new governess stationed there that his confounded horse has thrown him and run off.

More images will be posted later (I am having trouble getting them all to post at the moment).

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