Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

April 6, 2006

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Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 10:38 pm

Jane Eyre 1973 and ‘The Pleasure of Intertextuality’- a Note


I have been reading Donna Marie Nudd’s ‘Pleasure of Intertextuality’ on the various film adaptations of Jane Eyre, once again. This time I recall the BBC’s production from 1973. The very first post in this, the very first Bronte studies blog, was in response to this very issue. In it I pointed out that the production did indeed feature the gyspy scene, which Nudd claims is only present in one film version- the BBC’s 1983 version with Zelah Clark and Timothy Dalton. I have realised there are more of Nudd’s claims challenged by the 1973 version.

She concludes her article with a barrage of questions- each very telling, and stimulating. Why is the Christian dialogue and extensive reading habits of Helen Burns and St.John Rivers omitted or downplayed? In the 1973 production Helen quotes Latin as well as Samuel Johnson for Miss Temple, I have noticed no downplaying of the Christian dialogue of either characters. Why is the typhus epidemic omitted? Likewise, it is not omitted. Why has there only been one ‘plain’ actress cast as Jane? Sorcha Cusack seems plain enough to me, although her eyes are beautiful. I thinks she looks rather like Charlotte Bronte, in fact… Why is Rochester seldom physically disfigured at the end? This production does shy away from actually showing the disfigurement but it is acknowledged. Why has there ‘never been a female director?’ Jane Eyre 1973 was directed by Joan Craft. And of course, there is the gypsy scene. Nudd’s speculation that the gypsy scene is usually cut to avoid making Rochester seem effeminate is odd considering the 1973 version, wherein Rochester speaks in a falsetto for that scene rather than take on the more masculine tones of a hoarse older woman. In other words, she sounds feminine.

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