Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

May 16, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 2:46 am

Jane Eyre 1957 With Joan Elam and Patrick McNee

We’re all in for a treat today! Thisbeciel has found the 1957 Jane Eyre with Joan Elam as Jane Eyre and Patrick McNee as Mr Rochester, and it is really very ‘interesting’ and… interesting. Yes, I think interesting or ‘scary’ might describe this well if not just plain funny. Here are a few selected screencaps:

Our plain heroine arrives at Thornfield and hears a terrible scream. ha! Crazy wind you have here, Mrs. Fairfax! Sometime later Mr Rochester gets drunk and frisky.

Missing his Boy Scout days, he built a little campfire on his bed then fell asleep.

And Jane is so devastated here, being preferred to Blanche at the party and all- oh, and she is so sad about being plain.
Mr Mason stumbles down with a knife but it’s okay, absolutely nothing is going on.

I know how you all must be anxious to see this version. Thankfully Thisbeciel also uploaded a clip from the scary little second interview (when Rochester gets drunk and frisky).



  1. Let’s vote for the worst Rochester ever 🙂

    Comment by siansaksa — May 16, 2006 @ 4:57 am |Reply

  2. John Steed (aka The Avengers) as Rochester!?! Who’d have thunk it!

    Comment by AmandaJ — May 16, 2006 @ 5:16 am |Reply

  3. really scary. -_-*

    Comment by le_ssa — May 16, 2006 @ 8:55 am |Reply

  4. to siansaksa:

    …Let’s hold off on that for a few hours. We do have to see from Heston, of course. 🙂

    Comment by Brontëana — May 16, 2006 @ 10:49 am |Reply

  5. to amandaj:

    In the world of JE adaptations, almost anything is possible.

    Comment by Brontëana — May 16, 2006 @ 10:51 am |Reply

  6. to le_ssa:

    …Very. Very scary.

    Comment by Brontëana — May 16, 2006 @ 11:51 am |Reply

  7. That is the most absurd Jane and Rochester I’ve ever seen in my life. She’s not scared? With this drunken oaf pawing her? Then she’s an idiot. I can’t imagine Jane being so stupid as to pick a moment like THAT for a Sunday sermon. I think I’ll limp back to my 1973 version dvd and cleanse my palate.

    Comment by Dr. Mabuse — May 16, 2006 @ 2:21 pm |Reply

  8. A good idea! He’s basically on the brink of raping her on the stairs and she’s still composed enough to clamly delineate the immorality of his drinking habits.

    I’m sorry to say there might be more horrors ahead.

    Comment by Brontëana — May 16, 2006 @ 2:37 pm |Reply

  9. Oh!!! Disturbing indeed!
    And she seamlessly allows him to lay that walking stick (or pole) on her bust in such a way! He is by far the sketchiest Rochester I have seen!! Quite a horror really.

    Comment by mysticgypsy — May 16, 2006 @ 4:21 pm |Reply

  10. Hmn, yes. I’d say he IS the sketchiest Rochester. I’ve seen a lot of minxy Rochesters in my travels but none quite so …predatory? James Barbour just kept rubbing his chest, and things like that. And McCarthy was not one to respect personal space… And Hinds was very… excitable?

    Considering the rest of the film, this probably is the ‘horror’ element of the production 😉

    Comment by Brontëana — May 16, 2006 @ 10:16 pm |Reply

  11. I´ve been reading your blog for some time now´and I must say that, as a Brontë fan, and being Jane Eyre my favorite book, you´ve done a wonderful job here!!

    Just to give you my congrats, all the way from Portugal.

    Vintage salutations,


    Comment by Victoria Earnshaw — May 17, 2006 @ 11:11 am |Reply

  12. I hope we’ll see more of this trainwreck – I’m strangely eager to see the whole thing now. I was thinking, if this is how Rochester is portrayed, what must they do with Bertha? I can’t get over how oblivious Jane is in this scene; could he be any plainer? “‘Excuse me, Sir, but I don’t understand you,’ said Jane, as Mr. Rochester grabbed her boobs.” I showed this to my husband last night, and he immediately launched into his very best “drunken pig” impression, complete with belching and scratching his belly. Oh, if only MST3K had found this first!

    Comment by Dr. Mabuse — May 17, 2006 @ 12:07 pm |Reply

  13. Thank you for your kind words, Victoria!

    Comment by Brontëana — May 17, 2006 @ 3:35 pm |Reply

  14. to dr.mabuse:

    I’ve just posted a new clip here.

    As I understand it Bertha is sexed up as well. There’s a screencap of her attacking Rochester and it looks more like they are doing the tango, or something. She looks like she is dipping him and giving him a kiss. According to thisbeciel she was also ‘moving provocatively” just before. Good grief…

    Comment by Brontëana — May 17, 2006 @ 3:39 pm |Reply

  15. I must admit I watched the video clip open mouthed, hardly able to believe my eyes. And yet, there is something less ridiculous about McNee as Rochester than there is about Elam as Jane. Although the script is ridiculous, he does manage to convey something of Rochester’s tortured nature. Jane’s reaction is bizarre.


    Comment by Anonymous — May 17, 2006 @ 4:17 pm |Reply

  16. to Lynne:

    It is difficult to imagine which is less ridiculous, really. The script is ridiculous, and I wonder how an actress could make the scene seem at all normal. She certainly is an idiot, but so is he if he can’t keep his hands to himself no matter how much brandy he has had! I do wonder where they came up with this idea!

    Comment by Brontëana — May 18, 2006 @ 12:27 am |Reply

  17. Whoa…this clip was a little much…MacNee was a little bit too frisky. He was in her face through the whole scene and she seems unaffected by it. He definitely looked the part and has a great commanding voice. The real scary part is that I want to see the rest of it. I disagree with the one comment…I think MacNee has her by the arm…not the boobs. I don’t think they’d go that far on live theatre 1957. It still doesn’t get my vote for worst Rochester. William Hurt gets my vote for that one.

    Comment by Linda — May 31, 2006 @ 12:34 am |Reply

  18. Okay, new update on the tv stage versions. I’ve seen the entire tv stage play of the 1957 adaptation with MacNee and Elan. Surprisingly, I actually liked MacNee as Rochester. Yes, the drunk frisky scene is a bit much but he actually looks like Rochester should, dark and brooding. He is also very passionate during his scenes and does portray the emotional inner torment of the character. I liked the different spin he put on the character. Elan’s portrayal of Jane is good…although a little too oblivious to Rochester’s emotions. I don’t think it is fair to compare a tv stage version to a movie version…its apples and oranges…most of the tv stage plays are 1 hour. You can’t expect indept interpretations in such a short time. Also, stage plays are limited as far as scenery, etc. It all comes down to the acting. I also saw the other stage adaptation with Charlton Heston as Rochester. I don’t think so! I thought the acting was horrible and the actress playing Jane was hyperactive. Charlton Heston and Kevin McCarthy are very good actors but totally miscast as Rochester. I’ll take MacNee over the others any day.

    Comment by Linda — June 10, 2006 @ 1:20 am |Reply

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