Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

June 30, 2006

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Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 6:18 pm

Another Update on BBC Bronte Films


Once again, our thanks to LaMcKay for providing the following stats on several BBC productions currently unavailable:

Jane Eyre (1963) was broadcast on 7-4-63. The BBC 2 classic serial 28-12-68 Tenant of Wildfell Hall is complete as is their Wuthering Heights first broadcast 28-10-67 (4 episodes). Villette 1970 (also from BBC 2) aired on 31-5-70 and had 5 episodes.

And finally Blogger is allowing me to post images once again. This is the picture I found earlier this week of Daphne Slater who played Jane Eyre in the 1956 BBC series (playing opposite Stanley Baker). I have not been able to verify what the image is from- but the watch definately makes one think that this is not an image from the production! The search continues.

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Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 6:02 pm

Fan Fiction, more Odds and Ends

Firstly, after years of complaints fanfiction.net has finally added two categories for Bronte fan fiction. The categories are for Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. Don’t be discouraged by the small number of stories archived there. The vast majority of Bronte fan fiction on the site is still lurking in ‘miscellaneous books’ or films, and even one or two are filed away under ‘Jane Austen.’ I’m not exactly thrilled, knowing what ‘fandom’ does to beloved works of literature. Then again, now and then something really great will turn up. Although this particular site has a reputation for bad writing (thanks to Impairedlogic for the notice about the new Jane Eyre category).

It looks like the BBC’s Jane Eyre 2006 has been pre-sold to Bulgarian television along with quite a lot of other programmes.

The Bronte Parsonage has recieved its seven millionth visitor– who is quite bemused as he had never really been that interested in the Brontes but now he’ll give Wuthering Heights a try.

And we have another sighting of the Charlotte Bronte-saurus! (See Bronte-saurus, Charlotte and Brontesauri).

June 29, 2006

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Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 9:41 pm

Update: Jane Eyre 1963 and Villette 1970

The internet is a marvellous thing. I am astounded by how quickly this search is going. Before I started keeping this blog, work was slow and frustrating. Being in touch with so many Brontephiles like myself is making my work go far more smoothly!

The newest information comes from Bronteana reader, LaMcKay. There is both good and bad news. The bad news is that the 1963 version of Jane Eyre, with Richard Leech and Ann Bell (the photo I discovered earlier this week from this production is here), is unlikely to be released. The current opinion is that the series is missing two of its six episodes- episodes two and three. While most of us would loudly cry that this is no reason to hold it back, it would look awful to the marketting deptartment I’m sure if one third of the production were missing.

The good news is that the current opinion is that Villette survived the archive purge intact! This gives me great hope that it could be released someday. LaMcKay suggests that Jane Eyre could be released with it as bonus material, but I think it is unlikely. What they might do would be to put together a boxed set. To my knowledge there have been no boxed set of Bronte films- only discounts if you buy Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. It is a thought. I must say that the interest in a ‘new’ Bronte work- which is neither Jane Eyre nor Wuthering Heights- should be immense. Add this ‘lost’ footage, and 1968 Tenant of Wildfell Hall (I am not sure this one exists, to be fair) and a loss just isn’t an option. Everyone will want to have this collection I am absolutely certain.

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Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 3:31 pm

Review of Voice and the Victorian Storyteller by Ivan Kreilkamp

This review of Voice and the Victorian Storyteller provides an interesting critique of the book’s discussion of a particular passage from Jane Eyre. The passage is quoted in a section of the book on Charlotte Bronte and the trope of ‘witheld speech.’

There is a striking example in his discussion of the famous episode of extrasensory perception in Jane Eyre, in which Rochester tells Jane that he cried out to her and heard her reply, and Jane realizes that the words he “heard” were those she had actually spoken (“I am coming: wait for me!”):

The passage is quoted in full, and then follows the critique, that the author had omitted a sentence in order to shape the passage to his argument. The work also discusses Villette.

Voice and the Victorian Storyteller
264pp. Cambridge University Press. $85.0 521 85193 9

Contents:
1. ‘The best man of all’: mythologies of the storyteller;
2. When good speech acts go bad: the voice of industrial fiction;
3. Speech on paper: Charles Dickens, Victorian phonography, and the reform of writing;
4. ‘Done to death’: Dickens and the author’s voice;
5. Unuttered: withheld speech in Jane Eyre and Villette;
6. ‘Hell’s masterpiece of print’: voice, face, and print in The Ring and the Book;
7. A voice without a body: the phonographic logic of Heart of Darkness.

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Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 3:00 pm

Addendum: BBC Archive Project

Biedroneczka writes in with a little more information on the list she provided of BBC adaptations of Jane Eyre, specifically the two radio adaptations I have not found yet- the ones from 1990 and 2004:

“There’s practically no info on the 1990 version. As far as I remember, it’s only 30 minutes long. The 1994 programme is indeed the one with Ciaran [Hinds]. And the info on the 2004 one reads as follows: Anne-Marie DUFF reads Charlotte BRONTE bold and passionate story of a woman’s search for independence and love on her own terms. Lonely, ignored and ill treated, the orphaned Jane is growing up at Gateshead. Abridged by Sally MARMION. Producer Di SPEIRS. 15 episodes, 15 minutes each. BTW, Here’s the link to the site: http://open.bbc.co.uk/cataloguemeta. Sadly, the catalogue is currently unavailable.”

The catalogue seems to be in a prototype stage at the moment, according to its blog but is going through a review process. This is how the project is described on the BBC’s website:

This experimental catalogue database holds over 900,000 entries. It is a sub-set of the data from the internal BBC database created and maintained by the BBC’s Information and Archives department. This public version is updated daily as new records are added and updated in the main catalogue. This figure is so high because, for example, each TV news story now has an individual entry in the catalogue.

Perhaps more importantly for our purposes is that it clearly excludes productions which no longer exist. It is safe, I think, to suppose then that the 1956 and 1963 Jane Eyre productions are still extant. Once the project is up again, we should be able to see if 1970 Villette, the 1968 Tenant of Wildfell Hall and perhaps others we don’t know about are also hidden away there.

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Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 1:02 am

Bronte News and Update on BBC Search
Last Sunday Kenneth Griffith, Mr Mason in the 1970 production of Jane Eyre with Susannah York and George C. Scott, died at the age of 84. Thanks to peridramnews for the notice.

Well, now we have this article from the Guardian about the limited re-release of Daphne duMaurier’s Rebecca. In passing this painfully psychoanalytic article suggests that all romances are paedophilic.

Whether it’s Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Bridget Jones’s Diary or any old Mills and Boon novel, the grist that feeds the fantasy mill is the same.

Several Bronteana readers have sent in some info which should be helpful in tracking down some of these remaining adaptations which are not currently available. Liz, who wrote to the BBC about the Villette mini series sends the whole text of their email reply which certainly suggests that the series exists but that copyright arrangements prevent distribution of copies- thus, the letter writing compaign mentioned earlier.

Also, Biedroneczka sends along a list she found of BBC productions of Jane Eyre from a site connected to the BBC archives. This is the list (programmes denote episodes):

6 programmes in 1956
6 programmes in 1963
5 programmes in 1972 (radio)
5 programmes in 1973
11 programmes in 1983
3 programmes in 1990 (radio)
4 programmes in 1994 (radio)
15 programmes in 2004 (radio)

In my travels I came across one source claiming there had been productions in the 1940s as well. It is possible that they were mistaken, or perhaps this list is of those versions extant. The 1972 radio adaptation must be the Megwynn Owen/Patrick Allen series. And possibly the 1994 version is the one with Sophie Thompson and Ciaran Hinds. I have not heard the 1990 and 2004 versions yet (15 episodes?!).

June 28, 2006

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Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 4:07 pm

Charlotte Bronte’s Descendents to Attend Premiere of Jane Eyre

Oh, good grief.

Bronteana reader Agnes points us to this ‘interesting’ article about the Blackpool production of Jane Eyre: The Musical- which I think has certainly taken the prize for most error-ridden publicity as far as the musical is concerned. Our last post about the production highlighted some of these errors including its claim of being the UK premiere, and a claim that the show is ‘new’ and ‘direct from Broadway.’ But, this really beats all:

Premier Theatre Company, who are to staging Jane Eyre The Musical at Blackpool Grand Theatre next week have revealed that two descendants of the writer Charlotte Bronte are to attend the opening night gala performance on Tuesday, June 27
Out of the three known surviving descendants of Charlotte Bronte, Carol Bronte and Dr Patrick Bronte-Hearne have accepted the company’s invitation to attend the opening of this premiere.

Just so everyone is clear on this: the Bronte sisters left no descendents. No descendents. None. Not a one. They don’t exist. Carol Bronte does exist. Her picture is on this earlier Bronteana post when the family got together to fete the publication of a book about Patrick Bronte earlier this year. But perhaps more annoying is that there are relatives of the Brontes- and quite more than three! One of them is Kate Bower, a regular reader of this blog. She wrote a special guest post for us concerning the present extended Bronte family here.

All Bronteana posts about the family should be indexed here (but the archives are still not completely indexed so there are probably more posts).

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Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 2:26 am

Jane Eyre BBC 1956

There’s been no new information on the 1963 Jane Eyre, but my search has led me back to the previous BBC production- the 1956 version. I have no images ,[I’ve just found one!] and I don’t know if this one still exists either but it sounds very interesting! I have heard some enthusiastic comments from people who remember it. I don’t know if it would appeal to modern lovers of fidelity to the novel, though…

We saw that in 1963 Jane and Rochester came nearest to the ‘perfect’ age difference. In 1952 the BBC cast a Rochester who was only a whopping.. one year older than Jane. He was 29 and she was 28. Meanwhile, St.John was 32. Anyway, the strangeness continues. The production lists Constance Cox as a co-adaptor with Ian Dallas. She is also the adaptor of the 1963 version! Furthermore, our Jane (Daphne Slater) had just finished playing Elizabeth Bennet, and Harriet Smith before that, and Anne Elliot in 1960. There are a few fan recollections of Stanley Baker’s performance: ” I seem to remember a strong (and sexy!) performance as Mr Rochester.” As with Richard Leech we can infer something about Stanley Baker’s performance from his acting style in general.

To start off with, he was over 6 foot, and described personally as: rugged Welsh mining stock, unruly, quick to flare, and first to fight, proud and self-willed, posessing ‘a fine speaking voice, a smouldering intensity, and a strong spirit.’

His was good-looking, but his features were angular, taut, austere and unwelcoming. His screen persona was taciturn, even surly, and the young actor displayed a predilection for introspection and blunt speaking, and was almost wilfully unromantic. For the times a potential leading actor cast heavily against the grain. Baker immediately proved a unique screen presence – tough, gritty, combustible – and possessing an aura of dark, even menacing power.

[…]

Film welcomed the adult Baker as the embodiment of evil. Memorable early roles cast the actor in feisty unsympathetic parts.

[…]

He established his own niche as an actor content to be admired for peerlessly portraying the disreputable and the unsympathetic. In that he was a dark mirror, more accurately reflecting human frailty and the vagaries of life than many of his more romantically or heroically inclined contemporaries.

He was also knighted in 1976. You can read more of this lengthy encomium here.

So, I imagine something like Wuthering Heights meets Pride and Prejudice… I have an image of Stanley Baker from the year of the production but once again Blogger is not co-operating. The link to the image is here.

June 27, 2006

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Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 4:51 pm

Villette BBC 1970

Bronteana reader Liz has been writing to the BBC regarding their 1970 mini series of Villette, featured in this old Bronteana post (including photos of the actors who played Lucy Snowe and Monsieur Paul Emmanuel). She infers that the production still exists from their comment that it is ‘not commercially available’ and the recomendation that she write to BBC Worldwide to have it released. So, then, the hundreds of you out there who read my posts each day, this is the only adaptation of Villette. If it still exists, it should be available. If you feel as I do, send a polite note to BBC Worldwide and hopefully it will not take 30 years as Jane Eyre 1973 did!

BBC Worldwide. Commissioning Editor, BBC Worldwide Ltd, Woodlands, 80 Wood Lane, London, W12 0TT

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Filed under: Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 4:30 pm

Bronte News and A little More About Films

An extremely brief article about the students of the Ripley Academy of Dance and Drama taking part in filming for the BBC’s new production of Jane Eyre to air in autumn 2006.

A brief review of the book Angry Words Softly Spoken: A Comparative Study of English and Arabic Women Writers by Alanoud Alsharekh.

The main premise of this study relies on many of the theories presented by the 1970’s feminist critical movement, especially that of Elaine Showalter’s tripartite structure.It also suggests a new tripartite structure for the evolution of feminist consciousness in works of fiction involving an inversion of scales in ‘softness’ and ‘anger’ explored through the work of such authors as Charlotte Brontë, Sarah Grand, Virginia Woolf, Layla al Othman, Nawal al Saadawi and Hanan al Shaykh.

The search for more information on Jane Eyre 1963 is on. I spent much of yesterday sifting through internet posts and fora- in some cases finding something exciting only to find that the post had been deleted. If anyone has any memories of the production, or knows if anything has survived from it, do not hestitate to contact me at bronteana.blogATgmailDOTcom.

So far, the obituary of Richard Leech, who played Mr Rochester, contains the best information on the style and reception of the work:

Leech had a busy career in films. His army officer in Ice Cold in Alex typified many of the offers that came his way: well-spoken and very much officer material. However, he always brought a definite sympathy and elegance to such roles. Sometimes he gave them a fine touch of irony, which allowed him to develop his skill at underplaying a character. In Tunes of Glory (in which he cut a fine figure in a kilt and did an athletic Eightsome Reel), he was one of the mess officers caught in the unholy struggle between John Mills and the hard drinking Guinness. Leech delivered careful, well-rounded performances in numerous other films, including Gandhi, Young Winston, The Dam Busters and The Shooting Party.

Leech was also a well-known face in numerous television dramas. In 1963, he was cast in a BBC serialisation of Jane Eyre as Mr Rochester (opposite Ann Bell), but it cut little ice with the public.

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