Bronteana: Bronte Studies Blog Archives

April 29, 2006

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Filed under: Agnes Grey,BBC,Media,Radio,Uncategorized — by bronteana @ 10:17 am

Agnes Grey on BBC Radio 7

Thanks to Christina for this find! A dramatisation of Anne Brontë's Agnes Grey can be listed to from the BBC's webplayer, here.

Does anyone else find their synopsis rather odd?

Agnes Grey dismays her family when she decides to earn her own living as a governess. Will her trials lead to true love?

Because we all know that one of the likely outcomes of becoming a governess is to find true love…

April 26, 2006

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Filed under: Audio Clips,Charlotte Bronte,Downloads,Drama,Jane Eyre,Radio — by bronteana @ 5:09 pm

BBC Jane Eyre in 5 parts

Back by popular demand, here are all three parts of the BBC's radio production of Jane Eyre. I do not know when it was produced but I have a feeling it is from the 1950s. This is only a guess. The production features Meg Wynn Owen (aka Megwynn Owen) as Jane Eyre, and Patrick Allen as Mr Rochester. I will say that if this production had been a film rather than an audio recording it would doubtless be one of the contenders for 'best adaptation.' In fact, this production has as astonishing St. John Rivers. Finally, an actor who takes St. John seriously enough to make him a real threat. You truly believe that he could murder Jane and not receive one stain of guilt on his 'crystal conscience'!

The strange omission is that this version actually omits Helen Burns entirely! Otherwise, it is a faithful, moving, and thoughtful adaptation. And, yes, Jane and Rochester are extremely well portrayed as well!

1: http://download.yousendit.com/4405B29B3D313B47
2: http://download.yousendit.com/EC2BBDF307A2FB52
3: http://download.yousendit.com/333276AE45E2C053
4: http://download.yousendit.com/FBC7B38B76B5BCE2
5: http://s61.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=3SHKETUYVNE2I2O64WQ8QFFTRI

April 18, 2006

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Filed under: Audio Clips,BBC,Jane Eyre,Media,Radio,The Literary Misfits — by bronteana @ 10:40 pm

The Case of the Scream in the Night

After waiting the 4 hours it took for my computer to download this, the first episode of BBC Northern Ireland's Literary Misfits, I have a few thoughts. There will be spoilers so I will get to the links first, and if anyone would like to continue reading they may.

You can listen online here or download the episode as a wmp (made by Thisbeciel) here: The Case of the Scream in the Night

So, this was very amusing. It was amusing for a lot of reasons. I suppose the first thing is hearing Jane Eyre played by an Irishman. It was strange, and it was also a nice change (because of the northern accent). The premise is that Jane decides to go to Sherlock Holmes for some help before she marries Mr Rochester. Hilarity (at least in my view) ensues as Mr.Watson begins to fall in love with this small creature 'who looked like a small animal.' The show gets progressively silly to the point where I burst into laughter when Mr Rochester finally shows up. But I'm getting ahead of myself… We do learn some very interesting things about the Rochesters. Sherlock has deduced that Old Rochester made his fortune from sugar plantations and that Thornfield is not aged by any means but a new building placed upon the barn… he can tell all of this because Jane had two lumps of sugar in her tea- quite incongruous with 'the masocistic governess class' etc. No, indeed, this is indicative of the sugar addiction which the residents of Thornfield suffer from, sugar being the source of their wealth.

There was also a lengthy digression about Northern Ireland which was amusing for its own sake, considering that this is a BBC Northern Ireland production. However, if I may pick up my sleuth hat for a moment, I see a problem with Mr.Holmes' conclusions. Firstly, Mr.Bronte was not from county Antrim, but from county Down. But more significantly, while he is so tied up with detailing how Rochester has disappeared to drug and smuggle his wife out of the country, he doesn't notice something very odd about Rochester when he meets him. Yes, something very odd indeed (I mean, apart from the hysterical ravings from Watson that Rochester has massive legs like oak trees and is able to hide a large dog in his coat). My dear Holmes, your Mr Rochester is not Mr Rochester at all! It is all elementary:

Before Jane's visit to Baker Street to investigate the strange scream from the attic, Mr Rochester- who admitted to Jane that he had heard it as well- mysteriously vanishes. Jane's fears drive her to seek help. In the meantime, Heathcliff has taken his chance to become a respected member of the landed class and ambrushes Mr Rochester while he is out raking swaths, and steals his identity (listen carefully to his description. It doesn't match Mr Rochester in the least but it does sound an awful lot like Heathcliff). Oh, his dog steals Pilot's identity too. And, uhm, Mr Rochester looses his memory and becomes a Literature professor in Belgium; he has never liked being an idle gentleman, loves allusions and wordplay, and as a result of his injuries has forgotten his first language and now speaks only his second- French. Pilot is adopted by Lanseer who paints a lot of Newfoundland Dog pictures, making the breed famous.

That is what really happened! But Holmes obviously hasn't read WH

February 9, 2006

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'Devotion'

This film, a loosely termed 'biopic' of the lives of the Brontës was filmed in 1946 and starred Ida Lupino as Emily Brontë, Paul Henreid as AB Nicholls, and Olivia de Havilland as Charlotte Brontë.

Thisbeciel calls it: 'A universe where everybody loves Charlotte and everybody loves that sexy man AB Nicholls.' Here is a synopsis of the film:

In the early 1800s, sisters Charlotte and Anne Brontë prepare to leave their sister Emily, their brother Branwell and their aunt and vicar father to work as governesses. Charlotte and Anne want to experience life outside their home as preparation for their careers as writers. Branwell is a talented, temperamental painter who is coddled by his sister Emily, and Charlotte and Anne plan to give the money they earn as governesses to him, so that he can go to London to study art. One night while Bran is getting drunk at a local tavern, Arthur Nicholls, his father's new curate, arrives. Bran insists that Arthur accompany him to the vicarage. At first Arthur refuses, believing that it is too late in the evening, but then, seeing how drunk Bran is, accompanies him. Emily answers the door and mistakes Arthur for one of Bran's drunken friends. The following day, after Bran leaves for London, Arthur reappears. After he is greeted by the unwelcoming Mr. Brontë, Emily's mistake is cleared up and she and Arthur become friends. One day, Emily shows Arthur a lonely house, which has inspired her novel, Wuthering Heights. After some time passes, disillusioned Bran returns home, blaming his sisters for his failure as an artist. Charlotte and Anne also return home. At a dance at the neighbouring Thornton house, Arthur is struck by Charlotte's beauty. When Charlotte realizes that Emily is interested in Arthur, she becomes interested as well…

Thanks to Biedroneczka, I bring you a Lux Radio Theater radio adaptation of 'Devotion' starring Virginia Bruce (the platinum blond starlet who played Jane Eyre in the first talkie of the 1930s) as Charlotte Brontë and Vincent Price as AB Nicholls!

Devotion

The production will be available for download for a week.

February 3, 2006

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Filed under: BBC,Brussels,Media,Radio,villette — by bronteana @ 5:14 pm

Villette on BBC7

BBC 7 will begin broadcasting Villette next week which can be heard via http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbc7.
Info as follows:Drama www.bbc.co.uk/bbc7/drama/index.shtml Catherine McCormack, Joseph Fiennes and Keira Knightly star in a Sony Award winning dramatisation of Charlotte Brontë's lesser known novel Villette. Lucy Snowe flees from an unhappy past in England and begins a new life as a teacher at a French boarding school… Brontë's strikingly modern heroine must decide if there is any man in her society with whom she can live and still be free. The three part drama is beautifully directed by Catherine Bailey and James Friel. Originally broadcast on Radio 4 in 1999.Wednesday to Friday 10 am 9 pm and 2 am

Thanks to Aidan, my Cornish correspondent.

…Kiera Knightley?

December 16, 2005

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Filed under: Audio Clips,BBC,Downloads,Jane Eyre,Media,Radio — by bronteana @ 12:52 pm

Another Audio Adaptation of Jane Eyre

Yes, I am still here. I have not had a minute to do any transcribing since my last post but I will soon have all the free time I can handle, certainly more than you can shake a stick at if you'd want to try doing something like that. It's finals time, the holidays, and time for the family business to go bankrupt. But the Brontës go on.

Here, for example, is what has been termed 'anything but a decent adaptation' of Jane Eyre, brought to you by Biedroneczka from LERO, who has also provided us with at least two or three other audio adaptations! This time we have Sophie Thompson as Jane Eyre, and Ciaran Hinds as Mr Rochester. I did listen to part one of this when it aired on the BBC. It was awful indeed, but as for the rest, I cannot say. 😉 I think I heard once that this production predates Mr. Hinds' stint as Mr Rochester in the A&E adaptation. I am bound to express myself… I think his portrayal is terrible but I cannot tell how much blame goes to the director. There is a scene where he actually drags Jane down the stairs after he tries to blame her for the whole thing ("I was prepared to committ bigamy for you because I knew that marriage was important to you!"). Notwithstanding, he still seems to strut and shout his way through nearly all of his scenes without much variation. He reminds me of the kind of Mr Rochester Charlotte feared she might see on the stage, actually. All grimaces and strutting.

Jane Eyre with Sophie Thompson and Ciaran Hinds

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

As always, these will only be available for about a week. I wish I had a copy of their adaptation of Shirley. That one really made me laugh. In fact, I couldn't help writing a parody of each installment! The accent of Mr Moore was very amusing.

October 14, 2005

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Wuthering Heights in 5 Parts and more news for Jane Eyre: The Musical

*NB: It has been brought to my attention that part two of WH had been omitted by mistake. I've tried to correct this. Please let me know if there are any problems.

Biedroneczka, who brought us Mystery Theatre Jane Eyre, has also kindly posted a five-part BBC radio adaptation with Amanda Root as Cathy and John Duttine as Heathcliff! I haven't listened to this particular version. My computer really cannot handle large downloads.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five

ETA: "'Jane Eyre' failed on Broadway because the economics of musicals do not allow for maturity." An article on article about a current production of the show:

JANE EYRE: THE MUSICAL. By John Caird and Paul Gordon. At CM Performing Arts Center, 931 Montauk Hwy., Oakdale, through Oct.23. Tickets $16-$28. Call 631-218-2810.

October 1, 2005

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Limited time offer!

Firstly, I would like to draw your attention to the addition to our links list of http://bronteblog.blogspot.com which is always posting astonishing news about everything from new publications to moon craters! Check it out.

Since this is a student blog, part academic enquiry, part personal testament, I should note that yesterday I took the first step towards my dream of Brontë studies. The professor I studied the Brontës with has agreed to help edit my program of study. I have a comprehensive project already laid out, and this I sent to her yesterday while I put together something which will adequately show my range of interests without seeming diffuse… I’m interested in an awful lot of areas: religion, intertexts, construction of gender, folklore, classics, arts (as in painting, needlework, singing etc in literary texts)–and a lot more… Blindness and poetic creation, and prophecy as well… One small step for me, speaking of moon craters 😉 I hope this will lead to something ‘Brontëful’ as a friend of mine says.

The ‘limited time offer’ is two radio adaptations of Jane Eyre which have turned up amongst my friends at L.E.R.O. (League of the Extraordinarily Rochester Obsessed). They can be found here, for a very short time (less than a week now). There’s Loretta Young and Orson Welles:http://s18.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=3U3VY42CB2Y2A3O2UG1ELMBVF1 and Patricia Elliot and Arnold Moss (a CBS Radio Mystery Theatre production)http://s5.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=1Z0WE2ABKWXFG2L3UYX4S530CZ
I have only heard the beginning of the second one so far. It sounds very interesting–the introduction claims that the story is interesting because Charlotte ‘hardly ever left her house’ and goes on to mention Branwell being the model for characters in his sisters’ novels! Thisbeciel, who shared this with me after biedroneczka was kind enough to post them for us, says that there’s a lot of “excessive scary dramatic music.

Jane: "I am going to go for a walk" (DA DA DUM!!!!)
Mr. Rochester: "Let's go into the garden" (DA DA DUM!!!!!)”

And apparently Bertha sounds exactly like a dinosaur. I guess that explains the strange noise at the start. It sounded very like a tyrannosaurus rex. Poor Mr Rochester, things just get worse for that man.

Speaking of adaptations of Jane Eyre, Bronteblog informs us that a new version of the 1970 film with Susannah York and George C. Scott is due for release. This is a good thing, in my opinion, only because it probably will fix that gap which appears in one of the scenes between Jane and Rochester. There’s obviously a scene missing in the current release. And yet, this is the only version that I loathe… And I’ve tried to overcome this, but I can hardly bear watching it. Jane really seems to be a broken down woman with no self-respect, to want to be with a man like Scott’s Mr Rochester. I managed to get my Brontëphobic mom to see it, and she and I ended up laughing through the second half (after the infamous: “Have you ever been to an asylum, Jane?… Jane?” *everyone has left*) He’s about as witty as something that isn’t witty at all, with such gems as “life’s an idiot” which even confuses Blanche. So there you go… And St. John is more moved by Jane’s piano playing than Mr Rochester is in the entire film.

More news! (I’m trying to catch up on some things I’ve simply not had the time to report on here). A few months ago, now, I participated in a “literary role playing game”. The idea sounded absolutely awful, so of course I gave it a try. The concept is all of the famous authors of history born before 1900 are reincarnated in the present and are all going to same high school! It’s a lot more fun than it sounds. Reading the different journals had me laughing for hours. Chaucer does rap now, and doesn’t seem to get on well with Marlowe… Anyway, I created a journal for Anne. And it has gone well, although by a cruel twist of fate the people playing Charlotte and Emily have been too busy to keep up theirs. Emily exited in style by, uhm, …going on a trip with T.E. Lawrence on his time machine. Charlotte just slipped away while no one was paying attention (I hear Jane Austen had been trying to get her to go out with Alexander Pope). Anne is doing well, made a few friends including Wordsworth and P.G. Wodehouse. I’m glad to say that there was a lot of joy when she turned up, and that people not in the game have been following her (limited) adventures so far.

As an aside, has anyone else noted how common ‘huzzah!’ is nowadays? How in the world did that happen?… Or is it just me?

September 27, 2005

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Filed under: Music,Music Theatre,Radio,Wuthering Heights — by bronteana @ 8:43 am

Wierd Circle Wuthering Heights, and a Musical

As promised, here is my discussion of Wuthering Heights produced by 'Wierd Circle'. It was quite a few notched better and more mature than their version of Jane Eyre. I know that compressing most books, and great books down to a half-hour radio program is nearly impossible but this one shows that with careful editing it doesn't have to be disasterous. It still isn't good, but it's good enough–I suppose. The story is compressed mainly by cutting out the entire revenge plot from beginning to end, except for Hindley treating Heathcliff poorly (but there's no mention of anything other than ostracism going on). Heathcliff cries a little, thinking of getting revenge but this revenge never happens. It seems more like an immature thought which passes after he sobers up. He does return to the Heights but all that we learn of that is that Hindley invited him. He still marries Isabella 'for spite' but all that we know about the marriage is that Isabella 'isn't happy'. All of the past and present action takes place through the device of Cathy's diary and the explication of Nelly at the end. Lockwood remains at Wuthering Heights until he has heard the whole story. When he has told Heathcliff about Cathy's ghost, Heathcliff rushes into the snow to 'bring her back' and they find him frozen on her grave the next morning. I suppose what really keeps this version from the brink of the kind of absurdity of their version of Jane Eyre is the dialogue. There is only one line, said by Cathy, which seems silly and this is only in its delivery.

I don't remember mentioning this before, but a few months ago I also was introduced to the Wuthering Heights musical. Clips from the CD can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00009Y3OJ/qid%3D1123810368/sr%3D2-3/ref%3Dpd%5Fbbs%5Fb%5F2%5F3/103-1399124-4423806 My general impression was that it didn't work. I haven't heard the music for a while now, but while I liked the idea of an operatic attempt I don't feel that this one really did the job at all.

August 27, 2005

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Jane Eyre the Musical to make its UK Premiere, and the Wierd Circle.

Finally there is news about my favourite musical! Details can be found here: Jane Eyre the Musical's UK Premiere.

I've been very busy lately, preparing to return to school, but I have also been at a loss to decide exactly what to post about- there's so much to choose from. Firstly, just as July was our impromptu Villette month, August is Jane Eyre month. I usually read the novel all at once in a day, or two at most. I picked up on a lot of things that I usually gloss over while reading it slowly over the month. Probably my most interesting 'discovery' was that Helen Burns doesn't have a grave marker for a certain number of years. It seemed very odd that this time frame would be given. After thinking about it, and tallying the passage of time based on the events in the novel I believe that it's plausible to assume that Jane returned to Lowood with her son and Mr Rochester- because it would have to have been when her child was 3 years old. There might be another explaination, but I found this one intriguing!

I love to do inter-textual analysis, and so I also made a list of each and every book mentioned in the novel. 🙂 That will keep me busy for quite some time in the distant future. My wonderful friend Thisbeciel has also overwhelmed me with her Brontean bounty! I now have full texts of The Cottage Poems by Patrick Bronte! And many terrific images, and illustrations such as… This picture of the madwoman's room at Norton Conyers! I think that if I was shown such a room I'd probably write a novel as well 😉

I ALSO got to hear a strange little adaptations of Jane Eyre and of Wuthering Heights. I believe these date to the 1950s- which is even more interesting to me because I haven't been able to see any of the films of Jane Eyre from that decade (yet). The group was called Wierd Circle. Imagine, if you will, Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights performed in half an hour. Does it make you smile? Yes, it was awful- but awfully funny. Jane Eyre was especially terrible and has now become the source of many jokes among my friends.

Wierd Circle Jane Eyre included such interesting elements as:
-The landscape being terrifying in and of itself.
-No Mrs. Fairfax. The housekeeper is now a Mrs. Campbell who has a really creepy voice and is always saying things like: "You think you'll be happy here? ha ha ha Really, Miss Eyre? Happy? ha ha. You'll see… yes, you'll see. Ha ha ha". That isn't a direct quote, but this is: "We've had other governesses come before but they never stayed. No. Never…" And she tells poor Adele that she's "a child of the devil".

-Mr Rochester is really not that bad. But he's a few leaves short of a chestnut tree sometimes. During his first chat with Jane he says that he has learned a lot about Jane: that she's an orphan, likes children, and that he loves her: "You're an orphan, like children, and I love you." They sort of pretend that didn't happen, because she is still surprised by his proposal! When Jane asks him why no one is allowed upstairs he replies glibly that "it saves fuel." When Jane points out how this doesn't make sense he says: "Let's say it saves fuel and go with that." When asked about the articulate voice shouting threats in the distance he says: "It's the wind". When Jane objects he replies: "Let's say it's the wind and leave it at that."

-Mrs. Campbell: "You won't be married for another three days, and there's a lot I can do in three days!"

-I will now spoil the ending. Bertha is revealled- and this part really was creepy, I must say. But it still suceeded in ruining the effect of Bertha's demonic cries and laughter. While she laughs and cries out that she likes to see death, Mr Rochester informs us that he adopted Adele because he was lonely and needed something to love- which, you know, inevitably makes me think that a cat would have probably been a better idea. And so that really ruined the moment. But it was very funny. Bertha's death is also comically undermined. Mr Rochester tells her to not jump, and we hear her do a "la la la- whoop!" and hear Jane inform us that Bertha has slipped off of the roof (Jane witnesses the fire- I forgot to say… Thornfield bursts into flames as soon as she leaves). And lastly, the framing device of Jane's diary is reintroduced. Jane is at Mr Rochester's bedside in the hospital. He's alive but IN A COMA. He's been in a coma for the last few months. And since Jane has begun to speak in a slow creepy Mrs. Campbell sort of way, we are left with the knowledge that he won't ever wake up- probably.

I know how much you must have enjoyed that- and so, next time I'll have Wierd Circle Wuthering Heights to discuss!

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