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Updated: October 13, 2010 15:45 IST

Beautifully adapted

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DVD cover of the 1983 BBC production
Special Arrangement
DVD cover of the 1983 BBC production "Jane Eyre"


Movie: Jane Eyre (1983)

Cast: Timothy Dalton, Zelah Clark

“Jane Eyre” is the best adaptation of the novel of the same name by Charlotte Bronte. Produced by BBC and directed by Julian Amyes, it's a much better watch than “Jane Eyre” (1996) starring William Hurt, Charlotte Gainsbourg or “Jane Eyre” (2006) starring Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens, as its producers decided to stay truthful to the book.

True to the book

The movie like the book revolves around Jane who is an orphan and a very unhappy one at that. Coming under the care of by her selfish paternal aunt after the death of her paternal uncle, Jane is treated shabbily by the servants, horribly bullied by her cousins, unfairly punished by her aunt and finally packed off to a low school to learn Christian values, curb her passionate nature and acquire some knowledge.

Jane completes her education and then becomes a teacher in the same establishment. With a change of atmosphere and situation in mind, Jane advertises for the position of a governess and is answered by the position offered to her at Thornfield by Mrs. Fairfax. She accepts and becomes the governess of Adela, Mr. Rochester's ward.

While Jane accustoms herself to her new duties, Mr. Rochester is pleasantly surprised by Jane (when he returns), who is now a young, intelligent, honest, kind, opinionated but a somewhat silent 18-year-old. Though he is a wealthy, middle-aged man with a dark past, he is a kind friend to Jane and she falls in love with him. It's on their wedding day that the secret of his past is uncovered. Her heart broken and her happiness wrecked, Jane runs away from Thornfield and ends up in a clergyman's house. On realising her love for Mr. Rochester, Jane returns to find him. On reaching Thornfield, she sees the house burnt down and becomes sick with worry about Mr. Rochester. Enquiries made at the inn, inform her that Mr. Rochester is still alive. She then decides to go to Ferndean Manor, to visit Mr. Rochester and then becomes his wife.


Timothy Dalton plays his part as Rochester to perfection while the title role fits Zelah Clarke to a T. A special mention must be made of Adela, played by Blance Youinou, who is adorable. The performances are delightful, the music is just right, even the Gothic design of the house and outdoor shots are beautiful, and set the right tone for the production.

Bottomline: For all romantics out there, especially the ones who have read the book.


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