Jane Eyre (1943)

This is another adaptation for radio and if I can keep this brief, I’ll be happy. It’s a production from 1943, broadcast on December 26 that year, unknown cast, and done by the Weeeeeeeeeeird Ciiiiiiiircle (yes, you have to say it in a dramatic, echo-y voice, because you see, this is Jane Eyre, the horror story).

Yup, they’ve taken a good story, removed all the good bits and turned it into a ghost story, complete with spooky creaks, horrible laughter and a Jane that sounds about as scared as if she’s going to start crying any second.

Mrs. Fairfax has for no reason whatsoever turned into Mrs. Campbell, Adèle is Adela Rochester (Edward’s daughter)… and it’s a 23:53 minute long mess where parts are so noisy and confused and what sounds like bad reception so it’s difficult to make out what they’re actually saying.

The story is loosely a number of diary entries made by Jane, where she meets Rochester, falls in love and almost marries and there’s a ghostly laugh from the attic sort of thing and it turns out to be his mad wife.

Mrs. Campbell (WTH was wrong with the name Fairfax?!) seems to take an instant dislike to Jane (!), which Jane later reflects on: “Is that why Mrs. Campbell hates me?” She seems to know about Bertha as well, and when she finds out that Jane and Rochester will be getting hitched in four days, she says menacingly “there’s a lot i can do in four days…” What she does? Writes to Mr. Mason who comes to spoil the wedding with the news of his locked up sister.

Erm… four days? What, did Mr. Mason stay over in Millcote or something? Would’ve thought they’d be hard pressed to get a letter to him and him to come back in just four days if he was down in London. Not like they had telephones and cars in those days. Then again, if Kevin Costner can walk from Dover to Nottingham in a couple of hours (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves)… yeah, maybe it is possible after all… (For non-Brits: to drive a car from Dover to Nottingham takes about four hours. To walk: try a few weeks.)

Bertha tumbles down the stairs to her death – Jane is present and watches it all, Rochester falls as well and is taken to hospital immediately and her final diary entry is made by his bedside where she’s waiting for him to recover, sort of thing.

If you haven’t guessed it yet, it’s bad. It’s very, very bad.

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