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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.

Traxy Thornfield

A Swedish introvert residing in Robin Hood Country (Nottingham, UK) with a husband and two cats. She's an eager participant in tabletop and play-by-post roleplaying, woodworking, photography and European travel. Will get a novel out one of these days, if she doesn't get too distracted along the way.

3 thoughts on “Jane Eyre (1943)

  1. Okay, I do love to listen to old radio shows (I have CD collections of several old mystery shows, like Sherlock Holmes and Nero Wolfe – good cheesy fun), but this just sounds awful…at least it’s not even 24 minutes long! LOL!

  2. Yeah, at least it’s over quickly!

    I thought “this bodes well…” when the thing began with “The WEEEEEEEIRD CIIIIIIRCLE” in a dramatic, echo-y voice… and the rest just seemed to confirm it. Oh, I forgot to mention Rochester wrote to Jane himself to get her to Thornfield. Not that it really matters considering the rest, but still!

    I’m curious about the more recent radio adaptations, as the one from the ’90s (heard part one so far) seems pretty good, but I’m thinking I’ll get through the old ones first, as they’re short and easy to get through from that perspective. 🙂

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