Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Jane Eyre (1943)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Jane Eyre (1943)

In this faithful adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's classic romantic story set in Victorian times by director Robert Stevenson - a brooding, atmospheric mystery (filmed beautifully in expressive black and white and enhanced by Bernard Herrmann's original score):

  • the opening scene (voice-over narration) of abused, neglected and orphaned young Jane Eyre (Peggy Ann Garner as child, Joan Fontaine as adult) reading from the first paragraph of the printed novel: ("My name is Jane Eyre. I was born in 1820, a harsh time of change in England. Money and position seemed all that mattered. Charity was a cold and disagreeable word. Religion too often wore a mask of bigotry and cruelty. There was no proper place for the poor or the unfortunate. I had no father or mother, brother or sister. As a child I lived with my aunt, Mrs. Reed of Gateshead Hall. I do not remember that she ever spoke one kind word to me.") [Note: The opening words were not from the original novel, which began: "There was no possibility of taking a walk that day..."]
  • at the charity boarding school Lowood Institution, ten year-old Jane's public punishment by rigid disciplinarian Reverend Brocklehurst (Henry Daniell) to stand on a stool and remain ostracized from the other students, and afterwards given a piece of bread by sympathetic fellow classmate Helen Burns (a young Elizabeth Taylor, uncredited)
  • the delayed entrance of mysterious Edward Rochester (Orson Welles), thrown off his horse in the foggy moors, when Jane stepped into his path, and his harsh reprimand of her
  • Jane's 'mousy' and timid demeanor throughout the film (similar to her role in Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940)) in Rochester's Thornfield Hall
  • the character of Grace Poole (Ethel Griffies, uncredited) (spoiler- revealed as the nurse/guard of Rochester's insane wife locked up in a tower cell)
  • the Gothic scene of darkly moody and tempestuous Edward Rochester demanding that prim and intimidated governess Jane Eyre express her love and marry him -- followed by lightning striking a nearby tree and cracking off a large branch
Rochester's Marriage Proposal
Lightning Strike of Tree
Interrupted Marriage
  • the marriage ceremony of Jane and Rochester, interrupted by Mason (John Abbott), the elder brother of Bertha Mason, Rochester's deranged, locked away wife

Jane's Public Punishment at Boarding School

Jane Befriended by Helen

Edward Rochester - Harshly Reprimanding Jane

Intimidated Governess Jane Eyre


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