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Jane Eyre is a 1944 classic film adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's 1847 novel of the same name made by 20th Century Fox. It was directed by Robert Stevenson and produced by William Goetz, Kenneth Macgowan and Orson Welles (uncredited). The screenplay was by John Houseman, Aldous Huxley, Henry Koster and Robert Stevenson from the novel by Charlotte Brontë. The music score was by Bernard Herrmann and the cinematography by George Barnes.

The film stars Orson Welles, Joan Fontaine, Margaret O'Brien, Peggy Ann Garner, Sara Allgood, Henry Daniell, Agnes Moorehead, John Sutton, with Betta St. John and Elizabeth Taylor making early, uncredited appearances.

Production notes

  • The film's screenplay was based on a radio adaptation of the novel by Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre on the Air, which John Houseman collaborated on.

  • The film was acclaimed for its recreation of the Yorkshire Moorsmarker. It was actually filmed entirely in Hollywoodmarker on a heavily disguised sound stage. The long shadows and heavy fog, which added the air of a Gothic novel lacking in so many remakes, were rumored to have been the brainchild of Orson Welles. He was offered a producer's credit as thanks for his contribution but declined the offer, believing that a person who is not a director shouldn't be "just" a producer.

  • This was the 7th film version of the novel.

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The film begins with a voice over from Jane Eyre (an original contribution by the screenwriters):

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 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.

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