When most think of this classic novel by Jane Eyre they choose to focus on the romance aspect, but really this is a gothic novel, which highlights the dark side of love. It is not really a romantic story in any way but one of sorrow, deception, tragedy, and heartbreak. Director Robert Stevenson (The Shaggy D.A., Bedknobs and Broomsticks) seems to understand this and his picture is quite a dark one. At times he seems almost obsessed with the fact of reminding us of the novel, but that does not much affect the film's overall quality. Maybe the fact that it was filmed during some of the darkest times of World War II had something to do with this darkness. Who knows. Even the imposing Thornfield Hall, Rochester's house, is depicted as incredibly creepy. This is important as the house really is the keeper of Rochester's secret; it becomes almost a living breathing part of the story. It is important to the mood of the story that it becomes a frightening and dark place. Stevenson does this well. Also lending to the dark atmosphere of the film is the eerie score by Bernard Herrman (Taxi Driver, The Birds). Everything in the film leads us never to doubt that this story is not going to end well.
After spending most of the early part of her life in an orphanage, Jane Eyre (Joan Fontaine – Tender is the Night, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) takes on the job at Thornfield Hall of being governess to the children of the older hard-edged Edward Rochester (Orson Welles – War of the Worlds, Treasure Island). Jane's tender character finally brings down Rochester's walls and he proposes marriage to her. Soon after the fact that Rochester is already married surfaces and Jane is frantic and heartbroken. The story gets even worse when Rochester admits that his wife is locked up in the attic. Jane decides to leave Rochester and the children and nothing good happens afterwards.
-Locked in the Tower: The Men Behind Jane Eyre
-Isolated Score Track
-Know Your Ally Britain: United States War Department Film directed by Robert Stevenson