Jane Eyre (1983)

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Released 7-Apr-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romance Main Menu Audio & Animation
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1983
Running Time 330:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Julian Amyes
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Zelah Clarke
Timothy Dalton
Sian Pattenden
Judy Cornwell
Robert James
Kate David
Sally Osborn
Christine Labsalom
Avril Clark
Mary Kenton
Elma Soiron
Colette Barker
Jean Harvey
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $29.95 Music Paul Reade
Ian Collins
Oliver White


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Screen, not known whether Pan & Scan or Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.29:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Jane Eyre is one of the most popular of all novels in the English language. Penned by one of the now famous Bronte sisters, Charlotte, and first published in 1847, it has been the subject of numerous adaptations to film and television, including Franco Zeffirelli's only marginally successful take on the story in 1996. Thirteen years earlier, the BBC, amidst their devotion to filming all the works of Jane Austen, produced a long (extremely long) television miniseries adaptation of the novel. Timothy Dalton stars as Mr. Rochester and Zelah Clark as Miss Eyre.

    The first of eleven half hour episodes begins with young Jane struggling with life with her self righteous and cold hearted Aunt Norris. Jane is there only out of her aunt's feelings of obligation to Jane's dead parents and finds life almost intolerable. Finally, with both Jane and her aunt at the end of their respective tethers, Jane is whisked away to a strict boarding school. Mr. Brocklehurst is the patron of the school - a cruel and hard hearted man who brands young Jane a liar and urges all her schoolmates to shun her. Thankfully, however, as time goes by Jane is befriended by the lovely Ms. Temple, the headmistress whose kindness and intelligence motivates Jane to become a teacher herself.

    With the marriage and subsequent departure of Ms. Temple, Jane decides to find work away from the school and is hired as a governess to a precocious French born girl - the ward of the gruff and mysterious Mr. Rochester. Timothy Dalton is convincing as this now famed literary character, as is Zelah Clark in the title role. For that reason the friendship, then love that slowly builds between him and the much younger Miss Eyre is believable and handled with propriety (some might say stiffness) befitting the period.

    This is not Jane Austen however, and the obstacles that face the unlikely (and for many, improper) couple are not exclusively concerned with manners and class. There is something eerie about Rochester's estate of Thornfield. Strange, almost manic laughter haunts the corridors. Jane is awoken one evening to find Mr. Rochester's bed ablaze. Things are not all as they seem, and without revealing too much more, Jane's relationship with Mr. Rochester undergoes severe, unexpected strain. It should be noted that the story provided inspiration for the wonderful Rebecca, that haunting masterpiece from 1940 that Hitchcock debuted in Hollywood in. Compared to that great film this feels pedestrian to a fault.

    Those who've read the novel will know how the story ends, and the miniseries' faithfulness to the letter of Bronte's work is creditable. The whole cast perform admirably, with some excellently eccentric performances in the more minor roles punctuating the five and a half hour running time. Unfortunately however, nothing ever really ignites. The story is one of grand passions and brooding psychology, and yet the translation from page to screen seems to have muted everything. The filmed play look of the productions doesn't help matters - keeping the narrative far too leaden footed. Fans of the book may enjoy particular moments, but my guess is that most will prefer, in every regard, the original prose. It should be noted that the story provided inspiration for the wonderful Rebecca, that haunting masterpiece from 1940 that Hitchcock debuted in Hollywood in. Compared to that great film this feels pedestrian to a fault.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer is awful. Truly awful. The episodes are presented in their correct, original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame and are not 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness isn't flash, although nothing is too indistinct. Ghosting, haziness and light drag mar much of the transfer. Contrast between outdoor and indoor scenes is ghastly. Blacks are affected by low level noise at periodic intervals.

    Colours are drab and lifeless, and painfully inconsistent. Skin tones are poor, particularly in the outdoor scenes.

    Film to video artefacts are a noticeable problem, though their presence is not nearly as irritating as the high level of dirt and grime that vandalises the print. Film artefacts are everywhere.

    Compression artefacts are a significant distraction, and most indoor scenes are affected by some serious grain.

    In short, this is one of the worst video presentations I've ever encountered.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio is equally unremarkable, but is less marred by flaws.

    We get a solitary English Dolby Stereo 2.0 track that is both clear (perhaps too clear - we hear some pretty amateurish sounding staging sound effects) and easy to understand.

    Audio sync is fine.

    There are a few cracks and pops but nothing that makes the track too difficult to listen to.

    The main theme is pleasant, the first time you hear it. However, it is repeated and repeated and repeated throughout the three hundred odd minutes, until it becomes so irritating it beggars belief.

    The surround channels and subwoofer get nothing to do, except hiss a little if the volume is up too much.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    No extras.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The two versions are identical. So go for the cheaper one (currency exchange rates factored in), so long as your system can handle NTSC if you opt for the Region 1.

Summary

    A disappointingly flat adaptation of a classic novel.

    The video is appalling.

    The audio is serviceable.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Scott Murray (Dont read my bio - it's terrible.)
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDYamaha DVR-S100, using Component output
DisplaySony 76cm Widescreen Trinitron TV. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha DVR-S100 (built in)
SpeakersYamaha NX-S100S 5 speakers, Yamaha SW-S100 160W subwoofer

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