(out of 5)
The best adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s ever-popular novel is also the slimmest in terms of its story. Despite the fact that it edits Bronte’s source more than any other adaptation ever did, it is still the only version to really get the feel of it right until 2011. Joan Fontaine is excellent as the timid governess to a rough and callous widower (Orson Welles), who finds herself caring deeply for the lonely man who employs her. Their growing friendship is so enjoyable to watch, but of course in the third act some moody, atmospheric terror starts to creep in and set everything on its ear. Look for a gorgeous little Elizabeth Taylor playing Eyre’s deathly ill childhood friend.
Directed by Robert Stevenson
Cinematography by George Barnes
Music by Bernard Herrmann
Production Design by William L. Pereira
Costume Design by Rene Hubert
Film Editing by Walter Thompson