Charlotte Bronte’s tearjerker is put over stolidly and fails to touch and move the emotions as fluently as the 1943 version with Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles.
Delbert Mann’s direction and Jack Pulman’s screenplay both tend to play up incident rather than characters underlining that, despite its fame, Bronte’s story is pretty much a novelletish theme.
Casting is by no means right. George C. Scott as Rochester tends to play the role rather like Patton on a well-deserved leave, and fails to bring out the smouldering romanticism, mixed with tyranny and selfishness, which characterized Rochester, though his first scene with Jane has a sharp, sardonic tang. Since Jane Eyre is constantly described as plain, and as Susannah York who plays the heroine, patently isn’t plain, credibility is strained. York gives a pleasant but not wholly convincing portrayal.