Woman and Wife (1918)

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Having spent several years at World Films, the studio owned by her Broadway-producer father William A. Brady, Alice Brady took a step upward in the film world when she signed on with Lewis J. Selznick's Select Pictures. One of Brady's first Select endeavors was Woman and Wife, a sporadically literal adaption of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. After enduring a miserable boarding-school childhood, Jane Eyre (Brady) becomes the governess for the daughter of the mysterious, brooding Edward Rochester (Elliot Dexter). Though at first put off by Rochester's sullen truculence, Jane eventually falls in love with him, and he with her. But on the day of their wedding, it is revealed that Rochester's first wife, whom Jane has been led to believe is dead, is alive, albeit hopelessly insane and locked up in her husband's attic. The spectacular fire which highlighted the original novel (and all subsequent film versions of Jane Eyre) was absent from this production. Here, the first Mrs. Rochester accidentally drowns, clearing the path for a happy reunion between Jane and Rochester -- who, unlike his literary counterpart, is not temporarily blinded as punishment for his past sins.