The story of unfortunate lovers Heathcliff and Cathy who, despite a deep affection for one another, are forced by circumstance and prejudice to live their apart. Heathcliff and Cathy first meet as children when her father brings the abandoned boy to live with them. When the old man dies several years later Cathy's brother, now the master of the estate, turns Heathcliff out forcing him to live with the servants and working as a stable boy. The barrier of class comes between them and she eventually marries a rich neighbor, Mr. Edgar Linton, at which point Heathcliff disappears. He returns several years later, now a rich man but little can be done. Written by
As Cathy walks uphill to see Heathcliff, her entire costume changes. See more »
Well, what brought about this amazing transformation? Did you discover a gold mine in the New World, or perhaps you fell heir to a fortune?
The truth is I remembered that my father was an emperor of China and my mother was an Indian queen, and I went out and claimed my inheritance. It all turned out just as you once suspected, Cathy: that I had been kidnapped by wicked sailors and brought to England; that I was of noble birth.
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This classic version of the Bronte novel is probably familiar to most movie fans, and with good reason. Although the recent Ralph Fiennes version is also excellent, nothing can quite surpass the 1939 film's bleak black-and-white cinematography or the impassioned performance of Laurence Olivier. Some of us still mourn that his then-wife, Vivien Leigh, wasn't granted her wish to be cast as Catherine, but Merle Oberon is nonetheless excellent: her Catherine isn't quite likable, but then, she isn't supposed to be. Instead of sugar-coating the story as Hollywood is so wont to do, the filmmakers give us Cathy and Heathcliff as they should be: ruthless, selfish, destructive, and fascinating. The only major drawback is the saccharine musical score, which tries to make this wild, haunting story into a candy-box romance. Fortunately, all the other elements resist this tendency. Even though the film only covers half the novel, you'll find it satisfying and unforgettable.
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