Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate tale of the intense and demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, allegedly a Gypsy foundling adopted by Catherine's father. After Mr ... See full summary »
Paul Eryk Atlas,
The orphan child Heathcliff is taken in by the Earnshaw family. Close to his step-sister Catherine, an obsessive passion forms between the two, but when old Earnshaw dies, Catherine's cruel brother Hindley is the new master and forces Heathcliff into servitude. One of the refined neighbors Edgar Linton calls on Catherine and, attracted by his manners and influence, she agrees to marry him. Heathcliff runs away and returns a wealthy man years later. His re-appearance disrupts the tranquil marriage between Catherine and Edgar, and from there, the story spirals into one of vengeance and tragedy, nearly poisoning the next generation with its after-effects. Written by
Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights is a literary masterpiece and a personal favourite. When it comes to adapting Wuthering Heights, it is a very difficult book to adapt like a lot of Charles Dickens and George Eliot, all of the adaptations of the it are watchable(most very good) but there are areas in almost all of them where they fall short. This 1967 Wuthering Heights is not an exception. It is for me one of the weaker adaptations of the book(the 2011 film being the weakest but it's far from bad), some scenes are choppily edited, the adaptation can feel rather stagy in spots sometimes due to the direction(at times a theatrical and for the stage feel) and occasionally the dialogue delivery, and there could have been far more of Heathcliff's motivations and how and why he came to be how he was, something that is made very clear in the book but not so apparent here. There are a lot of good things and the series does more than serviceably on its own terms. The costumes, scenery and exteriors(wasn't so crazy about some of the hair-styles, especially for Heathcliff who looked too wild) are so evocative that you really feel the cold and how cheerless everything is, and in a way that is done better than most of the adaptations. They are very dark and atmospheric, the black and white actually adds to the creepiness, and look very true to period. Also remarkably true to how Bronte describes the moors, fields, trees, food and climate, going far as to using the actual locations themselves, if there was a time machine and we went back here it would most likely be like this. The sounds of the wailing winds on the moors add to the authenticity and have a very haunting quality.
The dialogue has the feeling of Bronte's prose and delivered with passion, though interestingly sometimes in a somewhat Shakespearean-like way. The story does have omissions from the book but it is rich in atmosphere, is at least cohesive and there is a sense of passion and torment(even with Heathcliff not being developed as well as the Timothy Dalton version did) that make up for the spots of staginess. The ending is very poignant, and the image of Cathy's spectre is still terrifying by today's standards. The adaptation does a noble job with letting us empathise with the characters, very hard to do regarding adapting Wuthering Heights and it doesn't always translate as well. True the relationships between the characters are far better fleshed out in the book but there is definitely chemistry and there is at least the basic gist as to how the characters behave to each other. The acting is good, with the supporting characters(especially Hareton, Hindley and Ellen) acted in a way that is recognisable as to their novelistic counterparts. While Angela Scoular is an enchanting, feisty and pitches Cathy's spitefulness and such believably, and Ian McShane is a Heathcliff that is loathsome yet tormented played with gusto and deep feeling(even if some of his delivery is reminiscent of acting on stage, not that it is completely distracting though, just an observation). To conclude, one of the weaker versions of the book but still more than decent. 6.5/10 Bethany Cox
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