A servant in the house of Wuthering Heights tells a traveler the unfortunate tale of lovers Cathy and Heathcliff.A servant in the house of Wuthering Heights tells a traveler the unfortunate tale of lovers Cathy and Heathcliff.A servant in the house of Wuthering Heights tells a traveler the unfortunate tale of lovers Cathy and Heathcliff.A servant in the house of Wuthering Heights tells a traveler the unfortunate tale of lovers Cathy and Heathcliff.A servant in the house of Wuthering Heights tells a traveler the unfortunate tale of lovers Cathy and Heathcliff.
The cinematography is divine (very much worth its Oscar), perfectly capturing the very essence of the bleak, chilling, haunting Yorkshire Moors that Bronte described in her book. Laurence Olivier is, in my opinion, a very fine Heathcliff. Indeed, in the book his nature is more animalistic and devilish, but Olivier superbly exhibits what Heathcliff is all about -- dark, brooding, and terribly bitter. Even at our first introduction to him, we know by the tone of his voice that something is very, very wrong with this man and that something is very, very off in that household. Olivier expresses Heathcliff's wildness and devilishness through his voice, stance and through his facial gestures, rather than so much in other physical ways. Merle Oberon is remarkable as Cathy -- a much more dark and exoctic beauty than Isabella whose good looks are very wholesome and pure (perhaps to match the darkness of the gypsy stable-boy Heathcliff), and capturing the duality of personality that is Catherine Earnshaw -- part of her wanting to love a wild, evil, wicked stable boy... the other part longing to be part of a higher society. Particularly coming to mind is her scene in the kitchen with Ellen and that marvelously disturbing death scene -- her eyes wild. (I do wish they would have left in the part of the book where she refuses to eat and begins hallucinating -- Oberon could have performed it so well.) Also to be noted are the stunning performances of David Niven and Gerladine Fitzgerald as the long-suffering Edgar and Isabella Linton (respectively), their lives made miserable by Cathy's selfishness, vanity and greed to be part of a higher way of living, and by Heathcliff's undying love for Catherine and his course of revenge and destruction. Flora Robson is also wonderful as Ellen Dean, narrator of the whole sordid story.
Someone mentioned that this film (by focusing on the love story and by the ending, I suppose) tried to say that Heathcliff and Catherine were perfect for each other and could have, eventually, found true love. I disagree, wholeheartedly. I believe what director William Wyler was trying to say here was that Heathcliff and Catherine were not good people. Cathy was right when she said that she and Heathcliff's souls were made of the same basic fiber -- they were both greedy and selfish (he wanted her passion for him to be as deep as his passion for her and she wanted and if he couldn't have it, no one else deserved to have it, and God forbid those around him feel any kind of love, compassion or humanity; and she didn't even really know what she wanted, except to be part of the upper crust and to rise above what she had lived through when Hindley became master of their house) and because of that, their love could have never meant anything BUT tragedy. They could never have found happiness together because they were not happy people. But they could find love in death -- because in death, they could be what they really were all along -- children; mere children forced to grow up all too quickly with the death of the man who cared deeply for them, thus forcing Hindley to become head of the household. There would be no Hindley in death. And as children they were good together -- as children, Cathy, wicked as she was at times as a youngster, could restore hopes of prosperity to Heathcliff's dark, bitter soul. They were, as children, more or less all one another had. And so they could go on, as children, without a care, happily picking heather and being King and Queen on the moors.
You've GOT to see this movie.
- Sweet Charity
- Jul 16, 2003