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.
Waif brought into well off Yorkshire home, grows up to fall in violent love with the masters daughter and violent hate with the son, and eventually owns the estate but not the woman. Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon are perfect as the manic birds of a feather Heathcliff and Cathy with David Niven as the elegant sidelined husband. Everyone is portrayed as faulty or unlikeable in some way, romance is seen as hopeless childishness leading at best to passionate petulance, at worst to death; love is as strange as people. It's relentlessly beautiful stuff, gloriously photographed by Gregg Toland with a glowing atmosphere and a most assured production than has not been possible to achieve again. The spirit of nonsensical romance has been lost in this more cynical age. Favourite bits: Miles Mander's melodramatics at the beginning resulting in Flora Robson's picture-long flashback; the windswept pair on the rocks; the pair gatecrashing the dance; Oberon's unravelling to Niven and the tear-jerking finale. Director William Wyler had a long and illustrious career, but to my mind he never bettered this effort.
Watch it and weep; not only at the film's content but for a cinematic era long dead and never coming back.
- May 17, 2014