Wyler Captures Wuthering Heights

         After reading Emily Brontë's fantastic 1847 tale of Wuthering Heights, I was intrigued and anxious to see the 1939 film. I felt that William Wyler did a wonderful job of portraying this dramatic tale of pain, sorrow, and sweet revenge. This dark account of the lives of the Earnshaws and Lintons was brought to life by the scenery of the bitter moors. Wyler's eye for capturing the true setting of the novel, even in southern California, made the film come to life.

         Perhaps my favorite location in the movie was the secret meeting place of Heathcliff (Rex Downing/Laurence Olivier) and Catherine (Sarita Wooten/Merle Oberon), Penistone Crag, which was only one of many places on the moors in the book Their private getaway was a haven for their forbidden love. The true passion and affection they felt for one another, which came across from the screen, as well as in the book, was stronger than they could handle. While they knew deep down that it would at some point come to a bitter end, they were determined to make it last while they could.

         Their spot on the moors was their safe-haven. As long as they were there in their fantasy world, no one from the outside could threaten their love. While they knew that returning to the real world would mean forfeiting their life together, as long as they were at their secret place, everything was heavenly.

         They knew that such deep love, passion, and desire for another individual rarely comes along in life, and they understood that they had to take advantage of it. Relationships are not only of the two people in love, but they are judged by all of society. In a forbidden circumstance such as theirs, one must decide whether the love is strong enough to withstand ridicule from society, or if it is best to simply enjoy it while in one's secret place and go about one's everyday lives.

         Interracial relationships in today's society are much the same. While Heathcliff was of gypsy descent and Catherine was of a socially prestigious background, it was not acceptable for them to be in love. Today's world judges black and white couples just the same. Lovers are forced to make the same choices of Catherine and Heathcliff. They must decide if their love is strong enough to withstand the scorn of others or to keep their love private.

         Overall, I feel that Wyler did an excellent job of portraying the agony and heartache these lovers went through. While as an onlooker I felt hatred for Heathcliff for his jealousy and for Catherine for her shallowness, my heart still went out to the lovers, and the pain they had suffered.

Ashley Roberts

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