Cultures Affect Interpretation

        Novels can be interpreted a number of different ways. The imagination is a unique part of the human mind. Play writers and directors visualize stories differently. Therefore, they display them differently on film. Some find different parts to be of more importance and some understand the characters differently. Emily Brontė's 1847 Wuthering Heights is a well-known classic novel that has been interpreted differently by an American director and a Spanish director in two different films. These films highlight different aspects of the novel and use some different scenes.

         William Wyler's 1939 English-language version of Wuthering Heights opens the movie differently from Luis Buńuel's 1954 Spanish-language version. In the English version, the movie begins with dogs sitting around, and Heathcliff sitting by the fireplace. Lockwood (Miles Mander) comes by in the snow storm and asks for a place to stay. Lockwood is given an old drab room, and he hears Cathy's (Merle Oberon) voice in the window. Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier) then goes chasing into the night after her. Then the frame story, as told by Ellen Dean (Flora Robson), begins forty years prior to this.

        The Spanish film is not set as a frame story. It begins with the sound of gun shots and scattering buzzards. The shooter, Catalina (Irasema Dillian), enters the house after scaring off the birds. Then as Edgardo (Ernesto Alonzo) is pinning butterflies, she asks that he not do that. Next, Catalina and Isabel (Lilia Prado) are arguing.

        The The characters' attitudes towards each other are portrayed differently, too. In the English film Catherine does not show her emotions for Heathcliff. She seems that she has moved on and truly loves Edgar. In the Spanish film Catalina seems to be much more open with Edgardo about her feelings, especially towards Alejandro than in the English film. When Alejandro comes back from having been away, Catalina is excited to see him. She tells Edgardo that he will not ever love her as much as Alejandro does

        These two films portray one novel in two different ways. The main idea and story are the same, but the approaches to explaining them are different. The scenes, set up of the story, and depiction of the characters personalities are different in these films. Catalina's personality and actions in the Spanish-language version are very different than Catherine's in the English-language version.

Shannon Logan

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