What Is Up With Catherine?: The Deaths

         I have watched Luis Buñuel's 1954 Los Abismos de Pasion and William Wyler's 1939 Wuthering Heights, which are the English language and Spanish language versions of Emily Brontë's 1847 Wuthering Heights as I have mentioned in my pervious paper on Catherine. After seeing both movies, I can say that there are quite a number of discrepancies between the two. I will be discussing the final discrepancies that I noticed in movies, in this paper. I will be discussing how Wyler's Catherine (Merle Oberon) and Buñuel's Catalina (Irasema Dilian) are completely different from Brontë's Catherine and each other when it comes to the story of their babies (or lack there of) and their deaths.

         In Brontë's 1847 Wuthering Heights, Catherine becomes sick in body and spirit; she barely survives until her baby girl, Catherine, is born after she has a fierce embrace from Heathcliff, who dies many years later to rejoin her.

         In Wyler's Wuthering Heights, she has a much more well-mannered visit from Heathcliff (Laurence Oliver) during which she finally dies in his arms in front of the window looking out at Penistone Crag, which is not visible from Thrushcross Grange in the book. In addition, Catherine does not have a baby at all. Indeed, she seems to never have been pregnant at all in this movie. Over Wyler's objections, producer Samuel Goldwyn insisted that a hack director show the ghost-acted ghosts of Catherine and Heathcliff wandering hand in hand into the California clouds.

         Secondly, Catalina, from Buñuel's Los Abismos de Pasion, has predicted her own death to her husband, Eduardo (Ernesto Alonzo). She has a baby boy and then dies soon after without her Alejandro (Jorge Mistral). No doubt, her having a baby boy, instead of a baby girl that Catherine has in Emily Brontë's version. That was intended to appeal to the Hispanic masculine tastes. After Catalina's funeral, Alejandro goes to her tomb, where he is shot by her brother, Ricardo (Luis Aceves Castaneda). However, after Alejandro has been shot, he hallucinates that he sees Catalina on the stairs in a bridal dress, summoning her to him, before he dies.

         Clearly Wyler and Buñuel and their scriptwriters had visions that differed from each other and Brontë's of the ways their Catherine characters should be depicted in their last minutes of life and first minutes of death.

Wendy Copeland

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