Desired and Despised

        Throughout this semester I have read and seen many movies. Some I have liked; others I have hated. But there are two that stick out in my memory: Los Abismos de Passion (Spanish version of Wuthering Heights) and The Heiress (American version of Washington Square.

        In 1954, Luis Buñuel made a Spanish adaptation of Emily Brontë's 1847 Wuthering Heights. He called his film Los Abismos de Passion. I would have to say that this was one of the most disappointing films I have ever watched. It was completely different from the original novel. It started and ended distinctively different from the book. The characters were already adults when the movie began; and Catalina' brother, Ricardo (Luis Aceves Castaneda), shot Alejandro (Jorge Mistral) in Catalina's (Irasema Dilian) tomb. The Spanish conversations and dialogue had been badly altered. For example, after their wedding when Isabel (Lilia Prado) asks Alejandro if he loves her, he merely grunts, "Mucho." But this merely scratches the surface. There had even been characters, such as the daughter of Brontë's Catherine and the son of her Heathcliff, erased from the storyline. The acting, all too often overacting, was not performed well at all. I could not enjoy this film because of how badly it had been made. It did not resemble the original version at all. I despised this movie.

        Washington Square, the novel, was written in 1880 by Henry James and was turned into a motion picture film, The Heiress, in 1949 by William Wyler. The adaptation from the book to a movie was similar for the most part. But more than that, Wyler chose a cast of actors to play the characters so that they looked what I would have imagined they would. I thought they performed in such a manner that brought the movie to life. Montgomery Clift as Morris Townsend and Olivia de Havilland had an exciting chemistry that really spiced the film up. The acting was not Oscar quality, but their performances made the movie. The music, scored by Aaron Copland, also helped keep the feel of emotions running in the right direction.

        Therefore, unlike Los Abismos de Pasion, The Heiress is a movie I desire to see again.

Lindsey Bennett

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