Love on Display

     The 1939 film Wuthering Heights, directed by William Wyler, which was based on Emily Brontë's 1849 book by the same title, is a spectacular look at torn lovers and their struggle to be with each other. The film is set to stir the emotions of love and hope in each person that views it. The movie relates a love story of which we have mirrored today in modern soap operas. The characters must love each other through scores of troubles in both cases. Each scene is another frame in the life of starcrossed lovers.

     The story begins with Catherine (Sarita Wooten) and Heathcliff (Rex Downing) deep in the throes of love. Their love grows stronger everyday it seems, until Catherine encounters the well-to-do Lintons. Catherine is consumed with their lifestyle and the finer things that are offered to her. Edgar Linton (David Niven) asks Catherine to be his wife, and she is tempted. However, she remembers her love for Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier) and the way it once ran so strong. Heathcliff misunderstands her intentions and runs away from the confrontation of losing his love to another. In his absence, Catherine marries Edgar and assumes her life as a Linton.

     Heathcliff returns home richer and wiser from his experiences, prepared to offer Catherine the type of life he feels she had clamored for. Heathcliff tries to pursue his love for Catherine, but her marriage to Edgar stops this affair in its tracks. Heathcliff then marries Edgar's sister, Isabella (Geraldine Fitzgerald) just to make Catherine jealous. Catherine later becomes sick, and Heathcliff comes to join the woman he really loves at the moment when death is about to overtake her. Catherine dies in his arms, and he soon joins her in death from the wound of a broken heart. The scene in the movie where Heathcliff is holding Catherine beside the window overlooking the moors where they once played as children is a powerful visual effect. This vision of love is touching to the heart and soul because I feel somewhere in the human soul we all crave that type of high drama at some point in our life.

     Wuthering Heights should be highly regarded as one of the greatest love stories ever. This type of bitter-sweet, endearing love story is copied in style and format to this day, not only in modern soap operas but also all types of romance novels. The power of its message has not been quieted over time.

David Martin

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