A Wuthering Fiction

      The 1939 movie Wuthering Heights, directed by William Wyler and based on Emily Brontė's 1847 novel, was a decent movie, but it would be more interesting if it were redirected in a modern-day setting. The problem with Wyler's version of Wuthering Heights is that he filmed the movie in such a clean manner that it lacks depth. Wuthering Heights would have a better effect on the audience if it were directed by the modern-day Quentin Tarentino.

      Quentin Tarentino has a reputation of using the element of flashback in his directing of movies. Many critics find his use of flashback to be confusing, while others feel it adds depth to the story. Tarentino's most notable use of flashback is his 1994 movie Pulp Fiction. There is a lot of Wyler's version of Wuthering Heights that is left underdeveloped. One such area pertains to the reason why Catherine and Hindley's father, Mr. Earnshaw (Cecil Kellaway), travels to Liverpool, England, and returns with Heathcliff (Rex Downing). One question that seems unanswered in Wyler's version is the one that asks, exactly where does Heathcliff come from? Another question is the possibility that Heathcliff is Mr. Earnshaw's illegitimate son. Wyler also fails to develop the idea of how exactly Heathcliff (played as an adult by Lawrence Olivier) and Catherine (Sarita Wooten/Merle Oberon) grow up in the same household loving each other and the effect this has on Hindley (Douglas Soctt/Hugh Williams). This leaves some questions unanswered. Do they ever have sex, how do they realize they love one another and at what age, and could it be incest? The last area that Wyler leaves underdeveloped is evident when Heathcliff runs off and disappears where does he go? Does he go to school, does he bribe money out of people, or has he been left a secret inheritance from Mr.Earnshaw? I feel that Tarentino could expand on these unanswered questions through his use of flashbacks. The story would not only be better explained but also be more interesting.

      In answering the question about the arrival of Heathcliff at Wuthering Heights, Tarentino, I believe, would use his element of flashback to show an extramarital affair that Mr. Earnshaw was having years ago in Liverpool. The question Tarentino would leave the audience wondering about would be whether Heathcliff was his illegitimate son or not.

      Another area that Tarentino could strongly twist would be the questions about Heathcliff and Catherine's young undying love for one another. Tarentino might show the two growing up playing kissing games out in the moors, or sneaking off to their make-believe castle in the moors for sexual encounters. The thought of physical love between Catherine and Heathcliff brings up the idea of potential incest. As in other Tarentino movies everything ties together. I feel he would direct the story to read that the two lovers are from the same bloodline. Hindley may also have this thought in the back of his mind, and that is why his hatred runs so deep for Heathcliff.

      The last area of Wuthering Heights Tarentino could twist and tangle would be the part of the movie when Heathcliff returns to Wuthering Heights with loads of money. I feel the element of flashback would prove important in explaining this. Tarentino could show Heathcliff inheriting a large sum of money in the form of a trust fund from a family member. A better idea would be to tie it in with the other questions Tarentino would raise. Perhaps the money could have been received in the form of a trust fund from his mother when she had died. Due to the loss of his mother Heathcliff comes to Wuthering Heights with Mr. Earnshaw, his biological father. He then receives the money when he is older.

      As one can see there can be more to Wuthering Heights than Wyler let be seen. I believe a remake of the movie in the hands of Quentin Tarentino could answer questions that William Wyler left unexposed and, hence, unanswered and could thus increase the complexity of the plot, while clarifying the story line.

Cullan Couleas

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