Give ‘Em Some Space

         It seemed the males in the movie adaptations of Wuthering Heights and Washington Square, both directed by William Wyler, have a problem with giving women their space. In America, people like to have their own personal space, and people believe that no one should invade it. If other people do invade people's space, people feel violated and threatened. The ladies in these movies should definitely feel violated.

         A perfect example of us wanting our personal space occurs when people get in an elevator. When people get in an elevator, they want to have a whole corner to themselves. If the elevator is full, people seem nervous and tense. Maybe this kind of reaction is the reason that the women give into the men so easily in these movies.

         In The Heiress, directed in 1949 by William Wyler and based on Henry James's 1880 Washington Square, Morris (Montgomery Clift) is constantly cornering Catherine (Olivia de Havilland) by forcing her into doing semi-back bends. She has to have felt inferior and nervous about him. Maybe that is the reason she has stood by him so long, even when it has been obvious that he was just out to get her money. He has probably tried to scare her into thinking she could not leave him. However, in the end of the movie Morris does not try to corner her as he did when he was "courting" her. He knows, in the end, that she knows what he really is and that it would not do him any good to intimidate her. He would have to charm his way to back into her good graces instead.

         In Los Abismos de Pasion, directed in 1954, by Luis Buñuel and based on Emily Brontë's 1847 Wuthering Heights, the Heathcliff character Alejandro (Jorge Mistral) is constantly in Isabel's (Lila Prado) face. He is always touching her, hugging her and brutally kissing her (mainly on the neck). This makes him a very dominating person to Isabel. She thinks he loves her because he always wants to be close to her, and she later finds out that he is really being threatening when he did this. By invading her space, Alejandro establishes his control over Isabel's mind and body.

         The men in these movies need to back off and give the women their space. Left to their own devices, the women could make much wiser decisions and see these aggressive predators for what they really are.

Paige LeFan

Table of Contents