They’ve Got Passion, and That’s About It

         The movies Wuthering Heights, directed in 1939 by William Wyler, and Abismos de Pasion, directed in 1954 by Luis Buñuel, are similar, but not quite the same. Abismos de Pasion is the Spanish version of Wuthering Heights that was supposed to be as close to the 1847 book by Emily Brontë.

         Abismos de Pasion starts out in the middle of the story. It does not have the beginning where the stranger, Lockwood (Miles Mander in Wyler's version), the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, comes to Wuthering Heights and learns about Heathcliff (Laurence Oliver in Wyler's film) and his troubles. It does not show how Heathcliff and Catherine grew up together (portrayed as children in Wyler's movie by Rex Downing and Sarita Wooten) and became great friends through their teenage years or how they fall in love as they become young adults. Abismos de Pasion throws all that information at the audience together at the beginning of the movie. Wyler's Wuthering Heights set up the plot of the movie a lot better than Abismos de Pasion.

         Also, the stories do not follow the same pattern. Catalina's (Iraseme Dilian), brother, Ricardo, portrayed by Luis Aceves Castanedo, is supposed to die, as Hindley does in the book; but in Abismos de Pasion, he does not. Instead, he is the one who kills Alejandro (Jorge Mistral). Also, Catalina's brother, Eduardo (Ernesto Alonzo), has a child, Jorgecito (Jaime González Quiñones), in the Spanish version, as Hindley does in the book, but not in Wyler's movie, as depicted by Hugh Williams, who also remains alive at the end of the movie. Ricardo's drunken mistreatment of his son, similar to Hindley's abuse in the book, makes him even more of a brute than Hindley is in Wyler's movie.

         Lastly, the main difference between the two movies that I did not like was that the endings were different. In the American version, Cathy dies from an illness, and Heathcliff dies when he goes after her spirit in the snowstorm. In the Spanish version, Catalina dies in childbirth, and Alejandro is killed by Catalina's brother.

         I do not mind stories altering a little bit from version to version, but one cannot change the ending. Sure they both end up dead, but one cannot change the ways they die because that does not hold true to the original story written about a century and a half ago.

         In closing, I did not like the Spanish version of Wuthering Heights because it did not flow as the original novel did. The movie left out key points, and it also changed the ending.

Allison Light

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