Hollywood versus Literature

     Since the beginning of the motion picture era, many movies have been based on novels or short stories. More often than not however, these movies lack the personality and zest that the novels held. Because of this, a movie can often give the novel it was based on a bad reputation; and this is very unfortunate. This does not allow the book the proper publicity that it deserves. One such case is the 1847 novel Wuthering Heights, written by Emily Brontė, and a movie by the same name, directed in 1939 by William Wyler.

     The novel Wuthering Heights is an excellent example of classical literature. While the text may be difficult to read in the beginning, persistent readers eventually adapt; and what opens up is an extremely involving psychological piece that plays on human emotions. The novel follows Heathcliff and Catherine and the circumstances surrounding their demented love for each other. Emily Brontė does a great job of illustrating how the bond they have with each other is unbreakable and how their love poisons their lives and the lives of those around Heathcliff and Catherine.

     The movie however, does not quite live up to the standard of the novel. The movie come off more as a bad soap opera rather than a tragic love story. Of course, this could be blamed on bad acting, but this is not an excuse. The theatrical adaptation merely catches a glimpse of the strain and heartbreak, while only focusing on the outlying pain Catherine (Sarita Wooten/Merle Oberon) and Heathcliff (Rex Downing/Laurence Olivier) cause.

     It happens all the time and mostly because of the insatiable human hunger for money. One hardly cares about the artistic aspect of a film when adapting one from a novel. The sad fact of the matter is that it only makes fools out of those involved, and this is the reason some films should just not be made.

Chris McCarty

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