Hush, Hold That Thought

         Lately, I have noticed how in some films, the male characters seem to use kissing as a form of control. There are a few movies which I have seen that use this strategy; however, the films Los Abismos de Pasion, based on Emily Brontė's 1847 Wuthering Heights, and The Heiress, based on Henry James's 1880 Washington Square are the most obvious.

         In the film Los Abismos de Pasion, directed by Luis Buńuel, it is difficult to overlook the strategy Alejandro's character (Jorge Mistral) used to establish his control. The majority of the people who have viewed this 1954 film, know well the kissing scene described by some as the vampire kiss. However, the impression given by this forceful kiss was not one of passion, but rather to show control on the character Isabel (Lilia Prado). Alejandro also used this method on Isabel before their marriage to convince her of his love. However, despite all the love she tried to give him, toward the end of the film he eventually ignored her and treated her cruelly. Despite this, it is interesting to pick up on this strategy but sad that it actually worked.

         The film The Heiress, directed by William Wyler in 1949, closely mirrors this strategy despite variation in the plot. In this film, the character Morris (Montgomery Clift) also charmed Catherine (Olivia de Havilland), in the same way. From the moment they met, Morris hardly let Catherine voice her opinions, especially on serious talks. The impression I got when watching this behavior suggested Morris did not want Catherine to talk for fear of losing that which he wanted to gain from her wealth. Therefore, when an important issue did arise, he knew his kiss and flattery would keep her from any suspicion.

         Both Catherine and Isabel were hungry to prove themselves with their love. This is perhaps the reason why the method worked on both women in each of the films. Of course, I am just happy that Catherine wised up at the end and realized Morris' trickery. Both directors did a good job at showing how flattery, and a well-timed kiss, can really make an impression on certain people.

Sharel Carter

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