Making or Breaking a Film

         There are many aspects that make up a movie; and, although some aspects may seem less important than others, I propose that they are all extremely important. Some may believe that the costumes, settings, or music may not be as important as the actors or script, but I disagree. I think that the small details are what make a good director famous and a mediocre movie great. Just as these things can make a movie worth watching over and over again, they can also make a move flop (for lack of a better word). One such aspect of the film Wuthering Heights directed by William Wyler was the music. The musical score by Alfred Newman, in my opinion, was much too fluffy and overdone and essentially weakened the overall feel of this of this film.

         The actors, such as Merle Oberon, who played Cathy, and Laurence Olivier, who depicted Heathcliff, were good and the movie in itself was good--but compared to the 1847 book, written by Emily Brontë, I do not believe it quite evoked the same emotions. If the director's intentions were to evoke the same emotions in the movie as the reader had while reading the book, or to set the same tone, then I think he did not accomplish his task.

         In my opinion, the music was a very important aspect that really hurt the overall feel of the movie. There was not one scene where I felt the music fit the situation. I was well aware of the music in each scene as was annoyed that it would not stop. The scenes in the beginning with Mr. Lockwood (Miles Mander) being taken up to his room at Wuthering Heights, and the scene in which Mr. Lockwood had just been visited by the ghost of Catherine and was scared and calling for Heathcliff was so overpowering with music that I could not concentrate on what was going on. The music in a sense overwhelmed the actors themselves; and not just that, I did not feel the music even fit the scenes. The music should have been grim and eerie, but it was not. It was all too theatrical.

         I feel that music would be one way to make this film seem more sinister, and yet it did almost the opposite. If the music is appropriate in a movie it can really help the viewer to have a cathartic experience. The music for this movie was such an integral part of the film, and yet I do not believe it achieved its full potential. The music in this movie was "fluffy." Although the movie was a good "love story," I did not get the same feelings of emotion, despair, and even pity for the characters, especially Heathcliff, that was portrayed in the novel; and I attribute a great deal of that to the music chosen for this film.

Brittany Binkley

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