Had I been around back in 1939, I would have had a few suggestions for director William Wyler regarding his cinematic adaptation of Emily Brontë's 1847 novel Wuthering Heights. Having read and enjoyed Brontë's version better than Wyler's film, I think that there are many factors that could be improved upon. However, the two main things that bothered me about the film were the actors'/actresses' style of acting and the style of the music used in the film.
I enjoyed watching Laurence Olivier as Heathcliff and Merle Oberon portraying Catherine. Their acting, however, was different. I feel that all of the characters in Wyler's version were simply "overacting." Even during the most calm and minute conversations, I felt as though I were witnessing a lifeor-death situation. My suggestion to Mr. Wyler would be to have his cast tone down their acting. In my opinion, the key to good acting is to appear as though one is not acting at all. The fact that each member of the cast is acting is evident throughout the duration of the film. I think that this "toning down" of the characters and their drama would definitely help improve the film.
The next thing that I would suggest to Mr. Wyler would be to have his background music also toned down. I personally do not feel as though the music accompanied the film; I feel that it matches the over-dramatization of the cast. Alfred Newman, who scored the film, seemed to have the same idea about his music as Wyler did about his cast. That common idea was drama, drama, drama! While I feel that music in a film is highly effective in getting a particular emotion across, I also feel that it can be overused. The music only caused one emotion from me, and that was annoyance. The music did not seem to be in the background at times, matching the volume of the characters' voices instead.
William Wyler and Alfred Newman's use of drama in acting and music was overused. While some drama is necessary, it is not needed throughout the entire movie, at least not in this case. I feel that if Mr. Wyler and Mr. Newman took my advice and made these two particular changes in the film, it would be far more enjoyable to watch.