Something Old Something New

     Even though William Wyler's 1939 adaptation of Wuthering Heights was well received, Peter Kosminsky's 1992 adaptation covers more of Emily Brontė's 1847 tale of ill-fated love than any other does. The British production, starring Juliette Binoche as Catherine and Ralph Fiennes as Heathcliff, takes a very original approach. It is told through Brontė's imagination in writing the dark love story. Although Wyler's approach was excellent and captured the essence of the novel, Kosminsky's approach tells more of the story between two people whose lives and everyone else around them were changed by Cathy and Heathcliff's love for one another.

     Much of the story told by Kosminsky is the same as in Wyler's adaptation, but the differences are what make the 1992 film stick out. The beginning is seen as Emily Brontė is walking into a huge castle, in which she begins to wonder what the story behind this mansion could be. Then she begins to develop the story we all know as Wuthering Heights. A great difference in the approach of Kosminsky was the scene where the visitor to Wuthering Heights goes into the forbidden bedroom and comes into contact with Cathy's ghost. This was a very important part in the novel, and Kosminsky brought it to the screen wonderfully.

     Kosminsky also portrayed the love between Cathy and Heathcliff very well, and the screenplay was very apt at using direct words from the novel, which increases the likeness of the movie to Brontė's work. Much of the 1992 version imitates that of Wyler's 1939 version, but the largest and perhaps most important difference was how Kosminsky chose to end the production. In Wyler's adaptation the story ends with Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier) and Cathy (Merle Oberon), yet the novel goes on to tell a further part of the story with the lives of their children. Kosminsky included the love story that was to come after Heathcliff's very own meddling approach to always having him and Cathy together.

     Kosminsky's 1992 adaptation of the novel Wuthering Heights goes all the way with the story Brontė created, while Wyler and many other adaptations stopped with the story of two. But perhaps Brontė's intention was to show how so many other lives were affected by Heathcliff and Cathy's love, and in this case Kosminsky has made by far the best adaptation of Wuthering Heights.

Kaycee Cooper

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