Differing Character Portrayals

        William Wyler’s 1939 Wuthering Heights and Luis Buñuel’s 1954 Los Abismos de Pasion are two different films, based on the same story, written by Emily Brontë, and her same characters. Besides the film being about two different portions of the book, another reason the films differ so much are the characters Cathy (Catalina) and Heathcliff (Alejandro) and how they were portrayed.

        Throughout the film Wuthering Heights Cathy (Merle Oberon) seemed to really hide her feelings for Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier) and at times seemed as though she really did love Edgar. Catalina (Irasema Dilion), on the other hand, never hid her feelings towards Alejandro (Jorge Mistral) and repeatedly told her husband how she felt. Catalina even went as far as kissing her lover in front of her husband (Ernesto Alonzo), while being visibly pregnant. Catalina also captured the mental illness better, while Cathy seemed kind of monotone with her feelings and moods. One minute Catalina would be laughing with joy and with the next breath, yelling curses. Cathy also seemed to be more prim and proper, but Catalina could be proper. Catalina just had an untamed side as well.

        Heathcliff, in the film Wuthering Heights, was almost too nice. Granted both actors for this character were very good looking, there was something harsher about Alejandro, which played into the books version of the character better. I believe Heathcliff was more mentally abusive towards people, while Alejandro was mentally and physically abusive. Not to mention, Alejandro was a lot more aggressive; I did not see Heathcliff breaking through windows and crypts to get to his lover. Heathcliff seemed to be more forgiving of how Cathy treated him when she was younger and after she became proper. Alejandro never fully forgave Catalina for marrying and constantly reminded her of that mistake. All in all, Alejandro was portrayed as a darker, more sinister character than Heathcliff. Both character portrayals are accurate and do their jobs, just in different ways, but their main purposes still shine through.

        Cathy and Catalina are both women in love with a forbidden man, while Edgar and Alejandro show men obsessed with revenge. It was these two characteristics, forbidden love and revenge, that Wuthering Heights was written about.

Kelly Kneer