Los Abismos de Pasion Falls Short

         In our film and literature class, the first book that we read was Emily Brontë's 1847 Wuthering Heights. While the book was long and a bit boring at times, the story was still good, and the characters compelling. I actually thought the best part was the realness of the characters. With many authors, Heathcliff would have come back less bitter when he returned to the Heights, and he would have become the hero of the story. But Brontë gave us a human story of hate and revenge. Heathcliff, who started with the potential to be a good man, was twisted by the way he was treated by the family, and came to become a creature driven and controlled by hate and the lust for revenge.

         Los Abismos de Pasion, directed by Luis Buñuel in 1954, was the Mexican-made film version of this book. I thought that it fell short in many areas. First of all, the sections of the story it told. The book spanned many years, basically the entire life of Heathcliff and then some. The movie begins the night Alejandro (Heathcliff) (Jorge Mistral) returns to the villa. Audiences who were not familiar with the story or the movie's connection to it might not understand where Alejandro's obsession with Catalina (Irasema Dilian) and his need for revenge stem from. There are a few mentions about the past but not enough to flush out the earlier plot. Also, the story ends after Alejandro's death at Catalina's grave. It does not go on to tell how the children triumph and beat the odds to become good and loving people after their parents tried so hard to twist them.

         Also, having Alejandro simply die of a gunshot by Ricardo (Hindley) (Luis Aceves Castaņeda) at the end seemed quite cheap. In the book version, Heathcliff wasted away, becoming even more bitter and unhappy, twisted by his own hate. He also got to watch as his attempts to twist the lives of the children were unsuccessful. This ending seemed more just for Heathcliff.

         Overall, the movie just left too much of the story out, then rewrote it in such a way that the message was missed entirely. Los Abismos was disappointing and simply went to prove why the original book is usually seen as superior when one is comparing the two works.

Nathan Beard

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