Tainted Love

         I have always been what you might call a bookworm, but I have already learned in this class that sometimes a movie can be better than the book. This is just the case when I was comparing the 1847 novel Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë, and the 1939 film Wuthering Heights, directed by William Wyler. Wyler's film not only wonderfully portrays the essence of Brontë's film but also sparklingly outshined it.

         Wyler's adaptation of the novel Wuthering Heights encompassed the idea of tainted love that I had envisioned while reading Brontë's novel. While reading the novel, I knew that Heathcliff and Cathy loved each other in a sibling fashion from the beginning; but, when they grew older, I thought it was more of a crush relationship than a loving devotion to one another.

         When Cathy married Edgar, I really thought that she would forget her childhood love with Heathcliff and devote herself to her husband. Unfortunately, when Heathcliff comes back to Thrushcross Grange, he and Cathy decide they want to be together.

         This relationship was especially different in the cinematic adaptation. The tone that Wyler created for the two of them after she was already married was very intense. Sometimes I really felt sorry for Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier) when I thought that Catherine (Merle Oberon) should just leave with him and live happily ever after, but I had to keep reminding myself, "She's married!"

         My absolute favorite part of the entire movie was the scene with Catherine on her deathbed. The way Wyler had Heathcliff take Catherine to the window overlooking Penistone Crag, their "Castle on the Moors" and having her die in his arms was heart wrenching. Even though I had hated their relationship from the beginning, I could not help but enjoy this parting scene.

         Wyler did a wonderful job in portraying the dynamic duo's tainted love and actually making it look like a sincere relationship by the end of the film. I enjoyed this movie so much more than the book; I now wonder if I will become a movie instead of bookworm!

Amanda Cope

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