The Film That Did It All

         The 1939 film directed by William Wyler, Wuthering Heights, was an excellent adaptation of Emily Brontë’s 1847 novel, Wuthering Heights. This film was able to capture many of the necessary attributes of the characters that just really jumped out at the individual who was reading the book. While the film did not include all of the characters or events that occurred in the novel, it was still able to capture the characters in a way that Emily herself would have been pleased.

         Like any good film, this film started out with giving the necessary background to understand all of the characters relationships. This was a very important part of the film because, if one had never read the book, there would have been no way for the viewer of the film to understand the hatred between Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier) and Hindley (Hugh Williams). The film began by allowing the viewers to see the characters when they were children and how their relationships developed. It also gave the viewer a feeling of sadness for Heathcliff. By seeing how horribly he was treated by Hindley (Douglas Scott) while he was growing up, the viewer could really identify with his need for revenge and feel sorry for him when he lost Cathy (Merle Oberson) to Edgar Linton (David Niven).

         The film’s excellent description also pulled the viewer into the amazing love story of Heathcliff and Cathy. As a viewer, I wanted the couple to overcome the odds against them and be together. It was unbelievably heartbreaking to see both of the characters pretend to not love each other, while they were wishing they could be together all of the time. This part of the plot made the film seem very real because many people can identify with their situation.

         The only issue with the film that I had was that it left out many characters. The film also left out Hindley’s wife, and all of the children that were born to Hindley, Heathcliff, and Cathy. I think that the film could have included these characters to make the issue of revenge even more powerful. But, as with most novels being adapted to film, there can only be so much put into a film to make it a reasonable length.

         Although the film left out these characters and only let the film go though the young lives of the characters, it still did what the novel set out to do. The film showed how horrible revenge can be for all those involved. It also demonstrated how true love can both ruin lives and withstand time. The film was an excellent adaptation of a novel.

Alicia Hughes

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