Triple Personality

        Well, it appears as if Heathcliff has a triple personality. There is a novel and two movies with this character and all of them give a different representation. Heathcliff from the 1939 film Wuthering Heights is a romantic softy. Alejandro from the 1954 film Los Abismos de Pasion is a man of few emotions. Emily BrontŽís 1847 novel Wuthering Heights shows the loss of innocence; the child who became a bitter and angry man.

        In William Wylerís 1939 Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff (Rex Downing/ Laurence Olivier) is very much romanticized. He is portrayed as the poor, defenseless stable boy always being wronged by those around him. This is done to create sympathy for Heathcliff. When he is with Catherine (Sarita Wooten/ Merle Oberon), he is openly affectionate with her. The two seem to profess their love for each other every chance they get. Even after Catherine marries Edgar Linton (David Niven), you can still see the love he has for her. His anger and misdeeds are downplayed in this film. He still ruins things for Hindley (Douglas Scott/Hugh Williams), but the violence is practically non-existent. At the end of the movie, the ghosts of Heathcliff and Catherine walk off into the sunset hand in hand.

        In Luis BuŮuelís 1954 film, Los Abismos de Pasion, Alejandro (aka Heathcliff), played by Jorge Mistral, is downright frightening. It seems as if he has forgotten every single emotion except rage. You do not sympathize with this version at all. He is even mean to Catalina (aka Catherine); played by Irasema Dilian, the woman he is supposedly in love with. There appears to be no chemistry at all between them. It is hard to believe that these two are madly in love considering the way that they act around each other. It is difficult getting past this manís overall harshness and intensity.

        Both films sit on opposite sides of the spectrum with this character. Emily BrontŽís novel made him out to be an innocent boy from the streets turned cruel, bitter man. BrontŽís Heathcliff is a tragedy. Even though he is a complete jerk, you sense that he still does hold on to some feelings. Those hidden feelings are for Catherine. The 1939 version of Heathcliff was overly romanticized, the darkness was not there. The tragic quality of BrontŽís Heathcliff was gone. In the 1954 version, there was too much darkness. Alejandro was just a scary psycho that made it incredibly difficult to feel anything for him. Both versions missed the true spirit of the character. This is how Heathcliff developed a triple personality.

Molly Gigantet