Wuthering Heights Updated

        I think that it is the perfect time to bring Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, earlier filmed in 1939 by William Wyler and in 1956 by Luis Buñuel as Los Abismos di Pasion, into the twenty-first century. As I expressed in my Journal, I believe that the novel has all the qualities of the ultimate Gothic Love story. Obviously this generation thinks that it is just as good because it is cited in modern literary works.

        If it were adapted for a screen version in this time period, I think that Heathcliff (earlier depicted by Laurence Oliver and Jorge Mistral) would be portrayed as a shape shifter. The tall, dark, brooding handsome type, Christian Bale or an unknown actor, so that his background would be as questionable as Heathcliff’s. The actor and his character would be shrouded in mystery. I think that previews today give away too much of the movies, so when the viewers get there, they have seen too much of the film.

        As for Catherine’s character, I should probably cast Kate Beckensale, instead of Merle Oberon in Wyler’s movie or Irasema Dilion in Buñuel’s version. Kate is beautiful but has an aura of mystery to her acting. She is a very physical actress, and I think that she could pull off the strength of Catherine’s character.

        Isabella would be a little different from the way she was portrayed as Geraldine Fitzgerald in Wyler’s version or as Lilia Prado in Buñuel’s film. Isabella could be depicted by a strong but silent Reese Witherspoon. She would take Heathcliff’s hatred and angst only until she had to protect her son.

        For Hindley (Hugh Williams in Wyler’s movie or Luis Aceves Castenada) in Buñuel’s film), I should have to cast someone who is beautifully evil, someone who starts out as a beautiful person, and then gambling and drinking make him ugly. Brad Pitt would be perfect. He has the overall acting capabilities, as evident in the movie Benjamin Button, to play a range of characters.

        I think that, instead being set in Yorkshire, England, the latest movie of Wuthering Heights would be set in Louisiana. The atmosphere would almost be the same damp, dark, moor-like, humid, but hot. There are several plantation type backdrops that the story could be against. The setting would be a gothic metaphor, the hell that the characters have to endure. To help set the dark, melodramatic moods of the film, opera and blues music would be playing in the background. The settings would be in the current time period, so the costumes would be natural, everyday wearable clothes

        I should open up with the film Wuthering Heights as Luis Buñuel does in his Los Abismos di Pasion, with an older Heathcliff (Alejandro) and Catherine (Catalina). But I should do a back-story in flashbacks to show how cruel life had been to Heathcliff. I should portray Heathcliff as a homeless soul that is downtrodden by his fellow kinsmen and outcast for loving an upper-class Catherine, who is from a different class of people and is thought to be human, unlike him.

        I should like to bring out the sheer darkness of the book, especially the hate that Heathcliff has for everyone except Catherine. I should emulate the sorrow that seeps out of every pore of Hindley’s soul after he loses his wife, Frances, and then ultimately everything he holds dear.

        I also agree with Wyler, who refused to film Samuel Goldwyn’s version of the end of the 1939 film version. I do not think that the audience needs to see Heathcliff and Catherine wander off together into the Louisiana version of the Yorkshire moors after death. I do think that the movie should have a suggestive prelude to their being together in eternity but that togetherness should not be the final explicit scene of the film. Instead, the prelude should be finished with a soft focus and then dissolve into nothingness.

Kristin Anderson