Film and Lit. Which Is Better:

Spanish or American?

         Over the class periods I have watched two movies by different directors but have the same undertone of Wuthering Heights, written by Emily Brontë in 1847. The first movie we watched was Wuthering Heights, directed by William Wyler in 1939, and the second one was Los Abismos de Pasion, directed by Luis Buñuel in 1954. Both directors brought in different aspects for the same book, which made them completely different.

         Out of the two movies, I prefer Wuthering Heights, directed by William Wyler, because I feel it is more accurate to the book, at least the first part of it, and some of the things done in the other movie did not set well with me, especially the meaner tone caused by the actions of some of the characters.

         Wyler's movie, which began with the young children, played by Rex Downing and Sarita Wooten, was less confusing than Los Abismos de Pasion, directed by Luis Buñuel, which starts in the middle of the story and eliminates Heathcliff and Catherine's childhood. I thought that it was similar to the book, and I liked that it kept the childhood in. Thus an important part, an important key to understanding the devotion between the two, was absent from the Buñuel movie and made it harder to understand why the two lovers, Alejandro (Jorge Mistral) and Catalina (Irasema Dilián) were so fatally drawn to each other.

         Because the early back story was left out, the tone of Los Abismos de Pasion was meaner than the tone in Wyler's movie. For example, without the early story that provided at least partial justification for her actions, Irasema Dilián made her Catalina seem less sympathetic and more vindictive than the way Merle Oberon depicted her Catherine. An example of this is evident when Catalina finds out that Alejandro has returned and acts in an excited way that was not suitable for a woman who is married to a different man.

         Both of the movies have their good and bad points, but I preferred the one done by William Wyler because it was more faithful to the first half of the book in plot and tone. Buñuel did a good job of directing, but he left out too many situations from the first part of the book that help the story make more sense. Therefore, his movie does not really give any background to explain why Alejandro and Catalina have turned out the way they do.

Michelle Maden

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