The Cinematic Withering of Wuthering Heights

         Okay, we have all seen the preview for that hit movie that is about to come out--the one you are really dying to see. You watch in anticipation from your couch at home as you explode with laughter from the sidesplitting takes the advertisement team decided to air to reel in the viewer pool. You get to the movies and have paid ten dollars for yourself and for your date--not a bad deal for the enjoyment you are about to receive from this critically acclaimed hit. You buy your popcorn (extra butter) and get situated in your worn seat, your mouth watering at the thought of this flick. You sit through the previews (only more attempts to suck you in, which in fact does happen, so you will shell out more money to watch these films), and then your movie begins.

         Fifteen minutes into it you see that moment you remembered from the television preview. Already you begin to become wrapped up in the movie you came to see. Then an hour later, you begin to notice that the only good parts in the entire movie were the ones you already knew about because of the previews. You begin to get antsy at the thought that there really are no more enjoyable moments because you have seen everything from the previews. And that realization in turn gives way to a stronger sense, that even those moments were not that good, due to the fact they had no substance to back them up. By the end of the movie you are wishing that you had gone and watched the newest Adam Sandler movie instead because, while it would have lacked depth, you know that you would have enjoyed it. Now as the credits are scrolling up, you find yourself in a bad mood because what you thought you were going to see was not at all what was indicated by the preview.

         This is what I felt happened to me with William Wyler's 1939 screen adaptation of Emily Brontë's 1847 Wuthering Heights. The only difference is I knew that it was going to be a good movie because my preview (the book) had not left anything out. However, the movie left out the "substance"of the love story between Cathy (Merle Oberon) and Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier) needed to back up the information given. Had I not read the book first, I would have understood nothing. I think that everyone should do him or herself a favor and read the book; it is wonderful; but skip the movie; it is terrible.

Mark Borum

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