Withering Heights

         When reading Emily Brontë's classic 1847 novel of Wuthering Heights, I find that many visualizations of the characters and settings come to mind. The way Brontë captures the detail of the story makes it simple to relate, or become emotional tied to this story. However, William Wyler's 1939 screen adaptation does not live up to par for many as being a realistic visualization of the tale.

         The characters have seemed to be the largest drawback to the films content of being realistic. Heathcliff, as depicted by Laurence Olivier, appears in the movie as being a more rigid and handsome man than the dark, devilish, and conniving individual he is described as being by Brontë. The way I pictured Heathcliff from the novel is not nearly as he seemed in the movie. This alteration is somewhat of a letdown due to the fact that I had already connected myself to the character from the novel and now must adapt the story around new characters for the movie.

         Brontë's novel also sets forth a standard of the way Heathcliff acts toward Cathy, Isabella and Hindley. Heathcliff comes off as being malicious and deviant with an ulterior motive. Heathcliff acts as though he has little concern with Isabella in the movie, where as in the novel, he is concerned enough to use her in his conniving plan to retaliate against Cathy.

         In all, the movie Wuthering Heights by Wyler does not live up to the expectations set forth by Brontë's classic story line. The screen version is lacking in emotion that is already established by Bronte's power depiction of the characters and scenery and their interaction.

Adam Partin

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