I Would Just Like to Say--Edited

         I have come to the realization that editing is the main component of making a good book into a bad film. An excellent example of this would be Emily Brontë's 1847 Wuthering Heights and William Wyler's film version released in 1939. Perhaps it was not the fault of Mr. Wyler that the movie and the book differ so greatly in the entire plot, but one cannot contend the fact that the actual point of the book was lost. The point, or moral, of Brontë's novel was not to express the love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, as is seen in the film adaptation, but to show the decline of a rather powerful British family. It is because of snobbery, hatred, and discontent between Catherine Earnshaw, Henry Earnshaw, and Heathcliff that the family becomes consumed with malice, which goes onto corrupt their children. The actually fact that Wyler, along with the scriptwriters, Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, turned this novel into a love story is actually quite disgusting. Add that to the fact that they do not even touch base on what happened to the children, which is the entire later half of the book, makes a person ask why they even chose a novel to base the movie upon and just write a similar script and then they could call it their very own.

         A film that has very similar problems when relating it to the book is Anne Rice's Queen of the Damned. Like Wuthering Heights, the entire point of the book is lost in this sequel to Interview with the Vampire, the first book of the Vampire Chronicles (note also that Queen of the Damned is the third, not the second, book in this series). The outcome of the novel is the explanation of the origin of the vampires and the destruction of the old thought that vampires had to be evil (the Queen Akasha is thought to be the ultimate evil among the vampire community because she wishes to rule the humans through maternal control, killing every male save one per one hundred females). In the movie, though, the origin of the vampires is not even addressed while leaving out and killing many key characters in the following seven novels.

         Yet unlike Wyler's Wuthering Heights, Queen of the Damned gets most of its basic facts in regard to plot completely wrong. For example, Lestat's true maker was not Marius, but Magnus, a scientist had who captured a vampire and infected himself with its blood and just after Lestat's transformation kills himself in a bonfire, leaving Lestat alone to learn how to become a vampire. It is only after Lestat meets Armand, Marius' child, that he goes in search of the Vampire Marius to learn the origin of the vampires, the Queen Akasha.

         So in both Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights and Anne Rice's Queen of the Damned, the editing job turned these wonderful novels into horrible movies. Is this the case because of time constraints? Is it true because of a great deal of content too large for a movie seeing audience to content with? Or is it because they are women? That is still open for debate.

Lynn Schentrup

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