Classic Hollywood. Wuthering Heights. Review by Dewey Edward Chester.
Classic Hollywood. This American motion-picture is an Adaptation of the novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and earned eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor.
Depicting only sixteen of the novel’s thirty-four chapters, it eliminated a second generation of characters.
Producer, Sam Goldwyn intended the project for Actress Merle Oberon, however when Vivien Leigh asked for the lead Goldwyn told her she was not good enough for the role.
Vivien instead, was cast that same year in Gone With the Wind, which won her an Academy Award for Best Actress; Merle Oberon did not receive a nomination.
In the movie’s final sequence, the spirits of Heathcliff and Cathy are seen walking together hand-in-hand, obviously in love. But this scene is not found in the novel, and was the opposite of what Author Emily Bronte intended the reader to know—-
That Cathy’s ghost’s actions were not a gesture of undying love for Heathcliff, as in the Hollywood movie, but one of towering hatred; Cathy haunted Heathcliff to death to prevent him from cheating her daughter out of inheritance.
As Sam Goldwyn subsequently claimed, “I made Wuthering Heights, not Emily Bronte.”
The movie begins when a traveler named Lockwood is caught in a snow-storm and finds refuge at the estate of Wuthering Heights.
After being shown an upstairs bedroom by Heathcliff, Lockwood is awakened that night by a draft and discovers a window is open.
As he is about to close it, he feels an icy hand, then he sees a woman outside the window calling—- “Heathcliff, let me in! I’m out on the moors. It’s Cathy!”
He calls Heathcliff and tells him what he saw, whereupon Heathcliff frantically calls out to Cathy, runs down the stairs and out of the house into the snowstorm.
Ellen, the housekeeper, tells the amazed Lockwood that he had seen the ghost of Cathy Earnshaw, Heathcliff’s great love who died years ago. When Lockwood says he doesn’t believe in ghosts, Ellen tells him that he will when she tells him the story of Cathy.
And so a long flashback unravels, forty years before:
As a boy, Heathcliff is found on the streets by Mr. Earnshaw, who brings him home to live with his two young children, Cathy and Hindley.
Cathy welcomes Heathcliff and they become very close, but Hindley treats him as an outcast, especially after the father, Mr. Earnshaw, dies.
Ten years later, the now grown Heathcliff and Cathy have fallen in love and are meeting secretly on Peniston Crag, but Hindley has become tyrannical and hates Heathcliff.
One night, as Cathy and Heathcliff are out together, they hear music and realize their neighbors, the Lintons, are giving a party.
When they climb over a garden wall, Heathcliff becomes enraged that Cathy would be so entranced by the Linton’s glamour and wealth. Dogs are alerted, and in their haste to escape, Cathy is injured and forced to stay at the Linton’s home for care.
Cathy recovers, but Edgar Linton has fallen in love with her and on their return to Wuthering Heights, proposes marriage. “What about Heathcliff,” her housemaid, Ellen asks, but Cathy flippantly remarks that it would degrade her to marry him.
When Heathcliff overhears, Cathy is overcome by guilt and runs out after him into a raging snowstorm. Edgar finds her, nurses her back to health, and soon they marry.
Years pass, and when Heathcliff is thought to have disappeared forever, he returns, now wealthy and elegant. He has refined his appearance and manners in order to both impress and spite Cathy.
He buys Wuthering Heights from a now alcoholic Hindley, and in order to further spite Cathy, he begins courting Edgar’s naïve sister, Isabella, and marries her.
Broken-hearted, Cathy falls gravely ill, and Heathcliff rushes to her side, but she dies in his arms.
The flashback ends and we return to Ellen, the housemaid, finishing her story for Lockwood. But suddenly, the family doctor, Dr. Kenneth, bursts into the room, declaring he has just seen Heathcliff in the snow, walking with his arm around a woman.
Ellen exclaims, “It was Cathy!” and Dr. Kenneth says, “No, I don’t know who it was,” and tells them that as he drew closer, he found Heathcliff lying on the ground. The woman had disappeared and only Heathcliff’s footprints appeared in the snow.
Lockwood asks, “Was he dead?”
Dr. Kenneth nods, but Ellen says, “No, not dead, Dr. Kenneth; and not alone. He’s with her! They’ve only just begun.”
Classic Hollywood! Enjoy your day, Yareah friends. Art is everywhere and up to you.