|Image credit: IMDb|
Romantic tales, both tragic and uplifting, are a staple of cinema. While there are new rom-coms and dramas being written all the time, sometimes what you’re really after is a classic. And literature is full of them. It seems that I am now going on a bit of an iconic-literature-adaptation binge because this afternoon, to pass a few hours, I curled up with Robert Fuest’s 1970 adaptation of Emily Bronte’s gothic tragedy, Wuthering Heights.
Chronicling a love that begins when Cathy Earnshaw and adopted brother Heathcliff are but children, the film favours the romantic tragedy of the story as opposed to its more gothic nature. When Cathy comes back from a stay witch a rich family transformed into a lady, Heathcliff feels the sting of betrayal and while Cathy determines that all her choices are for the betterment of their relationship (including her marriage into the family who transformed her) disaster strikes again and again as the two grow further and further apart.
Fuest’s adaptation focuses on the doomed relationship of the two lovers with money and social standing being the manipulative villain behind its demise. Both Cathy and Heathcliff (both of whom are horrible in the book, by my memory) are victims of the brutalities of society: their wild romance (depicted by their constant forays into the moors) being muzzled by money and the status that comes with it. While Cathy tries to manipulate this to their advantage, Heathcliff seeks to destroy it, which he does by gaining wealth himself and then reducing the family of Wuthering Heights to little more than beggars and savages.
The film’s modest budget accommodates the power of the story and its allegorical aims perfectly with only costume, cinematography, and the cast’s performances to create the drama, romance, and despair. All of which is achieved incredibly.
|Image credit: IMDb|
Timothy Dalton and Anna Calder-Marshall as the freedom-seeking lovers work wonders together with each performance standing strong and toe-to-toe with the other. There is absolutely no weaker sex here, and indeed the battle between the genders ends equally well/tragically for both of them.
Filled with drama, remorse, despair, and occasionally hope, Wuthering Heights is a captivating adaptation of story that’s iconic for a reason.
Director: Robert Fuest (1970)
Cast: Anna Calder-Marshall, Timothy Dalton, Harry Andrews, Pamela Brown, Judy Cornewell, James Cossins, Rosalie Crutchley, Hilary Heath, Julian Glover & Ian Ogilvy