I know what you are thinking. English major likes Wuthering Heights. Big effing surprise! Well, poo on you because I never read it!
ARE YOU AWARE OF HOW MANY CLASSICS THERE ARE OUT THERE? You don't get to judge me, Mr. or Ms. I-read-it-in-high-school. You only read it because you were forced to read it. Anyway, I guess my review kind of won't count until I read it or cheat and get the book on tape. Regardless, I like the story that I saw in the film. Sure, I'm positive that there's a ton of plot points that probably weren't covered in the film. After all, it would take me freakin' forever to get through the book and this version is just over two hours. I can live with that kind of pacing. It really is a great story. I mean, it has all of the elements of romantic literature. There's a dark man with secret who just becomes hateful and lives in these gothic castles. In this case, Wuthering Heights may not have gothic architecture (according to the film, again), but I get all the storylines. (I may have not read the book, but I took the class on the entire period of literature.)
I do love the fact that Lawrence Olivier flocks to these classical literature pieces. I can't complain because this is the most reined in that I've seen the man. I'm not saying that his performance doesn't have elements of his typical acting style, but there's a certain believability that can be found in his performance. I actually really respected him as Heathcliff (Heathcliff, no one should, terrorize the neighborhood!) But he works well in a very tight cast. Merle Oberon is just a horrible bitch of a woman and I have to applaud her for playing it so evil while still being the other protagonist in the story. Maybe that's why I like the story so much. (I keep going back to the story, but I'm tempted to read it for the fact that she is just so greedily evil. Honestly, this is the post-Industrial Revolution equivalent of My Super Sweet Sixteen) Rounding it off in actually the least impressive performance is David Niven. He's very competant (mainly because he's f*cking David Niven), but his part really doesn't have a lot of meat in this part, which is kind of a shame.
But this movie does actually have a lot. It has ghosts and dogs who tear women's ankles off. I mean, I wasn't expecting that dog to go full on Cujo on her leg, and I have to say that was pretty damned awesome.
This was the first in the set of romance movies that I watched and I really have to say that it was a good place to start. I can't help but comparing William Wyler's direction to that of David Lean's. Again, it's the lazy comparison because David Lean has done an obscene amount of adaptations of classic literature, but stylistically, you know that there was a bit of tradition when it came to respecting the source. Also, I imagine the studio was looking for a very traditional look this film that still instilled a sense of awe. But the movie was pretty darned great. I kind of wish this movie was included in the Criterion Great Adaptations box so I could own it. The print I saw of the movie was good, but was by no means stellar. I'm not saying it was Rome, Open City, but I would have loved Criterion to get their grubby pretentious hands on it. Either way, this movie is darned fantastic. I don't know if I could recommend to fans of the book, but one day I'll try to get around to it. I'm such a completist arts nerd that I just feel like I have to.