Wuthering Heights (Abismos de pasión) (1954)
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Director Luis Buñuel constructs this 1954 motion picture on the foundation of Emily Bronte's Gothic novel set in England. However, Buñuel substitutes a Mexican setting for the English one and Spanish names for the novel's central characters. He also alters the plot to heighten tension and maximize the effect of imagery. In the Bronte novel, Mr. Earnshaw rescues a foundling named Heathcliff from the streets and raises the boy at his estate on the moors, Wuthering Heights, along with his daughter, Catherine, and son, Hindley. Over the years, Hindley mistreats Heathcliff, regarding him as a rival for his father's affection. After Mr. Earnshaw dies and Hindley inherits the estate, he humiliates Heathcliff by making him a common stable boy. Catherine, meanwhile, falls passionately in love with Heathcliff, but looks down upon him because he lacks social standing. One day, after overhearing her speak of him disparagingly, Heathcliff abandons Wuthering Heights, then makes a success of himself in the world. After returning three years later, he finds Catherine married to an elegant gentleman, Edgar Linton. Heathcliff vows revenge. First, through clever scheming, he acquires liens on Wuthering Heights and drives Hindley to his grave. To spite Catherine and Linton, Heathcliff marries Isabella Linton, Edgar's sister, and treats her cruelly while gaining control of her property. The turn of events destroys Catherine, who is pregnant, and she dies after giving birth to a daughter. In the Buñuel film, Heathcliff becomes Alejandro (Jorge Mistral), Catherine becomes Catalina (Irasema Dilian), Hindley becomes Ricardo (Luis Aceves Castaneda), and Isabella becomes Isabel (Lilia Prado). Early on, the film generally follows the plot of Wuthering Heights although the setting is a hacienda in Mexico. However, the plot begins to shift when Alejandro discovers that the pregnant Catalina is gravely ill. Full of regret for his past action toward her, he relents and tells her he loves her, and she expresses her love for him. Then she gives birth and dies. After she is laid to rest, he is so grief-stricken that he exhumes her just to hold her one more time. ~ Mike Cummings, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Wuthering Heights (Abismos de pasión)
Gains a power the other screen versions don't have through its unrelenting gothic ruthlessness.
An almost magical example of how an artist of genius can take someone else's classic work and shape it to fit his own temperament without really violating it.
Buñuel's low-budget melodrama has a certain gothic ferocity that's missing in the other versions; the results are mixed, but seldom unworthy of the master.
The film's dreary exteriors (the trees without leaves, the buzzards on constant alert) evoke a landscape of spiritual unrest.
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