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ConnieAnnKirk
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Wuthering Heights: The Masterpiece Classics Film

Let's use this thread to record our responses to the adaptation of Wuthering Heights that airs on PBS January 18th and 25th.
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JohnP51
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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Masterpiece Classics Film

Having just watched (online) the first part of "Wuthering Heights", I have to say that I enjoyed this version very much. It is quite different from the book in that there is no Mr. Lockwood and no tale told by Nelly Dean. As I mentioned in another thread, I did not like the book. But the tale told in the way this movie does it, is quite enjoyable to me and I do believe still captures the essence of Bronte's tale. And Tom Hardy captures Heathcliff 100% in my humble opinion. Especially, later in the movie when he returns from his long journey. I'm looking forward to part 2.
John

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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Masterpiece Classics Film


JohnP51 wrote:
Having just watched (online) the first part of "Wuthering Heights", I have to say that I enjoyed this version very much. It is quite different from the book in that there is no Mr. Lockwood and no tale told by Nelly Dean. As I mentioned in another thread, I did not like the book. But the tale told in the way this movie does it, is quite enjoyable to me and I do believe still captures the essence of Bronte's tale. And Tom Hardy captures Heathcliff 100% in my humble opinion. Especially, later in the movie when he returns from his long journey. I'm looking forward to part 2.

 

 

I also really enjoyed the movie so far. By watching it I have gained a better understanding of Heathcliff and Tom Hardy does a wonderful job portraying him. I can't wait to finish it.

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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Masterpiece Classics Film

I loved the book, dark as it was.  So since the movie diverges from the book quite a bit, I found that I had to fight with myself not to be critcal over small things.

 

I do think though that the movie is much lighter than the book and tries to make the characters more likeable.  Except for Hindley, he was completely loathsome right from the start.  The Catherine Earnshaw the film portrayed was hardly more than petulant.  Heathcliff was better in his acting, though I found him too controlled, for the most part.  There was none of the seething, animalistic passion of the Heathcliff in the novel.  Also, I had a difficult time getting past his pale skin, light eyes, hairless face & light brown hair.  Healthcliff is supposed to be of gypsy blood with dark olive skin, black eyes, heavy black eyebrows & dark facial hair, black hair.  I did like him better after he came back from his time away.

 

I wondered why change the scene where Heathcliff & Hindley are given horses and when Heathcliff's goes lame, he demands Hindley's to film sequence where the Mr. Earnshaw gives Heathcliff a horse, shich he in turn gives to Cathy.

 

We also have a less pitiful Edgar Linton, yet Catherine seems to feel less for him than she does in the book.  In the book, Catherine is truly torn between Edgar & Heathcliff.

 

Another thing, Nelly Dean is supposed to be about the same age as Hindley, just a few years older than Catherine and Heathcliff.  I imagine this change is for production reasons, but it is annoying.  She does play the roll well.  We never see the elder Linton's or Mrs. Ernshaw.

 

Considering all of this, I did enjoy the film and look forward to the second half.

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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Masterpiece Classics Film

I watched some last night and most of the rest online this morning.  I find it necessary to separate the story from the storytelling.  I can understand for the sake of moviemaking why Lockwood was entirely dropped and Nelly became just a character, with the camera and not Nelly being the storyteller, but it certainly changes the storytelling dynamic that was an important part of the novel.   

 

I wonder, though, whether people who didn't know the story at all would be able to follow what is going on.  These arrivals before we have any idea who the people in the story are; it's a very different way of telling the story.  I found myself at times not sure who was who when even though I know the story fairly well.

 

The movie did point up a few things for me that I hadn't thought about much before.  For one thing, I had pictured Nelly as a much older woman, and was surprised to see her portrayed still as fairly young and active, but thining about it I realize that if she was a young woman when Catherine was growing up, she would be just middle aged at the time of the main story, so the movie presentation was more accurate than my book reading conception.

 

It also made me think more about why Heathcliff kept himself so scruffy.  It doesn't take much to cut and comb your hair, and it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown.  In the movie so far he doesn't seem at all as evil or disturbed or counter-appealing as he does in the book; he seemed more sad than Byronic hero.   While I can see, whether I agree or not, why a reader of the book would call him a sociopath, that isn't coming across for me at all in the movie, at least not yet.  

 

The filming of the movie and the acting are both excellent.  I think the shift in Catharine's character from wild tomboy to young lady is very well shown and supported, which I thought might be a difficult thing to convey effectively.  The shots on the moor are wonderful, and the house chosen to represent Wuthering Hights is perfect.   All in all, the cinematic and production values are superb.  It's the close comparison to the book which is perhaps a bit unfair.  

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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Masterpiece Classics Film

I do think though that the movie is much lighter than the book and tries to make the characters more likeable. 

 

I do agree with that.  And I also agree that Heathcliff, while well acted, is not the Heathcliff of the book, either physically or in his darkness.  (I mentioned that in another post that he seems more sad than evil.)  

 

More so than most movie adaptations, I'm finding it necessary to look on the movie as an adaptation from the book and a piece of storytelling in its own right, and not expect it to be a faithful rendering of the novel. 

 

 

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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Masterpiece Classics Film

I wanted to go back and check this before I was sure, but I did remember correctly that it was not Catherine's acceptance of Linton's proposal that propelled his leaving, but his overhearing her tell Nelly that "It would degrade me to marry Heathcliffe."  I thnk this was an important scene because it gives the reason for Heathcliffe turning himself intoa gentleman, to make him good enough and undegraded enough for her.  They also left out her staying out all night after his departure, getting almost fatally ill, and being nursed at the Lintons, in the process giving the fever to Mr. and Mrs. Linton which brought about their deaths.  I don't know why they changed this in the movie version.   Maybe I'll ask on that thread.

 

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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Masterpiece Classics Film

[ Edited ]

I am very disappointed. I do not like the actors chosen to play Cathy and Heathcliff, though I must say that Tom Hardy does well in capturing the dark spirit of Heathcliff. I just can't get passed his phycial appearance to believe he is Heathcliff. Definitely not my idea of a gypsy!

 

It's not that I expect any movie to follow the book exactly, but there were changes made that seem pointless, and other changes that take the heart out of the story. Like the scene in the kitchen with Nelly, when Cathy tells her about her dream, one of the most poignant scenes in the book, and the dialogue is beautifully written, and can't be improved upon. Yet the screenwriter has Cathy telling Heathcliff about her dream of being tossed out of heaven!

 

I have to admit that the best screen adaption I have  seen is the oldest, the one with Lawrence Olivier as Heathcliff, and Merle Oberon as Cathy. While Olivier's portrayal is a little less dark, Oberon's Cathy is truer to the book, much wilder and tempermental than Charlotte Riley's.

Message Edited by DebC on 01-19-2009 03:20 PM
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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Masterpiece Classics Film


PhoebesMom wrote:

I loved the book, dark as it was.  So since the movie diverges from the book quite a bit, I found that I had to fight with myself not to be critcal over small things.

 

I do think though that the movie is much lighter than the book and tries to make the characters more likeable.  Except for Hindley, he was completely loathsome right from the start.  The Catherine Earnshaw the film portrayed was hardly more than petulant.  Heathcliff was better in his acting, though I found him too controlled, for the most part.  There was none of the seething, animalistic passion of the Heathcliff in the novel.  Also, I had a difficult time getting past his pale skin, light eyes, hairless face & light brown hair.  Healthcliff is supposed to be of gypsy blood with dark olive skin, black eyes, heavy black eyebrows & dark facial hair, black hair.  I did like him better after he came back from his time away.

 

I wondered why change the scene where Heathcliff & Hindley are given horses and when Heathcliff's goes lame, he demands Hindley's to film sequence where the Mr. Earnshaw gives Heathcliff a horse, shich he in turn gives to Cathy.

 

We also have a less pitiful Edgar Linton, yet Catherine seems to feel less for him than she does in the book.  In the book, Catherine is truly torn between Edgar & Heathcliff.

 

Another thing, Nelly Dean is supposed to be about the same age as Hindley, just a few years older than Catherine and Heathcliff.  I imagine this change is for production reasons, but it is annoying.  She does play the roll well.  We never see the elder Linton's or Mrs. Ernshaw.

 

Considering all of this, I did enjoy the film and look forward to the second half.


 

I agree with a lot of this. Wuthering Heights is one of my very favorite novels.  I would say that the majority of dialogue and situations in this adaptation are original, and not taken from the book, so I found myself with some reservations at first, but then I just relaxed and enjoyed it.  Few of the major developments are departed from in spirit.

 

My first glimpse of Heathcliff startled me, as his hair seemed too light and his speech seemed rather common.  He seemed more typically English, where I expect him to be more exotic.  However, as the show went on, I saw more of an exotic look and aspect to him.

 

I agree about Ellen Dean.  For some reason, when adaptations are made of this novel, they always seem to portray Nelly as much older than the others, as an adult servant while the others are still children.  I have never understood this.  Nelly was the same age as Hindley, and was raised with the Earnshaw children (her mother worked for the family).  Also, I believe that there was quite an age gap between Hindley and Cathy, which didn't seem the case here.  Also, Hareton was clearly born some years before Cathy and Linton, even in this adaptation, and yet when they are older, he appears to be about the same age.  I know that Everyman said that he felt this representation (Nelly's age compared to the others) was faithful to the book, but I completely disagree.  They make reference here to Nelly having raised the Earnshaw children, which was not the case.  However, as I mentioned, this seems to be the standard for adaptations, so I can't fault this one particularly.

  

One thing that jarred was Linton's attempt to save Cathy by urging her to leave before Heathcliff arrived and locked her in.  He seemed to really care about her and want to prevent what was to happen.  In the book, Linton was used by his father to lure Cathy into the house, and he was quite satisfied with himself that he did so and began to be nasty to Cathy immediately, once she was under their power.  Other than that, I think that Linton's portrayal is excellent.

 

I was confused with the story starting with Linton's arrival at the Grange.  I actually started to think that perhaps this was only going to portray the second half of the novel, as the old Olivier/Oberon movie only portrayed the first.  I agree with Everyman that someone new to the story might be confused, not knowing the background of these characters.

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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Masterpiece Classics Film

Excellent comments, dulcinea3.  I think we may be alone in really loving this book:smileywink:.

dulcinea3 stated:

 

I was confused with the story starting with Linton's arrival at the Grange.  I actually started to think that perhaps this was only going to portray the second half of the novel, as the old Olivier/Oberon movie only portrayed the first.  I agree with Everyman that someone new to the story might be confused, not knowing the background of these characters.

     _____________________________________________________________

 

I was confused at first when the film started.  I thought that the station had somehow mixed up the nights and were showing part 2 first. or that I was wrong about the time it was suppose to start and had missed the beginning.  Finally I realized that it was just the way they had filmed the beginning of the movie before going into the flashback sequences.

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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Masterpiece Classics Film

Where is that in the book?

Everyman wrote: 

They also left out her staying out all night after his departure, getting almost fatally ill, and being nursed at the Lintons, in the process giving the fever to Mr. and Mrs. Linton which brought about their deaths.

 


 

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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Masterpiece Classics Film


Laurel wrote:
Where is that in the book?

Everyman wrote: 

They also left out her staying out all night after his departure, getting almost fatally ill, and being nursed at the Lintons, in the process giving the fever to Mr. and Mrs. Linton which brought about their deaths.

 


 


 

I had to look that up, myself, because I didn't recall Cathy being nursed at the Lintons' (other than earlier, when she was bitten by their dog).  But, yes, when Heathcliff left, Cathy stayed out all night in the storm and got very sick.  Nelly, Joseph, and Hindley nursed her at the Heights until she was convalescent, and then Mrs. Linton (who had been coming over and helping out by ordering everyone around) took her to the Grange, where she and her husband did catch the fever and die.

 

And I thought I knew this novel so well! :smileymad:

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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Masterpiece Classics Film


PhoebesMom wrote:

I was confused at first when the film started.  I thought that the station had somehow mixed up the nights and were showing part 2 first.


I considered the same thing! :smileywink:

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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Masterpiece Classics Film


dulcinea3 wrote:

PhoebesMom wrote:

I was confused at first when the film started.  I thought that the station had somehow mixed up the nights and were showing part 2 first.


I considered the same thing! :smileywink:


 

I thought so too when I watched it online. I even stopped it and went back to the main page to make sure I was watching the beginning.
John

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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Masterpiece Classics Film

Chapter 9, right after Heathcliffe leaves. 

 

In this online version, on pages 83 through 88.  Excerpts:

 

 Catherine would not be persuaded into tranquillity. She kept wandering to and fro, from the gate to the door, in a state of agitation which permitted no repose, and at length took up a permanent situation on one side of the wall, near the road, where, heedless of my expostulations and the growling thunder, and the great drops that began to plash around her, she remained, calling at intervals, and then listening, and then crying outright....About midnight, while we still sat up, the storm came rattling over the Heights in full fury...."Well, miss!" I exclaimed, touching her shoulder; "you are not bent on getting your death, are you? Do you know what o'clock it is? Half-past twelve. Come, come to bed!..."Oh, she is naughty!" I cried, perceiving the master to be tolerably sober. "She got steeped in the shower of yesterday evening, and there she has sat the night through, and I couldn't prevail on her to stir."..."She's ill," said Hindley, taking her wrist; "I suppose that's the reason she would not go to bed. Damn it! I don't want to be troubled with more sickness here. What took you into the rain?"...I shall never forget what a scene she acted when we reached her chamber -- it terrified me. I thought she was going mad, and I begged Joseph to run for the doctor. It proved the commencement of delirium. Mr. Kenneth, as soon as he saw her, pronounced her dangerously ill. She had a fever....when Catherine was convalescent she insisted on conveying her to Thrushcross Grange, for which deliverance we were very grateful; but the poor dame had reason to repent of her kindness. She and her husband both took the fever, and died within a few days of each other.

 


Laurel wrote:
Where is that in the book?

Everyman wrote: 

They also left out her staying out all night after his departure, getting almost fatally ill, and being nursed at the Lintons, in the process giving the fever to Mr. and Mrs. Linton which brought about their deaths.

 


 


 

 

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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Masterpiece Classics Film

One other aspect of the book which seems to have been totally deleted is Joseph's obsessive religiousity.  In the book, I find that an important backdrop, a sort of unforgiving moral harshness which echoes the unforgiving physical harshness of the moors.  It serves as a counterweight to the excesses of sensuality and passion of Catherine and Heathcliff.  Without that, the film lacks the dark morality against the warnings of which the emotionality plays out.
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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Masterpiece Classics Film

Thanks, Everyman and Dulcinea! I must have fallen asleep while reading that part.
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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Masterpiece Classics Film

I think it's an important part because it creates a certain tension underlying Edgar's love for Cathy.  After all, here is the woman indirectly responsible for his parents' deaths.  The film presents the Cathy-Edgar relationship as both less complex and less passionate (except for that amazing bed scene) than it was.  As somebody else noted, Cathy was really torn between her love for Heathcliff and her love for Edgar.  She wanted both (that aspect of her personality of wanting it all, now, or going off in fits or rages really doesn't come out in the film), and it's her inability to have both that shapes her character and provides pathos, even tragedy, to her character. 


Laurel wrote:
Thanks, Everyman and Dulcinea! I must have fallen asleep while reading that part.

 

 

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Re: Wuthering Heights: The Masterpiece Classics Film

Superb incite, Everyman:

 

One other aspect of the book which seems to have been totally deleted is Joseph's obsessive religiousity. 

    __________________________________________________________

 

I noticed the same thing, the film's Joseph is a very pale & weak version of Joseph in the book.

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Catherine & Heathcliff's Relationship in The Masterpiece Classics Film

I felt that even with the added love scenes, there was a lack of passion between Catherine & Heathcliff in the film.  In the book, the attraction between them & the compulsion to be together is palpable.  Their obession with each other is so immeasurable that they can not contain it in their physical bodies.  Perhaps that is why they can only be together in death.

I felt that the actress playing Catherine Earnshaw was especially rather lukewarm in her scenes with Heathcliff.