Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Tom Hardy, Charlotte Riley
Genres: Drama, Television
Studio: Wgbh Wholesale Release Date: 03/17/2009 Run time: 142 minutes
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Diana F. Von Behren | Kenner, LA USA | 01/29/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Director Coky Giedroyc provides the newly thrice-spliced Masterpiece Theatre with a two and a half-hour remake of Emily Bronte's Gothic classic, "Wuthering Heights (Signet Classics)" that adequately depicts the passionate love/hate relationship made famous by Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff for readers since 1847.
I have not had the pleasure of rereading the novel for a few years, but this adaptation seems remarkably true to the overall spirit of the story. It includes the two generations of Earnshaws and Lintons most noticeably removed from the 1939 film version starring Lawrence Olivier as Heathcliff and Merle Oberon as Catherine (Wuthering Heights 1939 Classic Black and White with Original Theatrical Trailer (Import, All-Region)). The non-linear time sequencing of the film's plot mirrors the timeline of the novel; the only real difference here is the absence of the novel's first person narrators, Mr. Lockwood (Heathcliff's tenant) and Nellie (housekeeper of both Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange). Giedroyc's version employs a third person technique in both the flashback and present day storyline to retell the Earnshaw/Linton history rather than rely on the biased comments of Bronte's storytellers.
Lockwood's absence also means the sequence of events revolving around the apparition of Catherine's ghost does not move the plotline. Instead the opening scene treats us to a vengeful Heathcliff, manipulating his sickly son Linton's marriage to the second generation Catherine, daughter of Edgar and his love. In fact, the entire aspect of the supernatural is not touched upon in the film as intensely as in the novel. Heathcliff yearns for his dead companion, and participates in a ghoulish digging up of Catherine's corpse. In a fantastic feat of cinematography the audience is privy to two vantage points: Heathcliff's vision of her--young and fully fleshed as if alive--and then the gruesome reality seen from behind Heathcliff's back--Catherine's decomposing skull. This film emphasizes the real and the gritty rather than the ethereal.
Similarly, it includes some passionate and psychologically intense moments that add carnality to the overall telling of the story that fits well with and enhances the wild emotions portrayed by Bronte. Heathcliff and his Catherine consummate their love on the moors; Edgar desperately makes love to Catherine in their marriage bed and Heathcliff commands that his wife not look at him as he takes her after their impromptu elopement. Somehow these moments add drama and needed adult content and motivation to what the other adaptations skirted around. When Heathcliff realizes that his woman has slept with Edgar, his anger boils over with helpless indignation. He wants revenge and after witnessing his closeness to Catherine, the audience sees him more as a jilted second choice despite his accomplishment; the face of the gypsy orphan still stares back at him.
Not that actor Tom Hardy resembles a gypsy in any way. His incontrollable mop of dark brown hair flops annoyingly onto his face; it definitely could use a trim or a ribbon holding it away. Nevertheless, he does the character of Heathcliff and the Byronic hero justice; he most decidedly reigns supreme in the scenes in which he participates. His passion seems almost Pilate-controlled from a steel core that is both practical and functional within the constraints of his world. However, like the novel's character, he loses himself frequently with a cynic's paranoia that lashes out with the intent to destroy whatever is in its path.
Cathy, on the other hand, as portrayed by Charlotte Riley has a feral beauty that aptly suggests the novel's heroine. However, Riley's Catherine has been "de-bratted"; the novel depicts Cathy with a nasty selfish streak while this Masterpiece Presentation shows us a confused child/woman that indeed does what she chooses but then seems at odds with the results.
Isolation plays a big part in Bronte's novel. However, this film fills the screen with an assemblage of others that makes the entire presentation more real. Rather than just the dire foursome and their progeny, villagers, church-goers, barroom card players and fighting children add authenticity to the period and in comparison more starkness to the actual footage shot on the moors.
Bottom Line? The 2009 presentation of "Wuthering Heights" created for Masterpiece Theatre Classics smolders with a raw sexuality and practical strength that will probably not please most purists. Nevertheless, the film's team put together a good adaptation that brings the feel of the novel to life without imitating other film presentations of the past. Recommended.
Diana Faillace Von Behren
Not your mother's Heights
Margo | Fort Myers, FL USA | 02/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This adaptation is a fresh rendering that focuses on the complex passions of the two main characters. As a former college professor, I found it difficult to engage my students in reading the novel instead of Cliff's Notes. I think this film version of the novel would definitely inspire those not used to reading 19th century lit to attack the novel with new eyes. I say fresh rendering because the torrid love/hate relationship between Heathcliff and Cathy is the core of the film. It is also about abandonment, including Cathy's. The film is not burdened by the triple narratives of the book. The novel is a Gothic one, but the film dispenses with the supernatural elements that would seem distracting if included. Heathcliff's plea to the dying Cathy to haunt him so they can still be together, Cathy's plea that he let her die in his arms,imagining that she would be tossed out of heaven for loving him too much, the etchings on the wooden wall reading Catherine Earnshaw, Catherine Linton, Catherine Heathcliff, all of these hint at the resignation of the lovers that their lives together are doomed.
I am appreciative of the inclusion of carnal scenes, implicit and explicit, that are merely intimated in the novel. Heathcliff and Cathy tearing each other apart on the crag where they had earlier "lay with each other" and Heathcliff's anguished lovemaking to Isabella where he attempts to feel Cathy's body instead of his wife's. "Turn your face away," he tells her.
I thought the actors wonderful. Tom Hardy's embodiment of the brooding, obsessive Heathcliff is remarkable and the newcomer playing Cathy very good despite shrinking a bit in Hardy's tour de force.
Purists will probably not endorse this version, but it is far and away the best film to capture the essence of the novel, the raw, violent passion between the lovers which is the lynchpin of the story."
Just Not My Favorite Adaptation...
Andrew Raker | PA | 07/17/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I believe this 2009 adaptation captured the essence of Emily Brontë's novel better than the 1992 adaptation. However, the 1998 is still my favorite. However, I am NOT saying this adaptation was very different from the 1998. (In many respects, the films are nearly identical. Most of the same scenes are shown in each adaptation.)
None of the adaptations could be considered true miniseries where the novel is acted out in entirety. (I an certain many people would find that boring.) Therefore, I am not writing this review as a critique of how well this film or any other film can substitute for reading the novel. What I am saying is that I think the 1998 Masterpiece adaptation is better in telling in the story.
My Main Reasons:
While this adaptation is slightly longer, I don't really think it developed minor characters any better than the 1998. (It does possibly develop Joseph's character slightly more but not Nelly's.)
Some scenes in the 1998, for example, Heathcliff hanging a dog by the hook or trashing Thrushcross Grange after Linton's death showed Heathcliff's hate, grieve, etc. better than the alternative gambling scenes in this 2009 film.
The conclusion of this film is a letdown. The 1998, and even the 1992, end better than this film. In this adaptation, I feel I am being led to think, "Now Heathcliff is dead and can be with Catherine" rather than focusing in Catherine II's future and happiness.
I am not saying I do not recommend this film. Certainly, for someone who loves Emily Brontê's "Wuthering Heights" and enjoys watching film adaptations. this individual can probably find something in the film he or she likes. I know that the film was interesting to watch once, if not simply to compare with previous adaptations.
However, for the adaptation I would most like to watch MORE THAN ONCE, the 1998 adaptation (not the 2009) is my choice.
One might also try Youtube for Wuthering Heights (1978), which is the most loyal adaptation and not currently available in Region 1 media markets."
Passion gone wild
Madeline Moe | 08/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're missing passion in your life, watch this movie! I've read the book several times as young as 16 and watched two other movies of this story. I must say that this is my favorite. I feel Heathcliff's pain and understand his anger better. Tom Hardy does an incredible portrayal of Heathcliff. All of the actors are perfect for their parts. I also like the interjection of a little history about Emily Bronte at the beginning and between the two parts. I think it's a wonderful rendition of Wuthering Heights!"