This brilliant adaptation of Emily Brontë's timeless tale breaks new ground by covering the complete story of a love so powerful that it reaches beyond the grave. Orla Brady (The Rector's Wife, Proof) stars as literature's... more » most controversial heroine, the spirited, but tragic Cathy. Robert Cavanah (Cracker, Cadfael) plays Heathcliff, the dark stranger whose love for Cathy leads him to take terrible revenge on anyone who comes between them. Nothing is known of Heathcliff's mysterious past when kindly Mr. Earnshaw adopts him into his family, but his daughter Cathy sees in him a soul very much like her own. They are divided by birth, class, and Cathy's jealous brother, but nothing can break the bond between them- not even when Cathy marries the wealthy gentleman Edgar Linton. Yet there are forces in nature that seem to be even more powerful than their love.« less
"Wuthering Heights is very nearly unfilmable - as three major film versions over the last 60 years have admirably proved. The 1939 version was a great film, but it wasn't Wuthering Heights. The 1970 version came closer to the spirit of Emily Bronte's novel and had a fine Heathcliff in Timothy Dalton, but was very much a child of its time and massacred by post-production cuts. The less said about the 1992 version, the better.You could, therefore, be forgiven for approaching a made-for-television version with a cast of comparative "unknowns" with scepticism. You would, however, be wrong. This version of Wuthering Heights is stunningly good. More than that, Emily Bronte would have recognised it as the book she wrote. No major characters are missing. No major events are missing. The book has been filmed faithfully, from beginning to end. The script is based closely on the novel and was plainly written by someone intimately acquainted with it. It keeps up the narrative pace throughout and even manages to incorporate the haunting links between past and future, future and past that the author intended, but no-one else has ever picked up on.The performances are uniformly excellent. Robert Cavanah is breathtakingly good in that Everest of roles, Heathcliff. He scales the histrionic heights necessary to tackle the part without once toppling over the edge into melodrama - showing us the man's psychosis, and its origins, without ever quite letting go of his humanity. His Cathy, Orla Brady, matches him stride for stride - and it`s wonderful to see the "delirious" scene, where Cathy rips apart her pillow and starts sorting the feathers out, played in full and as written. Edgar Linton is often seen as weak and insipid - which isn't how Emily Bronte wrote him at all - and Crispin Bonham Carter is superb in what is always seen as the "also-ran" role. His Edgar is a decent, humane and intelligent man, caught up in a situation he neither understands nor can control. Praise, too, for Ian Shaw's Hindley. He brings a real edge of tragedy to the part, dragging our sympathy with him as he moves from tormentor to tormented.The younger generation don't let the side down, either. Of particularly note is Matthew MacFadyen's engaging and coltish Hareton - inexplicably adoring of Heathcliff, and torn between his love for the man who destroyed his father and Catherine, the young woman he loves.Last but very, very far from least - Polly Hemingway is flawless as Nelly Dean - in many ways the lynchpin of the whole story - there from beginning to end, holding the whole thing together. Her scenes with Heathcliff are memorable - with unforgettable touches such as the way she feeds him kitchen tidbits both as child and man.Finally - a word of praise for Tom Georgeson, whose finely judged Joseph makes you wish we could see a little more of him. Joseph was an important minor character in the novel, and it's good to see him reinstated The locations are superb - the Yorkshire Dales at their grim, wet, windswept best. The Heights is a real farm with real muck - not a Hollywood set-designer's naff idea of a gothic mansion. You can smell the manure and feel the rain.Warren Bennett provided the hauntingly beautiful score - perfectly judged to match the prevailing mood of the film. The cinematography is non-flashy and sparing, the costumes right for the period and unobtrusive - the list is endless. There will probably never be a "perfect" version of Emily Bronte's masterpiece - but this one will do for me."
Great adaptation of a novel that was way ahead of its time
Grace | Alameda, US, Canada | 08/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I find that this 1998 Masterpiece theater TV version follows the novel of the same name pretty faithfully. One who has never read the novel may find the action moving too quickly, so that the flow of the movie may seem slightly abrupt or choppy. However, the movie is only 2 hours long, which is probably why they had to cut out parts of the book and take some liberties with ages and certain details. That does not detract too much from the enjoyment of this movie, which despite its choppiness, has excellent acting, beautiful cinematography (the landscapes are breathtaking), and a wonderfully wrought out, bitter plot which focuses on three generations of two families who are intimately interlocked with each other. Heathcliff definitely comes off as the cruel, embittered man he is in the book, and it's great to see a TV movie capture the personalities of all the characters so well. Highly recommended movie and I'm so glad it's finally out on DVD, though I find the quality is hardly digital quality. But DVD is still a more enduring format than VHS and will most likely last longer."
Minor flaws but still The Best
(5 out of 5 stars)
"No movie should be allowed to escape the stigma of infidelity to her literary origin. What possessed the makers of the Olivier/Oberon "WH" to ravage and brutalize Bronte's masterpiece (chopping off the last 17 chapters, by God!)I'll never know...THANK GOD for filmmakers and screenwriters of integrity. They have brought us such worthy adaptations of classics as this Mobil Masterpiece Theatre WH. The following are my complaints, concerning the minor flaws of the film: 1. Nelly does not narrate the film, as she does for most of the novel. Bronte's skill in interweaving the different POVs of different narrators is one of the novel's signatures, and contributes greatly to our perspective of the stories' events. 2. Sadly, too short! I could sit through a 4-hour rendition if it were executed with the finesse this movie was. But here are some of the many strengths of this, the best screen adaptation of WH: 1. The screenwriters have not played God with the script. In modest deference to the genius of Bronte, the writers start with a bare-bones version of the ENTIRE story, with the complete, intact plot and subplots outlined, with all major incidents and dialogues included, and add just enough details to make us nod with recognition (e.g. Cathy sorting feathers on her bed). The scenes included in the script have been carefully and well chosen with the time constraints in mind. 2. The actors have all been well-cast, especially Heathcliff-dark and cruel and vulnerable at once-and Cathy,a refreshingly wild,strong,and intense portrayal, especially compared to Juliette Binoche's silly, simpering Cathy of 1992's big-screen WH. 3. The scenes are elegantly filmed on location in Yorkshire, inobtrusively providing the barren backdrop for the pseudo-Gothic story. 4. The young Heathcliff bears a striking resemblance to the adult one! 5. The acting is neither cheesy, cloying, nor over-the-top campy as it is in most dark gothic romances. There is real love present between Cathy and Heathcliff, and this betters our compassion for and understanding of Heathcliff's complex motivations and actions. 6. The score is perfect in every way: more poignant than passionate, quietly dignified and sweeping without being obvious. The theme is not played in every scene; it is used sparingly, and for this is all the more appreciated when it does grace a scene... "
L. Craddock | 03/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is by far the most beautiful portrayal of the novel. It had such power over me at first and still does every time I watch it. The music, lighting, and scenery is breathtaking and the character portrayal is full of real, gripping emotions. No other version has had the ability to make me feel the way this one does."
Opposite stories of love
cathie james | portland, or | 01/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the best version of Wuthering Heights I have seen. The acting superb by Robert Cavanah and Matthew Mcfadyen was great to behold. The dark, all consuming love Heathcliff had for Cathy and the gentle, protecting love Hareton had for the daughter Catherine is such a contrast. It made the story more strong in the obsession of Cathy's and Heathcliff's dark romance standout. Watching this story unfold tore at your heartstrings in how they treated the people around them. They were so involved with each other, they just damaged and run over the people they were supposed to also love. Just did not have any room in their hearts for others I think. It almost wore me out I got so involved in the story. Get this version, you will not be sorry."