A suprisingly powerful version
A. J Terry | 11/01/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've probably seen every film and TV version of "Wuthering Heights" (in addition to having read the book several times). When I ordered this DVD I wondered if it would really add anything to my collection. The answer is yes. The actors manage to pull off the most difficult task for this story: Making the characters sympathetic. Considering that faithful family servant Ellen is the only voice of normalcy and stability in a nest of emotionally driven and self-centered people, most of them obsessed with revenge, self-destruction, and/or death, that's a feat. (The four episodes are titled "The First Revenge," "The Second Revenge," etc.) Angela Scoular as Cathy Earnshaw comes across as wayward but often enchanting--in many films Cathy is just a, ahem, female dog. A young Ian McShane plays Heathcliff. He has the same deep (but somewhat less gravelly) voice as in "Deadwood," the same semi-scarcastic, semi-Shakespearean delivery--and having not yet acquired jowels, he's broodingly handsome. The 1960s black-and-white format seems a bit primitive today, but it some ways it adds power. The climate looks cold and wet, the fields look stony, the scarce trees look blasted. The Wuthering Heights farmhouse looks drafty, dirty, and crudely furnished. Food looks unappetizing; it consists largely of porridge and tea. This cheerless atmosphere is greatly aided by a soundtrack of constantly whistling wind, for both indoor and outdoor scenes. I was literally so cold that I turned the heat up to watch this series.
Quite Aweful Plot; Acting Was Excellent
Andrew Raker | PA | 08/06/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"First off, I am not rating this film as a romance, nor am I critiquing how well Ian McShane or Angela Scoular can act in misfitting roles. Instead, I am critiquing this adaptation of Wuthering Heights in comparison to Emily Bronte's novel, which I have read numerous times.
Now, let me say that this adaptation of Wuthering Heights, 1967, is NOT worthy of being called a BBC classic, as the cover tries to convince the potential buyer.
Answer: Because the plot of this production is horribly badly because it alters important dialogue. It is the equivalent of a Hamlet production, by the BBC under the label "classic," where Hamlet says "Should I kill myself or no?" instead of "To be or not to be, that is the question?"
Yet, the plot is not the only problem. Also, Ian McShane is too old to play Heathcliff, at least the teenage scenes (which have been altered into youth adult scenes thanks to horrible script-writing).
Born in 1942, this MAN plays Heathcliff for the whole film, except for the first eight minutes, when some little five year old (or someone who appears five) is brought home by Mr. Earnshaw from Liverpool. Now, I understand the desire for constancy in acting. Four different individuals playing Heathcliff over 30 years might make some viewers disappointed. Yet, in this adaptation, how can anyone feel sorry for Heathcliff when 50 pages of the novel are removed - the most important 50 pages in understand why Heathcliff becomes so bitter and angry. Forgive me, but when 25 year old Ian McShane loses 23 year old Angela Scoular so some other actor playing an equally elderly Edgar Linton, I just do not feel much sympathy for the approximately 16 year old Heathcliff of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, who runs away from Wuthering Heights after Cathy says, "Marrying Heathcliff would degrade me."
Now, I understand the 1992 adaptation, the 1998 adaptation, and the 2009 adaptation are also unfaithful portrayals of a wondering work of literature. Yet, this adaptation takes first prize. I simply wonder why the producers just didn't have Ian McShane as the bundle Mr. Earnshaw brings back from Liverpool. I do wonder what the script writer could possibly have been thinking by having other characters call Heathcliff a 'gypsy' at least 20 times. [Certainly, Heathcliff may have been a gypsy, just as he may have been something else. However, in this film, there is great concensus that Heathcliff is a stupid gypsy.]
Continuing with this point, MacShane plays a Heathcliff who reminds one of a highly evolved monkey. He is stupid - not passionate. He is gready for Cathy - not a soulmates with her, who suffered abuse as a teenager. Bronte's Heathcliff needs Cathy and relies upon her - he is the teenager who can accept all the bullies's abuses as long as the girl he loves, loves him back. Such a Heathcliff does not exist in this adaptation.
One Thing I ABSOLUTELY DETESTED about this adaptation:
If you read Emily Bronte's novel, you would learn that Heathcliff is a teenager when Mr. Earnshaw dies - 14 years of age is a good estimate. Now, imagine Hindley (who hates Heathcliff), taking a 14 year old boy, overworking him, repeatedly whipping him very severely, and keeping him from the one thing he loves and depends upon (his soulmate Cathy). All of this is non-existant in this film. Hindley's wife does not ever die until after Heathcliff has left Wuthering Heights. Therefore, all those wonderful scenes where a drunken Hindley takes out his anger on Heathcliff for his wife's death, are non-existent. Heathcliff and Catherine clearly have a childhood together, grow up together, and bond together as teenagers, but you would never know this based upon this sorry excuse for a film.
Again, if you are into the romance, and care nothing for understanding the motivation of human behavior - why Heathcliff behaves as he does, why does Hindley behaves as he does, well, this film might be right for you.
However, if you expect this film to, in some way, resemble the BBC classic adaptation of "Jane Eyre" (1983) starring Timothy Dalton or the 1973 BBC "Jane Eyre" adaptation starring Michael Jayston, you will be as disappointed as if Bertha Mason's character were completely eliminated from of these two relatively faithful adapations.
Wuthering Heights BBC
Michael Jolly | 11/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an early recording of Wuthering Heights by the BBC and is in black and white. Despite this it seems to have more atmosphere than later productions, acting is good, and seems to be quite an accurate rendition of the book. Very pleased with this but beware - this is a USA zone DVD (if in UK, check playable zones)."