Wuthering Heights is a William Wyler film starring Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon as two star-crossed lovers in the adaptation of Emily Bronte’s classic novel. It is technically a romance film, though after the first hour or so the romance gives way to a tale of revenge and comeuppance, before sliding back into the framework it started from.
The main story is told in flashback, and deals with the burgeoning romance between the stable boy Heathcliff and the mistress of the house Cathy, and how their romance must endure trials from both individuals. The film is very by-the-book, and is extremely rudimentary in its construction and presentation, which won’t impress too many filmophiles looking for something truly exemplary, but it achieves what it sets out to do. Laurence Olivier is a perfect leading man, strong and determined to have his way, no matter how long he will have to wait for it. Merle Oberon is a consummate romantic partner, burdened by her stature as compared to the initially lowly Heathcliff. The romance is somewhat melodramatic, but in a way, it needs to be in order to succeed at fully adapting the material.
I was less pleased with this as I thought I would be, probably because I’m not usually one for melodrama, and that’s mostly what the romance in this film consisted of. Nonetheless, if you’re into that sort of thing, or are a fan of the novel adaptation, or even of Olivier, you’ll probably find something to like about this one.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10