Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights ★★½

A Century of Cinema Challenge: 1939

The reason I give William Wyler's Wuthering Heights such a low rating has more to do with my general distaste for romances (especially 19th century British ones) than cinematic incompetence. The direction, writing, and acting are all fine and it's beautifully shot, but I quickly found myself bored with the characters and the story. I haven't read the novel this film is based off of, but I know the film only covers the first half, which seems to be the lesser of the two. The story just feels extremely contrived and I couldn't help but think the whole time I was watching it that virtually all the drama and so-called "tragedy" could have been avoided if Heathcliff and Cathy would just grow up and stop being so darn petty. It's things like this that frustrate me and bore me, and only Oberon and Olivier's acting talent kept me from hating their characters. On top of everything, the ending just sank into melodrama and exaggerated sentimentality that I just found silly and childish. Overall, I understand the appeal and appreciate a competently made film when I see one, but it just wasn't my cup of tea.