Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Book v. Movie: Wuthering Heights

I couldn't sleep last night so I stayed up and watched two and a half hours of Masterpiece Classic. This was a new edition of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, showing for the first time on television. Wuthering Heights was one of the first "adult" books that my mom suggested I read when I was a young teen (the other being Jane Eyre). From the start, I fell for the tumultuous and ill-fated love of Catherine and Heathcliff. I also fell for the moors and have always had a desire to run and hide and climb through the heather.

This Masterpiece retelling was not your 1939 Laurence Olivier version with a brooding and cruel Heathcliff. It was filmed in West Yorkshire and has a haunting, feral feeling to it. The music is very elemental and has Celtic rhythms. I was pleasantly surprised at the depth given to the character of Heathcliff, played by Tom Hardy. In essence, this story is about Heathcliff -- the gypsy boy brought home, improved by his adoptive father, abused by his foster brother (also well-played by Burn Gorman -- Owen from Torchwood) and driven to madness by unrequited love for his foster sister.

I re-read this book last July and the thing that I found most annoying this time through was the story of young Cathy, the daughter of Catherine Earnshaw and Edgar Linton. She is disobedient, self-centered and deceitful. Her role in this film was minimal which was fine with me. I was a little disappointed to see Hareton played more civilized and confident than he should have been. On the whole, though, this movie was true to the spirit and plot of book and was an acceptable performance.

Book versus Movie Verdict: Read the book and then watch this on Masterpiece.

Still dreaming of the moors,

Buy Wuthering Heights on Amazon and watch the miniseries on PBS.


  1. I read Wuthering Heights in high school too (on my own, not required reading). It's ripe for a reread!

  2. Now I have the Kate Bush song in my head! "Heathcliff, it's me, Cathy, I've come home..."


  3. I just found your blog and I love it! I think we have very similar taste in books, at least, I have been scrolling through the books that you have read and a lot of them I have read and really enjoyed. I read Wuthering Heights for the first time this year and had mixed feelings. Here is a link to my review if you are interested:

    Now that I have read the book I might have to try a movie version!