WUTHERING HEIGHTS. (1998) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

WUTHERING HEIGHTS. (1998) BASED ON THE 1847 BOOK BY EMILY BRONTE. DIRECTED BY DAVID SKYNNER. ADAPTED BY NEIL MCKAY.
STARRING ORLA BRADY, ROBERT CAVANAH AND PETER DAVISON.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

Wow. I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from this TV film adaptation of Emily Bronte’s iconic dark love story, but it was so intense I was barely breathing for most of it. Once Cathy and Heathcliff cast aside their annoying childhood selves and become fully fledged adult lovers, this film really took off.

And, even though it’s a relatively modern version, it manages to capture that much earlier, bleaker feel and look that suits the material much better. I loved it, absolutely loved it. It has the wily, windy moors that Kate Bush sang about, the ones where we roll and fall in green. It has the spilling rain and the glowering inhospitality of Wuthering Heights versus the opulent elegance of Thrushcross Grange.

This is a love story, yes, but I think it must be the darkest love story ever written. And it’s not just a love story; it’s a hate story, a jealousy story, a passion story, a revenge story and a selfishness story as well.

Because, if this is love, it’s a savage, unhealthy one, that endures long after it should have withered and died on the vine. Oh, for a love like that! Who wants the good, clean decent kind, when you can have the kind that Cathy and Heathcliff shared?

I spit on the good kind, lol. The only love worth having is the one that causes emotional agony. If a bloke isn’t digging up my desiccated corpse in twenty years’ time in the dead of a moonless night and making passionate love to it- with tongues- then I haven’t been doing my job…!

Anyway, Irish actress Orla Brady is excellent as the spoilt, wilful selfish Catherine/Cathy Earnshaw, and Robert Cavanagh, an actor with whom I was unfamiliar till now, makes a great Heathcliff, the moody, broody urchin with a chip on his shoulder who has the misfortune to love, and be loved, by her. She’s rich, he’s poor. She’s entitled, he’s beholden. She’s a bitch, and he’s the devil incarnate. It’s a match made in one of the sixty-nine chambers of Hades

So many ruined lives and relationships litter the plot that it sometimes puzzles me that this is actually meant to be a love story. Heathcliff grows up twisted, hating and resenting his so-called ‘betters.’

Hindley Earnshaw, Heathcliff’s sworn enemy and the son of Heathcliff’s benefactor, drinks himself into a horrible state of living death before his actual physical death after his wife Frances shuffles off her own mortal coil. Their miserable son Hareton practically brings himself up.

Edgar Linton suffers the torments of the damned when he marries the tempestuous Cathy, but she won’t give up Heathcliff, because she wants to have her cake and eat it too.

She wants the big fancy house and the exalted marriage, but she still wants to roam the moors with her childhood plaything Heathcliff as well and have no responsibilities whatsoever besides being adored by two men. What chance will Cathy and Edgar’s daughter have?

And, as for poor Isabella, the sister of Edgar who is revenge-married to Heathcliff because he- Heathcliff- thinks it will be a great joke on Edgar and Cathy, well, she’s just in for a rotten time.

Heathcliff is never more brutish than when he rapes the refined Isabella on their wedding night, and their son together, Linton Heathcliff, is a sickly, pitiful, mewling thing, despised by his father. The poor lad gives up the ghost at seventeen.

Nelly Dean, the housemaid and helpmeet to the Earnshaw and Linton women, is well played by a lady called Polly Hemingway. Peter Davison from ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL plays Mr. Lockwood, who has to spend the night in Cathy’s old bedroom at Wuthering Heights and encounters her ghost tap-tap-tapping on the rain-lashed window-pane, begging to be let in.

The all-encompassing, all-enduring but ultimately destructive love of Cathy and Heathcliff’s is the star of the show. Their story inspired Kate Bush to write a song that’s every bit as wildly romantic as the book, which has also spawned numerous film and TV adaptations.

It’s one of my favourite books, appealing intensely to my gothic side as it does. I might decide to be buried with my copy of it. And this film version is top-notch. It really captures the madness of a fucked-up love…

    AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
 
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO
Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:
https://www.amazon.com/Thirteen-Stops-Sandra-Harris-ebook/dp/B089DJMH64
The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:
 https://www.amazon.com/dp/1781994234

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