Wuthering Heights (1954)

“A minute after you left, you were already back with me for good.”

Wuthering Heights 1954 Poster

Synopsis:
When her childhood soulmate (Jorge Mistral) returns after many years away, Catalina (Irasema Dilian) — despite being married (to Ernesto Alonso) and expecting a child — acknowledges that she’s never stopped loving Alejandro (Mistral). Meanwhile, her husband’s sister (Lilia Prado) foolishly tries to seduce Mistral, and her alcoholic brother (Luis Aceves Castaneda) feels increasing resentment over Mistral’s newfound financial success.

Genres:

Review:
Made during his “Mexican period”, Luis Bunuel’s adaptation of Emily Bronte’s classic Gothic novel at first seems like a curious choice for the famed surrealist filmmaker — until one recognizes his fascination with the star-crossed couple’s l’amour fou. Unfortunately, Bunuel’s vision of Bronte’s story — which he sets in a barren Mexican desert landscape rather than wind-swept moors — isn’t entirely successful. His decision to eliminate all scenes from Catalina and Alejandro’s childhood, instead starting the story with Alejandro’s return as an adult, prevents us from understanding either the depth of their enduring passion for one another, or the rationale for Alejandro’s bitter resentment towards Catalina’s snobbish brother; also missing is narration by the family’s housekeeper, who (in the novel and in William Wyler’s highly regarded 1939 adaptation) provides a valuable perspective on affairs. The result is an overly melodramatic tale that lacks narrative depth, and at times comes across like merely a condensed telenovela.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Atmospheric cinematography
    Wuthering Heights Still

Must See?
No; this one is only must-see for Bunuel completists, or Bronte fans.

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