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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wuthering Heights (1950)

No more than a Cliffs Notes live television version of the Emily Bronte novel that can never hope to approximate the beloved 1939 William Wyler film (which itself used only a portion of the Bronte book). Still, the two strong central performances contain enough vinegar to question the authenticity of the 1939's Heathcliff and Cathy. A young, still unpolished Charlton Heston as Heathcliff suggests the dirty stable boy who turns into the brutish and cruel master of Wuthering Heights in a way that the innate elegance of the impossibly handsome Laurence Olivier couldn't and as Cathy, Mary Sinclair displays a sexual passion that the ladylike Merle Oberon couldn't muster up. There's a sexual tension and a heat in this Heathcliff and Cathy that conjures up the crazy, unrestrained fire of Jennifer Jones and Gregory Peck in DUEL IN THE SUN. With Una O'Connor as Nellie, June Dayton (very good) as Isabella, Lloyd Bochner as Edgar and Richard Waring as Hindley.

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