I know when most people think of movie adaptations of Wuthering Heights, the 1970 oddity starring Timothy Dalton as Heathcliff isn’t what most people think of. And admittedly, there are two more versions of the film I need to see… but while this one is not my favorite adaptation of my favorite novel (why the hell would Wuthering Heights focus on Hindley instead of Heathcliff), it does have the best moment between the two lovers.
The moment I speak of comes on Cathy’s deathbed. Edgar Linton is at church, and Heathcliff has sneaked into the house. Nelly, against her better judgement, lets him into Cathy’s boudoir, and the two lovers, crying, meet in a crushing embrace. It’s a genuinely touching moment, and I don’t know much about the production of this movie, but Timothy Dalton and Anna Calder-Marshall are perfect at portraying the doomed-protagonists’ passion and pathological need for each other. It’s never more perfect than at this moment.
No other characters intrude, and they can be wrapped up in each other. It’s romantic. It’s scary. And it’s sad. Everyone who has read the book (or even watched the movie up to this point) know that all Cathy and Heathcliff can do is torment each other, but they will never be happy without each other. That’s their tragedy. They’re too much… too angry, too jealous, too conscious of the society, too greedy. But for all the times they do hurt each other, they really love each other.
And I think that’s what makes them compelling. We want passion in our relationships, without all the drama that ruined Cathy and Heathcliff’s relationships and lives.
It’s never more apparent than this moment. I can’t find it on YouTube anymore, but if you get a chance to see the whole movie, give it a try. It’s a perfectly adequate way to spend 70 minutes.