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Top 10 Movie Romantic Moments #3 Mr. Heathcliff and Catherine Linton

"Cathy, why did you do it?"

“Cathy, why did you do it?”

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.

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Wandering the Moors

Some of you may have guessed… I am a fool for Wuthering Heights.  The blog’s name says it all, but since I spell my name with a “K” it’s not as obvious as it could be.

Why do I love Wuthering Heights so much?  I have Pat Benatar to thank for that.   Years ago, I wanted to own the Pat Benatar song “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” so I listened to the sample tracks on the CD Crimes of Passion.  The third-last song was called “Wuthering Heights.”  Oh.  My. God.  I went to YouTube and played the song on loop until my hour at the library was up. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZcLMVCsH14)

When I left the library, I had the book under my arm.  I loved it, and started watching the movies.  I still have two versions left to see: the Andrea Arnold version, and the one from 1992.  I hate the 1939 version.  I love Masterpiece Theatre version with Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley.  The 1970 version with Timothy Dalton has some problems, but is still worth a look.

But that’s not really an answer.  A big part of it, I suppose, is that I went in not expecting “the greatest love story of all time,” and I read it on my own time, instead of being forced to do it by my horrible 11th-grade English teacher.  I was able to take the novel as what it was– a dark, early Gothic story featuring troubled romance.

If you go into anything expecting it to be the best X of Y, you’re bound for endless disappointment, wandering the moors with the ghost, wondering how it all happened.  Best to go with the flow, and say afterward, “Gee, that was the best X of Y!”

Not that Wuthering Heights is… it just happens to be my favorite classic novel.  Give the song a listen, give one of the movies a try (don’t bother with Sir Larry and Merle Oberon), pick up the book.   Or try the Caribbean version, Windward Heights.  It’s different, but good as well.  You may be pleasantly surprised by what you find at Mr. Heathcliff’s dwelling-place.

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