Friday, December 27, 2013

Timothy Dalton as Heathcliff

Timothy Dalton's one of those darkly handsome and sensitive actors that never really got his due, despite having played the despicable James Bond a couple of times.  Here he's in a little known film adaptation of one of the greatest of all novels, Wuthering Heights, from 1970, directed by Robert Fuest (who also directed the better known The Abominable Dr. Phibes.)  It's far from the worst adaptation of this masterpiece.   In fact, I'd say it's a good deal better than Wyler's, and most of those recent Masterpiece Theatre versions, despite the beauty of Mathew McFadden's performance as Hareton Earnshaw in one of them.

Even knowing that Oliver Reed was passed over for the part of Heathcliff, my main objection to Fuest's film version is that it ends much too soon, omitting two thirds of the story that Emily Brontë wrote.  Andrea Arnold's very admirable adaptation also stops there, but she had the good sense to leave it open: in hers the lovers are not reunited in death, Heathcliff continues on alone.

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