Wuthering Heights

One stormy night, a traveller finds himself sheltering at Wuthering Heights, a rundown, morbid old house that we later learn used to be a home of joy and laughter. Warming himself by the fire, he is told by a servant the tragic story of Heathcliff and Cathy, which will apparently make him believe that ghosts can walk the Earth. Heathcliff, as a boy, was orphaned and then adopted from the streets by Mr. Earnshaw, who already had two children, Hindley and Cathy. The latter took a shining to the new boy, playing with him whenever possible and forging a firm bond, but her older brother saw this newcomer as nothing more than a stableboy, which is the position Heathcliff was reduced to when Mr. Earnshaw passed away and the property became Hindley’s by right. By this time, the adult Heathcliff and Cathy (Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon) are obvisouly in love with one another, but their positions in society prevent them from doing anything about it. When their wealthy neighbour Linton (David Niven) falls for Cathy too, Heathcliff runs away, but seeing as this is a romance movie you know he’ll be coming back, and that it probably won’t work out all that well for everyone involved.
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HitchcOctober Day 14: Rebecca

Whilst working as a paid companion (no, not that kind of paid companion; filthy mind) a girl with no friends or family (Joan Fontaine) meets the wealthy but recently widowed Max de Winter (Laurence Olivier). The girl’s obnoxious employer (Florence Bates) comes down with a bout of the flu, leaving Max and the girl to become acquainted enough for him to propose instead of losing her when the trip comes abruptly to an end. The newlyweds return to Manderlay, the stately home of the De Winters in Cornwall in the south of England (where Jamaica Inn was also set, and if I’d watched this when I was down there recently as well – and there was a chance; I took Rebecca with us as well – I think I’d have probably freaked right out), where the new Mrs de Winter feels very much out of place, especially because the memory of her predecessor seems to have a powerful effect on the house and its staff, particularly the head of the household, Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson).rebecca06 Continue reading

Henry V

Before going in I thought I’d be completely lost in this, having not seen Henry I-IV, but I think the films must be standalone stories or something. This adaptation of Shakespeare’s royal epic (which I haven’t read, yet, and am not overly inspired to do so now) stars, and was directed by, Sir Lawrence Olivier, and uses the novel concept of being set on a stage at the Globe, complete with a heckling audience and backstage costume changes. Whilst certainly an interesting idea, this distances us from the film, in the same way as a laugh track would from a terrible sitcom, constantly reminding you that you’re watching a film. The conceit is wisely dropped for the central acts, freeing up the action for larger sets, sweeping camera movement, horses and battles. The rousing speeches are highlights, but the whole affair is dry and slow.

Choose life 5/10