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Many thanks to everyone who took part in my poll about Jane Eyre adaptations. The favorite, by a strong consensus, is the 1983 Zelah Clarke/Timothy Dalton version, although seven different adaptations received more than one vote. Personally, I've enjoyed several of the films. My preference at this point is for Charlotte Gainsbourg as Jane Eyre (the only actress who has seemed sufficiently young, starved - both socially and physically - and deep for my taste... I wonder if she might have been more passionate if playing against a more spirited performance than William Hurt gave as Rochester) and Timothy Dalton as Rochester (his portrayal captures the character's proud spirit and changing moods so incredibly well, to my mind, that this overcomes the fact he is rather too attractive for the role). I have not seen all of the versions, however, and the poll has convinced me I must, especially the 1944 Joan Fontaine/Orson Welles adaptation.

That poll seemed to require this one, which I offer now. I'll admit to having much stronger loyalties for one of these films in particular, but then again, I'm yet to see them all. I look forward to your responses!

Poll #1035096 Which is your favorite adaptation of Wuthering Heights?

Which is your favorite adaptation of Wuthering Heights?

1939 (Merle Oberon/Laurence Olivier)
1(4.3%)
1948 (Vivian Pickles/Kieron Moore)
0(0.0%)
1962 (Claire Bloom/Keith Michell)
0(0.0%)
1967 (Angela Scoular/Ian McShane)
0(0.0%)
1970 (Anna Calder-Marshall/Timothy Dalton)
4(17.4%)
1978 (Cathryn Harrison/Ken Hutchinson)
0(0.0%)
1992 (Juliette Binoche/Ralph Fiennes)
5(21.7%)
1998 (Sarah Smart/Robert Cavanah)
0(0.0%)
Other (see comments)
3(13.0%)
MTV's modernized version from 2003, fo shizzle.
0(0.0%)
That one with Kate Bush dancing in a meadow.
3(13.0%)
Heathcliff killed my mother, you inconsiderate clod.
1(4.3%)
Ticky boxes are more myself than I am.
0(0.0%)


Is Mr. Heathcliff a man? If so, is he mad? And if not, is he a devil? I sha'n't tell my reasons for making this inquiry; but I beseech you to explain, if you can, what I have married...

"...Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living! You said I killed you--haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers. I believe--I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always--take any form--drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!

- Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

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( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
jamesenge
Aug. 7th, 2007 07:47 pm (UTC)
I confess that the only adaptation of Wuthering Heights I have ever watched all the way through is the Monty Python "Semaphore Version of Wuthering Heights. (For what it's worth, I have read the book.)
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 8th, 2007 08:36 pm (UTC)
*cackles* How could I have forgotten that? The Semaphore Version definitely ranks as a classic in its own right. Thank you for reminding me!
jamesenge
Aug. 8th, 2007 09:53 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm glad you feel that way. I was a little embarrassed when I realized that was literally the only adaptation I'd seen. My cinematic literacy could use some polishing...
melissagay
Aug. 7th, 2007 08:05 pm (UTC)
You *had* to list Kate Bush in there and physically force me to tick the box, didn't you? =)
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 8th, 2007 08:38 pm (UTC)
You know, I rather thought I was channeling you when I came up with that option. *wink*
elicia8
Aug. 7th, 2007 11:56 pm (UTC)
DUUHHHHH.

:D

This is, incidentally, the only book/film my mother and I can absolutely DEBATE about. Because she loathes the 1970 film version, and I loathe the Olivier version (which she adores). We usually end up watching Grease instead. *snerk*

Your polls are fun!
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 8th, 2007 08:41 pm (UTC)
Yay! You brought out The Icon! *does a happy dance*

I'd ask you how you get from the great Olivier/Dalton debate (which has its merits - will you still be my friend if I tell you I adore the 1939 version?) to Grease, but I'm pretty sure my brain would explode if you told me. So I'm just going to stare lovingly at The Icon instead, okay? *wink wink*
sailingwest
Aug. 8th, 2007 12:39 am (UTC)
I have to be ashamed of myself at admit I have only seen the one version. The old one is a little hard to find and rather pricey when you can find it. I found one used and then it turned out they sold it someone else.sigh... But its a wonderful but very sad story. I guess thats why I like Austen's stuff a bit better,things usually turn out pretty well in the end.(and I'm sappy like that)

Wow,I have a feeling I've missed a lot in the last couple of weeks. I've been in deep isolation re-reading HP books #5 and #6 and then devouring #7. But now that its all over sniff sniff there aren't any more.sniff sniff....
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 8th, 2007 08:50 pm (UTC)
I guess thats why I like Austen's stuff a bit better,things usually turn out pretty well in the end

You sound like my sister. She's a Jane Austen fan, too. She's tried to convert me, but it doesn't work. As she says, not enough people die or end their days in misery in Austen's work to satisfy me. *laughs* I did see this in bronteblog, which reminds me of my debates with my sister: In the 19th century, Charlotte Brontë famously rejected Austen's work as lacking warmth, enthusiasm or anything heartfelt, sniffing, "She ruffles her reader with nothing vehement, disturbs him with nothing profound. The passions are perfectly unknown to her." A modern Austen fan might argue there is enough in the world already to disturb a person, if that's what she wants. (Lianne George) *laughs*

I know just what you mean about being all teary-eyed that the Harry Potter books are over. In fact, I went back to my tried-and-true Jane Eyre as a break before I start back in and reread the whole series from Book 1 to Book 7. I do hope J.K. Rowling doesn't wait too long to write that Harry Potter Encyclopedia! :)

magicwondershow
Aug. 8th, 2007 11:24 am (UTC)
this is where i hang my head in shame. i keep wanting to read WH, but something always gets in the way. yes, i'm a horrible person. perhaps i should see a film version first - maybe that'll make it easier on me. so, i await the poll results so i can choose.

eldritchhobbit
Aug. 9th, 2007 09:45 pm (UTC)
*cackles* There's no room for shame here, I tell you! I am awed by the sheer number of books I want to read but haven't yet. I hope the poll helps. :)
mamomo
Aug. 8th, 2007 01:05 pm (UTC)
While I can appreciate why so many people love Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, the works of the Brontes make me kind of suicidal. Or homicidal. Or both. WH drives me nuts b/c I cannot deal with how wanky and whiny and pathetic all the characters are - or the fact that I pretty much have to listen to their story twice. And I would've been down with JE if it weren't for the part where Rochester tries to marry Jane while his crazy wife is locked in the attic and then tries to make amends by offering Jane the chance to basically be a kept woman. Not cool Rochester, not cool. I liked Wide Sargasso Sea, though, for what it's worth. :/

Anyhow, I'm seconding the Monty Python semaphore adaptation.
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 9th, 2007 09:49 pm (UTC)
LOL! I understand you're not the only one who feels that way. If it's any consolation, I've never liked Jane Austen.

And I would've been down with JE if it weren't for the part where Rochester tries to marry Jane while his crazy wife is locked in the attic and then tries to make amends by offering Jane the chance to basically be a kept woman. Not cool Rochester, not cool.

Very true! Of course, he paid for that with his eye, his hand, and a year of absolute hell. And when he finally did get to be with Jane, it's because he saw her as an equal. I was cool with that. But I see what you mean.

And, to be fair, the Monty Python sempaphore adaptation is an absolutely brilliant classic in its own right. I'm disgusted with myself that I forgot it for the purposes of the poll. The world needs more Python goodness!
scribblerworks
Aug. 16th, 2007 10:18 pm (UTC)
If you haven't, you need to read Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. She had a much, much clearer eye to the true nature of their beloved brother Branwell (who is the model for Rochester and Heathcliff). Apparently too true a portrait of Branwell in her book, as both Emily & Charlotte did not approve of how Anne portrayed him. And in Anne's book, the rake does not get the girl.
mamomo
Aug. 17th, 2007 12:37 pm (UTC)
Interesting... I will definitely check that out. Thanks for the recommendation!
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 17th, 2007 01:53 pm (UTC)
As a matter of fact, I bought a copy recently (since I'm on a Bronte binge, it seems), but I haven't yet read it. Now it will go to the top of my reading stack. Thank you!
gilda_elise
Aug. 8th, 2007 02:24 pm (UTC)
Again, definitely the Timothy Dalton version. I was still in high school when I first saw it and fell madly in love with the actor. The book was already a favorite. Still is. I've since seen the Olivier version and the Fiennes version. Olivier was okay but Fiennes was way too old for the part, imo.
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 9th, 2007 09:50 pm (UTC)
I just adore the Olivier version, but I agree that Fiennes was a bad choice.

I'm getting ready to watch Timothy Dalton now...
gilda_elise
Aug. 10th, 2007 12:53 am (UTC)
For the first time? I'd love to know what you think.
eldritchhobbit
Aug. 16th, 2007 08:47 pm (UTC)
I watched it - not only that, I bought it! LOL. You were quite right: Timothy Dalton makes a breathtaking Heathcliff. I completely see why his performance set the bar for everyone else.

I have to admit that I didn't like the film as a whole as much as the 1939 version. I love how that version comes full circle with the older Heathcliff wandering out to find Cathy, just the right bookend for the opening scenes of bleakness, and how every exchange seems filled with an almost unearthly, desperate passion. Parts of this 1970 version lagged for me, and I really didn't like either Anna Calder-Marshall (she seemed screechy and annoying to me, not mesmerizing, as she should have been), or the "Hindley shoots Heathcliff" ending (what was that about?). The 1939 version seems very dark, literally and figuratively (perhaps because it begins and ends in that dismal, later incarnation of Wuthering Heights), and this one doesn't seem quite Gothic enough, somehow. (Maybe it's all that bright sunshine!)

All of that said, though, I'm so glad to have seen it, and I'm definitely going to rewatch it and savor Dalton's performance. I think my favorite scene was when he was wounded, after the beating, trying to get up and being unable to do so (great, restrained acting there), and then the following scene where Cathy comes and lays down beside him in the barn, just to comfort him. Nicely done. There's another great scene where Heathcliff learns that she's pregnant, and they're waiting to see the color of the baby's eyes, where Dalton gives this ghost of a smile that really shows how his character has changed/darkened. Again, great stuff!
gilda_elise
Aug. 17th, 2007 12:54 pm (UTC)
I have to admit that I didn't like the film as a whole as much as the 1939 version. I love how that version comes full circle with the older Heathcliff wandering out to find Cathy, just the right bookend for the opening scenes of bleakness, and how every exchange seems filled with an almost unearthly, desperate passion. Parts of this 1970 version lagged for me, and I really didn't like either Anna Calder-Marshall (she seemed screechy and annoying to me, not mesmerizing, as she should have been), or the "Hindley shoots Heathcliff" ending (what was that about?).

Never really sure about that ending. Perhaps they felt including the rest of the story would take too long so decided to bring it to an end there. But having him grow older without Cathy would have added more pathos. And I agree about Calder-Marshall's performance.

All of that said, though, I'm so glad to have seen it, and I'm definitely going to rewatch it and savor Dalton's performance. I think my favorite scene was when he was wounded, after the beating, trying to get up and being unable to do so (great, restrained acting there), and then the following scene where Cathy comes and lays down beside him in the barn, just to comfort him. Nicely done. There's another great scene where Heathcliff learns that she's pregnant, and they're waiting to see the color of the baby's eyes, where Dalton gives this ghost of a smile that really shows how his character has changed/darkened. Again, great stuff!

Yes, he makes the movie! A wonderful actor.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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