When Emily Bronte's book was first published in 1847, skeptics insisted it must have been the work of her brother Branwell because no woman who had led such a sheltered life could possibly have written such a passionate work. But Branwell did not have the talent his sister did. A tubercular alcoholic, quite possibly an opium addict, he died in 1948. Emily died a short time later from complications of a cold she caught at his funeral.
It is true that the story was updated from the Regency period in England to about 40 years later in order to put Merle Oberon and the other women in the cast in what was deemed more attractive costumes. However, scholars and historians writing about the film have usually said it was changed from Regency to the Georgian Period. In fact, the Georgian preceded Regency, and the film's setting and costumes were actually early Victorian Period.
Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh hated the idea of being parted for three months while he was in Hollywood filming Wuthering Heights
and she was in London doing A Midsummer Night's Dream
on stage. So on impulse, she flew west to visit him briefly. While in Hollywood, she was introduced to David O. Selznick and landed the part of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind
Olivier and director William Wyler worked together again on the film Carrie
(1952), an adaptation of a Theodore Dreiser novel.
Sam Goldwyn withheld the picture from television release for a long time, preferring to reissue new prints in theaters every few years.
Goldwyn took such pride in the picture he was said to have boasted, "I
made it. Wyler only directed it." At a lavish dinner party for the film's premiere, Goldwyn invited a number of prestigious guests to his home ¿but not Wyler.
Goldwyn, long known for his fracturing of the English language, referred to the film as "Withering Heights."
Director William Wyler was one of the founders in 1947 of the Committee for the First Amendment, formed to combat the anti-Communist investigations of Hollywood by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Another founder was writer-director John Huston, who did uncredited work on the script of Wuthering Heights
In 1976, Wyler was the third recipient of the prestigious American Film Institute Life Achievement Award.
William Wyler was nominated for the Academy Award as Best Director 12 times. He won three times: Mrs. Miniver
(1942), The Best Years of Our Lives
(1946), and Ben-Hur
(1959). He received the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award in 1965. He was also the producer of two Best Picture nominees, Roman Holiday
(1953) and Friendly Persuasion
Master Cinematographer Gregg Toland once said, "I want to work with someone who's never made a movie. That's the only way to learn anything - from someone who doesn't know anything." He got his wish on what is perhaps his most acclaimed and famous project, Citizen Kane
(1941). Wedding his deep-focus style to first-time director Orson Welles' propensity for long takes and fluid moving camera shots, and rejecting the standard Hollywood intercutting, Toland revolutionized film technique.
Toland worked with Wyler several other times: These Three
(1936), Come and Get It
(1936, a picture begun by Howard Hawks and finished by Wyler), Dead End
(1937), The Westerner
(1940), The Little Foxes
(1941), and The Best Years of Our Lives
(1946). Unusual for cinematographers at the time, Toland was used to a great deal of creative freedom. On their first picture together, Wyler was as bossy and demanding with him as he was with his actors, and Toland wanted to quit. The director soon learned that Toland knew exactly what he was doing and eased off.
Toland made only three more films after The Best Years of Our Lives
(1946) before his untimely death of a heart attack in 1948 at the age of 44.
Although by-passed for her performance in this movie, Merle Oberon received one previous Academy Award nomination as Best Actress for The Dark Angel
Irish actress Geraldine Fitzgerald was the veteran of 11 British films before making her first American films, Dark Victory
(1939) and this picture, which premiered within a week of each other.
Rebelling against the roles studios assigned to her by studios, Fitzgerald's career stalled in the late 1940s. She re-emerged in later decades as an older character actress and worked steadily through the 70s and 80s.
Geraldine Fitzgerald is the mother of director Michael Lindsay-Hogg.
Samuel Goldwyn was the grandfather of actor Tony Goldwyn.
Famous Quotes from WUTHERING HEIGHTS
ELLEN (Flora Robson): She calls him. And he follows her out onto the moor.
MR. LOCKWOOD (Miles Mander): I don't believe in ghosts. I don't believe in phantoms sobbing through the night. I don't believe that life comes back once it's died and calls again to the living.
CATHY (Merle Oberon): Run away. Bring me back the world.
HEATHCLIFF (Laurence Olivier): I'm going from here and from this cursed country both. But I'll be back in this house one day, Judge Linton, and I'll pay you out. I'll bring this house down in ruin about your heads. That's my curse on you.
CATHY: Make the world stop right here. Make everything stop and stand still and never move again. Make the moors never change and you and I never change.
HEATHCLIFF: The moors and I will never change. Don't you, Cathy.
CATHY: I can't. No matter what I ever do or say, Heathcliff, this is me, now, standing on this hill with you. This is me forever.
CATHY: Heathcliff, fill my arms with heather. All I can hold!
CATHY: Heathcliff's sunk so low. He seems to take pleasure in being mean and brutal. And yet he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same. I am
HINDLEY (Hugh Williams): They're birds of a feather and the devil can take them both.
CATHY: Don't pretend life hasn't improved for you.
HEATHCLIFF: Life has ended for me. How can you stand here beside me and pretend not to remember?
HEATHCLIFF: Not he, not the world, not even you, Cathy, can come between us. You willed me here across the sea.
HEATHCLIFF: If your heart were only stronger than your dull fear of God and the world, I would live silently contented in your shadow. But no, you must destroy us both with that weakness you call virtue. You must keep me tormented with that cruelty you think so pious.
ISABELLA (Geraldine Fitzgerald): If Cathy died, I might begin to live.
CATHY: If only I could hold you til we were both dead.
HEATHCLIFF: Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest so long as I live on. I killed you. Haunt me then. Take any form, drive me mad. Only do not leave me in this dark alone where I cannot find you. I cannot live without my life. I cannot die without my soul.
by Rob Nixon