Wuthering Heights

Where to start. On immediate perception I noticed how dramatics were put in play concerning the weather, the lighting, the music, and the landscape. Secondly, I appraised the way in which the film followed the novel from a narrative standpoint that looked beyond Ellen's involvement and focused more on Heathcliff and Catherine in a way that would do Emily Bronte proud. I was however disappointed in the choice to not include little Cathy but nonetheless impressed in how truly the film followed the novel. The film maker obviously took important note of details within the novel to truly humanize and justify Catherine and Heathcliff away from Ellen's judgemental and slightly biased perception. Yet the film did just enough to still be true to Bronte's characterization of the two characters which I considered quite a feat in their efforts to soften the extremely dim tragedy of the two lovers.

Most of the camera shots were taken up close to give a whole perspective of the profile that gave the audience a feel that they were close spectators of the fall. Lighting was manipulated any time the mood changed, from the opening scene which is extremely dark, Ellen takes you right into a happy extremely lighted mood that is all happy which changed upon Heathcliff's arrival. It is interesting to note the changes in the reception of Heathcliff, the gifts were given in one piece, the wife was more than happy to welcome the horrid child. I had to say I appreciated how detail made an effect on the mood, especially the ghost scene which I fearfully watched out of the side of my eyes and I felt it relevant (given the time period) that though the scene was softened a bit it still aroused enough fear to portray to the audience what the character was feeling at that particular time. I thought it interesting that though Ellen is always present within the novel, she be placed to the side and only on screen when her prescence was especially necessary. I thought this helped give a non-judmental perception of the two lovers. The novel was followed fairly literally in the play which little changes to both reflect the mood of the time and censor any over the top moments from the novel.

Well, not to certainly say censor but especially soften the mood. Catherine was not so nearly as tempermental as she was given to be in the novel, nor Mr. Heathcliff as horrendous. Ellen actually attributed an affinity for her mistress and seemed extremely supportive of the match. Even the dance scene attributed to reflecting the time period in which the movie was made, whether intentional or no. It did well in portraying a certain civility that was otherwise extremely lacking in the novel.

The continuous music I did find frustrating because I understood the relevance of the music in portraying the mood but on the same point the music never stopped throughout the first 15 minutes and I felt that more detracted from the story instead of amplifying it.

To accertain this point here are the first 9 minutes of the movie.

All in all I was extremely proud of this rendition of Wuthering Heights because it did amazing justice to the novel and brought of the characters in a true manner that was conveyed through the author's characterization. This movie insights pangs and awes and does justice to their tragic love.

Bride and Prejudice

If it were not for the cheesy dialogue and the many references to american stereotypee, Bride and Prejudice could pass for a decent romance.

Forgive me, I don't mean to be harsh but I found the discourse unlikeable and extremely ignorant (or satirical) of the american language, and the scenes a little cliche. I found the dance scenes a little enjoyable and I did appreciate the humor but overall I felt that the film was a deadpan for what could pass as a weak satire on american imperialism.

What I found most painful were the several references to stereotypical american life. Cokes were referenced way too often and I felt it odd that all the beverages in the movie were american and were literally called out by name. Ashanti was a nice addition to the overall theme of american versus indian but let's focus more on why the movie could have been insulting and more on the actual thematics of the movie.

That the lead was fair and blue eyed was curious. There were many references to the traditional modern woman which I found an interesting twist on the film. The film offered an opposition of American and Indian which gave insight to the actual practices of marriage in India. Pride and Prejudice would especially be interesting to transform for Indian audiences because of the ability to sympathize and relate to marriage practices.

To focus on the Bollywood aspect of the film, I felt a few of the scenes could do little better than soft core porn. The colors were ecstatic and overwhelming, the choice in words during the musical numbers grating, and the acting above all else was horrendous. Part of Mr. Darcy's job in the film is to portray himself in a consistent manner as to give light to his softer side. Mr. Darcy is not just pretentious in the film, he is also greedy, monetarily focused, and extremely selfish in the "I'm going to please myself and damn any other response." I did find the film maker's choice to give Mr. Darcy a mother, or any semblance of a family when in the film there were none. I felt this choice did little but overcast the cliched stereotype of a rich mother trying to suit her son with the perfect (wealty) daughter. I would have enjoyed Georgiana more had the actor contained a little more of the character's charm and of all the characters I would argue that only Mr. Wickham was true to character, even through a modernized version.

Sexual undertones are apparent throughout with the sexual movements of the women in all of their dances, and even the puns are so ridiculous as to leave the audience cringing in their seat in a "I can't believe they said that" moment. There is even a small reference to Lolita but not to the story, only the name. The film was in many parts close to being effective but seemed unable to make the whole connection.

Again, the soundtrack choices outside the musical numbers were curious because they were chosen to offer an opposition between American and Indian. The color did enough to over emphacize the flamboyant nature of the women which was waaaay off point when considering the subtle Austen. Also, the references to a global dating service and any sort of technical references does little but detract from the romance which was already made cheesy with the horrible one liners. All in all the romance was died and buried within Bride and Prejudice. All that survived were semi political implications and oppositions of traditional versus modern. Had the movie not portrayed the stereotypical america I might have been less insulted but I am still confused on the point of whether or not the movie was a satire on american life or was indeed and romantic appeal to the marriage plot.

To get other insights here is the review of this film on the roger ebert website

Note how the main focus is on the main actress and her beauty.

And for another enjoyable piece that should gain a laugh or two here is the infamous dance in the opening scene.

The women do appear to have a curious power over the men, no?


Pride and Prejudice: A Comparison of Literature to Film Adaptation

Ambition begins for any film producer the moment he decides to take literature from it's pages and showcase it on screen. What's important is not to criticize the film for what is lacking but instead to realize why the film was adapted as it was. Pride and Prejudice does for a wonderful romance novel, even though there's a catch to Austen's satirical humor on marriage and class structures. As a movie the film does as such to emphacize on the romance because sex sells. And yes you might be right that it would be hard to give angst to a movie that's set in the 19th Century but you can be assured that it has been done. Anybody catch that one awkward scene with Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth when they positively looked like they were about to jump one another? The actors and film makers themselves assure that there was a certain sexual tension between the two with the hand up to the carriage and certain close scenes. But why? Anyone can imagine that within Austen's contextual world propriety would have been of the first importance just behind manners and all other social designs. Not that I want to focus on the sex here, I do understand that at some point the film makers do have to sell tickets and although the ending is enough to make my heart melt there's an audience out there that desires a little more.
But beyond that I want to focus on the transformation of literature to film. Each has their own art within them and what I was most impressed with was the way in watch Austen's humor and literary style were translated in a way to still give character to the film. I'm glad the dialogue did not change much, which marked the tension between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy well enough to make the narrative insight unneccessary. The film did not do justice to Pride and Prejudice as a satire but again that would be a pretty lofty acheivement. There were some undertones to suggest that Elizabeth fit outside the social standards in her refusal to marry anybody but a person she loved. The characters really had to step up to bat without Austen's narrative and I found that while some of the actors hit the mark others fell short. Jane, instead of representing her kind and shy character, was shown as bland and easily unnoticeable. Mr. Bingley, failed to show some of the humor and offhandedness that was offered in the novel but he still had an endearing smile. I understand Mr. Darcy would have been a hard attempt considering he must first be hostile and proud but then show that instead of pride he was shy and uncomfortable in outward settings. The actor seemed a little awkward for me, his valedictions of love almost missing the point. I especially enjoyed the shrewdness of Elizabeth's character that made it to screen. I could do without all the close shots of Keira Knightley's face, especially when I found them to be extremely unflattering since her eyes seemed to be blank but I think that was more to emphacize the actor's status instead of the character's in the film.

What I did appreciate more than anything else in the film was the one scene where Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy are together practicing for Mr. Bingley to ask for Jane's hand. The scene was especially endearing and offered a closeness of friendship between the two that is not really shown in the book. The closeness between Jane and Elizabeth is also wonderful with the under the cover scene because it represented an intimacy that is also hinted by Austen but again rarely represented. I am sorry to say that as a female and also a student I very much appreciated the film, but then again with Austen I always have a terrible tendency to flip to the back of the book to give myself an assurance of character matches. But who can help it when you're offered a 19th Century film with beautiful scenery and mannerisms that you can't find in the 20th Century? Audiences have a romantic fascination for 19th Century Britain with all it's nobility and class and social structures. I could make a point that 19th Century American Literature is not emphacized half as much though I do need to recognize that the cultural contexts are different. I just find it ironic that what today's audiences are plaguing upon is exactly what Austen was arguing against. Austen has a clear voice that is dead sent on representing the absurdity of matrimony and class which work together as an almost game. This voice really does not translate well within the characters even though Mrs. Bennett was given the opportunity in the book but fell short in the film by perhaps overexaggerating the character and making her so frivolous that... wait... okay... so maybe the actress did well in giving off the sillyness of character but I still feel that something was lacking. Mr. Bennett really could have stepped up more to contrast with his wife.

I do have to say I did love the film and did enough to bring out my imagination of what the film would be even though Austen's character is only the slightest murmer when in the literature shows her voice to be a humorous outcry that can not be ignored.

This preview is an interesting piece to share because I realize that instead of marketing the romance of the story, the focus is actually on the humor and triviality on the story which sort of brings back Austen's voice. I even caught a sexual innuendo from Mr. Collins that was before disregarded as another of his terrible speeches! It's just curious that the filmmakers took this approach to the story when I certainly assumed they would reach for the romance.