(On Cable TV, October 2019) 1930s Hollywood adaptation of literary classics are a specific category, but Wuthering Heights is in a category of its own even as a novel. Dismantling the archetype of the vengeful romantic hero, it presents protagonist Heathcliff as an obsessive monster destroying everyone’s lives in order to get what he wants. The glossy Hollywood adaptation, by necessity, does muddle the portrait: it lops off the more disturbing second half of the book, softens a few edges and provides a tragic romantic happy ending of sorts to the lead couple. (This being the second time in a few weeks that a classic Hollywood adaptation of a literary landmark features the heroine dying in the hero’s arms, I’m suddenly curious about the device.) Being what it is, Wuthering Heights doesn’t completely delve into the most unsavoury aspects of the protagonist’s issues, although even a cursory viewing establishes that neither of the protagonists are particularly admirable in any way. For movie fans, there’s a certain pleasure here in seeing a young and dashing Laurence Olivier playing a cad opposite the beautiful Merle Oberon, or an even younger David Niven in an early role as another suitor. To contemporary viewers, the heightened melodramatic tone of the film can have a certain deliciousness, even if ironic. The film certainly won’t be much of a primer for a novel that keeps going for an entire generation after the events depicted in the film. Still, Wuthering Heights remains a landmark of sorts, and the period atmosphere is worth a brief time-travel trip.