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The earliest known film adaptation of Wuthering Heights was filmed in England and directed by A. V. Bramble. It is unknown if any prints still exist. The most famous was 1939's Wuthering Heights, starring Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon and directed by William Wyler. This adaptation, like many others, eliminated the second generation's story (young Cathy, Linton and Hareton). It won the 1939 New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Film and was nominated for the 1939 Academy Award for Best Picture.
The 1970 film with Timothy Dalton as Heathcliff is the first colour version of the novel, and gained acceptance over the years though it was initially poorly received. The character of Hindley is portrayed much more sympathetically, and his story-arc is altered. It also subtly suggests that Heathcliff may be Cathy's illegitimate half-brother.
The 1992 film Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights starring Ralph Fiennes and Juliette Binoche is notable for including the oft-omitted second generation story of the children of Cathy, Hindley and Heathcliff.
Recent film or TV adaptations include ITV's 2009 two part drama series starring Tom Hardy, Charlotte Riley, Sarah Lancashire, and Andrew Lincoln. and the 2011 film starring Kaya Scodelario and James Howson and directed by Andrea Arnold.
Adaptations which reset the story in a new setting include the 1954 adaptation retitled Abismos de Pasion directed by Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel set in Catholic Mexico, with Heathcliff and Cathy renamed Alejandro and Catalina. In Buñuel's version Heathcliff/Alejandro claims to have become rich by making a deal with Satan. The New York Times reviewed a re-release of this film as "an almost magical example of how an artist of genius can take someone else's classic work and shape it to fit his own temperament without really violating it," noting that the film was thoroughly Spanish and Catholic in its tone while still highly faithful to Brontë. Yoshishige Yoshida's 1988 adaptation also has a transposed setting, this time in medieval Japan. In Yoshida's version, the Heathcliff character, Onimaru, is raised in a nearby community of priests who worship a local fire god. In 2003, MTV produced a poorly reviewed version set in a modern California high school.
The novel has been popular in opera and theatre, including operas written by Bernard Herrmann, Carlisle Floyd, and Frédéric Chaslin (most cover only the first half of the book) and a musical by Bernard J. Taylor. The libretto of Herrmann's opera (written by his wife) incorporates material from poems by Emily Brontë, and his score has a few musical motifs that appeared in both prior and subsequent film scores by Herrmann.
In autumn of 2008, Mark Ryan launched a dramatic musical adaptation of the novel, narrated by Ray Winstone. He composed, sang, and produced the tracks with Robb Vallier who had worked on Spamalot. He also directed the video for the song "Women" filmed especially for the website and featuring Jennifer Korbee, Jessica Keenan Wynn, and Katie Boeck.
In 2011, a graphic novel version was published by Classical Comics, and stays close to the original novel. It was adapted by Scottish writer Sean Michael Wilson and hand painted by comic book veteran artist John M Burns. This version received a nomination for the Stan Lee Excelsior Awards, voted by pupils from 170 schools in the United Kingdom.
- Inspiration for locations
- Critical response
- References in culture
- Works inspired
- 1847 edition
- 1850 edition