Wuthering Heights Cinematography Analysis

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The 1939 screen adaptation of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, produced by Samuel Goldwyn and directed by William Wyler, tells the story of two troubled souls destined for a life of failed happily ever after. The story opens with Mr. Lockwood, the new garage tenant, appearing at Wuthering Heights to take Shelter from a storm. While there, he encounters the haunting spirit of Cathy, calling out to her love, Heathcliff. Unnerved, Mr. Lockwood tells his tale to Ellen, the housekeeper, who then recounts the story of the ill-fated lovers. Heathcliff, an orphan boy, is taken in by the father of Cathy and Hindley Earnshaw while on a business trip to Liverpool. Cathy has formed a strong bond with the filthy, young charge; however, Hindley resents …show more content…
The way a photographer uses his or her camera can be the difference between a good movie or a great one. Gregg Toland, the cinematographer, won an Oscar for his work on the film Wuthering Heights, as well as created a new technique called deep-focus photography. Scott Higgins and Sara Ross of the Cinema Journal emphasize Toland’s influence on the film by stating, “Gregg Toland’s deep-focus cinematography deftly creates the moody, ethereal atmosphere of haunted love in a film universally acclaimed as one of cinema’s great romances (pg. 174).” Deep-focus cinematography displays the images in both the foreground and background of a shot clearly. Toland’s use of this technique helped produce an atmosphere of volatile, captivating love. An example of this type of shot is while Ellen and Cathy are discussing Edgar’s marriage proposal in the kitchen, and Heathcliff is hidden behind a wall in the doorway of the pantry adjacent to kitchen listening. The angle shot from the pantry simultaneously captures the reactions of not only Heathcliff but Ellen and Cathy as well. The cinematographers of the classic movie era captured movies in such a way that little action was necessary to communicate the

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