This is not a feel-good, leaves you smiling and sighing kind of love story. Wuthering Heights is a dark and wintry tale, a story of betrayal, revenge, and misdirected passions. Published in 1847, Wuthering Heights was Emily Bronte’s only published novel; she died a year later at the age of 30.
There have been several screen adaptations of Emily Bronte’s classic love story, but this is by far, my favorite. No…that’s not stating it strongly enough…this is actually one of my favorite all-time films! Ralph Fiennes’ performance as Heathcliff is heart-wrenching and unforgettable. The cast, music, and cinematography are remarkable! T’is a dark and wintry tale…well told.
1992, rated PG, 105 minutes
Juliette Binoche Cathy/ Catherine
Ralph Fiennes Heathcliff
Janet McTear Ellen Dean
Sophie Ward Isabella Linton
Simon Shepherd Edgar Linton
Jeremy Northam Hindley Earnshaw
Jason Riddington Hareton Earnshaw
Simon Ward Mr. Linton
John Woodvine Thomas Earnshaw
Pride and Prejudice
For a lighter, more humorous read, try Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, published in 1813. It has been one of the great romance classics for over two hundred years and never seems to lose momentum. The characters of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are timeless and their witty interactions just plain fun. And you can always count on Austen for a happy ending!
There have been so many film versions it’s hard to count them all but the most lavish production is undoubtedly the 1995 mini-series. At 5 1/2 hours it’s probably best to watch it over several evenings. Jennifer Ehle’s performance may become the definitive Elizabeth Bennet; no one does it better.
Tv mini-series, 327 minutes, 1995
Jennifer Ehle Elizabeth Bennet
Colin Firth Mr. Darcy
Susannah Harker Jane Bennet
Crispin Bonham-Carter Mr. Bingley
Adrian Lukis Wickham
David Bamber Mr. Collins
Lucy Scott Charlotte Lucas
Sense and Sensibility
The first novel published by Jane Austen (1811) it is also one of her best. Marianne Dashwood is especially fascinating, because like so many ladies today, she seems to have a thing for bad boys. And Austen does bad boys rather well.
The 1995 production was nominated for 7 Oscars and 6 Golden Globes including best picture nominations. The film has humor and romance and great performances by a great cast. My favorite is Alan Rickman as the steadfast Colonel Brandon. Tell me where I can order one. And behind the cameras there was Real romance (must have something to do with Austen). Emma Thompson met and later married fellow actor, Greg Wise, who played her sister’s suitor, Willoughby, in the film.
1995, rated PG, 131 min
Ang Lee director-also directed Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi
Emma Thompson Elinor Dashwood
Kate Winslet Marianne Dashwood
Gemma Jones Mrs. Dashwood
Hugh Grant Edward Ferrars
Emilie Francois Margaret Dashwood
Elizabeth Spriggs Mrs. Jennings
Robert Hardy Sir John Middleton
Alan Rickman Colonel Brandon
Greg Wise John Willoughby
Actors Emma Thompson, Gemma Jones, Robert Hardy, Alan Rickman, and Imelda Staunton from the Sense and Sensibility cast, all appeared in the Harry Potter films.
Published by Jane Austen in 1815, Jane warns readers at the beginning of the book of a heroine “whom no one but myself will much like”. And it’s true that Emma is not as likeable as Elizabeth, Jane, Elinor, or Marianne, however by the end of the story she’s catching up (growing up more like) and of course, there’s always the yummy Mr. Knightley. Austen is good at bad boys and good men.
The 1996 version, starring Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma, won an Oscar for best music and was nominated for best costume design. It’s interesting to watch Tone Collette (the mom in the Sixth Sense) as a 19th century fair maid; I almost didn’t recognize her. It’s a light-hearted romance, maybe not quite as good as some of the other Austen films, but still fun to watch.
1996, rated PG, 121 minutes
Gwyneth Paltrow Emma Woodhouse
Jeremy Northam Mr. Knightley
James Cosmo Mr. Weston
Greta Scacchi Mrs. Weston
Denys Hawthorne Mr. Woodhouse
Toni Collette Harriet Smith
Edward Woodall Robert Martin
Phyllida Law* Mrs. Bates
Sophie Thompson* Miss Bates
*Phyllidia Law is the mother of sisters Sophie Thompson and Emma Thompson