Monday, February 8, 2016

"Wuthering Heights" -- the Bronte Lehane Scorsese Arnold connection

Classic 19th century gloom and doom tome inspired "Shutter Island," and now inspires "Fish Tank's" Cannes-winning director, too.

"Wuthering Heights" -- the Bronte Lehane Scorsese Arnold connection


Interviewed recently about the books that influenced him when he was writing his gothic pulp novel, Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane cited, among other sources, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. With its mix of the insane and the ghostly, that seems just about right, and if Martin Scorsese didn’t look at the eerie 1939 William Wyler adaptation when he was prepping the Shutter Island shoot, he… well, he probably did. (He looked at Vertigo, Out of the Past, Laura and lots of other titles.)

And now Andrea Arnold, the Scottish writer and director behind the beautifully disturbing kitchen sink coming-of-age drama Fish Tank -- currently at the Ritz At the Bourse -- is gearing up for a new version of Wuthering Heights. (No, it’s not the sink that’s coming of age, it’s a troubled, angry, 15-year-old girl.) Arnold, who comes from a realist tradition that’s more Ken Loach/1960s British New Wave than it is the roiling late-Thirties Hollywood melodrama, has long expressed an affinity for the Bronte sister’s sole novel. Robert Bernstein, producer of the new adaptation, told the Guardian last month thatAndrea has previously said that the only book she would ever direct would be Wuthering Heights, because of the passionate, impossible love story at its center and its elements of class divide…. It’s a very lucky coincidence for us that we’ve found each other.”
And lucky for audiences, I’ll wager. Arnold expects to cast and shoot in the coming months.
Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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About this blog

Steven Rea has been an Inquirer movie critic since 1992. He was born in London, raised in New York City, and has lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Iowa City, Iowa. His column, "On Movies," appears Sundays in Arts & Entertainment, his reviews appear in the Weekend section on Fridays. He is a member of the National Society of Film Critics.

Read his most recent columns and reviews, here. He is the author of the book “Hollywood Rides a Bike,” and also curates the movie stars and bicycling photo blog, Rides A Bike.

Reach Steven at

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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