Wuthering Heights ('39)& Gaslight ('44)

Many recent reviews of these two movies say they have not dated well. If you don't care much for gothic romance, this is a convenient way to knock off two masterworks of the genre. In fact Rebecca ('40) and Jane Eyre ('44) go down in the same blast. Bonus, if you're so inclined.

One of the criticisms made of these films is that they are given to "histrionics" - a sort of talking-points term for overacting. I don't know what sort of lives these commentators lead; but the purple passions and the expressions thereof as portrayed in these movies seem a reasonable parallel to the actions of any number of flesh-and-blood people I've known. Pick up the newspaper. These moves and motivations are all over the place: hot-blooded love, hate, greed - a spectacular spectrum of neuroses darkening into violence of one sort or another.

It's my guess that the hostility to gothic ardor is driven not so much by a need for realism as by a deep commitment to good taste. I'm sure there's a good case to be made for good taste, I just never saw any reason for making it.*

Wuthering Heights (Wyler), Gaslight (Cukor), Rebecca (Hitchcock), Jane Eyre (Stevenson). Lovely movies, all of them - from a Dark Energy point of view, at any rate.