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William WylerThe Life and Films of Hollywood's Most Celebrated Director$
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Gabriel Miller

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813142098

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813142098.001.0001

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Home on the Moors and the Range

Home on the Moors and the Range

Wuthering Heights (1939), The Westerner (1940), The Letter (1940)

(p.157) 8 Home on the Moors and the Range
William Wyler

Gabriel Miller

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter focuses primarily on The Westerner, Wyler's first film for Samuel Goldwyn that was not based on a prestige literary property. Considerable attention is paid to the evolution of the various scripts — important plot elements were changed multiple times — and to Wyler's subversion of some of the western's most important generic foundations. Other notable aspects of the film's production history are recounted, particularly Gary Cooper's unwillingness to star in the film and his quarrels with producer Samuel Goldwyn. There is also a detailed visual and thematic analysis of the film. The chapter also touches on Wyler's two expressionist films, Wuthering Heights and The Letter. Wyler had multiple disagreements with Goldwyn on Wuthering Heights, culminating in the producer's hiring another director to shoot a different ending. On The Letter, he feuded with Bette Davis over her interpretation of an important scene.

Keywords:   The Westerner, Gary Cooper, Samuel Goldwyn, Wuthering Heights, The Letter, Bette Davis

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