Sunday, 10 August 2014

Milton Rosmer as Heathcliff

Milton Rosmer
One of the historic films shown regularly on television is Goodbye, Mr Chips, which was on larger screens in picture houses in 1939. We'll be seeing it again soon, because of its main theme, which deals with the deaths of young men in the First World War. The main stars were Robert Donat and Greer Garson. One of the lesser-known principals was Milton Rosmer, who played a character called Chatteris. Look out for him next time the film comes round, because back in the 1920s he played Heathcliff in a lost, silent, version of Wuthering Heights, which was made by the Ideal Film Company in and around Haworth, directed by Arthur Bramble. Only a few stills remain as visual evidence of this first adaptation of Emily Brontë's novel.

The film might have gone the same way as many others: made of nitrate stock, it may well have exploded, or turned to dust in a forgotten canister. The script, however, has been found, and has been bought by the Parsonage from a West Sussex book dealer, along with nearly two dozen pages of production notes. It will go on display early in 2015.

In 2006, the lost film was front page news in the Brontë Society Gazette:

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