Laurence Olivier is a darkly handsome Heathcliff, while Merle Oberon, as Cathy, oozes luminous appeal in this classic version of Emily Brontë’s novel.
It perfectly captures the story’s brooding passion – ’What do they know of heaven and hell, Cathy, they who knew nothing of life?’ – while Alfred Newman’s evocative score and the marvellous opening sequence in which housekeeper Flora Robson introduces the tale are picture-perfect contributions to the film’s heady atmosphere.
As the Linton siblings, Geraldine Fitzgerald and David Niven are their respective marriage partners who know nothing of life.
The script was originally intended for Sylvia Sidney and Charles Boyer and when Olivier initially refused the Heathcliff role, Robert Newton was screen tested.
Even the final ghostly walk into the sunset can’t spoil it. Producer Sam Goldwyn ordered the shot (using a double of Olivier) against director William Wyler’s wishes, reputedly commenting, ‘I don’t like stories with people dying in the end.’