Director: William Wyler
Year Released: 1939
As far as adaptations of timeless classics are concerned, this is actually quite passable, never approaching the dead-on precision of Gone With the Wind but not becoming unbearably trivial like some of their less successful attempts (far too numerous to name). Casting Laurence Olivier as Heathcliff is perfect, and since his character is (obviously) the most important it's a very wise decision, his slightly mad stare and chiseled face reflecting Bronte's tragic hero exquisitely - when he played 'modern' roles he wasn't always as successful - and Merle Oberon is satisfactory as his puzzled would-be mate, who lets money and status get in the way of love. These two performances - not to mention David Niven's knowing-but-silent third party to the love triangle - save the film from Wyler, MacArthur & Hecht's reductionist treatment.