William Wyler – Wuthering Heights (1939)
William Wyler’s Wuthering Heights is one of the earliest screen adaptations of the classic Emily Brontë novel. A traveler named Lockwood (Miles Mander) is caught in the snow and stays at the estate of Wuthering Heights, where the housekeeper, Ellen Dean (Flora Robson), sits down to tell him the story in flashback.
In the early 19th century, the original owner of Wuthering Heights, Mr. Earnshaw (Leo G. Carroll), brings home an orphan from Liverpool named Heathcliff (Rex Downing). Though son Hindley Earnshaw despises the boy, daughter Catherine develops a close kinship with Heathcliff that blossoms into love. When Mr. Earnshaw dies, Cathy and Heathcliff grow up together on the Moors and seem destined for happiness, even though Hindley forces Heathcliff to work as a stable boy.
When Cathy (Merle Oberon) meets wealthy neighbor Edgar Linton (David Niven), Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier) gets jealous and leaves. Cathy marries Edgar, and Heathcliff returns with his own wealth and sophistication. He buys Wuthering Heights from the alcoholic Hindley (Hugh Williams) and marries Edgar’s sister, Isabella Linton (Geraldine Fitzgerald), out of spite. Still obsessively in love with each other, Cathy gets deathly ill while Heathcliff grows into a bitter old man. Ellen continues telling Lockwood the story as Dr. Kenneth (Donald Crisp) enters and reveals the fateful ending.
Wuthering.Heights.1939.720p.WEB-DL.AAC2.0.H.264-GABE.mkv General Container: Matroska Runtime: 1h 44mn Size: 2.95 GiB Video Codec: h264 Resolution: 960x720 Aspect ratio: 4:3 Frame rate: 23.976 fps Bit rate: Audio English 2.0ch AAC
This may well remain the most well-known version, and continues to be in circulation,. However, there was a much rarer version (1960s ? With Richard Burton, or one of his top contemporaries ?) that aired on TCM, but I found out about it too late and missed it. Will keep on looking for that one — perhaps it will get repeated at some point.