Based on the first half of Emily Bronté's novel, childhood friends in an isolated place marry other partners but still love each other.
In a snow storm Mr. Lockwood (Miles Mander) arrives at Wuthering Heights and is reluctantly given hospitality by Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier). Lockwood tells Heathcliff that he saw a woman; Heathcliff calls for Cathy and goes out. The servant Ellen (Flora Robson) says that Cathy died and tells the story that begins forty years earlier.
Mr. Earnshaw brings home the wild boy Heathcliff (Rex Downing), who plays with Cathy (Sarita Wooton) and fights Hindley (Douglas Scott). After Earnshaw dies, his son Hindley makes Heathcliff obey him.
Years later Hindley (Hugh Williams) drinks and is petulant. Cathy (Merle Oberon) suggests Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier) run away, but he stays because of her. Cathy and Heathcliff see neighbors dance at the Lintons, but a dog bites Cathy. Edgar Linton (David Niven) rescues her as Heathcliff is restrained and then told to go. Recovered Cathy returns with Edgar and defends Heathcliff, telling Edgar to get out. Heathcliff tells Cathy he couldn't leave her. Cathy dresses up for Edgar, and Heathcliff gets jealous. She rejects Heathcliff's dirty hands. Heathcliff hears Cathy tell Ellen that wealthy Edgar asked to marry her. Cathy says she dreamed she was rejected from heaven and was happier on earth. She realizes she loves Heathcliff and learns he left in the rain. Ellen tells drunk Hindley to find Cathy in the rain, but he refuses. Edgar carries Cathy into his house, and Dr. Kenneth (Donald Crisp) treats her. Dr. Kenneth tells Ellen that Heathcliff disappeared. Cathy thanks Edgar and agrees to be his wife. At her wedding she feels doomed.
Heathcliff as a gentleman calls on Cathy and Edgar and says he bought Wuthering Heights from Hindley's creditors. Isabella Linton (Geraldine Fitzgerald) says that Edgar and Cathy were not civil to Heathcliff. Hindley asks Joseph (Leo G. Carroll) for wine. Heathcliff comes in and says that Hindley can stay in the house and drink. Hindley pulls a gun, but Heathcliff says he is a coward. Isabella visits Heathcliff, who says she won't be lonely anymore. Heathcliff attends a dance, invited by Isabella. Heathcliff tells Cathy he loves her more than Edgar does. Cathy complains that Isabella invited him, and Isabella says she is going to marry Heathcliff, making Cathy jealous. Cathy calls on Heathcliff, who says he will punish her for her weak virtue by kissing Isabella. Cathy tells Edgar, who aims to stop Isabella; but she is gone. Cathy pleads with Edgar and cries.
Dr. Kenneth treats alcoholic Hindley and says married Isabella has changed. He says Edgar needs her, because Cathy is very ill. Isabella asks Heathcliff to send Hindley away so they can be happy. Ellen comes for Isabella, and Heathcliff realizes that Cathy is dying. Heathcliff goes to Cathy, who is glad to see him. They kiss, and Cathy says she wants to die. Heathcliff says she broke her heart. Cathy tells Ellen she is Heathcliff's. He carries her to the window, and she dies. As Ellen and Dr. Kenneth pray, Heathcliff asks Cathy to haunt him. Ellen finishes her story to Lockwood. Dr. Kenneth says he saw Heathcliff on the moors with a woman. Ellen says that Heathcliff is not dead but with Cathy.
Concentrating on the romance makes this dark drama more
palatable to movie audiences as instinctual attraction vies with