Earnshaw grew old and sick, and with his illness he became irritable and somewhat obsessed with the idea that people disliked his favorite, Heathcliff. Heathcliff was spoiled to keep Earnshaw happy, and Hindley, who became more and more bitter about the situation, was sent away to college. Joseph, already "the wearisomest, self-righteous pharisee that ever ransacked a Bible to rake the promises to himself, and fling the curses to his neighbors" (42) used his religious influence over Earnshaw to distance him from his children. Earnshaw thought Hindley was worthless, and didn't like Cathy's playfulness and high spirits, so in his last days he was irritable and discontented. Cathy was "much too fond" of Heathcliff, and liked to order people around. Heathcliff would do anything she asked. Cathy's father was harsh to her and she became hardened to his reproofs.
Frank S. Nugent of The New York Times called it "a strong and somber film, poetically written as the novel not always was, sinister and wild as it was meant to be, far more compact dramatically than Miss Brontë had made it ... It is, unquestionably, one of the most distinguished pictures of the year, one of the finest ever produced by Mr. Goldwyn, and one you should decide to see."  Variety wrote that the film "retains all of the grim drama of the book," but believed that its "slow pace" would make for "rather dull material for general audiences."  Film Daily reported, "Brilliant screen version of Bronte novel ... William Wyler has given the love story warm, sympathetic direction, gaining fine performances from his cast."  Harrison's Reports noted, "The acting, direction, and production are all excellent; but the story is so sombre and cheerless, that most persons will leave the theatre depressed."  John Mosher of The New Yorker wrote, "No screen version of 'Wuthering Heights' could ever touch the heart so closely, I am sure, as does a reading of the printed page; yet the Goldwyn production approximates the quality of the fierce, tempestuous story with a force one might never have expected ... Seldom has the tone of a great novel been so faithfully reproduced by the movie people."