B. R. Crisler of The New York Times wrote that Tommy Kelly was "a miracle of casting" and called the film "one of the better pictures of the year" on the strength of the source material alone, but also criticized the film for including scenes of "cheap and obvious" slapstick involving such things as tomatoes and cake icing. Crisler told producer David O. Selznick to "get busy on 'Gone with the Wind', will you, before WE begin throwing tomatoes."  Variety wrote that Selznick had "pulled no financial punches" in mounting the production and that while the film was generally faithful to the book, an "excellent job" had been done on the new dialogue written for the screen.  Film Daily called it "a triumph for all concerned."  John Mosher of The New Yorker praised Kelly and Gillis as "altogether very much the Twain children" and called Weaver's screenplay "excellent".