Considered by many to be the number one movie of all time, based on Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel and the winner of 10 Academy Awards, so to say that this film is a classic is a gross understatement. This epic film is also considered one of the more ambitious films ever made. Huge in scale with a massive cast (50 speaking roles and 2,400 extras), the film has been beloved for generations.
In the South of the United States the Civil War is about to begin and all Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh – A Streetcar Named Desire – 1951, Anna Karenina – 1948) seems to care about is that her cousin Melanie (Olivia de Havilland – Airport ’77, The Adventures of Robin Hood – 1938) is going to marry Ashley (Leslie Howard – Romeo and Juliet – 1936, Of Human Bondage – 1934). Scarlett has had fun flirting with almost every man, but when she cannot get Ashley it drives her mad. The fact that Rhett Butler (Clark Gable – The Misfits, Mutiny on the Bounty – 1935) has heard her being rejected makes Scarlett even more irate.
News that the war has started is received and all young men in the area rush to sign up for the army. Broken hearted over Ashley’s rejection Scarlett marries Charles Hamilton, a man who was going to marry another and whom she does not love.
Charles dies of an illness and so Scarlett is now a young widow. She moves to Atlanta thinking that there she might have a chance of seeing Ashley. At a dance Butler tells Scarlett that one day she will tell him she loves him and that statement makes Scarlett mad.
The situation in the South grows worse and worse. Many men are killed and the war is virtually lost. People are starving and sick. Melanie is pregnant with Ashley’s child and Scarlett is forced to take care of her.
After the war, people are trying to rebuild the South. Butler asks Scarlett to marry him and she agrees just for his money. How will this marriage of one person in love and one person there just for the money work out you ask. Watch on, I say.
This is a film in which the producers and director Victor Fleming (The Wizard of Oz, Treasure Island – 1934) wanted to expand the idea of what a film could be and look like in the moviegoer’s mind. It was to be bigger and better than anything that had come before it. And it was bigger, but I don’t know about better.
Yes, the film did appeal to a huge amount of people (still holds box office records), but as a film it is fairly uneven. The first half of it is a wonder and then it kind of gets lost. Maybe Fleming and everyone involved got tired. I don’t know, but whatever the reason it is a fairly uneven film.
Others might see it as over dramatic (that was the times) or too long (there is even an intermission), but those are not really what I consider to be problems.
Despite it’s problems the film was and is quite an achievement. Like “Avatar” is today so was “Gone With the Wind” in its day. It was a huge leap forward in scale and look. So really the debate of its merits as a film are inconsequential.
The Blu-ray version looks incredible. The colours and picture are sharp and clear. It really pays homage to the incredible cinematography of the film.
-Collectible Music Box
-The Making of the Legend: Gone With the Wind
-Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Presents 1939: Hollywood’s Greatest Year
-Gone With the Wind: The Legend Lives On
-Gable: The King Remembered
-Vivien Leigh: Scarlett and Beyond
-Melanie Remembers: Reflections by Olivia de Havilland
-Emmy-Winning Telefilm Moviola: The Scarlett O’Hara War
-Old South/New South
-Gone With the Wind: Hollywood Comes to Atlanta
-MGM: When the Lion Roars