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9/10
Like the film? Read the book.
paskuniag-584-89055120 November 2017
I've seen the film many times, have always enjoyed it. But I've been reading the book for the first time. It's a very long novel, and you have to stay with it if you want to see the ending. It's a good read, but Margaret Mitchell, former newspaper reporter, is very thorough in her description of both Southern culture and the changes that the Civil War brought to it. It's the size of the book that was the biggest challenge for David O Selznick. Not what parts to film, but which parts to leave out. So many characters that appeared in the book couldn't be introduced in the movie without extending the film's length to well over four hours. So he had Sidney Howard write the screenplay, then cut that down to a filmable length by hiring several more writers to further pare the script, and was still rewriting it himself while it was being filmed. Selznick was close to running out of money, so he asked his angel, millionaire Jock Whitney, to loan him enough to finish the film. The film was finally completed and edited, then was test-marketed at a theatre not far from LA. The viewers were excited about having seen it and said so on their preview cards, which allowed Selznick to rest easy, knowing he had a hit on his hands.
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10/10
Scarlett's So High Spirited And Vivacious
bkoganbing21 October 2006
Before I ever saw Gone With the Wind, I was well acquainted with Max Steiner's theme. It opened WOR TV's Million Dollar Movie before every broadcast in New York in the Fifties and Sixties. When my parents took me to see Gone With the Wind in one of MGM's re-releases as the film music started in my youthful eagerness to show off my knowledge I remarked to all who could hear that that was stolen from Million Dollar Movie.

Million Dollar Movie is gone now, but Gone With the Wind, book and film, remain eternal. In these days Margaret Mitchell's southern point of view book might have trouble finding a publisher, let alone selling film rights to the story. But it is a tribute to her and the characters she created that they remain alive in everyone's mind who reads the novel or sees the film. And that's just about the same because I can't think of another film that remained so faithful to the text.

It is said that Margaret Mitchell wrote the book with Clark Gable in mind as Rhett Butler. As the sober and ever realistic, but charming Rhett, Gable for most of the film is playing a character not to dissimilar from what he usually played on screen. However in the last half hour of the film when he's hit with unbelievable tragedy and he edges to the point of madness, Gable reached dimensions he never did before or subsequently.

If Mitchell knew who she wanted as Rhett, nobody knew who would be Scarlett. The search for Scarlett O'Hara is one of those Hollywood legends as every actress with the possible exception of Edna May Oliver read for the part. Gone With the Wind started filming without a Scarlett as the famous burning of Atlanta sequence was done first. While it was being down, David O. Selznick settled on a fairly unknown British actress, at least in the USA, Vivien Leigh.

It was a stroke of casting genius. Vivien Leigh's screen output is pretty small, she was primarily a stage actress. Gone With the Wind is more her film than Rhett Butler's. The story is her story, how she evolved from a flighty young southern belle to a hardbitten woman who is determined to survive in the style of living she's become accustomed to from the pre-Civil War era. In the process she helps all those around her economically, but loses all their previous affection.

I've always felt the key scene in the film is after Leslie Howard tells Leigh, he'll be marrying Olivia DeHavilland and Leigh makes a fool of herself with him, she finds out that Clark Gable has overheard the whole thing. He's fascinated by her, but because of that he's on to all her ploys.

Leslie Howard usually comes in for the smallest amount of analysis among the four leads. His Ashley Wilkes is not all that different from Alan Squire in The Petrified Forest. Imagine Squire as a wealthy plantation owner and you've Ashley. He's stronger than he realizes though, he's the one that reluctantly enlists in the Confederate Army while the cynical Rhett Butler makes some big bucks as a blockade runner.

I've always felt however that the most difficult acting job in Gone With the Wind was the role of Melanie Hamilton. Olivia DeHavilland after initially considering trying out for Scarlett, decided to go after Melanie.

It's a deceptive part, superficially it's a lot like the crinoline heroines DeHavilland was doing at Warner Brothers. Melanie is the counterpoint to Scarlett, an incredibly kind and decent soul who can't see bad in anyone. One of her best scenes is with Ona Munson who is Belle Watling, the most prominent madam in Atlanta. The other women of society snub her, but DeHavilland accepts her help for the Confederate cause. It's not about politics or slavery for Melanie, her husband is at war and his cause is her's.

And DeHavilland's death scene would move the Medusa to tears. It's a great tribute to the playing skill of Olivia DeHavilland in that Melanie NEVER becomes a maudlin character. She got her first Oscar nomination for Melanie in the Supporting Actress category, but lost it to fellow cast member Hattie McDaniel as Scarlett's mammy.

Hattie's a shrewd judge of character, she's a slave, but she's also a family confidante of the O'Haras. As Gable says, she's one of the few people he knows whose respect he wants.

Of course Gone With the Wind is from the southern point of view. Growing up in Atlanta, Margaret Mitchell heard reminisces from many Confederate veterans and the stories they told found their way into Gone With the Wind. It's about what the white civilian population endured during the war and Reconstruction.

David O. Selznick got a bit of irony in there though. Please note during the burning of Atlanta the slaves who are being marched out to dig trenches are singing 'Let My People Go.' And that's just what the Union Army was coming to Atlanta to do.

Gone With the Wind copped so many Oscars for 1939 that Bob Hope quipped at the Academy Awards ceremony that it was a benefit for David O. Selznick. Of course it was the Best Picture of 1939 and Vivien Leigh won the first of her two Best Actress Awards.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer kept itself in the black for years by simply re-releasing Gone With the Wind. Unlike any other classic film, it won new generations of fans with theatrical re-release. Somewhere on this planet there are people seeing this 67 year old classic and it is winning new fans as I write this.

And I think Gone With the Wind, the telling of the interwoven lives of Rhett, Scarlett, Ashley, and Melanie and the world they knew, will be something viewed and read hundreds of years from now.
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10/10
Georgia on my mind
jotix10022 February 2005
This film shows the best of the American cinema. Whether we like the film, or not, one has to recognize the greatest achievement, perhaps, of the creative talent of the people working in the movie industry. "Gone with the Wind" represents a monumental leap, as well as a departure, for the movies, as they were done prior to this film.

The vision of David O. Selznick, the power behind bringing Margaret Mitchell's massive account about the South, before and after the Civil War, pays handsomely with the film that Victor Fleming directed. This movie will live forever because it reminds us of how this great nation came into being, despite the different opinions from the two stubborn factions in the war.

"Gone with the Wind" brought together the best people in Hollywood. The end result is the stunning film that for about four hours keep us interested in the story unfolding in the screen. Of course, credit must be due to the director, Victor Fleming, and his vision, as well as the adaptation by Sydney Howard, who gave the right tone to the film. The gorgeous cinematography created by Ernest Haller gives us a vision of the gentle South before the war, and the Phoenix raising from the ashes of a burned Atlanta. The music of Max Steiner puts the right touch behind all that is seen in the movie.

One can't conceive another Scarlett O'Hara played by no one, but Vivien Leigh. Her beauty, her sense of timing, her intelligent approach to this role, makes this a hallmark performance. Ms. Leigh was at the best moment of her distinguished career and it shows. Scarlett goes from riches to rags, back to riches again and in the process finds an inner strength she didn't know she possessed. Her impossible love for Ashley will consume her and will keep her away from returning the love to the man that really loves her, Rhett.

The same thing applies to the Rhett Butler of Clark Gable. No one else comes to mind for playing him with the passion he projects throughout the movie. This is a man's man. Captain Butler was torn between his loyalty to the cause of the South and his sense of decency. His love for Scarlett, the woman he knows is in love with a dream, speaks eloquently for itself.

The other two principals, Olivia de Havilland and Leslie Howard, give performances that are amazing to watch. Ms. de Havilland's Melanie Hamilton is perfect. Melanie is loyal to the woman that does everything to undermine her marriage to Ashley. Mr. Howard's Ashley gives a perfect balance to the man in love with his wife, while Scarlett keeps tempting him.

The rest of the cast is too numerous to make justice to all the actors one sees on the screen, but omitting the contribution of Hattie McDaniel to the film would be sinful. Ms. McDaniel was such a natural actress that she is excellent no matter in what movie she is playing. This huge talent is a joy to watch.

Comments to this forum express their objections to the way the race relations play in the movie, but being realistic, this movie speaks about the not too distant past where all kinds of atrocities, such as the slavery, were the norm of the land. While those things are repugnant to acknowledge, in the film, they are kept at a minimum. After all, this film is based on a book by one of the daughters of that South, Margaret Mitchell, who is presenting the story as she saw it in her mind, no doubt told to her from relatives that lived in that period of a horrible page in the American history.

Enjoy this monumental classic in all its splendor.
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10/10
A Potpourri of Vestiges Review: An American magnum opus which must be watched and often, and by those who understand cinema
murtaza_mma8 July 2011
Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind, in its true essence, is a case study on the Old American way of living where pride and honor were the very essence of human existence. Victor Fleming's rendition of the classic novel, a classic within its own right, does full justice to the themes propagated by Mitchell's evocative masterpiece. In the words of Mitchell herself, Gone with the Wind is the story of the people whose gift of gumption gave them a definitive edge to endure the tribulation and throes of the American Civil War vis-à-vis those who lacked an inner resolve and determination needed for survival.

Scarlet O'Hara, the well bred, haughty, tempestuous and opportunistic protagonist of the saga, is an ostensibly flawed individual whose inexorable urge to placate her ego and realize her fancies appears far stronger than her adherence to any credence pious to her people and relevant to her time. Her scintillating charm and unrestrained zeal not only make her an object of desire for her male counterparts but also an object of envy for the girls around her.

Vivian Leigh perfectly fits into the caricature of Scarlet O'Hara. She makes full use of her talent, courage and guile to portray a part that requires subtlety, brusqueness and poise in equal parts. It may sound like a hyperbole, but no other actress seemed better equipped to play the part a southern belle than Leigh herself, who won not one but two Oscars while playing one: first for her portrayal of Scarlet O'Hara and second for portraying Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire opposite Marlon Brando. In fact, her portrayal of Scarlet O'Hara, in which she perfectly blends panache, poignancy and peremptoriness, is arguably the greatest portrayal by a female lead in cinematic history. Leigh uses her on-stage experience to improvise in order to add new dimensions and complexities to Scarlet's caricature, which according to the novel was mostly one dimensional: out-and-out bad. Scarlet's stubbornness and her impish obsession for a conformist like Ashley, who is not only indifferent to her feelings but also incapable of reciprocating the passion and zeal with which she pursues him, represent just one dimension of her multifaceted self, which is revealed layer by layer with the progression of the narrative. The viewer is gifted to see Scarlet in various avatars: a usurper, an egomaniac, a damsel, a nemesis, a menace, a guardian, a savior, a patriot, a fighter and most importantly as a quintessence of womanhood.

Clark Gable as Rhett Butler perfectly complements Vivian Leigh's larger than life portrayal. He is an outright reprobate, an unscrupulous opportunist whose life revolves around making money and pursuing carnal pleasures. However, behind this facade, just like Scarlet, there is a human capable of love, and worthy of being loved. These unobtrusive yet obvious similarities make Scarlet and Rhett a perfect match for each other. The subtle chemistry and tension between the two protagonists give the story its impetus and resonant charm. The rest of the cast has given exemplary performances with a special mention of Olivia de Havilland, who as Melanie is a paragon of love, humility and forgiveness. She provides a striking contrast to Scarlet's caricature and represents a more traditional picture of womanhood.

The movie's direction, cinematography, editing and music are all top notch and it is the great synergy of all these elements that makes the movie an extravaganza and an undisputed master piece, one to be savored till eternity. The movie is an amalgam of scenes, high on emotion and drama, which keeps the viewer absorbed throughout. The scene in which Scarlet's father tells her the importance of mother land, deeming it as the only thing worth fighting for, is pure gold. Other scenes that come close to matching its brilliance include the one in which Scarlet performs the duties of an obstetrician to help Melanie give birth to her child, and the one in which Scarlet pledges to protect Tara till her last breath. The movie also has an amazing repertoire of dialogs that are delivered with a nice mix of finesse and accuracy. Butler's famous dialog in which he says to Scarlet, "You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how," also happens to be one of all time favorite.

The movie, especially its anti-climatic ending, brings tears to eyes and leaves the viewer overwhelmed as he experiences a rainbow of different emotions, being awestruck by the tremendous impact of the journey that he is vicariously made to undergo.

PS. Gone with the Wind is undoubtedly one of cinema's greatest marvels and is a living testament to cinema's timelessness, and its limitless potential. A must watch for everyone. 10/10

http://www.apotpourriofvestiges.com/
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10/10
Astounding Film - GWTW is the Definition of a Classic!
Alexis_Ray15 November 2003
The setting is a Georgia plantation. The year is 1861, and sixteen-year-old Scarlett O'Hara is infatuated with the blond, drowsy-eyed Ashley Wilkes - the problem is, Ashley plans to marry another woman. Little matter that every other man in the county is courting Scarlett and that a charming scoundrel named Rhett Butler is staring at her with questionable intent - she cares only for Ashley.

Suddenly, the Civil War brakes out, changing the fates and fortunes of all. Scarlett, clever, manipulative, and charming, proves an adept survivor - but what will she have to do to survive? And will she ever learn whom it is that she really loves?

GWTW is one of the most meticulously cast films ever; with the possible exception of Leslie Howard as Ashley (in his forties, rather old to be playing a man half that age), every role was perfectly assigned. After you watch Vivien Leigh you will be unable to imagine anyone else playing Scarlett, and Hattie McDaniel's strong, unforgettable performance as "Mammy" netted her an academy award (the first for an African-American actor).

GWTW's backdrop is the gruesome Civil War, and in the end this film is the story a woman and a civilization (the Old South) going through a war that will not leave either of them unchanged.

The cinematography is beautiful, memorable. Gone With the Wind was shot entirely in gorgeous technicolor; the scene of the fire in Atlanta required the use of all eight technicolor cameras in existence at the time.

The pragmatic may think Gone with the Wind overly dramatic; the restless may find it too long; the action-stimulated, too subtle. None of this, however, detracts from the fact that GWTW retains a lasting appeal as one of the crowning cinematic achievements of the 20th century. Those who see its ending as depressing - tragic, even - perhaps miss the point - which Scarlett O'Hara makes in her very last instant with us, tear-stained eyes uplifted in a sudden, curious burst of hope beneath all the turmoil; that .. . "After all, tomorrow is another day." 10/10
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10/10
The Greatest Film of its Time, and All Time
dhable27 September 2006
I believe that when one views a film, one should consider the context in which it was made.

Barely 10 years after talking pictures were first created; less than that after the first full-length color feature film was created; near the end of the greatest depression this country ever experienced, and in which pretty much the only entertainment available to most was radio or the movies; David O Selznik decided to turn the biggest pot-boiler blockbuster novel into a movie.

And what a movie. Stunning color, the most popular mail actor of his time, perfect music score, incredible action scenes, story line only 70 years removed from when it happened, and on, and on. Can you imagine what a store-clerk or a farmer, or a teacher experienced in that world, seeing Gone With the Wind? What was there to compare with? 1939 was a watershed year for great movies, and this one was the greatest produced. Try watching this movie as if there were no TV, no DVD's, only a few radio stations, spending maybe the second to the last quarter you owned, never having seen such a movie before, and you get what I mean. Masterful for its time, and still timeless today.
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10/10
A Classic in the History of Movie-making.
mikazuki13 December 2000
Every time I watch this film, and I've seen it more times than I can remember, I'm always astonished by the freshness of the story, the power of the emotions it conveys and the beautiful, detailed images of a time long gone. That this film was made in the 1930's is almost incomprehensible to me. The challenges that had to be overcome in order to bring it to life must have been monumental. But come to life it did, and still does! A triumph of film-making ingenuity and genius, that will live on for many generations to come.
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8/10
An immortal and towering achievement
angel_de_tourvel7 January 2005
It is always in people's nature to put down great things and to nit-pick or sometimes just be plain mean. No matter what anyone says, this is utterly fantastic: in story, in special effects, in casting (with perhaps the sad exception of Leslie Howard as "Ashley") and in captivation. Vivien Leigh is so powerful, passionate, magnificent and beautiful that you could watch it 1000 times on that ground alone. She brings something so convincing and human to the role of the selfish, spoilt Scarlett; the character is larger than life.

Leaving Vivien's astounding performance aside, this remains a sweeping unrivalled epic. Watch it. Esther's rating: 20/10
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10/10
One of the Greatest
Tweetienator11 October 2017
A perfect epic movie with a great story and a superb playing cast and one of the biggest productions imaginable. Like Ben Hur and War and Peace a classic for all eternity.

A world is going down, a new world is rising out of the ashes of the gone - melancholy, fear, the sacrifice, and hope of a whole generation fighting and suffering in the Amercian Civil War.

In our troubled times, where war and terror are present almost in every corner of our world and in times where the status quo seems to be a faster and faster-going constant stream and faster-going flow, where nobody can be sure or predict what the future ahead may bring to us, a movie more relevant than most people think.
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9/10
A rich romantic film...
Nazi_Fighter_David26 April 2008
Gerard O'Hara (Thomas Mitchell), an Irish immigrant, settles in North Georgia and becomes a prosperous plantation owner… By great luck he marries young Ellen Robillard (Barbara O'Neill) of Savannah, the daughter of one of the noblest Georgian families and becomes accepted by his aristocratic neighbors… They are blessed with three daughters, Scarlett (Vivien Leigh), Suellen (Evelyn Keyes), and Carreen (Ann Rutherford).

Scarlett, the eldest, worships her mother… Yet, under her beauty and Southern coquetry, she is charming, but proud, willful and vain… She believes she is in love with Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard), a good-hearted young army captain… But Ashley loves his cousin, Melanie Hamilton (Olivia de Havilland), a delicate, selfless woman… He is frightened by Scarlett's energy and animation… And although he admits his feelings for her, he is afraid to marry her and decides to take Melanie for his bride…

When Scarlett loses Ashley she is more certain than ever that she must have him… On their wedding day, she meets Rhett Butler (Clark Gable), a wealthy adventurer from an old Charleston family… Rhett, a gambler—who believes that self-interest is the motive of all human conduct—is attracted by Scarlett's beauty and realizes that they are equally merciless and conscienceless…

Vivien Leigh is magnificent as the spoiled, selfish southern belle... She carries the picture, and controls it... She reproduces the spirited character of Scarlett in all its fluent complexity...

Clark Gable—with a smile and great light in his eyes—is fascinating as the elegant, heroic gentleman ... He is perfect as the ladies man... His dramatic high point is his scene crying in Melanie's presence... His love scenes with Scarlett give the picture a vibrancy that is one of its great attractions... The film begins with their first stormy meeting in the library at Twelve Oaks and intensifies at the Atlanta bazaar, when he shocks the confederacy by bidding $l00 "in gold," to dance with the newly widowed Mrs. Hamilton who cares for nothing but herself…

Hattie McDaniel gives a rich characterization as Mammy, Scarlett's shrewd black servant who was never fooled by Scarlett's airs and tears...

With a memorable music score by Max Steiner, the film was an instant classic, winner of eight Academy Awards...
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10/10
Miracle in Film Making - Can't believe they did it in 1939!
IshtiaqAhmed15 December 2019
This movie was on my watch list since 1996 or 1997 when I read its review in a local newspaper. I though it must be a dull movie as it is very old and procrastinated to watch until Dec 2019.

And friends, I can't tell you how much I am impressed with this movie - wonderful story, superb acting, mesmerizing cinematography and direction. And they did it in 1939 - which is really hard to digest.

I am stupid enough to miss this glory for so many years.
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8/10
The brilliant Vivien Leigh made me so angry!!
mallaverack29 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Just yesterday, I watched the entire GWTW for the first time (excellent quality DVD)and even though in comfort of my own home, I found this film way too long. I would not, could not, sit for almost four hours in a cinema to watch any movie. As a great number of reviewers have pointed out here, this is a movie of two parts, the second bordered on soap opera and partly for that reason, I am unable to give a 10 star, gushing endorsement to GWTW.

The characterisation also bothered me. Of the four principal parts, Leslie Howard's (Ashley Wilkes)was the least credible performance.Here we have someone ready and eager to go off to war but someone unable or unwilling to express his genuine love for his wife Melanie when taunted by the scheming, jealous Scarlett O'Hara. And it seems so odd that Selznick would cast an Englishman as a southern gentleman, particularly when Howard's 'Englishness' was so apparent for his entire performance?! Surely there were better-looking US actors (who sounded like southerners) to play the part of a so-called dashing lead character!

Despite the fact that it was apparent that everybody regarded Melanie(Olivia De Havilland) as a saintly figure who never spoke ill of anybody, it was almost beyond credibility that she appeared so blithely unaware of Scarlett's manipulative, brattish intentions and behaviour. And on learning of the possible romantic link between Ashley and Scarlett, Melanie reacts in an even more incredible fashion.

It was the portrayal, the brilliant portrayal by Vivien Leigh of the story's heroine, that unnerved me more than anything else. Despite the many reasonable defences of Scarlett's character and behaviour - she shows stoicism in hardship, displays admirable strength in returning the fortunes of Tara etc etc - I found Scarlett O'Hara such a most unlikeable, indeed, almost detestable character, that I longed for the scene in which she would get her comeuppance! She was selfish (selfless when material gain beckoned), simpering, headstrong, jealous, vindictive, childish, scheming, stubborn, cruel and seemingly incapable of genuine affection for anybody save her father - most noticeably not for any of her three husbands nor for the presumed object of her unrequited love, Ashley Wilkes. She even steals her younger sister's fiancé Frank Kennedy whom she marries for financial gain. Scarlett also shows no qualms in engaging in dubious business practices and exploiting convict labour in her lumber business.

How typical that shortly after marriage, Rhett insists he'll spend as much as necessary on a new mansion in Atlanta and Scarlett responds with: "Oh Rhett, I want everybody who's been mean to me to be pea-green with envy."

On three occasions, Scarlett uses physical force to show her anger and pride when she slaps somebody across the face - if only Ashley or Rhett or even Mammy had the gumption to give this hoyden a similar whack!

From my perspective, never has there been a more apt closing line in a movie because regarding the fate of Scarlett O'Hara, I couldn't give a damn.
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10/10
A universal masterpiece and one of the few privileged films where every scene is a classic on its own ...
ElMaruecan8219 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
For some nostalgic dreamers, "Gone With the Wind" is a glorious swan song depicting the fall of the South during a devastating Civil War, and its reconstruction on the ashes of the Old Order, a Civilization forever "gone with the wind". It's the adaptation of Margaret Mitchell's epic tale written in bold letters with this peculiar ability to portray the Yankees as the 'bad guys', so common in the stories related by Southerners, as they invite us to understand their idealism if not to root for it: a vision of Gallantry and Old European Nobility where women were courted, wives were submissive to their husbands and slaves treated with paternalism.

But for some idealistic spirits, "Gone With the Wind" resonates as one of the most heart-breaking pages of American History, when the North fought the South in the name of Liberty, Freedom and Justice, and when History, written by the victorious side, ultimately showed the Confederate as the 'ones who were wrong'. "Gone With the Wind" chronicles what the South used to be, a world where coexisted two cultures, the Whites and the Colored. And the depiction of the slaves oscillates between the high pitched voice of the simple-minded Prissy (Butterfly McQueen) who knew nothing about "birthin' babies" and the wisdom and authority of Mammy, Hattie McDaniel in her Oscar-winning role: two figures, two extremes, so rooted in our hearts it's impossible to dislike them, despite the obvious stereotypes.

For literate minds, History is only the setting while the film is an incredible achievement in storytelling, inviting us to follow a gallery of magnificent and appealing characters during a slice of life, where the passing of time can be felt, when History affects story with mercy or ruthlessness... sometimes tragic, sometimes ironic. It's a narrative whose emotional core is the heroine Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh), whose heart belongs to the charming blonde Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard), married to the gentle and extremely good-hearted cousin Melanie Hamilton (Olivia de Havilland). A triangular love that sets the personality of Scarlett as a remarkable anti-heroine: selfish, greedy, jealous, but so brave, courageous and generous when the circumstances of War forever changed the face of the South. A great soul that could only be revealed by a great opportunity, a pivotal metamorphosis incarnated by the iconic "As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again".

The fascinating aspect of Scarlett's personality is that her flaws elevated her above all the other characters: she doesn't care for etiquette, for traditions, her spirit is free, her ego is big and her heart so vulnerable. While the South is definitely turned to the past, Scarlett thinks of the future, as she says: "after all, tomorrow is another day". Scarlett is a modern figure and that's what makes her so appealing both in the film and to the audience. And Rhett Butler, Clark Gable in his most defining role as 'the visitor from Charleston', is Scarlet's perfect match. Both don't belong to that era, they think of money, greed, prosperity, and passion. They embody all the values that America would stand for, transcending the old-fashioned setting of the South. But like the South's enthusiasm for War, the same pride that drives their passion would ruin their relationships.

For many passionate hearts, this is one of the most intense romances ever adapted to the big screen, a frustrating and seemingly impossible love between two strong-minded egos, two faces staring at each other as if they were at the verge of an irresistible passion or about to fight each other. As Scarlett was visibly jealous of Melanie when she went to bed with Ashley, the movie makes you penetrate the soul of these characters with such intensity you could feel she wished that Melanie could die. A childish and immature attitude, probably shared with Butler who wouldn't have minded if Ashley could die in the War, too. The love between Rhett and Scarlett is made of the same idealism that built the South myth, a lost but so endearing cause, a fire that burnt inside, and made pretty fitting that the most intimate and sensual moment they had was under the orange sky, during Atlanta's big fire.

Love has never been as passionate as a love-and-hate relationship and never seemed a romance so comparable to a lost cause, mirroring the Southerners' very faith in victory. Rhett's last stand when he takes Scarlett up the stairs in the 'one night she wouldn't turn him out' is the perfect illustration of a love that pumped its energy from hate and anger. As Scarlett, lost in her love for Ashley, will never realize that her man is Rhett... and when she does, Rhett is already fed up and finally delivers the most unforgettable come-uppance ever: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" before disappearing in a foggy mist. Scarlett gets a magnificent lesson about life, and wouldn't have been as likable without this last slap in the face. This "I don't give a damn" voted #1 in the American Film Institute's Top 100 Movie quotes was Rhett's revenge, and he sure deserved it... and many wannabe-Scarlett would admit that too.

But while "Gone With the Wind" deals with lost causes, it's more than anything the triumph of Cinema as the most defining Art of the last century. Echoing the novel's status as a best- seller, it's one of the greatest films of all time, the greatest casting ever, the greatest score and the greatest challenge for superlatives. Victor Fleming's super-production that would become a landmark in film-making, with its unique visual style and beautiful cinematography in colors, forever incarnated by Scarlett's shadowy silhouette standing beside a tree, during a beautiful sunset. Along with "The Wizard of Oz", and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", "Gone With the Wind" is probably Hollywood's Golden Age reaching its pinnacle before the War would come in 1939 .
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A few flaws, but undeniably a massive achievement in film
davergod26 June 2004
Warning: Spoilers
One of the greatest achievements in film history. This is not only an eye-popping cinematic treat, but one of the greatest stories ever put on celluloid. The movie lasts nearly four hours--- it's longer than any other mainstream commercially successful film ever made. But the time goes by so quickly that you'll miss it when it's over.

Of course, we all know that this movie is set in the days of the Civil War in the 1860s. It's the story of Scarlett O'Hara, a plantation owner's daughter who is very beautiful and who seemingly MUST have her own way at all times. She's willing to scheme and manipulate everyone in her path until she gets it. When the movie opens, the country is on the verge of civil war--- North against South--- but Scarlett barely notices, and doesn't care in the least. Her biggest obsession is that she's in love with dreamy/poetic Ashley Wilkes, and she stays in love with him throughout 98 percent of the movie.

The only problem is....Ashley doesn't have any particular interest in her at all. In fact, he spends most of the movie being married to gentle Melanie Hamilton--- a fact that frustrates Scarlett to no end. Ashley remains the one object of her desire that she is never to obtain.

She would have been better off pining after Rhett Butler, a much more solid, rather dangerous man with a reputation as a no-good scoundrel. He is openly attracted to Scarlett, grows to love her (although he dare not let her know, or she'll use it against him), and it's obvious that he would make a lot better match for her than the drab Ashley. Very late in the movie, he finally does marry Scarlett. But it's probably too late for them to be happy by then, ironically--- and they never really are happy together.

The complicated and utterly fascinating relationship between Scarlett, Rhett, Ashley, and Melanie is the fuel that keeps the movie going. But there are dozens, if not hundreds, of little extra twists and turns that fill out the movie. The Civil War backdrop for one, the colorful supporting roles for another.

A great many reviewers here have seen Scarlett as purely a selfish, one-dimensional manipulative shrew. But she's far more than that! This is a complex, multi-dimensional young woman with lots of conflicting motives. Yes, she's selfish and manipulative. But she's also selfless: the extreme sacrifices that she makes on behalf of her family, and Melanie (keeping in mind that, other than her father, she doesn't even particularly like any of them) are nothing short of heroic. She is overwhelmingly protective of her loved ones. She's a ball of fire when work needs to be done, and she's fiercely courageous.

Despite her hardness, she does also grow as a person. To her great credit, she slowly comes to value Melanie's friendship and support. She genuinely loves and is proud of her daughter. And at the very end of the movie, she does finally realize how ill-suited she and Ashley have always been for each other, and how little passion ever actually existed there.

Some quick high points, and a few flaws: the supporting roles are superb in every way. Even the rather bland Ashley is given as much life as could be expected by actor Leslie Howard, and the other parts are vivid and fill out the movie. Two female parts in particular--- wise, funny, respected Mammy (Hattie McDaniel) and wistful, decent-at-heart prostitute Belle Watling (Ona Munson) are standouts.

The scenery and photography is possibly the most superb ever done in the history of film. Many scenes are just sumptuously lit and filmed. The gripping nighttime escape from Atlanta (the whole city seemingly in flames) is one of the most spectacular action sequences ever done. The sunsets are jaw-droppingly beautiful.

Much has been said about the supposed racism of this film. It's true that it does portray black slaves as being HAPPY to be slaves. But much more important, it's also true that the wisest person in the whole movie is Mammy. This black lady may be a slave--- later an employee--- but she is smart, funny, observant, and she's treated as an equal, if not a superior, throughout the movie. And it's made clear she deserves it. With no irony or rebuke whatever, she scornfully refers to certain low-lifes as "poor white trash", and we know (Mammy knows too) that if they get called that, they deserve it. She may be black, but she isn't inferior to them or anybody. And we root for her all the way.

A few minor flaws, and I do mean minor: 1) Most of the acting looks pretty modern, but there are a very few scenes where it seems a little old-style. Hey enjoy the movie and don't worry 'bout it. People didn't do today's "method" acting in the 1930s. 2) Some of the "raw" scenes still have a Hollywood gloss to them. Even when Scarlett is on the brink of starvation and probably hasn't had a good bath in weeks, she looks perfectly made up with only a few hairs out of place. Oh well. It *was* big-time Hollywood after all. 3) The second half of the movie is more "talky" and less action-oriented than the first. I would not say it's more boring, just less movement. I don't find it draggy, but some people do.

Still a heck of a good story, and a great film, so enjoy the ride!
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10/10
My absolute favorite movie. Nothing can hold a candle to this masterpiece.
alex_rickert9 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Gone With the Wind is without a doubt, one of the most magnificent romances ever. A realistic fiction that ends abruptly and leaves it's viewer/reader starving for more but unfortunately never produced a sequel. A book was written in the 90s that continued the story but trust me, it sucked. Scarlett was such a complex character, selfish, spirited, passionate about everything she wants. But in the end you see that Scarlett changes, she learns about communication and respect for all those who love her after she lost everyone who did. Never read the sequel if you read the first one because it isn't a Margaret Mitchell novel and therefor you won't SEE the complexity. Those of you who voted for this movie to have one star, I pity you. You cannot see the complexity or beauty of this wonderful tale or you just didn't see it and decided to vote for a movie you thought would be stupid when in fact it is the most popular civil war movie in history. Please support this movie and give it FAIR votes. It won ten Oscars and has claim to one of the most amazing casts ever so take that into consideration (plus the effort it took) when you give this movie a one/ten. It deserves so much more.
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8/10
Even after years of being made.. it is good!
daisukereds10 November 2019
I wish people made more movies like this nowadays..

Yes! The movie is LONG, but the development of the main character has you swinging from liking her to hating her, to agreeing with her, to.. all sort of emotions!! It is well worth anyone's time. These characters feel SO real! It's like a perfect summarized soap opera. Anyone studying movie-writing should check this adaptation of the book. Would recommend to anyone.

And make yourself a favor and don't watch the sequel.. the movie ends the way it does for a reason.
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10/10
GREAT BALLS OF FIRE, it's terrific!
HowToCarrieOn7 July 2007
There has never been any movie in the cinema history that was more a legend than "Gone with the wind". It is undeniable that this movie contains lots of goofs, but, despite all this, it is a blockbuster and a real masterpiece. Completely NOT overrated.

I love this movie. I can't explain why exactly. There are sooo many reasons. I first saw it when I was a little kid and still can't forget it.

It's so special if you can return to movie even when you had seen it more than 100 times... And GWTW is this kind of a movie.

In my opinion a movie can not be a good when the acting is not good. And there acting is great! Every character is portrayed so magnificently!

I will start with the supporting players. Barbara O'Neil, though only 28 while filming, played mother of quite adult daughters. She was the Ellen Robillard Mitchell descirbed in her book: so stative, so smart, so lady. Thomas Mitchell should have received Oscar for his Gerald O'Hara portroyal, and I think he did not just because he won for "Stagecoach" that year. Scarlett's sisters are really well cast. But the best supporting performance of the film is this one of Hattie McDaniel's. She is simply magnificent, moving and unforgettable as Mummy. Just amazing.

Many people claim that Leslie Howard did not fit the role of Ashley. They may be right in some sense, but let's think it over twice. Ashley was more handsome as Mitchell described him, but he was a dreamer who could not find himself in a new, cruel world. And Howard showed this quality as best as possible.

Of course, Olivia de Havilland's performance of Melanie was as worth of Oscar as Hattie McDaniel's, but later on she was given what she deserved (Oscars for "To each his own" and "The Heiress"). She plays Melanie with such a sensibility, but she manages to show her hidden strength, but not in a dominate way. Clark Gable was so unsure of his talent till the end of his life. I think that he was a great actor. He's so real as Rhett, and he has to play several dramatic scenes. And he does it perfectly-remember that playing those scenes, like those after Scarlett's miscarriage, needed acting talent. He's perfect. But, I won't hide my opinion that Vivien Leigh's Scarlett is the best and most powerful point of the whole movie. Vivien won the role when she was completely unknown. She managed to master the Southern accent as well. She did not play Scarlett. She WAS Scarlett. But only in this movie. She never acted any other character the same way. She is terrific and has all those features that original Mitchell's Scarlett possesses. I heard that she wanted to play the part exactly as Mitchell created it, and Fleming wanted her to play it just as a bitch, so they fought about it badly, but, finally, Vivien did a great work and her Oscar was something very obvious.

If you love good cinema, if you want to see something moving and something that is not getting old, though almost 70!, do not miss it.
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10/10
After all Tomorrow is Another Day! Tenacious South!
asifawesome9021 January 2018
I am not going to write a review in a classical sense of things. this is a film which should better be watched than reviewed one thing i would like to say is that our hearts are very silly part of body we don't know the importance of people around us but we focus on some abstract ideal being who only lives in our mind. Human being is actually flawed creature, it is violent selfish and at the same time kind and compassionate animal that is beauty of film till the end you will never figure out who is hero who is villain.
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A few flaws, but undeniably a massive achievement in film
daverrgod17 November 2004
Warning: Spoilers
One of the greatest achievements in film history. This is not only an eye-popping cinematic treat, but one of the greatest stories ever put on celluloid. The movie lasts nearly four hours--- it's longer than any other mainstream commercially successful film ever made. But the time goes by so quickly that you'll miss it when it's over.

Of course, we all know that this movie is set in the days of the Civil War in the 1860s. It's the story of Scarlett O'Hara, a plantation owner's daughter who is very beautiful and who seemingly MUST have her own way at all times. She's willing to scheme and manipulate everyone in her path until she gets it. When the movie opens, the country is on the verge of civil war--- North against South--- but Scarlett barely notices, and doesn't care in the least. Her biggest obsession is that she's in love with dreamy/poetic Ashley Wilkes, and she stays in love with him throughout 98 percent of the movie.

The only problem is....Ashley doesn't have any particular interest in her at all. In fact, he spends most of the movie being married to gentle Melanie Hamilton--- a fact that frustrates Scarlett to no end. Ashley remains the one object of her desire that she is never to obtain.

She would have been better off pining after Rhett Butler, a much more solid, rather dangerous man with a reputation as a no-good scoundrel. He is openly attracted to Scarlett, grows to love her (although he dare not let her know, or she'll use it against him), and it's obvious that he would make a lot better match for her than the drab Ashley. Very late in the movie, he finally does marry Scarlett. But it's probably too late for them to be happy by then, ironically--- and they never really are happy together.

The complicated and utterly fascinating relationship between Scarlett, Rhett, Ashley, and Melanie is the fuel that keeps the movie going. But there are dozens, if not hundreds, of little extra twists and turns that fill out the movie. The Civil War backdrop for one, the colorful supporting roles for another.

A great many reviewers here have seen Scarlett as purely a selfish, one-dimensional manipulative shrew. But she's far more than that! This is a complex, multi-dimensional young woman with lots of conflicting motives. Yes, she's selfish and manipulative. But she's also selfless: the extreme sacrifices that she makes on behalf of her family, and Melanie (keeping in mind that, other than her father, she doesn't even particularly like any of them) are nothing short of heroic. She is overwhelmingly protective of her loved ones. She's a ball of fire when work needs to be done, and she's fiercely courageous.

Despite her hardness, she does also grow as a person. To her great credit, she slowly comes to value Melanie's friendship and support. She genuinely loves and is proud of her daughter. And at the very end of the movie, she does finally realize how ill-suited she and Ashley have always been for each other, and how little passion ever actually existed there.

Some quick high points, and a few flaws: the supporting roles are superb in every way. Even the rather bland Ashley is given as much life as could be expected by actor Leslie Howard, and the other parts are vivid and fill out the movie. Two female parts in particular--- wise, funny, respected Mammy (Hattie McDaniel) and wistful, decent-at-heart prostitute Belle Watling (Ona Munson) are standouts.

The scenery and photography is possibly the most superb ever done in the history of film. Many scenes are just sumptuously lit and filmed. The gripping nighttime escape from Atlanta (the whole city seemingly in flames) is one of the most spectacular action sequences ever done. The sunsets are jaw-droppingly beautiful.

Much has been said about the supposed racism of this film. It's true that it does portray black slaves as being HAPPY to be slaves. But much more important, it's also true that the wisest person in the whole movie is Mammy. This black lady may be a slave--- later an employee--- but she is smart, funny, observant, and she's treated as an equal, if not a superior, throughout the movie. And it's made clear she deserves it. With no irony or rebuke whatever, she scornfully refers to certain low-lifes as "poor white trash", and we know (Mammy knows too) that if they get called that, they deserve it. She may be black, but she isn't inferior to them or anybody. And we root for her all the way.

A few minor flaws, and I do mean minor: 1) Most of the acting looks pretty modern, but there are a very few scenes where it seems a little old-style. Hey enjoy the movie and don't worry 'bout it. People didn't do today's "method" acting in the 1930s. 2) Some of the "raw" scenes still have a Hollywood gloss to them. Even when Scarlett is on the brink of starvation and probably hasn't had a good bath in weeks, she looks perfectly made up with only a few hairs out of place. Oh well. It *was* big-time Hollywood after all. 3) The second half of the movie is more "talky" and less action-oriented than the first. I would not say it's more boring, just less movement. I don't find it draggy, but some people do.

Still a heck of a good story, and a great film, so enjoy the ride!
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10/10
A great American classic
rbverhoef7 January 2004
'Gone with the Wind' is one of the greatest American classics ever made. It tells the story of Scarlett O'Hara, played the very beautiful Vivien Leigh. She is one of the most selfish heroines you will ever see in a movie and still care for her. She is in love with Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard) but he marries to Melanie Hamilton. She is played by Olivia de Havilland in a great performance. A new man in Scarlett's life is Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) but Scarlett does everything to get what she wants including marrying someone for money and her own benefit. Rhett loves Scarlett with all his heart, mainly because they are much the same. They both think the world is there for them. Melanie and Scarlett become friends.

The movie is set in the time of the Civil War. What happens exactly with Scarlett, Rhett, Ashley and Melanie is for you to see but the war is pretty important for the story and the way it is used is great. The story itself is great anyway. Although the movie is long it is never boring. A reason for that is the performances. I already mentioned Olivia de Havilland, Clark Gable is very good, charming and sometimes funny, Hattie McDaniel as the black made is outstanding but I have to say that the best thing in this movie is Vivien Leigh. To make you care for a character like that is a pretty hard thing to do, but she makes it seem so easy. It is one of the strongest performances I have seen.

Besides the story and the acting we have the music, the sets, the costumes, the cinematography and of course the direction. It is all great. It was made in 1939 and over 60 years later it still is a very impressive movie.
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10/10
65th Anniversary DVD is a must
rickinbamberg22 January 2005
If you have ever considered GWTW to be less than a masterpiece, you'll be swayed by the 65th Anniversary Edition DVD. The 4-disc set features the remastered film and more extras than you could possibly watch in one day (after watching the film, of course). The two-hour making-of documentary is fascinating and shows how the producer (David O. Selznick) of the film affected the cast, director(s) and writer(s) -- and shows the publicity frenzy that was the hunt for Scarlett. The feature of Olivia De Havilland (in 2004) discussing her role as Melanie is a real treat. The picture and sound are great on the 65th Anniversary DVD, and the special features are a true treasure. Accept no substitutes, seek out the 65th Anniversary DVD and bring it home.
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10/10
Gone But Not Forgotten
Richie-67-4858529 December 2017
I was dating at the time this came out in a small theater on Hollywood blvd for a short run. Me and my girlfriend decided to see a movie and chose this one not knowing anything about it. We sat in the balcony and was immediately captured by the music, characters, story-line and each other as we watched what we thought was a memorable night out together. Unknown to me, when part one ended I thought the movie was over and remarked boy that was good but I wonder what happened after that. We got up to go and found out it was only intermission. I cannot describe the feelings of joy knowing there was more. We were not disappointed either. When it ended I felt totally satisfied and changed forever more. A great movie with my future wife locked into each other for our lifetime. Since then, I have seen this movie so many times never tiring of it. I bought the collectors sets (vhs) and finally the DVD. Just finished watching it again loving every moment until the end. Will I see it again? Why not after all tomorrow is another day....Good movie to eat with while watching
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10/10
Fantastic Dramatization of the Civil War
norahthebadgerwombat18 December 2017
I watched this movie for the first time at fourteen years old. I enjoyed it immensely. I have always been a fanatic for anything Civil War themed, so when my mother recommended it to me, it was a yes from the start. The opening scenes show the young Scarlett O'Hara as she awaits her father's arrival. Beloved in the eyes of all the men in the county, Scarlett has acquired a high self-esteem, but when the War is announced to come after all, the high-spirited Scarlett soon faces obstacles that are determined to destroy her faith and her hope. She meets many people along the way, she even gets married. With new relationships, new responsibilities come as well. Rhett Butler, a man determined to have Scarlett for his own, comes into her life half way through both the novel and the movie, and he fights her on topics such as love, politics and societal roles. Even after the Civil War, Scarlett is still faced with many decisions. She has faced death, marriage and defeat many times. Still willing to go on, even when it seemed impossible, Scarlett leaves us with the last quote of the novel and book, "After all, tomorrow is another day."
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10/10
Victor Fleming and Other Directors of The Wind!
JohnHowardReid29 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
"Gone With The Wind" won numerous awards, including the Photoplay Gold Medal and the Film Daily Best Picture of the Year (selected by polling over 450 U.S. film critics), but missed out on The New Film Critics (though Vivien Leigh's was voted Best Feminine Performance) which went to Wuthering Heights. The National Board of Review placed Gone With The Wind only 9th (even The Biscuit Eater preceded it).

The uncredited writers listed by IMDb all made a fair contribution to the finished script. Other writers who worked on the scenario at various stages include Jo Swerling, John Balderston, Michael Foster, Winston Miller, Charles MacArthur and Edwin Justus Mayer. Director George Cukor also took a hand.

The story of the filming of "Gone With The Wind" has been told in many books, most notably "Scarlet, Rhett, and a Cast of Thousands" by Roland Flamini (Macmillan, New York, 1975).

The director: Considering the continued popularity of at least three of his films, Victor Fleming has never been a household name. Yet more people have seen "Gone With The Wind" in a cinema than any other movie in history. In 1982, gross film rental to that date from the U.S.- Canada market alone was $76,700,000. (Negative cost: $3,957,000). As some movie prices have increased a staggering 5,000% since 1939, the figure needs to be multiplied by at least ten — perhaps as much as twenty or thirty — to give a just comparison with movies such as Star Wars ($193,500,000) and E.T. ($187,000,000). "Gone With The Wind" was voted the best film of all time in a poll conducted by the American Film Institute. But not only did Fleming direct this outright winner, he had another film among the nine runners-up: "The Wizard of Oz". Fleming was the only director with two films on the list.

Some critics have pointed out that Fleming did not direct all of either of these films. He had to leave "Wizard" for "Wind" when the former picture was almost completed. King Vidor finished up. However, Fleming returned after his stint on GWTW to supervise the cutting of Oz and it would be churlish indeed to cavil at his sole director credit. GWTW is a bit different. Cukor had already directed about 5% of the finished movie when Fleming took over. When Victor himself walked out after a particularly acrimonious clash with Vivien Leigh, Sam Wood was called in and then retained to direct a second unit, even after Fleming was prevailed upon to return. Wood directed 33 minutes (14%) of the released footage, particularly in the Reconstruction sequences.

William Cameron Menzies directed about 15% of the picture, including the Atlanta fire (the first scene shot) and the memorable silhouette of Leigh and Mitchell at Tara. However, Fleming directed all Gable's scenes (except Rhett's visit to Scarlett with the Paris hat, which was directed by Cukor; and Gable's final exit, which was actually directed by Selznick himself — in Fleming's presence). Fleming also shot the opening sequence of the picture at Tara, Ashley's furlough, Leigh and Howard's love scene in the woodshed, Melanie's death, some of Scarlett's return to Tara, some of the scenes in the cotton fields, and perhaps the film's most memorable shot of all — the enormous crane shot of wounded Confederate soldiers at the railroad depot. (Selznick himself directed some of these takes, and in the end, neither man could say who shot the take actually used in the movie).

The film's most memorable scene — Scarlett shooting Paul Hurst's deserter — was directed by Cukor.

It might justly be claimed that as Fleming directed the main story- line, he deserved the main credit. All the same he was unhappy at being shut out of the film's editing by Selznick. He boycotted the Awards dinner at the Ambassador at which he would have received his first — and only — honor from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. (He'd never been nominated before and was never nominated again.)
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10/10
The Great American Movie
mmallon431 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
So it's about time I finally got around to reviewing the big cheese itself, the towering achievement of American cinema, those four glorious syllables - Gone With The Wind.

Gone With the Wind testament to how much filmmaking had changed in just 10 years from the beginning to the talkie period. From the astounding cinematic shots such as the long take of the bodies of fallen soldiers lying in the streets of Atlanta to those red Technicolor skies which I could stare at all day and huge matte paintings which are hard to distinguish from real sets - it's a world to get lost in (I can even ignore the very clear continuity error at the beginning of the film when it goes from dusk back to early evening to dusk again). Even those opening titles themselves are breathtaking, let alone for a time when opening titles where a basic on-screen title card.

Gone With the Wind is a film with a fascinating history as it's backdrop. The pink elephant in the room however for many modern viewers is the troublesome historical image of the American South both pre and post-antebellum, whether just or unjust. The emphasis on the Wilkes family marrying their cousins doesn't help things but the real but the real point of contention is the dreaded "R" word, racism. To dismiss Gone With the Wind as a racist film is such a reductive argument, especially when certain commentators liken it to The Birth of a Nation, a film which shows black members of the House of Representatives eating fried chicken. To actually watch Gone With the Wind and study it closely, the way the film examines the racial issues is more 3 dimensional than popular critique contends.

Gone With the Wind is told from the point of view of slave owners who don't see anything wrong with owning slaves (nor is it ever made clear if the plantation owners start paying their former slaves following the end of the war). The slave owners are a product of their time which the movie doesn't pass judgment on. Only one line of dialogue in the film deals with the question of morality when it comes to slavery in which Ashley responds to Scarlett's use of prisoners for labour which implies Ashley sees nothing wrong with slavery providing the slaves are treated well; "Scarlett, I will not make money out of the enforced labour and misery of others" "You won't so particular about owning slaves" "That was different; we didn't treat them that way"

I find by far the most interesting aspect the portrayal of race in Gone With The Wind is the stark contrast between the black carpetbaggers (northerners who came to the south following the war who were perceived to be exploiting the local populace) and the recently freed slaves who are still childlike, dim-witted and happy to help out their masters of whom they are dependent on. The first black carpetbagger seen in the film features a sharply dressed, liberated northern black man traveling with a white accomplish but more significantly, in a scene not long after this Mammy (Hattie McDaniel) sneers at a pair of African-American carpetbaggers who are wearing fancy suits, smoking cigars and laughing. Mammy, who just had to beg for money along with Scarlett, sneers at this black men having the time of their lives. While the phrase is not used in the movie, these individuals would be referred to in many quarters as "Uncle Toms", perceived sellouts to their black brethren. The appearance of independent, well to do black men from the North goes against the narrative of Gone With The Wind being a racist film. I'm not qualified to comment on the historical accuracy of Gone With the Wind or how well it portrayed the time and place it depicts but there's too much nuance within the film's depiction to simply shout "wasis!" rather than having a more productive conversation or what the film did or did not do right. To quote the late, great Roger Ebert, "A politically correct "GWTW" would not be worth making, and might largely be a lie."

The film's opening prologue and the scenic shots of Tara could be seen as Confederate propaganda with its Utopian presentation of a world alongside the opening prologue which reads; "There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Old South. Here in this pretty world, Gallantry took its last bow. Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave. Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind."

Yet if there's any authorial or filmmaking intent to propagate Confederate lost cause mythology (historical revisionism that the Confederacy's cause during the civil war was a just and heroic one) is countered by much of the film's content. There's no explicit condemnation of slavery or the confederacy but does the movie have to do this? The biggest Uncle Tom in Gone With The Wind in Scarlet O'Hara herself for doing business with the northern carpetbaggers in order to save Tara and rise above poverty. What makes Scarlett O'Hara a character I can empathize with? By many accounts, I shouldn't as she's bratty, entitled and manipulative, yet you can't help but admire her desire to survive and make better of herself despite what onlookers might say (her gumption as Margret Mitchell describes it). Scarlet is shown to have little interest in the southern cause (as does Rhett Butler). This is memorably symbolized in the shot in which war has just been announced as everyone runs frantically through the foyer of Twelve Oaks and Scarlett angrily walks by them as if they aren't even there. Really the one cause Scarlett is dedicated to is that set of her family of Irish immigrants who came to America and accomplished the American Dream of owning land ("Land is the only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for").

Gone With The Wind is one of few films in which every character, no matter how minor is significant in their own way, with Star Wars or The Ten Commandments being one of few other films which achieve this. Now if only I could do without Prissy (Butterfly McQueen), one of the most cowardly, unlikeable characters ever - and that nails on chalkboard voice! Thankfully Scarlett gives her a good slap.

Then there's my boy, Rhett Butler; the cinematic embodiment alongside Han Solo and Indiana Jones of masculinity and individualism (and what an introductory shot!). Men want to be him and women want to be with him. A man out for himself and a realist doesn't really believe in the Confederate cause and is by far the most self-aware character in the film. In a defining scene Rhett points out how the south isn't equipped for war while the other southern gentlemen are blinded by illusions of grandeur and he's not afraid to call them out on it, while remaining a gentleman the whole time and removes himself from the meeting after the other gentlemen feel insulted by his comments. Even when Rhett joins the Confederate Army near the end of the war as he describes himself as having a weakness for lost causes, he's still self-aware of how foolish his actions are. Just before Rhett leaves Scarlet at the carriage after escaping from Atlanta, the film treats us to what I consider the greatest kiss in film history with its layers on intensity; melodramatic dialogue, sweeping music, and the blood-red sky.

Rhett's actions do however lead to one scene which gets many viewers in a tussle; Rhett's drunken marital rape of Scarlett after she refuses to have sex with him. Not to mention Scarlett is seen the following the morning have enjoyed the experience! I don't believe however the film at all rewards or gratifies Rhett for his actions and subtlety condemns it. Not only does Rhett show remorse for his actions the following morning, but the rape is also the final act which leads to the destruction of a marriage which was already on shaky ground.

Leslie Howard's Ashley Wilkes who is in many ways the counterpoint of Rhett Butler as the tender, effeminate, proud southerner (with a transatlantic accent, go figure). Ashley is a romantic who is crippled by his nostalgia for the old south. Ashley spends most of the film listlessly adrift through the harsher realities of the reconstruction era. Unlike Scarlett, he has no goals or ambitions for the future. All he can do is remember the elegance of his life as it once was and wish that he could return to those old days.

Rounding out the film's four main cast members is Olivia de Havilland in her undersung performance as Melanie Wilkes, crossing the line of being saintly without ever being sickly. Did she know about Scarlett and Ashley or not? Was she really a saint, or just naive, or perhaps exceptionally wise? Scarlet is the sister Melanie always wanted with each of them possessing qualities the other lacked, especially during their bond over joint survival during and after the war. Scarlett saved Melanie's life and Melanie kept her cool under fire in a way that earned Scarlett's private (though reluctant) admiration. She also did not hesitate to do hard work she never would have had to touch before the war. She was, therefore, more valuable to the family's survival than Scarlett's two sisters. The speculative question of whether Melanie knew about Scarlett's obsession with Ashley. Perhaps Melanie knew she could trust Ashley while seeing that Rhett was the right man for Scarlett by trying to promote their relationship.
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