Classic Review – Gone with the Wind (1939)

Title – Gone with the Wind (1939) 

Director – Victor Fleming (The Wizard of Oz) 

Cast – Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Barbara O’Neil, Hattie McDaniel, Olivia de Havilland

Plot – A lavish American epic set around the Civil War period as the privileged Scarlett O’Hara (Leigh) traverses the changing landscape and embarks on an up and down romance with the charming Rhett Butler (Gable). 

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”

Review by Eddie on 16/11/2021

There’s little doubt that there will never be a film quite like Gone with the Wind gracing our screens in the future. 

A cultural, critical and genre-defining event that took the world by storm and has continued to play a big part in the history of Hollywood ever since, Victor Fleming’s (with help from various others but somehow directing this in the same year he made The Wizard of Oz) adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s story of the Old South is old-school grand film making of the highest order that stretches out to a buttocks numbing close to four hour run-time of Civil War unrest, doomed romances, love triangles and freshly plucked vegetables as Fleming and his iconic cast deliver Days of our Lives like moments in the most operatic of ways possible. 

Combining together the historical moments in time in which the American landscape changed forever as it warred amongst itself with the convoluted ups and downs and romantic escapades of Vivien Leigh’s spoilt and to be frankly honest unlikable Scarlett O’Hara as she traverses the new landscape and holds dalliance’s with Clark Gable’s roguish Rhett Butler, Wind is all melodrama and big events that sometimes work and sometimes don’t but while in today’s climate its heated romances and dramatic tension pales to modern counterparts, there’s an abundance of Hollywood magic and production here that can’t be denied creeping up to 100 years on from its conception. 

From the lavish frocks and gowns, Max Steiner’s humongous score, Ernest Haller and Lee Garme’s beautiful cinematography and the intense performances from its loaded cast that is founded around Gable’s stoic charisma, Leigh’s intense ups and downs, Hattie McDaniel’s historic turn as the lovable Mammie and Olivia de Havilland’s sweet role as Melanie Hamilton, there’s lot of reasons here making one understand why Wind made such a resounding impression as it came into the world close to the starting point of the devastating events of World War 2. 

Capturing the true essence of what movie magic is all about, the incredible ability to transport oneself from the everyday and the now into a time and place that could be familiar, foreign, uplifting, saddening or a myriad collection of other feelings and sentiments, Wind is a labour of love and technical feats of wizardry that manages to capture viewers hearts and imaginations and take them back to a place in time where dinner parties, luxurious wardrobes and chivalry and honour run rampant around the thieves and crooks and while there’s a lot wrong with this over the top story of a spoilt girl being spoilt, Wind is a once off outing that can’t ever be fully denied. 

Final Say – 

A deservedly iconic Hollywood offering that smiles in the face of excess and relishes in its Hallmark romantic staples, Gone with the Wind is not the perfect cinematic epic but it’s something all cinema fans should partake in at some stage in their exploration of the films that changed the game forever. 

3 1/2 vegetables out of 5    

2 responses to “Classic Review – Gone with the Wind (1939)

  1. If you haven’t seen Jezebel (William Wyler, 1938), I suggest you check it out. It’s based on a Broadway play from 1933 that wasn’t very successful. The momentum to make a film adaptation was sparked by the success of the GWTW book. The cinematographer, Ernst Haller, also worked on GWTW the film.

    I wonder what you’d think of Bette Davis and Henry Fonda’s performances as members of the upper echelons of the American Antebellum South.

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