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GONE WITH THE WIND, 1939
Movie Review


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GONE WITH THE WIND MOVIE POSTER
GONE WITH THE WIND, 1939
Movie Reviews

Directed by Victor Fleming
Starring: Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, George Reeves, Leslie Howard, Hattie McDaniel, Olivia de Havilland

Review by Patrick Askin

SYNOPSIS:

American classic in which a manipulative woman and a roguish man carry on a turbulent love affair in the American south during the Civil War and Reconstruction.

WON 8 OSCARS: Best Actress (Leigh), Best Supporting Actress (McDaniel), Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Director, Best Picture, Best Screenplay

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REVIEW:

So if you want to be a classic film buff or just a film buff you must see GONE WITH THE WIND. It is the one essential movie along with CASABLANCA that everyone one should see. If you are under thirty you probably will have trouble watching it because it is a long epic films and anyone under thirty seems to have ADD when it comes to watching longer films. But it is well worth watching and it is at least in color. I just watched GWTW for the umpteenth time and I never get tired of seeing it. Pound for pound it is the best film ever made.

Despite the length(four hours) there isnít a wasted shot in the film. The epic sweep of itís storytelling as well as the beautiful physical grandeur carry you away. It is also one of the best cast movies ever made. Ever role down to the smallest is perfectly cast something David Selznick ,the producer was a genius at. Especially memorable is of course Vivien Leighís flawless performance as Scarlett Oíhara. The movie remains a masterpiece and is forever timeless. All great epic films especially historic ones should look like the period they are taking place in and not the time period they were shot in. And GWTW really takes you into that period of the old south.

The movie was produced by David O Selznick and was directed by three different directors, George Cukor who was fired because Clark Gable though he was a "woman's director", Victor Fleming who also directed "The Wizard of Oz" and Sam Wood. But it is really Selznicks's movie and he was involved in all aspects of production and what a production. Everything about this movie is first rate and Selznick had a mania for details.

Everything from the sets which are gorgeous to the art direction to the wonderful score to the costumes and the editing are incredible to watch. Technicolor was still in it's infancy then and it's incredible how beautiful it still looks today. But three things really make this film work, Margaret Mitchells amazing novel on which the film is based, Selznicks producing gifts and Vivien Leigh's performance. Nobody else could have played this part. She is in almost every scene and is perfect in all of them. She had the ability despite her great beauty to look ragged when the circumstances of the story demanded it then be able to look ravishlingly gorgeuos. She compeletely owns the role and dominates the whole movie.

The story is basically a big soap opera set against historical changes beginning with the outbreak of the Civil War and running through the end of Reconstruction. What makes this story work so well is that it is a deeply personal story told through the lives of it's characters but they are all imapcted by the sweep of history that happens. Vivien Leigh plays Scarlett O'hara a headstrong southern belle in love with her neighbor Ashley Wilkes. But he is to marry his too good to be true cousin Melanie. Scarlett meets the dashing Rhett Butler who falls for her and a complicated love triangles drives the plot through all kinds of changes , three husbands for Scarlett and the end of an era over the next twelve years.

The movie takes place in two acts really with an intermission in the middle. The first part deals with the Civil War itself and the second part it's aftermath. The highlight of the movie and one of the best scenes ever filmed in the end of the first part with a starving Scarlett eating a radish while making a solemn vow to "never go hungry again.' I get goose bumps every time I watch that scene.

The film runs just over four hours but it doesn't feel that long because of it's epic sweep.

The best way to see this film is on the big screen and since it's is the 70th anniversary of it's release there may be some opportunity in places like New York and Los Angeles that will show it. Otherwise on some rainy day when you have four hours to watch this movie from start to finish do it and you will be transformed.


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GONE WITH THE WIND


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