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Gone with the Wind

Drama movie directed by George Cukor, Sam Wood, and Victor Fleming

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Gone With The Wind - 1939

  • Aug 27, 2004
  • by
Rating:
+5
Pros: characters and costumes

Cons: .......

The Bottom Line: ___________

Women in love and men toting guns, that’s what movies are about and Gone With The Wind is no exception. I’ve heard a lot of people say this was one of the most successful movies ever made, don’t know, coulda been.

Gone With The Wind became a big fat epic that I don’t think people expected. It came out in what - 1939? - and people still lust after this movie today. It is everything you want in a movie - a delicate but headstrong and beautiful young lady, the sniveling fool she loves, a glorious and beautiful woman that is good beyond belief and a roguish n’er-do-well that is full of steamy sexuality. There is war and peace, love and hatred, people standing up for their rights, and feisty love scenes.

By today’s standards, Gone With The Wind is fairly tame, but at its time it must have caused quite the sizzle when the relatively unknown Vivien Leigh stormed across the screen, chasing after her forbidden love Ashley, defending her castle known as Tara, and falling heatedly into the arms of Rhett Butler. Rumor has it that when released audience members often left the theater in a state after Rhett delivers his famous “I don’t give a damn” line, offended at the language. In fact, due to standards at the time, Selznick paid a $5,000 fine to allow Gable the privilege of using that expletive.

Surrounding the Civil War, Gone With The Wind is the story of the struggle to keep what is yours, at any cost. Faced with destruction by marauding troops, Scarlett O’Hara gives the opposition their moneys worth when they storm the walls of Tara. On the other hand, she is, or at least thinks she is, deeply in love with the simpering Ashley Wilkes, a dandy she has panted after for years.

While Ashley likes to tease Scarlett, his choice for marriage is Melanie Hamilton. A quiet and sensitive young lady, she is the epitome of goodness in this movie. Of course Ashley is no dummy, he realizes early on that Scarlett will overwhelm him and dominate him his entire life whereas Melanie would be the perfect and uncomplaining wife. Besides, Ashley is just foppish anyway, he probably sits down to pee. Scarlett would have been bored to tears.

In the middle of all this strife and turmoil one devilish and handsome young man, Rhett Butler, walks on the scene. Now this man is just exactly what Scarlett needs, they are fire and fire. He can, and does, ignite a flame in Scarlett that could burn down Atlanta on its own. [The scene depicting the burning of Atlanta was filmed when they burnt several outbuildings on the lot to clear way for production. To my horror I discovered one of the sets burned was the great wall from the 1933 King Kong movie.]

Speaking of Atlanta, there are some wonderful scenes throughout the fighting centered around this city. Scarlet and Melanie take care of the sick and wounded, Scarlett flying down the streets on her carriage, and the city burning, which became one of the most memorable scenes in the movie. Not that there weren’t other scenes that brought both a chuckle and a tear during the movie.

Scarlet ripping the drapes from the window to turn them into a gown, so that she can ‘call on’ Rhett, standing in the fields amidst all the destruction and giving her famous “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again!” speech, Melanie on her deathbed, the outlandish parties, and any time Scarlett and Rhett come within two feet of each other.

Perhaps it was the hope the movie offered that made it so popular or perhaps it was the love story. Even as the city falls around its inhabitants you see their will to live and survive conquer their loss. You stand with Scarlett as she rebuilds her home, you hold Melanie’s hand in her illness, you want to kick Ashley’s butt to the curb - anytime, and you swoon with Scarlett when Rhett swoops her into his arms and threatens to kiss her “often and by someone that knows how”.

Filming, viewed now, wasn’t the greatest. There are continuity goofs all over the place, the boom mike constantly shows up on the screen, it’s often gritty. But in 1939, man, what a masterpiece. It was glorious cinema and still is glorious cinema. It stacked up awards all over the place. The latest award was given in 1989, 50 years after its release, for the People’s Choice as all time favorite movie. It was also entered into the National Film Registry in 1989.

There were tons of great stars in the movie. Vivien Leigh, playing Scarlett O’Hara, made a ridiculous $30,000 for her part in the movie. Today actresses won’t even look at a script envelope for $30,000, let alone accept a part. She was entrancingly beautiful and I think they made the right choice when she stumbled onto the set. Over 1,400 actresses had been entertained for the part but Vivien Leigh nailed that bad boy like it had been written for her. Besides she looked outstanding in those clothes, a classic beauty. Other actresses considered where Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. I mean, really ……..

Oddly enough, Olivia de Havilland read for the part of Scarlett but ended up as the delicate and forgiving Melanie Hamilton, a part which I think she was better suited for. She has an almost ethereal quality to her that just demands quiet. At least in this movie. Who knows, in real life she might be a real firecat. Oddly enough, of the major stars in the movie, she is the only one still alive today and the only one that actually died in the movie.

Clark Gable was and always will be Rhett Butler. A perfect part for him, lover and rogue at the same time.

Hattie McDaniel played the part of Mammy, and was the first African American woman to win an Academy Award for her part in a movie. Not that it mattered, due to the strict guidelines at the time she would not have been able to attend the opening in Atlanta anyway. Another glorious actress in a like role was Butterfly McQueen who played Prissy. I think both women offered a good deal to this movie, more than they were credited for.

Leslie Howard was the simpering Ashley Wilkes. Whatever Scarlett saw in this young man is beyond me, definitely not her type. But he did his job well.

George Reeves, of later Superman fame, was one of the Tarleton twins, Thomas Mitchell was the paternal O’Hara and Barbara O’Neil the maternal O’Hara. She was only 28 at the time she played Scarlett’s mother, Leigh was 26. Some make-up, huh? Last but not least another famous cast member to trot on screen was Silver of Lone Ranger status. Everyone was looking for work, it seems.

Gone With The Wind is a classic gorgeous movie. It was made back when movies were made by the stars in them, the characters playing the parts. Back before graphics ruled and fantasy intervened. It’s a people driven movie. It was adapted from Margaret Mitchell’s novel by Sidney Howard. Directed by Victor Flemming, who was the 3rd director into the project.


So SusiDee looked at dbcint and said 'Wow, with August ending so will the quotes in movies write-off. Whatever will I do?' dbcint curled his lip, cocked his hat over one eye, and glanced over his shoulder as he walked away. Using his best Clark Gable sneer he said “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” {1}

I sighed and shoved my word processor to the side and thought “After all … tomorrow is another day”. {2} And that ended the Quotes In Movies Write-Off for susidee.

Thanks,
Susi

This is part of the Famous Quotes in Movies write-off hosted by dbcint See his page for more info.


{1} Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) from the movie
{2} Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) from the movie

Other words in “ (quotations) are not my own words but are from the movie and taken out of content.





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More Gone with the Wind reviews
review by . July 18, 2012
You've probably run into one of the many iconic posters of Gone with the Wind, so you recognize the scene: The two main characters, Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler, locked in passionate embrace, staring deep into each other's eyes. You might know the last few scenes, in which Scarlett repeatedly tells Rhett how much she loves him and tries to keep him from leaving her. "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." "Tomorrow is another day!" And certainly, those who haven't seen the movie believe that …
review by . July 10, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
I have probably seen all or part of this film on more than a dozen occasions but not for several years until I recently checked it out in DVD format. The production values have never looked more vivid. The scope of the story and the scale of telling it are truly epic. The performances by Clark Gable and Leslie Howard are as impressive as ever. A number of supporting actors are first-rate. A number of scenes have retained their visual impact. And yet....I now think this highly praised film (ranked …
review by . August 13, 1999
posted in Movie Hype
Is this a great movie? Absolutely!!! Maybe the acting isn't the greatest, its a one-sided view of history, and we all know that Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable didn't like each other. But oh, the spectacle! The story! The dresses! It is an unforgettable movie, and one which will never fade as an all time favourite. And anyone who calls themselves a movie buff, or someone who just wants to lose themselves in another world for some 4 hours, cannot go by this as great entertainment.
review by . November 23, 1998
How to begin? The movie is just fabulous. It is well cast, quite faithful to the book (important to someone who counts the book as a favourite among many) and it captures the tragic love story of Scarlett and Rhett very well. An excellent few hours escapism, and an interesting insight into the early years of Hollywood's block busters.
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Susi Dawson ()
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About this movie

Wiki

David O. Selznick wantedGone with the Windto be somehow more than a movie, a film that would broaden the very idea of what a film could be and do and look like. In many respects he got what he worked so hard to achieve in this 1939 epic (and all-time box-office champ in terms of tickets sold), and in some respects he fell far short of the goal. While the first half of this Civil War drama is taut and suspenseful and nostalgic, the second is ramshackle and arbitrary. But there's no question that the film is an enormous achievement in terms of its every resource--art direction, color, sound, cinematography--being pushed to new limits for the greater glory of telling an American story as fully as possible. Vivien Leigh is still magnificently narcissistic, Olivia de Havilland angelic and lovely, Leslie Howard reckless and aristocratic. As for Clark Gable: we're talking one of the most vital, masculine performances ever committed to film.--Tom Keogh
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Tags

Movies, Drama Movies, Dramas, Classic Movies, clark gable, Civil War Movies, Vivien Leigh

Details

Genre: Drama
Runtime: 233 minutes
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
First to Review
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