Gone with the Wind (1939)





Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard, Olivia de Havilland, Thomas Mitchell, Hattie McDaniel, Butterfly McQueen, Barbara O'Neil, Laura Hope Crews, Ona Munson, Harry Davenport, Leona Roberts, Victor Jory, Everett Brown, Howard C. Hickman, Alicia Rhett, George Reeves, Fred Crane, Evelyn Keyes, Ann Rutherford, Rand Brooks, Carroll Nye, Jane Darwell, Oscar Polk Eddie Anderson, Paul Hurst, Isabel Jewell, Ward Bond, Tom Tyler, J. M. Kerrigan, Mary Anderson, Cammie King Conlon


Despite warnings from her father (Thomas Mitchell) and her faithful servant Mammy (Hattie McDaniel), when Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) hears that her casual beau Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard) plans to marry "mealy mouthed" Melanie Hamilton (Olivia de Havilland), she intends to throw herself at Ashley at an upcoming barbecue at Twelve Oaks. Alone with Ashley, she goes into a fit of histrionics, all of which is witnessed by roguish Rhett Butler (Clark Gable), the black sheep of a wealthy Charleston family, who is instantly fascinated by the feisty, thoroughly self-centered Scarlett. 


Victor Fleming and masterpiece seem to be two things that can not do without each other.

Gone with the Wind is a wonderful drama about love and war that will make you daydream and cry, without failing to deliver a wonderful message of hope.

As probably everyone knows, love is the engine of this story. No one is preserved from the pangs of love, and Scarlett surely represents every facet of this feeling. But there's more than love, and that more is war, that overturns everything and anyone but at the same time remains invisible as not a single sequence of war is shown in the whole film.

It is more than clear that the film takes sides in favour of Southerners, but avoiding further words about this and the threads it may cause, it is essential to underline the masterful reconstruction of part of the American history this film has made.

Many complain about the length of the film. And I get it. Four hours are a lot of time. But, since the events take place in a vast time frame and involve a myriad of character, it couldn't have been done otherwise. Also it would have been impossible to enclose a thousand pages book in a hour and a half of film.

The characters are all memorable, but besides the beautiful Scarlett and the free-spirited Rhett, the character striking the most is Mammy, the house servant full of heart and humanity who accompanies the story and the characters with her wisdom of simple yet lived woman.

The direction is excellent and gives each scene the right amount of drama, occasionally accompanied by a vein of humour.

The musical score by Max Steiner also will capture your attention, and does delivers intense emotions. The cinematography by Ernest Haller and Lee Garmes is spectacular.

The cast makes no exception. Made her entry in the history of cinema in the role of egocentric, and vivacious Scarlett, Vivien Leigh delivers a powerful and passionate performance and brings some humanity in the role. She hasn't won the Oscar for nothing, after all. Clark Gable gives a passionate and charming performance as Captain Butler. Wonderful performances also from Olivia de Havilland as Melanie and Leslie Howard as Ashley. The rest of the cast is just too numerous, but the contribution of Hattie McDaniel can't be omitted, whose strong, and unforgettable performance as Mammy earned her an Oscar, becoming so the first Afro-American to win an Academy Award.

But the film does have a flaw: Leslie Howard's Ashley Wilkes. Definitely too old and ugly, it is impossible to understand how can Scarlett be so into him, mainly if courted by Clark Gable's Rhett Butler.


Scarlett: Rhett, Rhett... Rhett, if you go, where shall I go? What shall I do?
Rhett Butler: Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.

Rhett Butler: You're like the thief who isn't the least bit sorry he stole, but is terribly, terribly sorry he's going to jail.

1 comment :

  1. I haven't watched this in a really long time. It's probably time to revisit it.