Gone With The Wind

Due to a more recent interest in watching more of AFI’s top 100 list of greatest movies of all time, I decided to add a section to my blog dedicated to movie reviews and discussion.  I begin with the most recently watch “Gone With the Wind” which was ranked #6 on AFI’s most recent list.Gone_with_the_Wind_Spotlight1

My wife just read this book as part of a reading challenge for this year in the category “Book that was previously banned” As with many books we read, we like to watch the movie afterwards to compare, especially if we enjoyed the book and she did in this case.

So we began watching this movie and like many other classic movies, I get a excited because it is a “Classic movie”; revered, critically acclaimed and has stood the test of time, over so many other movies that have been released since 1939.

This near 4 hour movie was broken up over multiple viewings for us as we were greeted with the beginning overture that introduced us to the movie and its Dixie 1860’s theme. Music of course was wonderful and settling down into the movie after credits, I was taken aback by the rich detail, the imagery of Southern life in soon to be Confederacy States. The costumes, the sets, photography and sound are remarkable for a film this age.

Scarlett O’Hara, the central character was portrayed by Vivien Leigh. Vivien did an amazing job; just as Clark Gable did exceptional work with Rhett Butler. I especially enjoyed Gable’s performance and enjoyed seeing him every time he appeared on scene.

Scarlett the character however, I was turned off by her. She is a whiner and she whines throughout the movie. She is obsessed, in loved with this Ashley Wilkes, who is doesn’t really show why a beautiful, spunky girl like Scarlett (who could have any other man she wants) is completely hung up on Ashley ( a taken man who is set to marry another woman)

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Rhett Butler is no doubt entertained and intrigued by Scarlett from the moment they first interacted, but his allure is driven by this mysterious stranger, eccentric independent nature that should not only be interest of the movie viewer, but of a wilder, spunky Scarlett as well.

This movie starts before the Civil War and to my best guess, goes 10-15 years in Scarlett’s life.  War breaks between the Union and Confederacy and Scarlett struggles to endure the hardships of war (especially when 1865 when Atlanta is burning and the Union is committing Total War by burning down , destroying everything in its path as Union’s Sherman makes his famous march to the sea)

Before all that though, Scarlett marries a man before all the men join the Confederate army but he dies just months into the war. Now a young widow, she runs into Rhett from time to time; ignoring the obvious “attention” he is giving her.

Eventually Rhett and Scarlett marry, but not before the war takes its toll on the South; not before Scarlett learns how to take advantage of others to become a shrewd business woman, and finally not before she marries a 2nd husband who eventually dies from his involvement in “political meetings” (aka KKK meetups)

They more or less marry with the mindset, ahhhhh “Why not?”  Rhett tries to be a good husband it seems at first but Scarlett still only loves Ashley. After the tragic death of their daughter, followed shortly by the death of Ashley’s wife, Rhett ends the movie famously in packing up and leaving Scarlett for good.

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So basically I waited 4 hours for Rhett to say to Scarlett, screw this I’m out.

Scarlett is a self absorbed, absent minded person who ends up losing everything that was good in her life. She’s a survivor and her one-tracked ways lost her a man who seemed to really love her in Rhett Butler.

This movie was too long and bloated to point out what it wanted to get across.

Hattie McDaniel was fantastic in her role in earning Best Supporting Actress. She made history and I’m glad she was recognized for her talents.
This movie didn’t do it for me overall and it won’t be one of my top movies anytime ever.
two-star

 

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