"Gone With the Wind" is the grand, majestic love story of the last 60 years that has not dated in any respect. Yes, it's an old film from 1939 that had the stature of "Titanic" in its day (though far more adult than Cameron's film), but you are not likely to see a more potent example of cinema from that period. "Gone With The Wind" celebrated its 60th anniversary celebration last year and in cinemas during the summer of 1998, and it's been restored to its original, beautiful Technicolor treatment and presented in its square box format ratio.
"Gone With The Wind" has one of the saddest love stories ever created for the movies, namely between the passionate, shrewd Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) and the stalwart, charming alcoholic Rhett Butler (Clark Gable). Their topsy-turvy romance takes place in the red skies of sunlit Georgia during the Civil War. There is action, romance, jealousy, betrayal, and a sweeping four hour-plus screen time that even today pushes the limits of what audiences can take while sitting in a theatre. There is even an intermission so as to give the audience a chance to collect its thoughts.
There is one superb classic scene after another. They include Scarlett's initial appearance slowly revealed by two courtly gentlemen (one of them played by George Reeves!); the moment when Scarlett sees Rhett for the first time; the silence between Olivia de Havilland and Vivien Leigh while they are waiting for their husbands to return; an elaborate high-angle crane shot of Scarlett standing by train tracks where hundreds of wounded soldiers are being nursed only to slowly reveal the Confederate flag; and, of course, the famous "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" line uttered by Rhett during the conclusion. The burning of Atlanta is also quite vivid, not to mention the exquisite landscapes showing the mansion Tara - never has a mansion been such a vivid character as well.
"Gone With The Wind" had a limited release two years ago (along with a restored version of "The Wizard of Oz," also from 1939) but if you ever have the opportunity to see one of the great, visually elegant films of all time on the big screen, then by all means go. It blows most of the current, bloated Hollywood offerings right out of the water.
Copyright © 1999 Jerry Saravia