Sunday, February 22, 2009

Gone With the Wind

Victor Fleming, 1939 (7.2*)
Best Picture (AA)
Much ballyhooed epic long considered the “most popular” movie is really just a too lengthy soap opera – it needs an hour-long trim as each scene runs on and on - with an overblown budget (and music score) and one good war scene: the train platform at Atlanta littered with hundreds of wounded and dying soldiers. Unfortunately, author of the Pulitzer-prize winning book Margaret Mitchell couldn’t convince Hollywood that it “couldn’t be filmed”; it is better as literature. Even at four hours, the film is just a synopsis of what seemed like decades in Scarlett’s life (maybe it was decades to read!). The film would have been better as a 10-12 hr miniseries, and with perhaps less-stereotypical characters all-around, not just the slaves either.

It’s ironic that the two leads, Scarlett O’Hara, played by Vivien Leigh in her Oscar-winning performance, and Rhett Butler, Clark Gable at his most wooden, are really two of the least likeable characters in the story. Each is arrogant, shallow, and self-centered, while their friends Melanie (Olivia de Haviland) and Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard) have the real humanity and heart, along with Oscar®-winning nanny Hattie McDaniel, who steals the film and received the only Academy Award for an African-American actor until Sidney Poitier roughly 25 years later, and the only woman until Whoopi Goldberg half a century later! Ironically, she’s really better as a comic actress yet her tearful scenes here likely tipped the voters.

Directed by Oscar®-winner Victor Fleming (The Wizard of Oz), the film’s plus is a great epic look, which ironically makes some of the faked studio scenes stand out more, like a carriage ride with Rhett and Scarlett in Atlanta before the war with an obviousy filmed backdrop moving at a different speed than they are, or the overused silouettes of actors against giant painted or filmed backdrops. This film also screams for widescreen, but alas, “Cinemascope” had not been invented yet so we’re forever stuck with the square 35mm image – but at least they used color, which the remastering has faithfully maintained. Winner of a then-record 8 Oscars, with 13 nominations.

Quote: As God is my witness, if I have to lie, cheat, steal, or kill, I shall never be hungry again. - Scarlett (apparently losing all ethics in a dog eat dog world!)


About Me

My photo
Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician, herbalist

About This Blog

This is our new template: ProBlogger.

These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

Author at EZines

  © Blogger templates ProBlogger Template by 2008

Back to TOP