Home > Film, Opinions (Film) > Film – Quick Thoughts: Gone With the Wind

Film – Quick Thoughts: Gone With the Wind

Gone With the Wind
Gone With the Wind, directed by Victor Fleming
Written by: Sidney Howard
Starring: Vivian Lee and Clark Gable
My rating: 4 of 5

I’ve been hesitant to watch this, despite having it on DVD for some time, simply because it’s so long, pushing three and a half years. Some of the length comes from odd inclusions, pieces of music for the opening intermission and ending that are just a static screen saying what it is (‘Interlude’) that perhaps are part of the original experience in the cinema but are kind of pointless on a DVD. With the lengthy opening credits sequence (something I’m not keen on as I don’t need to know the entire staff of a film before watching it) it meant the film didn’t start until six minutes had elapsed.

The opening text dump refers to the setting – the southern US at the time of the Civil War – as the last place of gallantry, of gentlemen and ladies, knights and slaves. The final bit in particular was a little odd to see presented as nostalgic and slavery is presented as the only reason everybody there goes to war. They need slaves to preserve their lives of privilege and prosperity and have trouble believing the uncouth north could possibly put up a fight. As somebody who is wholly disconnected from US history it’s hard to see the South as anything but wrong, so romanticising it is a little odd. The whole first hour is affected by it, and Scarlett is fully in spoiled brat mode at that point, fixated on a man she can’t have and basing all her life decisions around it.

After that though Scarlett grows up a lot, hardened by everything she goes through and determined never to suffer the same hardships, no matter what it takes, and she’s a much better character (even if it’s just a shift from “people will always give me what I want” to “I will do anything to get what I want”). Rhett starts to be in it a lot more as well and he’s also an excellent character, as is the sweet Melanie. Once it moved away from the war to focus solely on the personal struggles I went from just liking the film to finding it really very good indeed (though the war section isn’t without merit, with an impressive sense of scale), and the last half hour or so was powerful, moving and really helps cement it as a brilliant film. It ends on a down note (including the classic quote, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”, which carries a lot of weight when you hear it in context) but with the potential for things to get better. It really is a great film.

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