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1960s, Drama - Historic

Gone With the Wind (1939)

Gonewiththewind

Duration 3h 58m Rating (UK) PG
Source of story A bok of he same name by Margaret Mitchell
Director Victor Fleming and uncredited George Cukor, Sam Wood
Writers/Script Sidney Howard plus a number of studio hacks
Starring Vivien Leigh, Hattie McDaniel, Leslie Howard, Olivia de Haviland, Clark Gable, Ward Bond,

Elevator Pitch: The film follows the fortunes of Scarlet O’Hara and the estate owned by her father during and after the American Civil War. As a teenager she falls in love with Ashley a young man from a neighbouring family, but he marries his cousin Melanie. Despite Scarlet’s efforts, including marriage to Ashely’s brother, who dies at the front, he never changes his allegiance. However, Rhett Butler a rich trader and man about town falls for her, and they marry and survive the war and divorce. Scarlet in the end returns to the remains of Tara, with the intent of rebuilding it.

Content: Scenes of fun and frolic in the grand southern houses before the war, as Scarlet flirts but fancies Ashley. Melodrama as the men go off to war, and then distress as some of them return, littering the streets of Atlanta with the injured. The city is shelled and catches fire, and Rhett proves to be a stand-up guy rescuing Melanie in advanced pregnancy. Scarlet is left with the job of trying to keep the household at Tara together. Ashley returns and Scarlet becomes a successful business woman but Melanie dies. Scarlet marries Rhett, they have a child but things are not smooth sailing.

A View: According the IMDb, if adjusted for inflation, this is the highest grossing movie of all time, and it won a load of Oscars. Actually I could hardly wait for the line “Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn”. Scarlet is not a likeable character at all and Melanie spends most of the film being a milksop. Rhett actually is quite a complex person, who maybe deserves a better rap than he is given. Critics of the film felt that it favoured the South and others felt that the “marital rape” scene was inappropriate. To know what I’m talking about you will have to watch it. If I’d been in the cinema the high point would have been the intermission.

Additional Info: Hattie McDaniel, who played the black housekeeper, was not allowed to attend the premier! (My exclamation mark)

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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