Monday, June 27, 2011

Gone with the Wind

Producer David O. Selznick and director Victor Fleming's adaptation of Margaret Mitchell's novel about a selfish young girl in the fading of The South was a massive undertaking resulting in a lavish film of epic proportions. Despite its four hour, Gone with the Wind never ceases to be thoroughly entertaining and is one of the finest examples of storytelling on film. Viven Leigh stars as Scarlett O'Hara who lives on the plantation of Tara. When she hears that her beau Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard) is marrying Melanie (Olivia de Havilland), she throws herself at him at a party and throws a temper tantrum, all of which is overheard by the scoundrel Rhett Butler (Clark Gable). As the South engages in The Civil War, falls, and Atlanta is burned, we see Scarlett and Rhett's tumultuous relationship take wing during these events. Gone with the Wind is a lavishly beautiful film, shot in Technicolor at a time when few films were. The acting is wonderful all around as well. Vivien Leigh won an Oscar for her wonderful portrayal as the self-centered Scarlett and Clark Gable is absolutely delightful as the devilish Rhett. Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win an Oscar in her performance as Scarlett's servant and Olivia de Havilland is delightful as the saintly Melanie. Gone with the Wind is a wonderful film on so many levels and a prime example of cinematic entertainment.