Starring: Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Olivia de Havilland, Leslie Howard, Hattie McDaniel
Director: Victor Fleming (George Cukor and Sam Wood did uncredited work)
Summary: Classic tale of Scarlett O’Hara’s battle to save her beloved Tara and find love during the Civil War
Other Nominations: Director*, Actor (Gable), Actress (Leigh)*, Supporting Actress (McDaniel)*, Supporting Actress (de Havilland), Screenplay*, Original Score, Sound Recording, Art Direction*, Color Cinematography*, Film Editing*, Special Effects
-The movie on a technical and production level is still amazing after all these years. The cinematography is gorgeous, the sets and costumes are great, the color palette is perfect for a period movie like this (and I always have loved the look of technicolor) and the score is very good-I know it’s considered a classic, but other than the “Tara Theme” which is fantastic, I’ve seen so many Max Steiner scored movies now that this doesn’t stand out all that much.
-Regardless of what I think about the characters themselves, but Vivian Leigh crushes her role as Scarlett O’Hara and Clark Gable is perfectly cast as Rhett Butler. Leigh has an incredible screen presence, is stunningly beautiful and is consistently entertaining, while Gable is good playing dashing rogue characters as he always is
-The character of Mammy (and Hattie McDaniel’s performance) is still really good, and is given the lot of intelligence and strength that the other black characters in the movie lack
-The movie disgustingly perpetuates the old myths of the antebellum South and the reconstruction period. The idea that the old South was something great and honorable and that black people were actually better off under it, and that this wonderful gallant and chivalrous culture was lost as a result of the civil war and reconstruction is repugnant to me. Even if this was a common historical narrative at the time, that doesn’t excuse it now as a film that helped perpetuate a false and frankly poisonous idea.
-As big and grand as it is, and as good as the performances are, the story (which goes on waaaaayyy too long) isn’t especially strong, and while the characters have a lot of life to them, they wear a bit thin eventually and can easily be summed up in about one sentence each. Once the movie moves away from a big epic to a more character-focused story after the intermission, the movie becomes a drag, only keeping me engaged due to the visuals and performances.
-This is by far the longest movie so far at 233 minutes (the previous high was The Great Ziegfeld at 177 minutes). At 3 hours, 53 minutes including entrance, intermission and exit music, this is longest movie to ever win Best Picture, although if you only include the narrative parts, Lawrence of Arabia (1962) is longer (at 222 minutes vs. GWTW’s 221 minutes). Neither of them though is the longest to ever be nominated-that honor goes to the 1963 version of Cleopatra, which is a hideous 4 hours and 8 minutes long.
-George Cukor was originally hired as director, but was fired by producer David O. Selznick allegedly because he didn’t think a gay man could direct the romantic scenes.
-Adjusted for inflation, Gone with the Wind is the highest grossing ever at over $3.4 billion adjusted, owing not only to its original success, but to its many re-releases (1942, 1947, 1954, 1961, 1967, 1971, 1974, 1989, 1998, 2014); its 1960’s re-releases were so successful that it was the 4th highest grossing movie of that decade. Even unadjusted, it would not be surpassed until The Sound of Music in 1966
Few movies have been a bigger deal and had a bigger impact than Gone With the Wind, but while it’s still very watchable and on the whole really good due its obvious strengths, it has not aged well in many aspects.