Filmed and released long before I was even born, my favorite movie ever made is, ‘Gone With The Wind’.
The film introduction sets the historical romantic undertones of this epic movie with the words,
“There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Old South. Here in this pretty world, Gallantry took its last bow. Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave. Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind..”
Set in Civil War Georgia, the movie is based on the novel, “Gone With The Wind” by Margaret Mitchell and is told from the Southern point of view.
Heroine, Scarlett O’Hara, is played by British actress Vivien Leigh, who epitomized the stereotype of a spoiled Southern belle living with her parents, sisters and a feisty Mammy, on the cotton plantation they call ‘Tara’.
On the neighboring plantation of ‘Twelve Oaks’ lives the love of Scarlett’s life, Ashley Wilkes, played by Leslie Howard, who marries his cousin, Melanie Hamilton, played by Olivia de Havilland.
Scarlett’s protagonist is a scandalous rogue, Rhett Butler, played by Clark Gable. Rhett sees through Scarlett’s southern facade and continually pursues her, all the while knowing how she feels about Ashley Wilkes.
Opening in the pre-Civil War South, we meet Scarlett who is toying with the affections of suitors who hope to accompany Scarlett to the Wilkes family Barbeque the following day. It is then that Scarlett discovers that the barbeque is intended for the announcement of the engagement of Ashley Wilkes to Melanie Hamilton. Scarlett is determined to let Ashley know that she loves him, certain that he won’t be able to go through with the marriage, if he knows how she feels.
After being rebuffed by Ashley after her confession, Scarlett becomes aware that they were overheard by handsome rogue stranger, Rhett Butler. It becomes clear that Mr. Butler is enamoured by the young miss Scarlett and viewers immediately feel compelled to cheer on a romance between Scarlett and Rhett.
As many times as I have seen this film I am still completely enamoured with this movie, the explicit tale of a savage time in U.S. history. a twisted tale of love and lies and its superb cast of unforgettable characters.
Given the length of the movie, over four hours, the movie is done so superbly, from the opening scene of Scarlett flirting with two of her suitors, to the famous action scene of the burning of Atlanta, to the rows and rows of wounded Rebel soldiers and right through to the classic, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” line.
‘Gone With The Wind’ won 10 Academy Awards; including Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American to win an Oscar.
If you don’t already own the movie, you can find it at one of these sites.
Gone with the Wind (Four-Disc Collector’s Edition) 1939
Gone With The Wind (Limited Edition Deluxe Box Set)