Saturday, 16 February 2013

Classic Movie Review Gone With the Wind (1939)

Gone with the Wind (1939) PosterAs I promised on one of my first posts I'm working my way through my top ten films of all time. I have Done Citizen Kane now its the turn of the Epic film of all Epics, "Gone With The Wind". (I promise I'll do Gladiator or Inception next I need something newer too I know). Okay first let me say I can understand people thinking "bit strange lad his age liking this film". Well let me defend myself yes it is one of my favourite films of all time but that is simply because as a piece of cinema it is one hell of a movie. As a movie fanatic (and fingers crossed a good critic) I have to talk about this film it is so important. Till Titanic in 1997 it was the biggest film at the American Box Office. Your probably thinking wow big deal but this film came out in 1939! If that doesn't tell you something about this film I don't no what will. This film is one of the most talked about movies by movie buffs and critics it is one of the most controversial too.

Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American civil war period film from Margaret Mitchell's 1936 Novel of the same name. The picture was produced by David O. Selznick and directed by Victor Fleming (same team that brought us Wizard of Oz 1939's other masterpiece).

The Story follows of Scarlett O'Hara, which won Vivien Leigh a well deserved Oscar. She's a Southern spoilt girl who enjoys popular lifestyle and she garners the attention of every single male in town. She lives on Taro, a cotton plantation owned by her parents. This easy life of hers is pretty much destroyed by the American Civil War that reduces her home to near ruins. The cotton plantation is pretty much gone. In an amazing stand out scene she looks up to the sky and swears she will never go hungry again, it is a beautiful piece of cinema this scene the use of colour in the red skies and brilliant score kicking in with the Taro theme, cinema history in the making. Another great shot is a scene where we see the wounded from a battle, we see Scarlett walk among them the camera slowly zooms out we see 10 wounded men, which as the camera zooms out we see them multiply, its such a touching and wonderful scene, the camera zooms out more and more we see yet more wounded the camera comes out so far that Vivian Leigh is but a mere speck on the screen surrounded by wounded men, and in the corner we see a torn and tattered looking southern states flag as if to symbolise what has happened. The saddest thing about this scene is the fact that if made today all them thousands of wounded men would be done by CGI which is where cinema is today.

Anyhow moving on after declaring to god she will never go hungry again, we see the emergence of this new woman, this headstrong and independent woman, a strong throw away from the spoilt girl she was. We follow her journey as she tries to get Taro back to what it was, we see her get hurt, and hurt others just to get back the life she knew, and all the time only wanting to be with one man whom is already married.

We meet Clark Gable's character quite often on this journey, he is a rouge of a guy. Sometimes coming across cold and ruthless. They eventually marry and have a child. I am not going to ruin this movie but there is a heart breaking moment involving their child. Which just puts things on a knife point. There is also rape scene which, well a scene where rape is suggested. It takes this film to another level. This scene is one of the most powerful moments in cinema history. A monstrous stair case towers the two lovers. This stair case is usually all colourful and red but in this scene is all darkness to show the change of mood, he takes her in his arms against her will, walks up the stairs, and enveloped into the darkness that he has become. Pure cinema.

I can not express how important this film is. It was a showcase for colour in cinema, which in 1939 was still fairly new. The Musical score is amazing, to me one of the greatest movie themes of all time is the "Taro Theme" its always used to show the power and human hunger in this film. To put an end to this. This movie is so powerful, emotional, violent and dark yet somewhat hopeful to. There is nothing else like Gone With The Wind once seen it is never forgotten if you love the history of film and cinema it is a must watch. You may think me strange going on about or loving this film so much but as a piece of cinema its amazing. The impact it made on cinema is still with us today.
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