Gone with the Wind (1939)

Gone with the Wind (1939)
Gone with the Wind (1939) DVD / Blu-ray

By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Six Pack) –
How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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Arguably the most beloved movie of all time, and adjusted for inflation, still by far the most successful.  Gone with the Wind tells the story of Scarlett O’Hara (Vivian Leigh), the spoiled daughter of a plantation owner, and her quest for an unhappy life by falling in love with one person, but marrying three others. Along the way, she strikes up an on again-off again romance with Rhett Butler (Clark Gable).  The movie uses this to paint a picture of the beauty and wonder of the South, and the Southern people, who struggled for freedom, and States rights…

Prissy

“Freedom and States rights” are defined as: the right to subjugate Black people.

A Toast

Clearly painting on a huge canvass, Gone with the Wind is admirable for it’s truly epic vision. The film’s most outdoor shots seem borrowed from German Expressionist filmmaking, with surreal sets and matte painting backgrounds.  Indoors, the set and costume design pays great attention to antebellum detail, perfectly setting the feel of each scene.

Clark Gable is absolutely fantastic in his role as Rhett Butler, playing a dashing, but somewhat self-centered character who is nevertheless undone by the far more self-centered Scarlett.  Hattie McDaniel’s performance as Mammy, the house slave, is a solid performance, and avoids most of the racial slandering that other slave characters in the film are forced into.  Her character was a small step forward in films of the time, in that while still a subordinate character,  she was able to talk back, and was depicted very often as being far more intelligent than her masters.

Beer Two

To compensate for the relative step forward in race relations, it seems like the filmmakers worked overtime to make every other Slaver character extra offensive.  This is embodied most painfully in “Prissy”, a slave who is depicted as incredibly dense, and with a shrill voice.

Some movies age like fine wine, others age like a bottle of milk

Beer Three

Vivian Leigh’s Scarlett O’Hara is definitely one of the most unlikable lead characters in cinema.  However Vivian Leigh overplays her acting hand at times.  Yes, it was the 1930’s and acting styles hadn’t yet fully adapted to the small screen, but played against some far more subtle actress characters, she comes off as hammy, even by standards of the time.

Beer Four

The film focuses tirelessly on Scarlett without spending much time on other characters.  As a result, even at its long running time (nearly 4 hours) most of the ancillary characters feel shallow and underdeveloped.  This has the effect of slowing down the movie’s pace.  This film could have been cut down by more than an hour and a half without losing the dramatic tension in Scarlett’s life story.  It would have been far more interesting and dynamic for the story to focus on other characters at times as well.

Beer Five

Even by the standards of the late 1930’s the dialogue is tirelessly weak.  People do not really speak so much as they “describe their feelings to the other person”.  It can get especially grating during conversations where people talk about historical events occurring in the background.

Gone Group

“My dear… mentioning a battle happening somewhere off-screen is far more interesting than showing anything!”

Beer Six

This final, honorary beer goes for my lost time.  In as long as it took for this movie to end, I could have watched Commando 2.5 times, I figure, if I’m going to watch a movie with 2 dimensional characters, they might as well be exploding.

commando schwarzenegger

Verdict

Six Pack

As god as my witness, I’ll never watch this movie again!

 

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever you feel like Scarlett deserves a good slap in the face

Take a Drink: every time Scarlett says something twice for emphasis, or says “Fiddle De-De”… (Take a bonus drink if she does this while doing something that makes you want to slap her in the face)

Do a Shot: for every horrific child actor line delivery and/or racial stereotype

About Oberst von Berauscht

Oberst Von Berauscht once retained the services of a Gypsy to imbue in him the ability to accurately describe the artistic qualities of a film up to seven decimal points. To maintain this unique skill, he must feast on the blood of a virgin every Harvest Moon, or failing that (and he usually does), he can also make a dog do that thing they do where they twist their heads slightly (you know, when they’re confused about something) at least a few times a week. I’ve gotten way off track here… The point is, Oberst is one of the website’s founders, so… yeah

3 comments

  1. Surprised we haven’t had more feedback on this one. For my money, it was too long and clearly antiquated in a lot of ways, but there’s some moments in there that make it a classic for a reason- like those gorgeous matte painting backgrounds or Rhett Butler’s pimp hand.

  2. Interesting analysis of this movie. I agree with you that the movie does drag on at times, and Scarlett is very unlikable, although I think that’s what her character is suppose to be. I feel somewhat at odds about the racial issue, the reason being that I think why some of the African American characters are stereotyped is because it is more “accurate”. It wouldn’t be very true to the story if the slaves were all road scholarly types. You have to take every movie within the context of the times and story in which it is told. Although I think it can at times come off as offensive, so I think the film makers could of done a better job of presenting the slaves without being so offensive, but it is a very difficult balance to strike. How do you tackle such a sensitive issue like slavery without coming off as racist? Are there movies you can think of that do a better job of presenting slavery in a respectable but honest manner? Also, I am with you on the fact that I will probably never watch this movie again, at least not in its entirety, which leads me to be somewhat confused as to why this movie is almost always lauded as one of the best movies of all time by critics. I mean it’s not bad, but it’s certainly not one of the best.

  3. HOW DARE you insult a beloved movie, it was made in a time where no one cared about black people, when movies stars were larger than life, where romance was something to be sought after , not embarrassed by. When women were ladies, not the hardly dressed tarts they are now!!!
    I love this movie and have loved it since being little girl, the dresses for one thing are AMAZING, the dancing and the way they all look at each other. ITs heart breaking and beautiful….get your head out of the future and back to when movies were magical !!!!

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