By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Six Pack) –
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…
“Freedom and States rights” are defined as: the right to subjugate Black people.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
“My dear… mentioning a battle happening somewhere off-screen is far more interesting than showing anything!”
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.
As god as my witness, I’ll never watch this movie again!
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