Gone With the Wind
Dir. Victor Fleming
USA 1939 | Colour | 233 mins | Cert PG
Now the beneficiary of a 4K digital restoration, David O Selznick’s production of Margaret Mitchell’s bestseller remains the pinnacle of polished Hollywood storytelling and craftsmanship.
Despite a lengthy genesis which involved several directors (including George Cukor and Sam Wood) and numerous writers , the completed film is a remarkably coherent account of the novel, and successfully balances the larger backdrop – the seismic changes affecting the South at the time of the American Civil War – with the more intimate story of Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh), a petulant belle wreaking havoc on the lives of others in her pursuit of Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard) and her dealings with Rhett Butler (Clark Gable). While the cast – which also boasts Olivia De Havilland as Ashley’s wife Melanie – does an excellent job, the film impresses primarily as a sumptuous historical romance, with superlative art direction (William Cameron Menzies and Lyle Wheeler), music (Max Steiner) and lush Technicolor camerawork (Lee Garmes and Ernest Haller). With so many big-name collaborators, one wonders who should take credit for the film’s extraordinary enduring success: Selznick? Fleming? Leigh? (All three were among the film’s ten Oscar-winners.) Frankly, my dears, I don’t give a damn… Geoff Andrew
Available on: DCP
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