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…
Released to coincide with the centenary of Vivien Leigh (1913-1967), this spectacular restoration from the original negative offers the ultimate big screen experience.
Released to coincide with the centenary of Vivien Leigh (1913–1967), this spectacular restoration from the original negative offers the ultimate big screen experience.
16 February 2014
Saffron Screen, Walden
Whitgift Theatre Grimsby
Warwick Arts Centre Coventry