A Very Short Review of Gone With The Wind

Friday, May 28, 2010 12:45 PM By Simon


Oh, we all know the story, yes? Vivien Leigh plays the fiery southern belle Scarlett O'Hara, Clark Gable plays the charming, maybe-asshole, maybe-bipolar, maybe-awesome Rhett Butler, and Hattie McDaniel plays Uncle Tom's wife, kind of. The former two begin a whirlwind romance that takes them through the chaotic Civil War era, from the cushy view of the famous Tara plantation. Also hanging around dramatically are Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard), the object of Scarlett's mutual obsession, and Melanie (Olivia de Havilland) his wife and Scarlett's eventual best friend.

Good god, this movie is the film equivalent of a doorstopper. Clocking in at 224 minutes (238 if you count the overture, entr'acte (which, yes, is an actual word with actual nightmarish grammar), and end music), one of those old epics that required an intermission (the only other one I've seen is Seven Samurai). And, I will admit, it's a chore to not skip past some of the sweepier bits.

Vivien Leigh, we know, is a star thanks to her iconic protrayel of the shrilly lass named Scarlett. She is at times a wonder, at times a shrieking monster, at times simply exasperating. I don;t want to get capped or anything, but I don't think Leigh's acting holds up well to modern audiences--the kind of melodramatic, hand-waving thing you now see marginalized to shitty daytime soaps. Yet, with a breathy voice, a guise of innocence, and conniving eyes, she reminds you why, exactly, she's earned her Oscar.

Clark Gable plays a variation of your typically dashing man of money, a guy willing to follow Scarlett--and her determination to survive the war--to the ends of the earth. Initially, yeah. We all know how that shit went down.

That all said, I have no strong feelings either way towards any other aspect. I refuse to give it a rave review based off its reputation, but I'm not going to disparage it for the sake of disrupting things. How well Wind has managed the test of time is entirely up to you, people, but to me, it just represents the days of epic's past and nothing more.

Fin, of course.

76 comments:

Jose said...

I just LOVE this movie, I measure how much I love it by the fact that I rarely take a bathroom break during its humongous running time. I actually wish it lasted longer!

May 28, 2010 at 4:41 PM
Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

Okay, Jose's weird...but I love it too and though I guess Leigh's acting was for her time - I'm still smitten.

I actually just watched two films with those very long musical breaks complete with "intermissions" - Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago...I was on a David Lean fix.

May 28, 2010 at 7:10 PM
Simon said...

Jose: Maybe it's just me and my 90-minute attention span. I'll be sure to give it another look after I get over this irritable bowel syndrome :)

Andrew: He is weird.

I'll be sure to check out Lawrence of Arabia, at least. I have had it with hardcore war movies, though.

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