A Loews Inc. Picture, Written by Sidney Howard, Directed by Victor Fleming.
This is one of the most instantly iconic and widely watched films in cinema history, and rightly so. It is an incredible achievement.
It was one of the very first technicolour pictures and still to this day stands the test of time with some simply startling visuals and a score that is so important to the film working that it almost feels like another character.
It is an epic and sprawling story of love, death, and war that was ahead of its time in many ways. However, when it comes to the films depiction of race and slavery, it is very obvious the time period it was from and how much things still needed to change, and thankfully much progress has been made in this area (although we do still have a long way to go).
The runtime is incredibly long (and not all entirely necessary) but it does move along at a steady pace and it doesn’t ever feel like the film is dragging. Most of that is due to the incredible performances of its cast, especially the lead three.
Olivia De Havilland brings such great heart and likability to the role of Melanie that it is tough when you see such hardship come to her, but she is a hopeful and truly kind person, and a key part of why the film works.
Clark Gable has often been labelled the ‘King of Hollywood’ and he truly lives up to that here, with a performance that starts off as charming and roguish, and eventually emotional and broken. He is a good man with some rough edges and someone we root for. He also delivers one of cinema‘s most famous lines – “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”.
That brings us on to the person who was on the receiving end of that line, the infamous Scarlett O’Hara, played by Vivien Leigh. This is a role that is so complicated and layered that it is almost unbelievable that it was a female role in 1939, a time when women rarely were given parts even slightly as impressive as this. She is feisty, independent, manipulative, and surprisingly naive. A truly great role and performance.
This Oscar winning epic is not perfect and politically has some definite issues, but taken at face value, it is a sweeping epic that stands the test of time.
Rating = 4.5/5