Nothing screams cinema classic, or movie magic more than Gone With The Wind (1939). Directed by Victor Fleming (who also directed The Wizard of Oz in the same year), and produced by powerhouse Hollywood producer, David O. Selznick, this is one film against which so many film classics are judged. Arguably, no other movie has been bigger than Gone With The Wind, the film that raked in a record (not beat for 20 years) 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Writing, Screenplay, Best Actress in a Leading Role, and two honorary awards and it was nominated for 13 (not including the two honorary awards). The film has topped or has come close to topping nearly every ‘Best Movies of All Time’ list in the last 50 or so years, and is the highest-grossing film of all time if you take dollar inflation and weighting into account. Now, you can once again see it the way it was supposed to be seen – on the big screen and on a 1999, 60th anniversary, Restored 35mm digital stereo sound print.
Based on Margaret Mitchell’s best selling 1936 novel, Gone With The Wind is a truly epic film that spans many years over and around the duration of the American Civil War and tells the story of Scarlett O’Hara, a spoilt, rich, selfish woman, whose love for a man by the name of Ashley Wilkes, who marries her cousin, stands in the way of her many marriages and relationships. The film is the story of the trials and tribulations of Scarlett during this time period, which leads to a four-hour film of epic proportions.
The film showcases many brilliant and iconic performances from a stellar cast including Vivien Leigh (A Streetcar Named Desire, 1951) in an Oscar winning performance as Scarlett O’Hara, Olivia de Havilland (The Adventures of Robin Hood, 1938) as her beautiful cousin Melanie, who wins over the heart of Ashley Wilkes, played by Leslie Howard (The Petrified Forest, 1936), Hattie McDaniel as the servant Mammy – which won her an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and made her the first African-American to win an Academy Award-, and of course there’s Clark Gable (It Happened One Night, 1934), as Rhett Butler, the no-nonsense drifter from Charleston who falls head-over-heels for Scarlett, in, arguably, his greatest performance; one that earned him an Oscar nomination, and which delivered the infamous line – what the American Film Institute voted as the greatest film quote of all time – “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!”
After a disastrous film production that saw the replacement and use of multiple directors, many re-shoots, the filming of half a million feet of film (cut down to only 20,000 for the final cut), and the use of 5 film units shooting different scenes simultaneously, the film was all shot and released in about a year and still managed to become one of the most recognizable and most classic films of all time. Gone With The Wind is definitely a seminal cinema classic, and if you love the classics, or love this film, there would be no reason not to check out its screening at the Astor, the only place you will be able to see it screened the way it was intended to be seen.
Reviewed by Dave Lee, one of our awesome and regular E-news contributors.
Gone With the Wind screens at the Astor Theatre Saturday 4th June, 7.30pm.