Gone with the Wind (1939)

4,5/5

USA; Victor Fleming

 

All Audiences

 

 

Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh), a spoilt Southern belle, finds her Fool’s Paradise crumbling when the Civil War broke out, wreaking havoc on a peaceful, prosperous and quiet countryside. After a brief series of victories that torch a naïve, chaotic and impulsive surge of patriotism and pugnacity, the insidious revelation of its impuissance and the inevitability of its destruction downs on a whole civilization that has never been fit for war. But if her world is dying, Scarlett has no intention of dying too. Thus begins a ferocious battle against the hardships of life, but also against her hopeless love for a married man, and her overwhelming, intense fascination for a rugged, virile blockade runner turned millionaire overnight, Rhett Butler (Clark Gable). 

 

There are films that age like wine, others that age like people, like us. But there are films that just don’t age. Gone with the Wind is a rare example of such a film, and as a result a unique cinematic morsel, a quintessential classic for all movies aficionados. It may lack the heightened psychological acuteness or subtler shades of later, more “mature” masterpieces, but this is a grand, electrifying spectacle.  Gone with the Wind builds both on epic élan and psychological conflicts; in this respect, it is quite unique for the Hollywood tradition.

 

The first half is a robust, thrilling adventure movie, of a scope and scale rarely surpassed.  It charts the brutal demise of a civilization that already defied history through its unyielding determination to shun progress. While the socio-political commentary may seem laughable naïve and an intolerable idealization of slavery, the filmmakers’ diluted the political message so pervasive in Mitchell’s book, making the film much more enduring and beloved with modern audiences than its source material.

 

Saying that Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable are great is something of an understatement: they are literally spellbinding throughout. Leigh’s fragile, classical beauty and fineness of frame convey a vulnerability belied by the actress’ fierce, blistering performance. A bundle of contradictions and rage honeyed by a feline, flirtatious femineity, her character have stood the test of time as one of the greatest woman in cinematic history.

 

But while the first act is a thrilling and delightfully tense ride, with sparkles of wit and humor, the second act is still truly amazingly modern and potent, a blistering and dark study in family dysfunction that still rings true nowadays. Rhett and Scarlet’s marriage is fuelled by a malign energy often bordering on sadomasochism, and the emotional cruelty of some scenes will freeze your blood.

 

In conclusion, the passing of time seems to have no effect on a timeless masterpiece. This cinematic colossus was – and still is – a whooping, bold gesture of filmmaking.

 

 

Gone with the wind movie poster 2337    Gonevuur2

Add a comment

You're using an AdBlock like software. Disable it to allow submit.

Make a free website with emyspot - Signaler un contenu illicite sur ce site