Gone with the Wind (1939)

2007 #93a
Victor Fleming | 224 mins | DVD | PG / G

Gone with the WindI thought I’d seen Gone With the Wind but, watching it again, it’s clear I hadn’t properly.

This is partly because I first saw it on TV, in two halves, a week apart, each starting at 1am. I just about managed to follow the story, in between drifting off for whole chunks. Another reason is the quality of the restored print on the DVD: it looks stunning, every frame is beautiful; it’s a shame no films look like this today.

The performances are uniformly excellent, especially (of course) Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable; though special mention must be made of the fantastic Oscar-winning Hattie McDaniel as Mammy (the first African-American to be nominated for and win an Oscar, and deservedly so). The direction is brilliant, displaying styles you think weren’t invented for another 20 years; all of the design work is gorgeous; and the story is epic and expertly told, moving across genres (romance, war, melodrama, comedy) with ease.

It’s easy to see why this is the most popular film ever made. First time round I just thought it was very good; now it’s firmly one of my favourites.

5 out of 5