© 1939 Selznick International Pictures

Gone With The Wind (1939)

Gone With The Wind is certainly one of those films, like Citizen Kane, that I occasionally feel compelled to watch every year and a half or so, just because it seems like my duty to do so. While Kane is always an emotional work out and bowls me over with its technical mastery, Gone with the Wind, despite David O. Selznik’s best intentions to make it grandiose, does not do all that much for me.

I quite like Clark Gable in It Happened one Night, but always felt he was slightly miscast as a Southern gentleman. Vivien Leigh, on the other hand, is of course perfect as Scarlett O’Hara, and this really is one of those cases where you can not imagine another performer in the role. But then Thomas Mitchell as her doomed father pushes the Irish accent so hard it becomes comic. The script is one of the best ever written for a Hollywood film, but some of the character—both white and black, Yankee and Confederate—are flimsy stereotypes. These inconsistencies run through the film and mar my appreciation of it a bit too much. True cynics would call this a four-hour film with only one curse word, and not a very good one at that.

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“Why did I take up stealing? To live better, to own things I couldn't afford, to acquire this good taste that you now enjoy and which I should be very reluctant to give up.”
-John Robie (Cary Grant)
from To Catch a Thief