Wednesday, 7 August 2013

''Gone with the Wind'' (1939 movie)- Review

Directed by: Victor Fleming
Released: 1939
Country: United States

Main cast: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard, Olivia de Havilland, Carroll Nye, Hattie McDaniel, Butterfly McQueen, Harry Davenport, Ona Munson

Genres: Romantic drama, War

Rating: 5 out of 5


Scarlett O'Hara is certainly one of the most unique, one of the most memorable characters I've ever come across. At some point of the film, Rhett Butler makes a comment about her: ''What a woman!'' Scarlett O'Hara is indeed a memorable character, and through the film, her character undergoes a lot of qualities: flirtatious, romantic, kind, desperate, ambitious, vicious. Sometimes, she is an immensely likeable character, a character you feel kindness and sympathy for, and sometimes, she is unpleasant. She repeatedly reminded me of Becky Sharp. But no, she is not heartless as Becky Sharp. Scarlett O'Hara, the protagonist of ''Gone with the Wind'', is a character difficult to describe. She is unique.

The film starts in Tara, a beautiful plantation in Georgia. The film starts with two young men flirting with our protagonist, Scarlett, the daughter of Gerald O'Hara, the owner of the plantation. The people of Tara are going to visit the nearby plantation, Twelve Oaks, the home of the Wilkes. The two young men inform Scarlett that Ashley Wilkes has decided to marry his cousin, Melanie. Hearing this, Scarlett is shocked. She had always thought that Ashley Wilkes is in love with her.

The next day, at the barbecue in Twelve Oaks, it is evident that Ashley Wilkes will be marrying Melanie. Scarlett is disappointed, but flirts with every young men present. She is the subject of attention of every single young men present in the party. At the library, Scarlett confronts Ashley, revealing how much she loves him. The two have an argument, Scarlett slaps Ashley, who thereafter leaves the room. Their conversation, however, is overheard by a visitor, Rhett Butler. Scarlett, jealous and disappointed because Ashley is going to marry Melanie, marries Melanie's brother Charles, in hopes of taking revenge from Ashley. As the American Civil War starts, most men, including Ashley and Charles, enlist. However, Charles dies in the war, making Scarlett a widow.

But Scarlett has her plans, her ideas, of getting back Ashley again. She goes to Atlanta to live with Melanie, in hopes that when Ashley will come to Melanie and she (Scarlett) can woo him again. On the other hand, Rhett Butler also apparently is in love with her, though she knows that she only wants Ashley in her life.

The Civil War takes away everything: the glamor, the beauty of the South, the beauty of the plantation, and the beauty from the lives of people like Scarlett, Melanie, and Ashley. It is during this point that Vivien Leigh, the actress who plays Scarlett, gives perhaps the most memorable, most emotionally intense performance. The carefree, flirtatious girl with a lot of beaus, has to struggle with so much hardships, and her determination to take care of the pregnant Melanie. During this hard time, her taking care of everything so wonderfully, almost can makes us forgive her flirtatious nature. However, things change after the war. Having worked so hard throughout the time of the war to provide her family, she is now ambitious to get back the wealth that the whole South had lost during the Civil War, and will do anything for this. Her character takes a vampish, coquettish turn.

Scarlett O'Hara is a character not afraid to take any risks, even it is a great danger to her prestige and reputation. Her marriages for revenge and wealth, her wooing. 

How wars can affect lives, how wars can affect cultures- is so wonderfully portrayed in this film. The glamor of the lives of the people living in the South is portrayed very well at the beginning of the film, through the barbecue at the Twelve Oaks. And how all these charms, grace, are devestated, destroyed, burnt, are clearly portrayed.

Vivien Leigh's performance is so excellent, so touching. Clark Gable is wonderful as Rhett Butler. Olivia de Havilland as Melanie, is perfectly amazing. I liked each of the characters. I liked how they are well developed. Each of the characters, major, supporting or minor, are memorable, are important.

''Gone with the Wind'' is about Scarlett O'Hara, it is about the effect of love, it is about the devastating effects of war, it is about the devastating effects of ambitions. Gone with the Wind is certainly one of the most beautiful, one of the most depressing, and one of the best films I've ever seen.

5 out of 5

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