HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Gone With The Wind 75th Anniversary Edition
HTS Overall Score:91
Fact: Gone with the Wind won nine Academy Awards in 1940, including Best Actress in a Leading Role (Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Hattie McDaniel as Mammy), Best Director (Victor Fleming), and Best Picture. Fact: Gone with the Wind was nominated for an additional five Academy Awards, including Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Clark Gable as Rhett Butler), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Olivia de Havilland as Melanie Hamilton), and Best Music, Original Score (Max Steiner). Fact: Gone with the Wind won the 1989 People’s Choice Award for Favorite All-Time Motion Picture. Fact: Gone with the Wind is still one of the most celebrated classic films in the history of the industry. The portrayal of Civil War South, the costume design, and the technical achievements in colorization and use of coordinated equipment, to this day, still affect filmmaking, fashion, and literature, and that’s not the half of its influence!
But why? Sure, I’ll give the special effects, set, location, costuming, film editing, music, et cetera, kudos to the sky, but the story itself is so depressing. I’d never seen it before this release. I’d heard about it plenty, though. My mother warned me that I’d get annoyed with Scarlett O’Hara’s voice; my friends in college raved about the romance and epic quality of the film; Scarlett herself was discussed at length as either the most cold-hearted, mercenary human on the planet, or the epitome of a driven, clever, shrewd businesswoman. But no one ever told me that Rhett Butler’s famous line, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a ,” was delivered at the END of the film. I always thought part of the movie was convincing him to give a .
Yet when I watched Gone with the Wind today, what struck me most was not the romance, not the glorious plantations, not the horror and devastation of war, and not the grand scope of the story. It was Scarlett herself, her interactions with all the people around her, as a tragic figure in true Shakespearean form. All Shakespeare’s tragic protagonists start at a height and gradually fall, or get torn down, to depths they didn’t know they could plunge. Lear was the king of Britain, but when he gave his kingdom to his daughters, they stripped him of his entourage, his dignity, and his sanity. MacBeth was the favorite of a Danish king, but a prophecy and an ambitious wife enticed him to murder. Titus Andronicus was the mightiest general of the Roman army, but he chose the wrong successor as emperor, and a prisoner queen took revenge on him and his family, even so far as to make him cut off his own hand. Hamlet lost friends, family, and his lover. Othello strangled the woman he loved. All of these, and practically every other principle character, end up killed by homicide or suicide. While Scarlett O’Hara doesn’t meet so grisly a fate, she does plummet from majesty to poverty, and then rises from starving waif to wealthy businesswoman only to plummet again, having practically everything stripped from her – her first husband, her home, her family, and her innocence all in the first act, and then her second husband, her friends, her reputation, her unborn child, her daughter, and finally, her third husband, Rhett, in the second act.
I feel both repulsed by and profoundly sorry for Scarlett. She seems to expect that people will forgive her no matter what she does. She treats emotional entanglement with a married man as something romantic and talks of running away with him as though it’s acceptable. She coerces, cajoles, manipulates, lies, cries, complains, and criticizes throughout the entire film, with only a few moments revealing her true heart. I think that’s what made me finally pity her. After all the fear and pain and misery she endured, physical and emotional, she and Rhett constantly allowed their pride to forbid forgiveness. There’s a moment when Scarlett wakes up in the morning after a night of passion with her husband Rhett, and she’s actually HAPPY about it, but when he comes in, he doesn’t seem to see the light in her eyes and the glow in her face; he sarcastically apologizes for his drunkenness and informs her that he’s leaving for London and taking their daughter with him. Immediately, the wall of self-preservation comes up to blot out her smile and her laugh. There’s another moment, when Rhett and the daughter return from London, where Scarlett shows such relief and joy at his return, but he makes a snide comment and the wall is thrown back up. Conversely, on Rhett’s side, when Scarlett has an accident and miscarries, she grows deliriously ill, and he worries and worries over her, hoping she’ll call for him, but no one ever comes to say she has. What kills me is that SHE DID CALL; the film shows her tossing and turning and saying his name, but no one actually goes to get him. I think that may have moo me off most. So much of their marital anguish and misunderstanding could have been avoided if one of them actually showed genuine compassion for the other despite his sarcasm or her dramatics.
Frankly, there were only two characters in the whole movie I liked. The first was Melanie Hamilton, later Melanie Wilks, the woman who married Ashley Wilks (Leslie Howard), the object of Scarlett’s long-suffering adoration. She’s the only truly kind person in the entire South, as far as I can tell. She constantly thinks the best of everyone; treats slaves, prostitutes, socialites, and plantation owners with equal respect; and defends those she loves from slander, even if the slander is true. I adored her every second she appeared on screen. Her compassion, gentleness, and wisdom were the perfect foil for Scarlett’s selfishness, conceit, and abuse of others. I cried hardest when she died. The second character I liked was Mammy, Scarlett’s sort-of nanny – a house slave. She’d lived with the O’Hara’s since before Scarlett was born, and when Mr. and Mrs. O’Hara died, she went with Scarlett and her second husband (whom she stole from her sister) to Atlanta and stayed with her even after the second husband died and Scarlett married Rhett. She always gave Scarlett the piece of her mind she needed to hear, and had no qualms about challenging her on her behavior. But she was also a mother to Scarlett, a nurse when she fell ill, a protector, and a guardian.
Rated G For General Audiences
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=28769[/img]Warner Brothers has treated its catalog titles rather well in comparison to the other studios and their really IMPORTANT catalog titles with kid gloves, as we can see with “Gone with the Wind”. The 1.37:1 VC-1 encoded transfer is simply stunning to behold, with a nice layer of grain that doesn’t ever get in the way, with bold colors that are never too bright and some amazing detail. All of the period piece costumes are just rife with little details, buttons and folds in the ladies dresses that are so much more noticeable than my old double disc DVD of the film. You can even see the makeup on Clark a few times, which gave me quite a chuckle. The contrasts are well balanced throughout the film, giving the characters a very natural look, and the black levels are through the roof. No signs of crush or banding or any other dark level nasty to be sure. Even with 4 hours of material housed on one disc I didn’t see any macroblocking or other compression issues to speak of. Color me impressed.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=28777[/img]“Gone with the Wind” is given its original Mono audio track in lossy Dolby Digital, but it’s also been given a 5.1 remixed track in 5.1 Dolby TrueHD and while I love the mono track for the sake of being a purist, that 5.1 remix is quite spectacularly done. It’s a bit light on the surrounds, as most mono-5.1 tracks usually are, but the sound separation and detail in the directionality is quite impressive. Vocals are crystal clear and show no signs of fidelity loss due to the severe age of the movie in question, and I really loved the clean range the track was given. Many times an older movie will sound over compressed, or tinny due to several factors, but this one feels as if the highs are given plenty of breathing room to shine. Surrounds DO actually come into play, especially during the more aggressive battle scenes and even add some nice LFE punch to them. The balance and attention to detail in the track is nothing short of superb and gives you the sense of traveling back in time to another era in way that only a good movie track can.
• Commentary By Historian Rudy Behlmer
• The Making of a Legend: "Gone With The Wind"
• Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Presents 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year
• "Gone With The Wind: The Legend Lives On
• Gable: The King Remembered
• Vivien Leigh: Scarlett and Beyond
• Melanie Remembers: Reflections by Olivia de Havilland
• The Supporting Players
• Restoring A Legend
• Newsreel : Dixie Hails Gone With the Wind
• Newsreel: Atlanta Civil War Centennial
• The Old South
• International Prologue,
• Foreign Language Versions
• Old South/New South
• Gone With the Wind: Hollywood Comes to Atlanta - Premiere and Tour of Atlanta Footage
• MGM: When the LIon Roars - 6 Hour Award Winning Studio Chronicle
While Gone with the Wind is indeed an impressive cinematographic achievement, especially regarding technical innovation and costume design, the plot and character development are certainly not cheerful. There are understated and meaningful interactions among the characters, even dexterous commentaries on human morality, survival, and loyalty, but I felt an intense sense of loss as the exit music played. This movie broke my heart. Scarlett O’Hara will forever be to me one of the most tragic figures in cinema history; honestly, I don’t see how she’d ever get Rhett back after all she’d done. Words would be meaningless to him. How did he put it? “You think that by saying, ‘I’m sorry,’ all past can be corrected.” While I’m not a fan of tragedies, Gone with the Wind is still an exquisite movie – the subtlety, the nuance, the gradual accumulation of tension is so profound that at the end, when everything falls to pieces, I wept for Scarlett, not because I liked her, but because I pitied her so much.
The Audio and video is definitely the same transfer as the previous 70th Anniversary editions with some additions and subtractions from the extras department. This particular box is a full 4 disc set with an included 6 hour special on the movie with a very beautiful set of physical swag, including a full color book on the movie, a Clark and Vivien music box and several more. This basically replaces the giant 70th anniversary box set of the film by adding a couple of extras. If you HAVEN'T bought it before, this box set is a no brainer, but this is mainly for the collectors as those who have bought it before on Blu-ray might not feel the 3rd disc of extras is enough to re buy. Still this is an excellent film, and an excellent presentation of one of film's greatest achievements and deserves all the praise it can get.
Starring: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh
Directed by: Victor Fleming, George Cukor
Written by: Sidney Howard
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1 VC-1
Audio: ENGLISH: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, French, Spanish, German, Italian, DD 5.1, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, English DD Mono
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 233 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: September 30th 2014
Buy Gone With the Wind: 75th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Buy It
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