182: Gone With the Wind

Gone With the Wind (G) - 1939 - Runtime: 238 minutes
Starring: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh
Director: Victor Fleming

It's hard to cast judgment on this kind of movie. It's a lot like Casablanca - it's adored by millions of people and still, after seventy years, considered one of the greatest movies of all time. Maggie was surprised when I came home with this movie completely ignorant of the plot, back story and even the cast (I thought the lead was Cary Grant not Clark Gable - and I consider myself knowledgeable about most movies!). The one thing I knew was that it was set during the civil war. So I guess you could say I'm the most objective viewer for this movie, right? All joking aside, I was just hoping I had a good time with the nearly four hour (!) movie.

And although I did not dislike the movie, I really didn't like it, either. I wouldn't consider it in my top ten, certainly not number six of all time (according to AFI's list). But that's all fairly subjective and this is part of the reason why I started watching all these movies in the first place. If there's any comparison to a modern day movie, it would be Titanic. Big budget, relatively unknown stars (although Clark Gable was a fairly big name by the time the movie came out), Oscar worthy material, etc. But unlike Titanic, which I consider Hollywood's biggest mistake (I mean if we could rewind back to 1997 and seriously watch that movie for the first time - I think we would all agree it's a stupid little movie. James Cameron, you better make up for this with Avatar.), Gone With the Wind actually holds up after all this time and the message of the movie and epic scope are still very relevant and meaningful. But even after all that (somewhat) praise, I didn't like it that much.

My problem with the movie is not necessarily the length, but how long it took Scarlett to stop being such a brat and grow up (pretty much the whole four hours). And maybe that's the point, and so be it, but I still don't like it and much like Rhett Butler, frankly, I don't give a damn. I really did enjoy the idea that this certain way of living was "gone with the wind," that is, the innocent part of the southern way of living became extinct after the civil war.

But going back to the length of this movie - it is long and it's not something you can just pop in on a Tuesday night. You have to be invested in wanting to see this movie. It's the same way with the Lord of the Rings movies. I get the grand, epic feeling of it all - but it's something I don't think I'd want to revisit anytime soon. Sometimes characters rub me the wrong way or just get on my nerves to the extent that it ruins the experience - and that's how I felt about Scarlett. I didn't enjoy watching her pout and carry on like a diva for most of the movie. It didn't help that her friend was pretty much Mother Teresa, a perfect person who never did anything remotely wrong or sinful. The only real character I bought was Rhett - he was played brilliantly by Clark Gable - I thought he was brash and delightfully charming through the whole movie.

Even though I'm not too hot on this movie, I at least respect why it was such a phenomenon, and still is. If you count attendance, it's still the most watched movie of all time - according to Box Office Mojo, and adjusted for ticket price inflation, almost made a 1.5 billion dollars domestically. That alone is a powerful statement as to how this movie was received back then. And like I said earlier, it still holds up today as a powerfully epic story and something to see simply because it's considered one of the greatest.

I would recommend this movie if you haven't seen it yet and you're looking for an epic, romantic movie. Just be prepared and don't get too discouraged at all the whining Scarlett does - she has a fitting ending in the movie.

Rating: Rent It!

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