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Gone with the Wind (PG)
Sun 8 December @ 1:30 pm£7 – £10
Gone with the Wind (PG) – 1939, USA, 238 mins, with one intermission
Director: Victor Fleming
On the eve of the American Civil War, rich, beautiful and self-centred Scarlett O’Hara has everything she could want – except Ashley Wilkes. But as the war devastates the South, Scarlett discovers the strength within herself to protect her family and rebuild her life.
“Gone With the Wind” presents a sentimental view of the Civil War, in which the “Old South” takes the place of Camelot and the war was fought not so much to defeat the Confederacy and free the slaves as to give Miss Scarlett O’Hara her comeuppance. But we’ve known that for years; the tainted nostalgia comes with the territory. Yet as “GWTW” approaches its anniversary, it is still a towering landmark of film, quite simply because it tells a good story, and tells it wonderfully well.
For the story it wanted to tell, it was the right film at the right time. Scarlett O’Hara is not a creature of the 1860s but of the 1930s: a free-spirited, willful modern woman. The way was prepared for her by the flappers of Fitzgerald’s jazz age, by the bold movie actresses of the period, and by the economic reality of the Depression, which for the first time put lots of women to work outside their homes…
As an example of filmmaking craft, “GWTW” is still astonishing. Several directors worked on the film; George Cukor incurred Clark Gable’s dislike and was replaced by Victor Fleming, who collapsed from nervous exhaustion and was relieved by Sam Wood and Cameron Menzies. The real auteur was the producer, David O. Selznick who understood that the key to mass appeal was the linking of melodrama with state-of-the-art production values. Some of the individual shots in “GWTW” still have the power to leave us breathless, including the burning of Atlanta, the flight to Tara and the “street of dying men” shot, as Scarlett wanders into the street and the camera pulls back until the whole Confederacy seems to lie broken and bleeding as far as the eye can see.
And there is a joyous flamboyance in the visual style that is appealing in these days when so many directors have trained on the blandness of television. Consider an early shot where Scarlett and her father look out over the land, and the camera pulls back, the two figures and a tree held in black silhouette with the landscape behind them. Or the way the flames of Atlanta are framed to backdrop Scarlett’s flight in the carriage.
I’ve seen “Gone With the Wind” in four of its major theatrical revivals…. It will be around for years to come, a superb example of Hollywood’s art and a time capsule of weathering sentimentality for a Civilization gone with the wind, all right-gone, but not forgotten.” Roger Ebert
Doors open for drinks at 12:45pm. Film at 1:30pm.