Monday, June 24, 2013

Great Movie #105 - Gone With The Wind

We finally did it.  I don't know how we did it, but we did.....we got through this never ending movie.  This film was the Titanic of its time; and an hour longer.  I have this belief that the general conception of this film is that it is a mushy romance from an era racked with campy, melodramatic romance.  Thus far, this was the most entertaining movie experience I have had, hopefully there will be many more to come.  

I couldn't help but remain in awe of looking at a film made 74 years ago (1939) and not seeing it as dated.  I think that's a testament to epic storytelling, which is universal.  I think what made it so enjoyable was our approach to watching it.  C'mon, we had to crack jokes on this movie to get through it, we just had to.  Some dramatic points were just so ridiculous you couldn't help but laugh.  

With all that said, I cannot stand Scarlett O'Hara.  She was such a piece of work, if she was a real person I might have to pour a drink on her.  I guess Vivian Leigh is one of the greatest actresses to hit the stage if she could generate such emotional reaction from the audience.  You see this woman grow from a self - absorbed debutante, to an entrepreneurial debutante spending three hours and ninety-five minutes chasing a man that doesn't want her.  To add to this stew of drama, we have none other than Rhett Butler aka (the one and only) Clarke Gable.  Talk about swag on overdrive, that's Rhett Butler.  Almost every other scene this man wouldn't let things phase him.  He was driven to get his woman, and he got her... ultimately to his disappointment.  Yet and still we were able to hear one of the best lines ever. Granted this is only the second time I've seen this film, the emotion behind the "...I don't give a damn." line just oozes with authenticity.  Clarke Gable makes you believe what it saying.  By that point in his career I guess Gable was such an experienced actor it was effortless.

By far the strongest aspect of this film was it cinematography.  The grandiose nature of the set pieces continually pulls your eyes to the screen.  The rich array of colors from scene to scene was just pleasing to the eye.  Coming in second would be the performances particularly of Vivian Leigh and Clarke Gable.  They steal the scenes every time they hit they enter it.  Hell, a new goal of mine is to get what I now call the Rhett Butler swag.  Just imagine, I'm on that 'R.B. swag' (#brilliant).  I  could not address its depiction of race.  The almost propaganda style depiction of the Pre-Civil War South and Reconstruction Era to follow was a bit unsettling for both 'the Mrs'. and Byron.  Still a bit understandable, but in a Post Obama America, who really cares? Yet and still the racism was there and it was something we deconstructed and found humor in its ignorance.  

I feel that people tend to forget about Gone With The Wind as the original epic of the Classic Hollywood system instead replaced by The Ten Commandments (1956).  Though this isn't one of my favorites, this movie should be required watching for any actor or filmmaker.  There are lessons here in performance, cinematography, writing, directing, theory, the list just goes on and on.  We're in agreement this film deserves to be on the list of 1,000.

Now if you'll excuse me I have to stare in the mirror and work on my Rhett Butler Swag.

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