Is there anything left to be said about Gone with the Wind? It’s still the big film of 1939. Last I knew, it had still been seen by more people than any other movie ever made, and, when prices are adjusted, it’s still the all-time money-maker. Owing to the fact that it was withheld from TV for so long and was so often re-issued, it has almost certainly been seen in theaters by more people still living than any other old film. (That it has mostly been seen substantially cropped on screens designed for wide-screen formats since the mid-1950s is another issue.) It’s thought of as a Civil War epic, but really it’s a classy four-hour soap opera about a couple of folks with really lousy timing set against the Civil War and Reconstruction Era as flashy backdrop. It’s also the ultimate in corporate moviemaking. It all feels tried, tested and market-researched within an inch of its life to a point that it hardly matters who directed it. The only discernible presence behind the camera—apart from producer David O. Selznick—is production designer William Cameron Menzies. His fingerprints are all over Gone with the Wind, and so much about the film that has become iconic has more to do with him than anyone else—except the stars. I don’t think it’s a great film, but I do think it’s one hell of a movie—if you accept that distinction. There are moments—starting with the manner in which the main title appears on the screen—that are thrilling in the simple fact that they’re so obviously “special” in one way or another. The Hendersonville Film Society is showing it as part of their Civil War commemoration, and due to its length, they’re running it in two parts—which would’ve pleased my father, who always felt it would be fine if it ended at the intermission.
Before you comment
The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.