Directed by: Victor Fleming (won Oscar)
Screenplay by: Sidney Howard (won Oscar)
Starring: Vivien Leigh (won Oscar), Clark Gable (nominated), Olivia de Havilland (nominated), Leslie Howard
My rating: 9/10
IMDb rating: 8.2/10
Goodbye, Mr. Chips
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Of Mice and Men
The Wizard of Oz
Synopsis: This film follows the schemes and travails of Scarlett O’Hara as she tries to survive in the American civil war era.
What a way to end the ‘30s. And what a year for movies! Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Ninotchka, Stagecoach, The Wizard of Oz… all are inarguable classics.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit I was dreading this one. I’d seen it once before and found it overlong and a bit tedious. I mean, it’s four hours. FOUR HOURS. That’s half a workday.
But one day, I got me some snacks, poured a martini and gave it a shot. And cried like a baby for at least two of those four hours.
There isn’t really much to say about this film that hasn’t been said before, and better. It was such a massive event that it’s been picked apart and analysed in minute detail.
So, I’ll just give my opinion. My feelings.
I loved it.
And I was surprised I loved it.
Yes, it was long (SO LONG) but, guys, the hype is worth it. The shots are incredible, the acting is on point, the dialogue is perfect… and it doesn’t hurt that it stars the most beautiful woman to ever walk the face of the earth.
There’s tons to unpack here, with a movie about the end of an era (the old South) happening on the verge of the second world war, and there’s a lot of analysis to be had in Scarlett O’Hara’s characterisation, but I won’t do any of that, because like I said, it’s been said before and better.
What I will say is that the relationships between the four central characters (Scarlett, Rhett, Melanie and Ashley) were, for me, by far the most compelling part. The relationships are so damn messy.
Scarlett is in love with Ashley, who’s going to marry Melanie, and she spends the whole movie scheming about how to get him. Melanie just loves everyone and is so wonderful and kind, and truly believes Scarlett is her friend. Rhett, the smarmy womaniser and profiteer, is in love with Scarlett because she’s spunky and has so much grit.
Ashley’s a bit bland, but whatever. He’s really just a plot device, so every time Scarlett says “Ashley”, I imagine she’s talking about this guy.
Clark Gable’s Rhett definitely has some of the film’s best quotes. Some of my favourites:
“I figure we belong together, being the same sort.”
“I’ve always had a weakness for lost causes, once they’re really lost.”
“Boys aren’t any use to anybody. Don’t you think I’m proof of that?”
The bottom line: I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did, because I wasn’t convinced the four-hour historical film could live up to its hype. Watch it. Watch it without expecting to fall in love with it, and you’ll walk away happy.
View the rest of the series here.