Epic romantic drama based on Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-winning novel set during the American Civil War. Southern belle Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) often uses men to get what she wants, but is unable to get the one man she truly desires, Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard). She soon meets her match in the roguish Captain Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) and in the war itself which destroys the genteel way of life she has always known. With determination she rebuilds her life from the shattered remains the Union Army leaves behind. Despite its sometimes troubled production (director George Cukor was replaced by Victor Fleming, with Sam Wood brought in when Fleming's health failed), the film won ten Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress.
First off, if you're a GwtW
fanatic, you must buy this four-disc collection. But then again, you probably don't need to read this to make that decision. For the rest of us, know that the kitchen-sink approach has been established here with two full discs of extras. The film's restoration under Warner's brilliant Ultra-Resolution process is the major contribution to the set. However, the bare-bones version released years ago isn't bad and the film still doesn't pop off the screen as do films from the headier days of Technicolor (like the earlier Ultra-Resolution DVD release of Meet Me in St. Louis
). That said, the set is worthy of the most popular movie ever made. Rudy Behlmer's feature-length commentary is dry but an exhaustive reference guide to the entire history of the film. Need more? There's the excellent full-length documentary The Making of a Legend
(1989) narrated by Christopher Plummer, plus two hour-long older biographies on the two main stars. There are many new vignettes on the rest of the cast, all narrated by Plummer (a nice touch to tie everything together). The new 30-minute interview/reminisce with Oliva de Havilland will be interesting to older fans, but tiresome for the younger set. The usual sort of trailers and premiere footage is here along with a curious short ("The Old South", directed by Fred Zinnemann) that was produced to help introduce the world to the history of the South. --Doug Thomas
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.