on 23 March 2005
Wow! I accidentally came across this new DVD version of Gone With The Wind whilst browsing in the shops. I have previously ignored other DVD versions, because they didn't put any special features on them which disappointed me deeply. I always knew that eventually a DVD with special features would be released, and it has now been released in style with this edition.
I was very excited when I saw it contained 4 different discs. It contains 'The Making Of A Legend' which I saw on TV previously. It is a highly enjoyable account of the story of the making of GWTW, and the most avid fan will enjoy it immensely. It shows behind the scenes shots of all the stars, and some of the auditions starring other populars actors/actresses of the time. It is interesting to see this, and compare their performances to those of the stars of the film.
Being a massive Vivien Leigh fan, I was very pleased to see that one of the discs contains the Vivien Leigh documentary 'Scarlett and Beyond' which is lovely.
There is also a great recent interview with the brilliant Olivia De Havilland. She looks amazing for her age, and her account of the making of the film is spellbinding. She is a very interesting lady.
The overall quality of the film is brilliant. It is almost as if the film was done in recent years. The details and colour is much more superior to any editions before, and you notice things that you didn't notice before. The colour of Vivien Leigh's eyes is more vivid, and you can see that her eyes are actually green, and not the blueish colour that they have on previous versions.
If you love this film then buy it. If you're a mad GWTW fan, then definitely buy it, you would be a fool not to. I promise you, you will not be disappointed!!
on 2 January 2010
As I said in my Blu-ray review of "North By Northwest", when major studios really want to get it together for BD releases, they can make really impressive products. "Gone With The Wind" is a perfect marriage of Hollywood nous, production values and acting bravura: similarly, the Blu-ray release gets the full-on treatment, in terms of restoration of the original print and extras.
"Gone With The Wind" is a fantastic investment on Blu-ray. Technicolor films from the 1930s and 1940s tend to look ravishing, paradoxically because of the lessened colour palette (see also "The Adventures Of Robin Hood" (1938)). Respected production designer William Cameron Menzies was behind the "look" of GWtW, and envisaged rich colour alternating with muted tones for more melancholic scenes: the Blu-ray captures his vision triumphantly, with wonderfully dark blacks, glowing oranges and reds, and sombre greys all equally rendered. Although the transfer is only in 4:3, when you get over the fact there is no pseudo-widescreen option (as there was on the DVD of "Snow White" in that BD combi pack) the quality of the images is in my opinion flawless.
As for extras, the second disc abounds with interesting documentaries and cast biographies that add to the experience of one of the genuinely biggest films ever made.
As a man I am probably not the most typical fan of this movie, which is very feminine, and sometimes surprisingly feminist. And still I can not help it. I always loved GWTW and it still has on me a magical effect, as few others manage to do (the others being essentially "Star Wars", "The longest day", "The seven samurai" and "Alien"). This is an adaptation of a very long (and excellent) book, so it has to be long. And it is. And me for one I am very happy that it is, because there is no way to tell the whole story shorter. Period.
GWTW is two stories in one and they are both passionate - and very, very sad. The background is about the death of a country, a civilisation and a way of life. And no matter what is your opinion on the American South, a death is never happy - but it can be a great story. And it is. The scene with Scarlett walking between the wounded Confederate soldiers in the railway station of Atlanta is unbelievable - those who never saw it, missed something great and perfect.
The second story is about the coming of age and maturing of a very beautiful, but antipatic, mean and rather stupid young girl. Scarlett is 17 at the beginning of the movie - immature, silly, lazy and spoiled she is in fact a horrible (although cute) little brat. The cataclysm swallowing her world will force her to change and she will show a surprising strength - you simply must admire her for the moment when she succesfully deals with the repugnant Yankee plunderer, who came to steal the very last money and the very last food of four starving and sick women. The scene in which, on the ruins of the world, in the background of blood coloured sunset she swears that she will never be hungry again, is one of the most powerful ever in the history of cinema.
Now, being initially just a silly, spoiled child, Scarlett couldn't help but fall for the wrong guy, handsome, intelligent and kind but weak Ashley Wilkes - when in the same time becoming the object of interest of possibly the most incredibly appealing macho in world history, Rhett Butler, played by Clark Gable, in his greatest role ever.
Then there is Melanie, Ashley's wife, played by Olivia de Havilland. You have to read the book to fully realise how incredibly strong and clever is Melanie. She in fact is the real "Power woman" in the movie - although her iron rule is made with the softest of gloves. I always was in deep awe of this character and of the way Olivia De Havilland played her.
Relations and tragedies between those four are one of the greatest stories ever told on the screen. Of course, like all the great stories, and mostly like life itself, this is one is devoided of happy ending... although? The last scene of the movie is just incredible... there is so much you can see in it and how you see this scene, well, it depends of your heart.
This is a mythical movie, played by great actors, with an incredibly powerful and moving musical score and with costumes and decors which still can impress, even today. I strongly believe that who never stood with Scarlett under this dead tree, looking at this bloody sunset, holding this pathetic radish she digged barehanded from the dirt and screaming to God that she will never, never be hungry again... he missed something important that should not be missed.
I was surprised to see so many negative reviews of this film. I've always enjoyed it, but will admit that it sags a bit towards the end.
I view it in the context of when it was made, and how groundbreaking it was in terms of its budget and scope, and the legends surrounding it. It is really a high class soap opera, but that is not meant as a put down.
It was popular here during the blitz, and I can imagine how people then could identify with Scarlett O'Hara when she returned to a ravaged and ruined Tara. Nobody on film has ever waved a radish as meaningfully as Vivien Leigh, as she vowed to overcome and prosper. Three of the four main players are British, which makes me proud.
The film does depict slavery and racism, but please also know that Hattie McDaniel picked up a supporting role Oscar for her portrayal of Mamie. She was the first African American to win an Accadamy Award. In that respect, the film stands as a powerful symbol of black advancement.
An epic of its time, that is still worth watching today.
If you are reading this, you will forgive me if I don't make a review of the film itself. It is one of the better-known and more talked about films ever. It's one of those films "everyone" has seen. But if you are reading this, more likely than not you are thinking of buying it. And you should. It is one of the best DVDs releases ever, and certainly the best of classic film I have ever seen. There are no adjectives that make justice to the quality of the picture, especially if you remember the film from an old print or a VHS tape. The detail is incredible. The colours amazing. (If you live in London it's the same copy that was release at the NFT in December 2004.) And then the extras: there is a two hour long documentary about the making of the film, a 2004 interview with Olivia de Havilland (who played Melanie), one documentary on Vivien Leigh, one on Gable, trailers and many others which will keep you busy for a while. You even get a replica of the souvenir programme of the original release. It's as good as it gets, and just wonderful. I had a few troubles not to buy the previous release, but I can assure you the wait was well worth it.
on 17 November 2009
Although I already had bought the 4-disc-65th anniversary-edition, I decided to buy this new 70th anniversary DVD which contains one more disc. I already was pretty impressed by the edition 5 years ago, which showed the movie in great clarity and all its Technicolor splendor. In addition it had the most amazing bonus features, I had ever seen on a DVD release. It contained feature length profiles on the lead actors Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, and much to my delight small cast featurettes on all the other actors. It also had a Making-of documentary and vintage newsreels on the original 1939 Atlanta premiere, as well as the the 25th Anniversay re-release in Atlanta. Furthermore, it has foreign language sample scenes, an exclusive 2004 documentary with Olivia de Havilland (who played Melanie in the movie), as well as a documentary on the restoration process and the vintage short "The Old South" (1940) - Needless to say, that those bonus features alone would justify the purchase of this DVD.
Just as I thought that this 2004 DVD couldn't not be topped, the 70th anniversary edition comes along. This new 2009 edition contains one more disc. The first 4 discs are identical to the 2004 release (although the language options are slightly different). The new additional 5th disc contains a feature length documentary titled "1939 - Hollywood's Greatest Year", which is narrated by Kenneth Brannagh and focuses on all the movie classics that were made during that year. Furthermore, you'll find a new documentary on the legacy of "Gone With The Wind" with new contributions by actress Ann Rutherford (who played Scarlett's younger sister). Last but not least, the disc contains a TV movie called "The Scarlett Wars" (1980. Tony Curtis is playing David O'Selznick,and the movie deals with the making of "Gone With The Wind".
All in all this 70th anniversary edition is a worthy celebration of a great movie classic and should be an essential part of any DVD collection. I highly recommend buying this DVD!
on 7 March 2000
No need here I guess to give you a summary of the story: who doesn't know yet Rhett and Scarlett?
Being born the seventies myself I never had the chance to see this picture on the big screen - but it doesn't take anything away from the awesome film it is.
Indeed I guess it has been the first ever film featuring a strong woman - and not in every role: a leading strong woman who fights, cheats, uses men to her own benefit. My, what a Lady!
Of course Hollywood of the Thirties had to have her lose her humanity, friends and her loved husband in the end: but all this is only conventions. What remains is one of the most spell-binding film ever. A plot that gets you whirling in the history of the USA: Believe me, a true Masterpiece!
on 16 July 2010
On DVD, "Gone With The Wind" is wonderful. On Blu Ray it is magnificent. You'd hardly believe you were watching a film released in 1939. A terrific story of love and war set against the backdrop of a steamy, simmering Deep South, if you don't know this film then you're in for a treat. They really don't make films like this anymore. Great performances from the leads and some standout supporting roles. The burning of Atlanta is one of the greatest cinematic sequences of all time and looks staggering on blu ray. This is a must buy.
on 27 October 2004
My mum first told me of this film when i was about to buy some dvds from amazon. she told me all the characters and how i would like it if i brought it. so i ordered it and when i got it, i watched it and i've never seen a well-made film of 1939 in my life. i loved vivian leigh and her famous 'fiddle-dee-dee' quote. i also loved olivia de hallivand as the caring, loving melanie hamilton. If you ever are thinking of buying this film heres two words of advice, BUY IT!!. You won't be disappointed.
on 16 March 2005
The significance of this film is absolutely overwhelming. The first film to win a significant number of academy awards (9) including Best Picture, a record number in it's time, unchallenged until Ben Hur came along some 20 years later and worth every one of them! Also, the sheer scale of the film was something unrivalled for a long time and is still rarely challenged by any of its contemporary counterparts.
The story itself is complex and wonderful to watch over the 4 hours. Right from the start, we meet the central character of Scarlett O'Hara, a spoilt brat, beautiful, wealthy, naive and self-centred. Every man wants her, and the only man she wants is due to be married to another woman. As she has to face her whole world torn apart by war, we see her emerge as a working-class girl, then transfromed into a busineswoman and finally, through some dubious means, restored to the life she lost and feels she needs. These transitions are given a lot of screentime, with many memorable characters between. Notable among these are Mammy, Ashley Wilkes, and of course Rhett Butler, played wonderfully by Clark Gable. The two leads elevate this great film to something approaching what many feel to be cinematic perfection. This is a film you will find in any 'Top 100 movies' list and will only ever read 5 star reviews of it from any source.
There's so much to say about this film that can't be covered in this review to do it justice. The brilliant music, the innovative cinematography, the dazzling effects. Thank goodness that Warner Brothers have supplied us with a 4-disc set so we can appreciate not only the film itself, but also the huge undertaking/labour of love that it was for all those involved in the making of it so many years ago.