Hollywood Classics. Gone with the Wind by Dewey Edward Chester. Movie Review.
On the eve of the American Civil War in 1861, Scarlett O’Hara lives at her parent’s cotton plantation near Atlanta.
An engagement between Ashley Wilkes and Melanie Hamilton has been announced, but at the celebration party, Scarlett secretly confesses to Ashley she loves him.
When he rebuffs her, she notices Rhett Butler capturing the male guests with his theory the Confederacy has no chance against the Union Army.
Suddenly, the party is disrupted by the South’s Declaration of War, and male guests rush to enlist.
Feeling sad after Ashley’s departure, Scarlett moves to Atlanta, in spite of outspoken housemaid, Mammy, scolding her motive.
Rhett becomes a military blockade runner for the Confederacy and appears at an Atlanta Social to raise money. He invites “Southern Gentlemen” to make bids to dance with “Ladies,” opening with a huge offer for Scarlett.
As they dance together, he tells her he intends to win her love, but she says that will never happen.
The Confederacy loses the Battle of Gettysburg and many men from Scarlett’s town are killed. The Union Army besieges Atlanta, intending to burn it to the ground, but heroically, Rhett appears with a horse and wagon to rescue her.
With a passionate kiss, he rides off to fight, while Scarlett continues courageously on a dangerous journey home.
She finds her plantation still standing but deserted by slaves, except Mammy. Her mother has died of typhoid and her father has dementia.
With her cotton fields untended, she vows to survive—-not realizing that American slavery has gone with the wind.
This Hollywood Classic was well received in 1939, with reviews that praised the impeccable Vivian Leigh. She was so perfect that any other actress in Scarlett’s role would have been inconceivable.
Vivian’s acting was best when she accentuated the split personality of Scarlett, effective in the morning after the marital rape scene. Vivian is also great when she displays courage and determination in her escape from Atlanta.
Scarlett O’Hara was a strong character who weakened through conflict, but had the stamina to bear her humiliation to the bitter end.
Other principal cast members; Leslie Howard, is convincing as weak-willed Ashley, while Olivia de Havilland, as Melanie is a dignified gem of characterization.
At the Academy Awards ceremony, in 1940, “Gone With The Wind” set a record for Award wins in eight of thirteen categories. It was the first color movie to win best picture.
Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win an Academy Award, but unfortunately at the ceremony she was made to sit at the back of the room.