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Gone With The Wind
BLU-RAY disk
12.22.2009 By: Chris Bumbray
Gone With The Wind order download
Director:
Victor Fleming

Actors:
Clark Gable
Vivien Leigh
Leslie Howard
Olivia De Havilland

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
During The American Civil War, and Reconstruction, a headstrong, manipulative southern belle, Scarlet O'Hara (Vivien Leigh), is pursued by a roguish soldier of fortune, Rhett Butler (Clark Gable)
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
GONE WITH THE WIND is an American classic, almost universally regarded as one of the finest films ever made. While it certainly is an impressive, opulent epic, GONE WITH THE WIND is a film that's nevertheless always struck me as being somewhat undeserving of it's classic status.

Now, be aware- I have a thing for Golden Age Hollywood films. As a habit, I would say that of the films I watch purely for pleasure, at least 30% of them are pre-1970 classics. I especially like films from the thirties and forties, and of the many brilliant films to come out throughout this era (like CASABLANCA, THE THIRD MAN, STAGECOACH, MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, GOODBYE MR. CHIPS, RANDOM HARVEST, etc) GONE WITH THE WIND has never ranked among my favorites.

Probably the main reason, is the fact that Clark Gable has never been one of my favorite actors of the era. The only film I really loved him in was IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, but besides that, I thought he was a tad stiff, and certainly not up to par with Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper, James Stewart, Henry Fonda, Spencer Tracy, James Cagney, or- my favorite, Humphrey Bogart. That said, he's excellent as Rhett Butler, but, to me anyways, not as iconic as some of those other actors.

Another problem with GONE WITH THE WIND, is that it's VERY dated. Modern viewers will likely be put off by the plantations of content slaves, as portrayed in the film. That said, it's a hell of a lot more progressive than BIRTH OF A NATION, and alas, that was the time...

That said, GONE WITH THE WIND still is an excellent film. Considering the fact that it runs four hours, it's remarkably easy to sit through in one viewing. This is Grade A Hollywood storytelling, and despite it's faults, it's still a compulsively watchable film.

THE EXTRAS
Wow, this is easily the most comprehensive, loaded DVD/ BLU-RAY, I've ever seen, even putting to shame the recent BLADE RUNNER set, which itself was no slouch. Pretty much everything you could ever want in a GONE WITH THE WIND set is included.

First, there's Commentary by Historian Rudy Behlmer
. Moving on to disc 2, we get, into the real meat of the extras. First up, "The Making of a Legend: Gone With The Wind" the 1989 documentary made by Selznick's sons
- which is a fascinating, feature-length look back at the making of the film. What's interesting here is to note that producer David O'Selznick fully intended this to be the biggest and best film ever made, and would not settle for anything less. Incredible story, and no matter how huge a production something like AVATAR is, it still pales in comparison to what Selznick went through to make this.

Next up is, "Restoring a Legend" An in-depth look at the restoration.
, Dixie Hails "Gone with the Wind". Footage from 1939 Atlanta and 1961 Civil War Centennial Atlanta premieres.
A Historical theatrical short "The Old South" (1940) directed by Fred Zinnemann. - which is VERY un-PC, and more than a tad racist, but alas, remember the times..

Up next, the Atlanta Civil War Centennial 1961 premiere newsreel
, an International prologue designed to explain the context of the Civil War to European audiences,
Foreign language version sample scenes and Theatrical Trailers

Then we get more featurettes, including "Melanie Remembers: Olivia de Havilland Recalls Gone With The Wind" , featuring the elderly, but still feisty de Havilland , "Clark Gable: A King Remembered" , which is a cheesy bio special from the seventies, hosted by Peter Lawford, Vivien Leigh: Scarlett and Beyond" , another profile- this one from 1990 and hosted by Jessica Lange.
Up next, dozens of Mini-documantaries about each member of the supporting cast , which are truly exhaustive, as seemingly everyone in the cast, no matter how small the role, is profiled.

But wait, there's more...

Up next- Warner Bros. Home Entertainment presents 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year narrated by Kenneth Branagh , a fascinating look back at 39, which truly was on of the great years for Golden Age film making. Gone with the Wind: The Legend Lives On -- Exploring the legacy of the most beloved film through illuminating interviews, footage and visits to historical sites, events and museums , and finally Moviola: The Scarlett O'Hara Wars 1980 TV Movie- starring Tony Curtis , which is very cheesy, but nevertheless is an interesting curio for fans.

As if that wasn't enough, we also get a 20-page reproduction of the original and complete 1939 Souvenir Program , 40-page Production History Book with photos and production notes , Ten Watercolor Reproduction Frameable 5x7 Art Prints , the CD soundtrack and on a seperate DVD the 6 Hour MGM: When The Lion Roars Documentary , which is a great look back at the history of MGM, hosted by Patrick Stewart.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Regardless of whether or not it's a tad overrated, GONE WITH THE WIND is still a classic, and this box set, containing a whopping nineteen (!) hours of bonus features is enough to make this a must-buy, even if, like me, you only somewhat like the film.
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