Starring Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard, and Oliva de Havilland, Gone With The Wind – the winner of 10 Oscars at the 1939 Academy Awards including Best Picture is a timeless classic. Unfortunately such a great film was only available on DVD with hardly any special features and a single disc with the 4 hour long film separated on both sides. Now, Warner Bros. has a DVD out there befitting this wonderful film with great restoration and a two-disc DVD transfer.
Scarlett O’Hara (Leigh) is the daughter of a wealthy Irish cotton planter in the South during the time of the American Civil War. She has many beaus, many men flocking to her like moths to a light. But Scarlett’s got her eyes fixed on the one man she can’t have.
Ashley Wilkes (Howard) is engaged to sweet, kind, unselfish Melanie Hamilton (de Havilland), and sparks a fury of rage and jealousy in Scarlett. She sets out to destroy the couple and keep Ashley to herself. She corners him for kisses a number of times. She even tries to be the courteous friend by agreeing to look after Melanie in a time of great distress. Then, after the war has ended, Scarlett finally tries to play Melanie against Ashley. She is so blinded by her feelings for him Scarlett doesn’t see true love when its staring her in the face.
Rhett Butlet (Gable) is one of her many admirers. His conceited efforts to persuade her to love him are suave and cool, but ultimately ineffective. The tall blockade runner saves Scarlett from the “yankees” and a horde of criminals during a great upheaval in Atlanta. Rhett buys her many expensive things. He rushes to save Ashley and one of Scarlett’s husbands from themselves. He always expects something in return – Rhett Butler “always gets paid”. But when Rhett does get what he finally wants from Scarlett, the two lovers find themselves at crossed-purposes, and in a great world of hurt.
Gone With The Wind, the story of love, loss and the tribulations therein for the South during the Civil War is a remarkable film. It was one of the first, biggest movies to ever be made entirely in Technicolor. It was the most expensive film of its time, and would become the most popular film of all. But its story being the success that it is, is really what makes Gone With The Wind incredible.
Essentially, Gone With The Wind is no more than a four-hour-long Daytime Soap set against a backdrop of hell on Earth. But the magic of this film takes place when we grow to care about these fictional characters while they’re effecting the world around them, and this historic event is effecting them. When Scarlett is asked to help the doctor cut off a man’s leg, we’re experiences the gory hell of war with her. As Rhett, Scarlett and Melanie are riding through the burning and chaotic streets of Atlanta, we’re riding right along with them, getting front row seats to one of the great events of the war. And, during their time courting each other at the ball, we’re able to see a beautiful time and place that we’ve never experienced and never will.
Gone With The Wind: Four-Disc Collector’s Edition comes in a beautiful case. The film is divided onto two discs, providing much better quality both in audio and video than Gone With The Wind has ever been experienced. Both halves of the film include audio commentary by Historian Rudy Behlmer. The film never sounded clearer and more fulfilling in a brand new, remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Disc three includes documentaries and featurettes such as “The Making Of A Legend: Gone With The Wind”, and “Restoring A Legend” which chronicles the film/restoration process. Special features also include: 1939 and 1961 Atlanta Premiere newsreels, prologue from the international release version, and much more. The fourth disc offers an array of unique insight into the cast of the film. The featurette entitled “Melanie Remembers: Reflections by Olivia de Havilland” is rewarding in itself. But then, there are many more insightful documentaries about Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh; “The King Remembered” and “Vivien Leigh: Scarlett and Beyond”. Then, there are many more profiles about the rest of the cast entitled: “The Supporting Players”.
Truly, this is a DVD to rent or own. If you’re not already on your way to your local video store or video retailer or going onto Netflix or Amazon.com, go now!