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Wick's Review

Created Mar 18, 2010 10:43PM PST • Edited Oct 20, 2015 03:35AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Perfect 5.0

    Gone with the Wind has something for everyone, and a lot of it over almost four hours. History, passion, racial controversy: Male or female, war movie or romance fan, this movie demands that you give a damn. Oh yeah, that famous line of Rhett Butler’s – “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” – really works at the very end. Rarely does such an iconic climax turn out to be so non-anticlimactic.

    Is Gone with the Wind worth watching in this day and age? Yes. Notwithstanding its dated depiction of slaves, it remains highly entertaining and illuminating, a must-see movie, albeit one that requires an extended time commitment.

  3. Perfect 5.0

    While a bit dated by contemporary Method acting standards, the movie is studded with iconic, visceral performances.

    Vivian Leigh became a superstar as Scarlett O’Hara. It really is her movie: on screen for most of the running time, her slow and painful maturation represents the slave-owning South’s coming to terms with the harsh realities of self-sufficiency brought on by the end of slavery. Plus the woman is as beautifully vivacious as any movie queen ever.

    Clark Gable personifies movie star, from his iconic opening shot to his final “I don’t give a damn.”

    Hattie McDaniel’s Mammie became a cultural archetype, and proved herself the most sensible character in the movie, a credit to the script but also to McDaniel’s salt-of-the-earth performance.

    Interestingly, McDaniel’s connection to the Civil War and the Old South was only once removed. According to IMDb, her father was a freed slave, while Wikipedia has it that he fought in the Civil War with the 122nd USCT, the forerunners of the Buffalo Soldiers. Perhaps both claims are true. In any case, this explains why her performance feels the most authentic in the movie, and why it made her supremely deserving of the first acting Oscar ever awarded to an African-American.

  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0
  5. Female Stars Perfect 5.0
  6. Female Costars Perfect 5.0
  7. Male Costars Perfect 5.0
  8. Really Great 4.5

    Long but never dragging, GWTW feels like two movies, the first covering the pre-war splendor of the white ruling class up through the Civil War’s devastation of their society, the second their recovery.

  9. Direction Perfect 5.0
  10. Play Really Great 4.5

    Some scenes feel stilted and old fashioned, then deliver tart, surprising twists. The one in the WikChip starts off crisply, turns old fashioned, and then Gable’s Rhett Butler surprises Scarlett and the audience with his great line and subsequent reaction to the upturned lips of a willing Southern Belle. Bravo.

  11. Music Really Great 4.5
  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0

    The costumes alone are legendary.

  13. Content
  14. Tame 1.5

    War wounds and deaths are convincingly conveyed, notwithstanding that no real gore is shown.

  15. Sex Titillating 1.6

    Rhett carries Scarlett off to have his way with her after one of their marital spats.

  16. Violence Fierce 1.8
  17. Rudeness Polite 1.2
  18. Glib 1.4

    Besotted with the grand life of plantation owners, the movie seriously underplays the slaves’ misery. To its credit though, it does shock our modern sensibilities with several offhand comments about “darkies” and how they are under threat of being whipped. This serves as a potent reminder that slavery was deeply personal in ways that are not just repugnant but ridiculous.

  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.8
  20. Biological Glib 1.2
  21. Physical Glib 1.2


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Mar 20, 2010 5:58PM


Mar 19, 2010 8:02PM

No. The AFI currently has it at number 4, with Citizen Kane, Casablanca and The Godfather ahead of it. I’m cool with those rankings, especially Citizen Kane and Casablanca.

My policy has been to only review movies after recently screening them, so I haven’t reviewed Kane or Godfather. In truth, my Casablanca review was so brief because I hadn’t seen the movie recently.

Long answer about a long movie.

Mar 19, 2010 6:52PM

Regarding Wick’s Review
Great review, Wick. Very true, you better give a damn about this movie. Would you go as far as to say this is the best film ever made? A lot of people would.