The technicalities behind this new print of Gone With The Wind are awesome; from the
digital rejuvenation of over 12 minutes of footage to the remastered digital sound and the
"astonishing" revival of Technicolor's famed dye transfer printing process. It's
a sign of the digital times…..
"writers can get carried away (or blown away) by the
The latter makes colours significantly more vivid - an entirely appropriate result for
a film that portrays this Southern story so vividly. Scarlett (a vivid enough name) could
hardly be seen in wishy washy costumes, and that's another thing . . .But as you can see,
writers can get carried away (or blown away) by the Wind.
Then there is the aspect ratio (don't look it up, I'll explain). It was made in 1.33 x
1, but most reissues of the film have been printed in 1.85 x 1, a wide screen display that
effectively chops a third off the top of the image on screen. Now back in the 1.33 aspect
ratio, the film gains height, as it were, and grandeur.
"a great date movie"
Of course, if you don't like the film, now there's even more of it to dislike. (I know
one film lover who hates it.) But for many, Gone With The Wind represents the classic
romantic epic; it hasn't really dated. But it's a great date movie, all four hours of it.
It's hardly demanding, even though its literary source was a source of great pride to
Selznick, who felt his literary faithfulness would translate into cinematic 'gravitas' -
which the movie clearly does not have. Yet it's a relentlessly popular film whenever
But why? How come this Southern bitch-belle Scarlett (aptly named) and her wrong-
footed life captures our imaginations and our hearts, even? Why do we care about the
American Civil War, at a time and place that no longer exist? Why do we care about Rhett's
love for Scarlett? What turns us on about the subjects that appear so . . . politically
incorrect? And what on earth does Scarlett see in Ashley? Decency?! Yeah, well, opposites
attract, I suppose.
Maybe it's the fact that the film is NOT like a book: even at four hours, the story is
told faster than you could read it in Mitchell's novel, compacting the drama and the
settings. Also, it's in full Technicolor and floating on Max Steiner's soaring score, with
a wardrobe from play-dress-ups heaven. And in the final reel, it may be the loss of love
that endears generations of audiences to it, giving the film a fittingly melancholy
"Women, I gather, are not predictable"
I can't let this opportunity go without dropping the celebrated Roger Ebert's name;
this paragraph of his on the film makes me grin: "The ending still plays like a
psychological test for the audience. What do you think we should really conclude? The
next-to-last speech in the movie, Rhett Butler's "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a
damn," is one many audience members have been waiting for; Scarlett gets her
comeuppance at last. Then comes her speech about Tara, about how, after all, tomorrow is
another day. Some members of the audience will read this as an affirmation of strength,
others as a renewal of self-delusion. (The most cynical will observe that Scarlett, like
many another divorcee disappointed in love, has turned to real estate as a career.)"
If you were hoping the remastered print might have a different ending, sorry, but
things haven't got that digital just yet. It ends the same. He walks. And there's the
irony - which, indeed, may be another reason to love/hate this film: we see Clark Gable's
trying to seduce Vivien Leigh's Scarlett, and recognise these two belong in each other's
arms. But, incomprehensibly, inconceivably and incredibly - she doesn't. Yet, hard to
believe as it is, it is a contradiction which helps make her real. Women, I gather, are
Published September 16, 1999