Gone With the Wind (1939)

Genres - Epic, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Epic, Historical Epic  |   Run Time - 108 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Lucia Bozzola

As epic as the 1,000-plus-page Margaret Mitchell bestseller on which it was based, David O. Selznick's production of Gone With the Wind (1939) went through three directors, a well-publicized search for Scarlett O'Hara, and a then-enormous four-million-dollar budget, resulting in one of the all-time highest-grossing movies. Sparing no expense on sets and costumes, Selznick aimed to produce the ultimate Technicolor blockbuster, faithfully adapting the book's Civil War era travails of Southern belle Scarlett and her roguish match, Rhett Butler. While the film is grand in scale (and length), its cast, especially relative unknown Vivien Leigh as Scarlett and MGM king Clark Gable as Rhett, made the narrative as engrossing as the spectacular recreation of the burning of Atlanta (in which old sets were torched). Premiering first in Atlanta, Gone With the Wind delivered on the promise of the hype, breaking box-office records. Earning an unprecedented 13 Oscar nominations, Gone With the Wind won eight statuettes and two special awards, taking Best Picture in Hollywood's "miraculous" year, as well as Best Director for Victor Fleming, and Best Actress for Vivien Leigh. Best Supporting Actress Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American actor to win an Oscar. Perennially popular, Gone With the Wind inspired the 1994 sequel Scarlett.