In a Nutshell: Gone with the Wind (1939)
Directed by: Victor Fleming (and George Cukor and Sam Wood)
Co-stars: Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland, Leslie Howard, Hattie McDaniel
Synopsis: Still seventy five years later heralded “the greatest movie ever made”, Gone with the Wind singlehandedly guaranteed Gable’s immortality to movie goers for decades to come. He is the dashing and ruthless Rhett Butler, a blockade runner from Charleston, who falls in love with headstrong southern belle Scarlett O’Hara (Leigh) at first sight. Scarlett only has eyes for her childhood crush, Ashley Wilkes (Howard) despite that he is engaged to his cousin, Melanie Hamilton (De Havilland).Through the Civil War and Sherman’s march through Atlanta, through the Reconstruction period and the tribulations that follow, Rhett and Scarlett never seem to be on the same page at the same time. It is too late when Scarlett finally realizes she has loved Rhett all along, and she is left alone, having been told that frankly, he doesn’t give a damn.
Best Gable Quote: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” (Duh.) Although, Rhett has so many great lines. I have been highlighting them, and will continue to do so all year, on the site Facebook page, in celebration of the film’s 75th anniversary this year.
Fun Fact: Gable’s first film in color. And, at 238 minutes, the longest of all his films. Gable worked for a total of 21 days and received $120,000. In comparison, Vivien Leigh worked for 125 and received $25,000.
My Verdict: Is this even necessary to type? It is a masterpiece. The film turns 75 this year and still holds the record as being the biggest box office smash of all time. The story, the costumes, the elaborate sets, the tone, the characters—the film continues to resonate with people in a way that I don’t think can ever be duplicated. Clark said in 1957 that if it wasn’t for them constantly re-releasing it, nobody would care who he was anymore. I don’t know about that, but I do know that Gone with the Wind is, and has been, the gateway to not only Clark Gable, but classic films as a whole for generations. And I hope it continues to do so. It is in a class all its own.
Gone with the Wind will probably be the last film I make Movie of the Month, so it will be years still! But I did write a post on what Gone with the Wind means to me last December.