Gone with the Wind is the grandest, most ambitious and spectacular piece of filmmaking in cinematic history. With more than 50 speaking roles and 2400 extras, the film is the quintessential Hollywood epic – considered a “must have” for collectors, and one that can be watched again and again for generations to come.
Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard and Olivia de Havilland star in Gone with the Wind, which for more than a half century has thrilled audiences with its eternal love affair, set in the South against the backdrop of the Civil War, between handsome Rhett Butler (Gable) and his sassy, headstrong heroine Scarlett O’Hara (Leigh). With each new generation, Gone with the Wind continues to grow in popularity as new audiences discover and embrace the David O. Selznick production of Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.
Gone with the Wind: 70th Anniversary Edition
Official Site Link: www.gonewiththewinddvd.com
Release Date: November 17, 2009
The 1939 Best Picture winner and all-time highest-grossing film (adjusted for inflation) comes to DVD (and Blu-ray) with a new digitally restored 70th anniversary edition.
Based on the novel by Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind is one of the most celebrated films of all-time — both critically, with its 10 Academy Awards including Best Picture, and in dollars (the film is the most-attended and highest-grossing (when adjusted for inflation) of all-time — in a year most regard as one of cinema’s best (10 films competed for Best Picture in 1939 including other instant classics such as Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Of Mice and Men and The Wizard of Oz).
Produced by David O. Selznick and directed by Victor Fleming (who won Best Director and was also nominated for his work on The Wizard of Oz), Gone with the Wind still stands today as one of the most impressive pieces of cinema ever produced. Although the film is quite lengthy, spreading across two discs equaling nearly 4 hours, its strength comes from its vast amount of depth both in its wealth of characters and quality of story. For the most part the break between the two “parts” of the film are mostly seamless, but personally I do enjoy the first part of the film focusing on the lead-up and actual fighting of the American Civil War. The second part of the film doesn’t stand out as powerfully to me as the first and I had some issues with how the story breaks, but it doesn’t detract from the film too much.
Gone with the Wind: 70th Anniversary Edition hits DVD and Blu-ray in two different flavors, a bare-bones release containing just the film and a commentary track by historian Rudy Behlmer (which is what I’m reviewing) and a much more complete and authoritative collector’s edition (spreading six DVD discs or four Blu-ray discs). If you’re only interested in the film, this basic release will do you just fine. Both contain the exact same beautifully restored print.
In regards to the commentary track from Behlmer, it spreads across both discs. It’s contains a great amount of additional information relating to the film’s production and cast, but unfortunately it comes across a bit too scripted for my tastes. No disrespect intended, but I believe the release would have been better served by having perhaps a group of historians discussing the film, not just one.
With impressive performances by the cast and a strong storyline, Gone with the Wind is worthy of its classic status and deserves its place among the top. Although my final grade — a 4/5 — may not show it, that’s only because I’m reviewing the regular two-disc edition. For those interested in more than just the film, the complete Ultimate set is the one to get.