Friday, May 24, 2019

Gone with the Wind (1939)

Academy Awards, USA 1940

Honorary Award
William Cameron Menzies
For outstanding achievement in the use of color for the enhancement of dramatic mood in the production of Gone with the Wind (plaque).
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Vivien Leigh
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Hattie McDaniel
Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to be nominated for and win an Oscar.
Best Director
Victor Fleming
Best Writing, Screenplay
Sidney Howard
Posthumously. Sidney Howard became the first posthumous Oscar nominee and winner.
Best Cinematography, Color
Ernest Haller
Ray Rennahan
Best Art Direction
Lyle R. Wheeler
Best Film Editing
Hal C. Kern
James E. Newcom
Best Picture
Technical Achievement Award
R.D. Musgrave
For pioneering in the use of coordinated equipment in the production Gone with the Wind.
Best Actor in a Leading Role
Clark Gable
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Olivia de Havilland
Best Sound, Recording
Thomas T. Moulton (Samuel Goldwyn SSD)
Best Effects, Special Effects
Jack Cosgrove (photographic)
Fred Albin (sound)
Arthur Johns (sound)
Best Music, Original Score
Max Steiner

Directed by Victor Fleming
My rating: 2.5 stars out of 4
IMDb Wikipedia
(Blu-ray, Warner Bros.)

Vivien Leigh plays southern belle Scarlett O'Hara, a stubborn, high-strung, spoiled girl living on a cotton plantation in 1861 Georgia. She falls in love with an older gentleman who lives at a neighboring plantation, or at least tells herself she does, then spends the rest of her life, and the movie, regretting it. She ignores the initial overtures from visiting playboy Rhett Butler (Clark Gable, in his iconic role), despite their obvious mutual attraction, even when the other man announces he is engaged. Civil War breaks out, and as the men go to war the women are left to take care of the plantations. Scarlett impulsively marries another departing soldier, but he soon dies. Ostensibly in mourning, she travels to Atlanta to recover, but really is hoping to meet the other man. She helps her family doctor tend to the wounded, becoming more and more involved, and is eventually overwhelmed, in perhaps the film's most powerful scenes. She returns to her plantation home with the the help of Rhett, in a memorable carriage ride in the wake of Sherman's March to the Sea. The war ends and she is left to try to put the plantation back together mostly alone. She marries a shop owner in Atlanta for money, and proves to be better than him at business. He dies, leaving her alone again. Rhett comes to the rescue and she marries him, again for his wealth. The film quickly devolves into a turgid melodrama chronicling their unhappy marriage, beautifully filmed in Technicolor, but still turgid melodrama. By the fourth hour, I was relieved to hear those magic words from Rhett: "frankly my dear, I don't give a damn", signalling at long last the end. 

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