This cornerstone of the Hollywood Golden Age, which won eight Academy Awards, follows a manipulative Southern belle named Scarlet O’Hara who falls for a dashing gentleman during the American Civil War.
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Its treatment of race is nauseating, a dismaying reminder of how recently blacks could be presented as inferior with essentially no controversy. At the same time, in Scarlett O'Hara's vicious maturation from pre-war naivety to a ruthless titan of industry, it features the strongest and most complex woman in American entertainment, along with a view of gender politics without many equals today.
Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler are abusive and exploitative of each other, the former appearing for the first two hours as so nakedly manipulative and repellently self-serving that Rhett's resulting slink down into gutter treatment seems dramatically inevitable. Still, events by the end of the fourth hour have become so dark that it seems bizarre and almost nonsensical that history continues to refer to this story a ‘romance'.
GWTW may easily be viewed in the era of "Django Unchained" and "12 Years a Slave" as the movie that might have been made by an industry under the Confederate States of America, had it won the Civil War... As ideological propaganda depicting all Yankees as monstrous, it far surpasses Soviet-era movies depicting a corrupt and evil capitalist West and U.S.; there's really no equivalent from Eisenstein and Pudovkin on through the Golden Age of ‘60s international Marxist cinema.
The first half is decent and is mildly enjoyable especially in it's scale. The second half is boredom incarnate. Why? Who? What? Where? It feels so aimless. Again, I have no problem with films that meander so long as the individual scenes are interesting. The characters lack any complexity and the scale is severely diminished in the second half and it starts feeling theatrical. Frankly, I couldn't even finish it.
I finally watched and finished this film! Even thought it is a very long film, it was worth the time; because with out the whole story, I will never understand the reasons why the main woman character did those things to survive.
First time that I saw, I was so blow away by it that I saw it again and again, and multiple times in a row. I loved it so much that I bought and read the almost 1000 pages book in less than a week. It's one of my favorite movies and for sure, one of the best movies ever made.
I acknowledge I have a bias in this situation. My mother was an avid fan of this film and would watch it continuously. Hence my childhood was riddled with frequent viewings of this particular film and grew to hold a certain affection for it.