April issue 2012

By | Arts & Culture | Movies | Published 12 years ago

The American Civil War epic, adapted from Margaret Mitchell’s bestseller, won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1939 competing with classics such as the cinematic version of Wuthering Heights and Goodbye Mr Chips. The character of the quintessential Southern belle, Scarlett O’ Hara played by Vivien Leigh in her debut role, is quite unforgettable, truly feminine, flaws included, and wholly relevant today as she was then: beautiful, vain, prone to temper tantrums (you can call them mood swings in the present time) and totally indecisive about love. The scheming Scarlett’s passionate one-sided infatuation with Ashley Wilkes is followed by a marriage to Charles, his brother-in-law, and then a second marriage to the masterful, roguish hero, Rhett Butler. Clark Gable’s utterly masculine rendition of a rakish, gallant gentleman of America’s Old South captured the attention of many a woman, then and now. Butler treats our manipulative heroine with necessary disdain as she continues to reject him through their marriage years, during and after the turbulent Civil War. In this gorgeous classic, the fantastic costumes, beautiful locales, soirees and Southern belles bring back a girly fascination with period romance and all the stuff of romance novels; a suspension of disbelief that transports us to another world resplendent with images of past times. And few of us can forget the movie’s incredulous denouement: Scarlett: “Rhett, Rhett! Rhett, Rhett… Rhett, if you go, where shall I go? What shall I do?” Rhett: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

This movie review was originally published in the April issue of Newsline.

The writer is a former assistant editor at Newsline