Cover Art and Menus: 9/10
Gone With the Wind is an absolute classic American movie, and the cover and menus are both just as regal and striking as the movie itself. They have chosen to use a different shot than we are used to seeing for this version, which is nice. The cover is dark with striking images of Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh. The menu features shots of the mansion, and while not as striking as the cover, it still is vivid and fitting.
- Commentary By Historian Rudy Behlmer – Now I realize that this is a movie that is 70 years old, so digging up and “behind the scenes” footage or any real gems may be a stretch at this point, but the DVD release is devoid of any real extra except for the commentary included by Rudy Behlmer. Behlmer is a historian who offers up some pretty poignant facts and stories about the time period and the movie itself, and while there is a 4 disc set available with more goodies, this really is bare bones – which I guess is what they were after with the 2 disc release. If you want more goodies, get the 4 disc set.
The Movie: 9/10
How do you rate a movie like Gone With the Wind? This 70 year old movie is truly an American classic, and one of the most recognizable movie titles ever. The story, taken from Margaret Mitchell’s novel, is rich and big, and the movie takes the story and makes it into a 4 hour event.
Set in the historic South, during the Civil War, Gone With the Wind stars Clark Gable as Rhett Butler, the handsome male figure who pines for the elusive Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh). Scarlett is a beautiful Southern belle who at the beginning of the movie learns that Ashley Wilkes is to be married, and she immediately reacts like a spoiled child who is not getting her way. Hell bent on winning his affection away from his fiance, Scarlett continuously rejects the advances of Rhett. Rhett of course is a gentleman (used loosely) who is both charming and slightly lecherous. The two are engaged in a monumental love/hate relationship that develops as the South literally burns to the ground around them. We are given a rich story, rich characters, and a lasting vision of the old South that still resonates.
Gone With the Wind is truly one of those movies that has to be experienced by anyone who calls themselves a movie buff. At 4 hours, this is definitely a long movie, and the character development and plot is what I would call epic and sweeping. I really enjoyed the glimpse into what movie making was, as well as how much things have changed. Gone With the Wind is an event, and I think that this release is just about as good as we are going to get from a 70 year old movie. I honestly think the last time I saw this movie, it was on VHS, and this is truly a step up, and I imagine the Blu-ray version is also a solid presentation. If anything, now seems to be a good time to buy this movie for your collection.
Audio & Video: 8/10
I have to say that I was very impressed with both the audio and video presentation with this release. I can’t say that I have too much information on the differences between this release and prior releases, as I do not have any of the older versions to compare to, but this looked and sounded very good for a movie that is 70 years old.
The movie is presented in its original theatrical 1.37:1 standard aspect. Of course there is some fuzziness, but overall it is remarkably sharp, and the colors are vivid and they seem appropriate. The audio, presented in a remixed 5.1 and of course, the original mono (in special features) is adequate, and not at all muddled like one might expect. The dialogue is clear and the music is rich and uses the rear speakers quite well. Again, both are amazing for a release this old.
Gone With the Wind is a classic movie. It is an amazing story and the plot and character development is amazing. This is not a film that I like to watch to often, but it is one that should be seen by anyone who truly loves movies. To me, this is a part of the American lexicon, so I truly think everyone should see it at least once. This is a beautiful release of a movie that is 70 years old, and I recommend a viewing to everyone, even if you get done and think “thank god movies are not made like that anymore.” At least you will have experienced it, which is truly amazing.
Overall Score 9/10