I heard about this movie when I was still very little, but got to see it only last week. My interest for it became bigger as I started watching old movies. Then I choose Vivian Leigh as the reference face for a character I draw often, which made me want to see it even more.
In the end this only influenced my view of the movie a little bit. Overall, I was greatly impressed.
First, a bit about the story. As much as I had heard about this movie before, I never new what it was able and I thought the two main characters, Scarlett and Rhett were eperdually in love with each other. Haard to be more wrong on that. The story is mainly about Scarlett in fact (played by Vivian Leigh), Very pretty, daugther of a rich plantation owner in the South of the United states around 1860 , she learn that the man she loves, Ashley (played by Leslie Howard) is going to marry her cousin Melanie (Olivia de Havilland). Very jealous, she try to makes him changes his mind, but fail blantlantly. She also meat Rhett Butler (Clark Gable), a newcomer in the region with a very bad reputation. Rhett fall immediatly for Scarlett... energy to day that nicely, but she cannot forget Ashley. And the , the Civil War start.
One odf the first thing who suprised me is the length. Never did I knew, when I put that DVD in the PS3 that this movie was so lengthy, it make Titanic cry in a corner in shame for being way to short. Honestly, I had to cut my screening in two; I had to go to bed. Never did the "Entracte" in the middle of the movie seemed more fitting to me. But, in no moment did I found the movie too slow, or not interesting. Although there is some calmer moments, they are always welcome, after dramatic moments or intense war scenes.
I think Melanie and Ashley are interesting characters as well. It was strange to see Olivia De Havilland playing such a pure character, as I usually saw her in more playful roles. I think she pulled it very well and Melanie is the perfect personification of that "too nice" character. This is usually the kind of character I hate, but in a movie where the main character is Scarlett O'Hara, it was actually refreshing. I think that kind of character is in fact a problem when they are the main character. How could anyone relate to someone who is perfect. But as a supporting character/ rival, this become really interesting.
Ashley was not a very interesting character for me although I appreciate him portraying the weak emotional side so much humans have. The way he cannot really resist Scarlett and how he chooses the more easy way of live and only wish for peace is interesting. How pathetic of him to really realise he loves Melanie when it's too late
Aside for the character, I must say the costumes were just breathtaking. I have a very soft spot for Victorian clothes, men and women alike. I thought interesting to see the movie was shot at a time were snood were coming back in fashion... for the first time since the time were the story of Gone with the wind took place. Scarlett's dress made from the curtains was especially pretty. What's with movie characters making such beautiful dress with curtains.
A bit like Grave of the fireflies (taking place in Japan in the second WW),'' Gone with the wind'' show this war from the point of view from a side I was used to see on the "enemy" side in movies and stories. Even if I already knew it, it it refreshing to see how war could have been for those people, remembering us that on each side of a war, there is always normal humans beings who suffer from it.