This is going to follow the same format as the book challenge I did at the end of last year. A few topics were duds in that one because I simply didn’t have anything to say about them. I know I’m a writer so I should be more of a book lover but honestly I watch a lot more movies and I’m more well-versed with movies so hopefully I’ll be able to give proper answers to all the questions. The first one we’re starting off with is the best film I saw last year, and if you’ve read my Top Ten Films of 2013 you’ll know that in that list I picked Cloud Atlas, although Pacific Rim and Saving Mr. Banks were very close behind, and any one of those three could easily have taken the top spot. However, this topic doesn’t specify a new release, so I had to pick out the best movie from all of the ones I watched, and since I watched around 400 movies it’s not that easy!
That being said, there was one that stood head and shoulders above the rest, and that was Gone with the Wind. ‘But wait?’ I hear you cry, ‘that film has been out for decades? How has someone so obsessed with movies like you not seen it before?’ and you’d be right to ask that. It had been a film that I’d been wanting to see for ages but I’d never been able to catch it on tv. It also required a big time commitment (although as you can tell from watching 400 movies time is one thing I have in abundance). When I eventually did get a chance to watch it I spread it over three nights.
At first I wasn’t sure how much I’d like it because when a film has a big reputation sometimes it can fall short of that, as expectations levels rise to extreme levels. Gone with the Wind, however, deserves every accolade it has received over the past 70-odd years. I was hooked from the first scene. The sheer scope of drama pulled me in and I was completely engrossed. The climactic line of ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn,’ has been floating around pop culture for years so I knew that, but seeing it in the right context made it seem fresh, as if I’d never heard it before.
Vivien Leigh was astounding as Scarlett and she and Clark Gable really made the film spark to life. The staging and production values were brilliant as well, the scenery was beautiful and even though the war was a backdrop it was impossible to escape the heartbreak and the results of that deadly conflict. There was plenty of human drama and at times the characters could be infuriating. There were highs and lows and the ending is a strong depiction of determination. Despite her flaws it’s hard not to root for Scarlett by the end of the film, and despite all the praise and how vaunted it is I was almost a little surprised at just how good Gone with the Wind is.
It’s a remarkable film and I know if’s probably daunting to some, but if you haven’t seen it yet then make the effort to check it out.