Did you stay up and watch on Monday night?
I did, until the middle of the night, four full hours without commercials. It was just as breathtaking and inspiring as when I first watched it some 40 years ago. Of course, I have read the book and watched the movie many times but it is still gets to me.
This year is the 75th anniversary of Gone With The Wind. Written in 1936, I think, and made into a movie in 1939 it is a classic and historic for a many reasons. There is lots of controversy about the unrealistic approach to slavery and interpretation of the Civil War. I don’t know from all that but I don’t think the book was written nor the movie made as a political or societal statement. I know it was made in 1939 and not in the more brutal and realistic present which produced the likes of 12 Years a Slave and Django. These days we seem to require more substantial, authentic and accurate depictions, the more base side of history and life.
I always find this argument interesting because to me it wasn’t a movie about these things. The Civil War was a backdrop, although the destruction and devastation of war, any war, was on display. Slavery was considered normal in the Old South in those days so it was barely mentioned.
Over the years, due to maturity, changes in the social norms, education, life experiences, evolution or whatever, each time I watch it a new layer is exposed. I still found the impressive determination, strength, grit, perseverance and the power of the human spirit the basis for this story.
The emotional games people play, in one form or another, are still used today by both men and women so that aspect remains relevant. It’s a love story formula that has been exploited in writings and movies for many, many years. The differences between the privileged and the disadvantage remain consistent with today. Kindness, understanding and generosity are still valued. Some families still bicker and yet love and take care of each other. There will always be those who take advantage of another’s pain and misfortune. Individuals are still passionate, cruel, corruptible, dependent, heartless, needy and judgmental. Lying is still a form of communication in 2014. Emotional and mental weakness can be found in many humans. And love ties us all together.
This movie could be modernized and made today. It could express the same sentiments, evoke the same emotions but the soul of the movie, the heart of this story would be overshadowed, or even lost, by what is required today - explicit sex, brutal violence, offensive language, blatant gore.
The original movie captured all that is good in humankind without bashing us over the head with the worst. It told the story, gripping our heart and seizing our emotions without turning our stomachs.
To all who criticize or stir up controversy I say, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”