Gone With the Wind, based on the Pulitzer Prize Winner by Margaret Mitchell
Gone With the Wind is more than a fantastic, glorious, epic motion picture, it has become legendary in its achievements, performances- the first African American to be nominated for and win an Oscar- , direction, technical prowess, box office record breaking and more.
The novel on which this outstanding, tremendous super production is the main reason why the feature is so successful, for the original, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner is radiant, sensational, luminous, momentous and so gripping, in spite of the many themes that would have critics stigmatize it today.
At The Heart of the Matter we have Scarlet O’Hara, portrayed by the stupendous winner of the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Vivien Leigh, a strong, brave, perseverant, gritty, smart, cunning, determined, creative, beautiful protagonist that seems in many ways the epitome of the early feminist, before the time of women’s movement will have arrived.
To begin with, she thinks she loves Ashley Wilkes aka Leslie Howard and she is so taken aback by the news that this man is about to marry his cousin, Melanie aka Olivia de Havilland, that she decides on the spot to get engaged herself to- well, almost anybody, especially after having confronted Ashley and hearing him confirm his vows.
The Civil War is started and very soon, the heroine becomes a widow, although she has no desire to mourn for a man she did not care for, she is in fact upset she has to wear black at the upcoming charity ball, where Rhett Butler aka Clark Gable pays a large sum to have the widow dance with him.
This man has witnessed the scene and the declaration of love, he is very attracted to the passionate woman and the relationship between the two would continue to be Stormy –although that is not the good name, seeing the Trump perpetual scandal related to it- from the beginning and continuing right up to the end.
The war between the North and the South, against slavery –which is seen through a different lens in the book, not in the way we look at it nowadays- comes close to and eventually in the city where Scarlett is residing, Atlanta, where she has to help Melanie give birth with the help of a slave, who gets beaten (!) because her initial proclamation that she knows about giving birth proves to be false..
The three women and the newborn baby need the help of Rhett Butler to get out of the burning city and escape the invading army of the Yankees, in their flight back to the farm of the O’Hara family, Tara.
The chivalrous man steals a horse and a cart, helps the party to get near the property and then decides to join the Sothern Army at a very late stage, enraging the protagonist who has to take care of the other helpless women and the boy, traveling through scorched territory, near destroyed houses, where they are lucky to find an abandoned cow, which they take with them.
Alas, Tara has been vandalized by the soldiers of the northern army and Scarlet’s mother has died, caring for the family of a “white thrash”, the father losing his mind as a consequence, thinking that his wife is still alive and continuously referring to her and asking her opinion on any issue.
When the war is over, the heroine is pressed by the new authorities to pay three hundred dollars in taxes, when all she has is a meagre $ 30 and they have been feeding home coming soldiers from the few provisions they have left on their once prosperous property.
Scarlet O’Hara has to turn to Rhett to try and find the money that will save her land from being sold- and this earth has become the most precious thing for the protagonist- for the meeting she has no dress and takes down the only remaining curtains to try and make a notable appearance in front of the rich man.
The state of her hands betray and contradict the false story that everything is fine and the heroine has to tell her admirer the truth, although she does not get the money from the intended source, which does not stop the resourceful, creative woman from finding another solution for her land.
She steals away Frank Kennedy from her sister, who was supposed to marry him and becomes Mrs. Kennedy and thus saves Tara, becomes the excellent, if ruthless manager of a timber mill and convinces Melanie to make Ashley her partner in business, in spite of their different views.
Ashley is a decent, kind man and he is opposed to using prisoners for work, knowing that they are abused, starved by their supervisor, a cruelty that Scarlet- an evidently complex woman, with so many qualities and talents, diminished by horrifying flaws nevertheless- does not mind, as long as she makes money, which have become an obsession with her, ever since she has had to endure destitution, during the war and some time after that.
Frank Kennedy, Ashley Wilkes and other are involved in illegal activities that would have them arrested and possibly hanged by the Yankees, after they have been involved in a shootout, one night when the same Rhett Butler comes to their rescue, offering an alibi that saves Ashley.
However, Scarlet is once again a widow, seeing as her husband has been shot and Rhett proposes, joking that he has to hurry to catch her between husbands for a change, they get married and go for a honey moon to New Orleans, the heroine has a free hand to renovate and embellish Tara and their mansion in the city of Atlanta.
They soon have a daughter, Bonnie Blue, that has all the love of her father, only her birth made Scarlet gain some weight, not enough to alter her image as a perfect beauty, but making the mother decide that she would not have any more children, given the propensity that they create for heavy mothers.
There is so much more in this quintessential classic of both the Cinema and the Literature, a complex narrative with so many spectacular characters, a huge canvas with scenes from an important part of history, a world regretted by some, in spite of the abuses that took place behind a front of apparent decency and serenity.