Owen Gleiberman
July 02, 1998 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Gone With the Wind

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
genre
Soundtracks

We gave it an A

For contemporary moviegoers, “Gone With the Wind” offers a veritable shock of pleasure?a shock enhanced by, though hardly dependent on, the dazzlingly saturated new prints that have been struck for the current rerelease, with the images reproduced in their original box-like aspect ratio. (You never knew a square could be this voluptuous.) More than a gorgeous monument, “Gone With the Wind,” along with “Citizen Kane,” is probably the darkest great movie ever produced within the studio system. A riveting tragedy of neurotic self-destruction, it fixes its gaze on Scarlett O?Hara, the firebrand Dixie princess, as she ricochets with blind abandon between her Southern-belle fantasies and her ruthless heart, between her abstract crush on Ashley Wilkes and her hunka burnin? lust for Rhett Butler (the man she hates herself for loving because he?s as big a scoundrel as she is). The film starts out as bedazzled historical romance, but in the haunting final hour it morphs into a Technicolor-gothic “Scenes From a Marriage,” with Vivien Leigh — now flirting, now raging, now smiling to heaven through tears — etching an indelible vision of feminine strength and self-delusion. To see “Gone With the Wind” on a big screen again is to weep for the fearlessness with which Hollywood once believed the sublime was possible.

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