Gone With the Wind

Director: Victor Fleming

Cast: Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Olivia de Havilland, Leslie Howard, Thomas Mitchell, Barbara O’Neil, Evelyn Keyes, Ann Rutherford, George Reeves, Fred Crane, Hattie McDaniel, Victor Jory, Butterfly McQueen

Scarlett O’Hara (Leigh), a self-centered beauty, loves Southern gentleman Ashley Wilkes (Howard). At the onset of the War Between the States, she crosses paths with Rhett Butler (Gable), a smug and talented rogue that falls in love with her. Ashley is attracted to Scarlett, but he marries his true love Melanie Hamilton (de Havilland), whose quiet demeanor and stability make her a better marriage prospect than fiery Scarlett. Offended by Ashley’s decision to marry another, Scarlett quickly marries one of her many admirers, a man she does not love. Ashley goes off to war and Scarlett’s husband dies. Scarlett and Rhett develop a contentious relationship, entirely platonic, since she still loves the absent Ashley. Rhett deprecates military service and profits from the war. After initial Confederate victories, the tide of war turns against the South, and both Scarlett and Melanie fear for Ashley’s fate. After a brief visit by Ashley, Melanie becomes pregnant. She goes into labor as Atlanta falls to the Union troops, and Scarlett is forced to take responsibility for her welfare. With Rhett’s help, she escapes through the chaos of battle and manages to deliver the baby. Scarlett flees to Tara, the family estate. She finds the once-splendid manor ravaged by war and deserted except for a few loyal servants and her father (Mitchell). Used to a life of ease and privilege, Scarlett despairs at her situation. There is danger from pillaging Union soldiers, her father is so depressed as to be a virtual invalid, there are no men about, and no food. In the midst of disaster, Scarlett finds the courage and strength of character to prevail. She kills a marauding Yankee soldier and leads the remains of her household to safety. Scarlett and Rhett finally marry, but she continues to love Ashley, who returns from war a diminished man. The post-war period is full of travails as the victorious Northerners impose their rule. Scarlett and Rhett eventually regain wealth and status, but their marriage is clouded by Scarlett’s continued obsession with Ashley. Based on Margaret Mitchell’s novel of the same name.


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