Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Gone with the Wind (70th Anniversary) (Blu-ray)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
8 out of 10
Extras Rating:
9 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Clark Gable as Rhett Butler - Visitor from Charleston
Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara
Leslie Howard as Ashley Wilkes
Thomas Mitchell as Gerald O'Hara
Barbara O'Neil as Ellen O'Hara - His Wife
Evelyn Keyes as Suellen - Their Daughter
Ann Rutherford as Carreen - Their Daughter
George Reeves as Brent Tarleton - Scarlett's Beau
Fred Crane as Stuart Tarleton - Scarlett's Beau
Hattie McDaniel as Mammy - House Servant
Oscar Polk as Pork - House Servant
Butterfly McQueen as Prissy - House Servant
Victor Jory as Jonas Wilkerson - Field Overseer
Everett Brown as Big Sam - Field Foreman
Howard C. Hickman as John Wilkes
Alicia Rhett as India - His Daughter
Olivia de Havilland as Melanie Hamilton - Their Cousin
Rand Brooks as Charles Hamilton - Her Brother
Carroll Nye as Frank Kennedy - Guest
Laura Hope Crews as Aunt 'Pittypat' Hamilton

Special Features:
8 Hours Of Revealing Extras About This Timeless Classic Including More Than 3 Hours New To The Collection

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Presents 1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year Documentary

Gone with the Wind: The Legend Lives On

The Marvelous Emmy-Winning Telefilm Moviola: The Scarlett O'Hara War

Bonus DVD: 6 Hour Documentary: MGM: When The Lion Roars

Commemorative 52-Page Photo And Production Art Book

Ten 5"x7" Watercolor Reproduction Art Prints

Archival Correspondence From Producer David O' Seiznick

Reproduction Of 1939 Original Program

Bonus CD Soundtrack Sampler

Other Info:
Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Dolby Digital Stereo Sound
Dolby True HD 5.1
French and Spanish Language
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 238 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

"Period romance. War epic. Family saga. Popular fiction adapted with crowd-pleasing brilliance. Star acting aglow with charisma and passion. Moviemaking craft at its height. These are sublimely joined in the words 'Gone with the Wind.'

This dynamic and durable screen entertainment of the Civil War-era South comes home with the renewed splendor of a New 70th-Anniversary Digital Transfer capturing a higher-resolution image from Restored Picture Elements than ever before possible. David O. Selznick's monumental production of Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer Prize-winning book can now enthrall new generations of home viewers with a majestic vibrance that befits one of Hollywood's greatest achievements. "

"Gone with the Wind" is not rated.

Mini-Review:
"Gone with the Wind" is an excellent, epic film, but it's not one I've felt compelled to watch year after year. However, it's one of my wife's all-time favorite films (tied with "The Wizard of Oz," also just released on Blu-ray). Now that it is released in this 70th Anniversary Blu-ray, "Gone with the Wind" fans have access to the definitive home theater edition.

I was curious to see how the film would look on an HD screen. While it's not crystal clear sharp like recent movies, I was struck by how vibrant the colors were. I don't think I've ever seen "Gone with the Wind" so bright and colorful. It's like seeing the movie on a brand new print. From Scarlett's green dress to the flames in Atlanta, the images just pop off the screen.

Among the bonus features, there are a number of extras that have been offered before. There's a featurette on Vivien Leigh from the '80s featuring Jessica Lange, a featurette on Clark Gable, "Making a Legend" narrated by Christopher Plummer, a conversation with Olivia de Havilland, profiles of the cast, and much more. But there are three new offerings for this release. The first is "1939: Hollywood's Greatest Year." This documentary talks about the release of "Gone with the Wind," "The Wizard of Oz," "Snow White," and more. It's a detailed behind the scenes retrospective on how the movies were made. It's interesting, but not an exclusively "Gone with the Wind" featurette. Also included is the featurette entitled "Gone with the wind: The Legend Lives On". This covers the making of the movie, the re-releases, the fandom, and more. It features the surviving cast members, film historians, and fans who call themselves "Windies." It's brief but thorough. Rounding out the new bonus features is a TV movie from 1980 entitled "Movieola: The Scarlett O'Hara War" starring Tony Curtis and Sharon Gless. It depicts the casting of Scarlett O'Hara. It's interesting, but a tad dated since it's quality is typical of the 1980s. The six hour documentary "MGM: When The Lion Roars" is also included, but unfortunately it's a DVD rather than a Blu-ray disc. Maybe they're waiting to release it on Blu-ray some time in the future.

The Blu-ray comes in a rather large box filled with other "Gone with the Wind" items. As nice as all that is, it's rather bulky and kind of a pain to store on a shelf with other Blu-ray cases. I wish they had put a plain Blu-ray case inside with the discs. Instead it is in a book-like case that is a tad bulky itself. Storage issues aside, there's a lot here to entertain "Windies." You'll find a hardback book that contains stills from the movie, pre-production art, costume sketches, and behind the scenes photos. Also included are reproductions of telegrams and inter-office memos concerning casting, press releases, and other production issues. It's an interesting peek behind the scenes. There's also a reproduction of an original program from the theatrical presentation. It contains the credits, profiles of the cast, and other production notes. Rounding out the set are a CD sampler of the soundtrack and a packet of postcards featuring pre-production paintings of the sets. The set is a limited edition of 150,000 and each one is numbered.

I believe this set is a required addition to the collection of any "Gone with the Wind" fan. But if you already own previous editions of the movie, I don't think these new bonus features are incentive enough to replace your older editions. Getting it in HD quality will probably be your main motivation for picking it up.

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