I went yesterday to Cineplex’s special showing of the remastered Gone with the Wind.

I have never seen this movie before. How I got away with that when it was one of my mother’s ironing movies (the other was the 6-part BBC Pride and Prejudice) I don’t know, but somehow I did, and all I knew of it were the things everyone knows: Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable, “I’ll never be hungry again,” “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

And when it first started, I was worried. I was worried, at a massive 4 hours, that it would be slow. That the characters, the types, wouldn’t have aged well (I was especially worried about that at Mammy’s first appearance. Her character develops…Prissy, not so lucky).

But, as I should have known from its longevity, the 1000 pages of Margaret Mitchell’s novel hold more than enough action for four wonderful hours – varied, melodramatic, and also true to life. I was impressed with the treatment of the historical context – loving, and yet mostly clear-eyed about the period’s glories and tragedies. I was impressed with the treatment of adult relationships, because even though this is where most of the melodrama lies, they still feel…honest. This is largely because of the complexity brought to what could be stereotypical roles by incredibly talented actors.

And the ending was perfect, and you know how difficult endings can be to get right.

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