Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 4, No. 5. June 6, 1941
"Gone with the Wind" — Phoenix Club Film Review
"Gone with the Wind"
Phoenix Club Film Review
Gripping melodrama, harrowing emotion, spectacular settings, glorious colour and a heart-rending love theme—that's what G.W.T.W.'s got, and flavoured with some excellent acting it makes the most spectacular movie farce we've seen for some time.
Firstly the melodrama. It was certainly drama but it was hardly mellow, it was in fact quite unrestrained in the best Victorian tradition. Cuts of a frightened horse, a cartload of heroines—complete with new-born babe, and flames licking round cases of explosives, all with a backdrop of enormous structures of burning cardboard were most breath-taking. Then of course there was the war and the gore and all its corrollaries—human drama with the gloves off, and the heroine attacked by the conventional bad man on a lonely bridge to be rescued just as the carriage was almost falling into the stream by the opportune arrival of the faithful retainer. Great entertainment and very thrilling.
Next attraction was the harrowing emotion and boy, was it harrowing! The best snivel we've had in years and 21,000 feet of it too, with a deathbed at least every thousand feet, to say nothing of an occasional lapse into mania. Old man O'Hara was probably so disgusted by the time the first eleven thousand [unclear: odd] feet had run that [unclear: madless] was the only escape open to him.
The colour was its most striking feature. It fair hit you in the eye, the only trouble being it hit so hard and so long your eye was plumb wore out. All the interior sets and dressing stressed colour, so much so that the colour was just about all we were conscious of. Even the boring bit at the beginning—the man with the funny name who held the director's cigar and all that, besides being three times as long, was against flamboyant backgrounds, varying from the anemic pink of cherry blossoms to the green of overripe melons and in case you can't recognise the shade you see the blossoms and the melons behind the names disappearing rapidly into the proscenium. Then of course the exteriors, skies with clouds, sunsets with silhouettes and trees and fields and things. We didn't realise there was such a riot of colour in nature—the movies is sure education!
Last but not least is love. The beauty of the eternal love of a woman for a man dropping slowly from the infinite source of all true affection in great splodges. The heroine goes through countless beaux and three husbands, but the splodges of love still ooze towards that one man honour kept away from her. We felt heart-broken, we wanted, to cry but the woman next to us started first, so not to be outdone we moaned.
In spite of all these special features the film is not a good one. The story is too much and is badly held together and the production is too extravagant. To make it worse there is some very fine acting, particularly by Vivian Leigh and her negro mammy which only shows up the poverty of the size and spectacle even more. Altogether it was too much, the film was too full, the story was poor and the effects overdone leaving one feeling enervated rather than entertained.