1939 seems to be the year that films got colourful. There had been excursions away from monochrome as early as 1903, but suddenly, in the last year of the thirties, we had 'Gone With the Wind' and 'The Wizard of Oz' and many lesser-remembered pictures, and it seemed that nothing would ever be the same again. Alas, global war appears to have caused a relapse into black-and-white, and colour didn't really dominate until the big films of the fifties, and then practically all films from the mid-sixties onward.
1939 is also the year I missed, in my attempts to watch films from every year. I rather liked the idea of leaving the project frustratingly incomplete, and made no real attempt to rectify the omission. Eventually, a month after the Penciltonian officially ended, Saskia reminded me that there was a copy of 'Gone With the Wind' in the house; I'd sought it out after our American cousin Cassandra had seen the film and found herself surprised at how enjoyable it was. It's easy to be daunted by classics, and the famously famous don't always deserve their reputation.
|Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) and Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh)|
It is, as Cassandra noted, an extremely engaging film. Scarlett is immediately likeable, a young woman too selfish to be dull. She's wilfully ignorant of the dreary talk of a coming war, and she refuses to submit to social obligations, preferring to dance than mourn, and glad to marry people she doesn't love purely to spite those that she does. Her story is exciting, surprising and colourful, and holds the attention very well for three hours (though after that, I begun to hope the resolution would come along).
|Scarlett O'Hara, agitated and sultry.|
It's a troublesome movie, in some ways a successor to 'Birth of a Nation' (1915), that other huge tale of the American South. It's not a good film to find yourself compared to. 'Gone With the Wind' is far more entertaining and enjoyable, which might make it the more dangerous of the two.
|Hattie McDaniel as Mammie.|
I suppose I ought to find some 2014 film to comment on, since the new year is now underway, but then what? I'm giving some thought to repurposing the blog or (if the concept is different) starting a brand new one. Not another obsessive catalogue or box-ticking exercise, but something new. I'd be happy to hear any ideas you may have, even very terrible ones.