The 70th anniversary edition of David O. Selznick’s monumental production of Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book ‘Gone With The Wind’ got the Warner Home Entertainment Limited Edition Steelbook treatment in October. The classic period piece, which comes in at nearly four hours is supplied in a high definition transfer that makes the background colours pop off the screen and the costumes look as glorious as the day they were made.
Set in the 19th century American South, the film stars Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard, Olivia de Havilland, and Hattie McDaniel, among others, and tells a story of the American Civil War and Reconstruction era from a Southern point of view. The film is historically romantic in its treatment of many aspects of the era, including a decidedly racist view of slavery and the portrayal of the African-American characters.
For those who haven’t seen it yet, the film is divided into two halves. The first part deals with a playful Scarlett O'Hara (Leigh) before and during the war. It ends with the famous line: “As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again!” The film then continues after the war is over and Scarlett's tumultuous relationship with Rhett Butler. The second part ends with the other famous line: “Frankly my dear I don't give a damn.”
Because this 1939 epic is based on the American Civil War, there is very little that makes it look like a pre-1940 production. Unlike modern movies, this one did not use CGI or other fancy effects, although the extremely colourful backdrops and sky scenes are clearly Hollywood green-screening at its best. The film is honest and epic in all ways. All the people in the film are real and the buildings were either real buildings or actual built sets. It’s a skill we lost once the computer took over and no matter how good the modern animator is, nothing can beat a real set with real props.
There is nothing new in the Steelbook version that wasn’t on the first disc of the Ultimate Collector’s Edition box set that came out in 2009, but the Steelbook cover is great for collectors. With vibrant images and colours, the Steelbook makes it a great gift and essential part of any BD collection.