I finally submit to ‘Gone with the Wind’

A gift, on Blu Ray, the 70th anniversary edition of a classic.

A gift, on Blu Ray, the 70th anniversary edition of a classic.

The first time I had the chance to watch “Gone with the Wind,” I turned up my nose.

My memory of walking into the crowded student union lounge sticks with me still.

I was in hot pursuit of a bigger TV and comfortable chair to watch some football game or another.

My initial thought as I spotted the filled cushions from the doorway was that plenty of my fellow students at Morrisville Agricultural and Technical College — MATC to those of us who loved it — had the same goal.

But then I saw an old movie on the TV.

“There’s a good game on. Watcha watching?” I must have asked nobody in particular, perhaps accompanied by a tenor of disgust and impatience.

“Gone with the Wind,” was murmured, along with a volley of hush-ups and more than one or two stink eyes.

I looked hard. I saw a lot of mesmerized people. I decided it would be unwise to press the possibility of changing the channel. And I turned around and walked out the door. Most likely, I headed to the smaller tube and iffy reception in my dorm floor lounge.

For the rest of the weekend, though, I heard various discussions going on about the classic. All it did was put more air in my balloon of foolish young pride. “Gone with the Wind” over football? How could they?

Silly, stubborn teenager, I was.

And somehow, I never saw “Gone with the Wind” in the almost four decades that followed.

I continued to pick up things second-hand. People talking about Tara. Catch phrases that still were twisted into punchlines. News accounts about author Margaret Mitchell and novel sequels.

My dear wife Karen found out. The subject came up the first time we watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” together a handful of Christmas Eves ago. She could hardly believe it was my first time appreciating that Jimmy Stewart classic. Asked about what other cultural icons I had somehow escaped, I brought up the iconic tale of the south featuring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh.

In 2012, I bought Karen a Blu-Ray player for Christmas. I told her how I’d tried to find a Blu-Ray version of “Gone with the Wind” to go along with it.

This past summer, a package arrived by mail. Inside was a 70th anniversary edition Blu Ray of “Gone with the Wind,” a present from Karen.

I told her we’d watch it on a significant occasion.

That was this New Year’s Day.

Just husband, wife, a flat screen and 238 minutes of Scarlett and Rhett in striking high definition.

I watched intently as the South burned, Scarlett fumed, loved ones died, and Rhett finally gave up on winning her heart.

And, frankly, 75 years after it was released, I did give a damn.

Is there a classic movie that you regret never seeing? Have you finally given in and sat through a classic you’ve avoided?

25 thoughts on “I finally submit to ‘Gone with the Wind’

  1. I love “It’s A Wonderful Life”- glad you’ve finally discovered that gem.
    In all honesty, when I finally sat down and watched “Gone With the Wind,” I was unimpressed. I liked Rhett, and felt bad that he foolishly, stubbornly pursued Scarlett, a woman who in no way deserved him. Sure, he was a bit of a cad, but a far more interesting and likeable character than Scarlett. And even taking into account that Scarlett could be considered an anti-heroine, it still doesn’t make me like the movie any better. I will perhaps give the book a try someday, since I have heard some reliable friends rave about it, but it’s huge, so it will be awhile before I try to tackle it…

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  2. I love most classics, but since I have worn out three copies of Gone With The Wind I have been unable to watch the movie. The only similarity between the book and the movie are the name of each and the names of a few of the characters. I have tried to watch other movies after reading the book, and have found most of the movies fall short of the book. I can’t think of a single classic movie I have not watched and regretted it later. I have seen so many versions of A Christmas Carol that make me want to barf, so when I finally decided to actually read the book, I loved it. The only time I have ever watched a movie that was better than the book was “The Help”. A close second would be “The Blind Side”. Loved the movie, which I watched first, but am still struggling with the book, several years later. And I can usually read a good book in one sitting. It took me about 76 hours to read The Brothers Karamazov, but once started I couldn’t put it down. Same with Anna Karenina. That movie isn’t too bad, but not quite as good as the book.

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    • I rarely like a movie better than the book. “The World According to Garp” was kind of a tie, because Robin Williams really brought John Irving’s story to life. Streisand was pretty good in “The Prince of Tides,” but Pat Conroy’s novel topped the movie. It usually takes a couple sittings for me to get through a book I love. Don’t want to rush it. Thanks, Angie.

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  3. Mark … I grew up on movies from my parents’ generation so I’ve seen many of the classics. But I never saw Marlon Brando in “On the Waterfront” and know that someday I have to see it.

    I’m glad that you got to see “Gone With the Wind.” It’s a beautiful movie and Scarlett was just a plain silly girl for passing up Clark Gable (who I idolized at the time). I was glad he woke up and left her.

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  4. That’s very interesting LOL. I was told many times about the book, my friends say it’s nice but the book is very big and I din’t like how it looked so I still didn’t watch the movie nor read the book and apparently I won’t. Thanks for the review, happy new year! 🙂

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  5. I have seen The Sound of Music too many times so avoid it. This is something I share with most Brits my age as it was always on TV in the late ’70’s when we only had three TV channels. But, some Hungarian friends lent us a copy (they didn’t know that all Brits avoid it!) and our daughter loved it so much I had to buy our own copy!

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    • I watched the NBC remake of ‘The Sound of Music’ with Karen and the kids on Christmas Eve and it was OK. I understand your avoidance of the original … and your daughter’s love for seeing it at last, Rachel!

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  6. Funny!! When I was in high school, I never could “get into” any of my classes (I know, bad!), but I had gotten a hold of a book of “Gone With The Wind” and was in the back of my English class reading it and my teacher pretended not to see me. I guess she was just happy I was reading! LOL!

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  7. I’m so glad you finally watched it! I once dated a guy who had never seen Grease – which probably isn’t as poignant as Gone With the Wind, but still! Now you can use the phrases from GWTW and know what they mean! 🙂

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  8. you are so lucky to have karen in your life to help you fill in all the holes. years ago, we screened it for a current audience on an anniversary date of the film. some of the young people got up to leave during the intermission thinking it was over. well, don’t know if it’s a classic but my son in law and i made a deal if he would watch all of the english patient with me i would watch the entire lord of the rings series with him. we could not agree to terms and it never happened )

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    • On that screening, did you rush out to the lobby to shoo the young people back into the theater for the second half? Pity if they missed that. I think you would have had to make a much greater time investment than sonny-in-law on that one. Perhaps you were trying to strike a deal in your favor, Beth? Have a great day.

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      • oh, you’d better believe i did, though some were not too happy about the news ) yes, the time investment was off balance but he still thought the horror of having to watch ep would still be more torturous than me having to sit through a whole series )

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  9. Ah, I love Gone With the Wind. And I watch Wonderful Life every Christmas. I recently watched The Deer Hunter for the first time, and was pleased that it lived up to expectations, following years of being told ‘it’s a classic!’.

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