"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
After watching great swaths of GWTW on Turner Classic Movies recently, I found myself again wondering why this epic version of a Lifetime Network soap is constantly placed at the top of the Greatest Movie lists, and more to the point, why Clark Gable, Leslie Howard or anyone would find Vivian Leigh's Scarlett O'Hara remotely appealing. You expect a six-year-old to be immature, selfish, whiny, annoying and utterly self-absorbed – but you endure in the knowledge the child will eventually grow up. Scarlett never does. Outside of her looks, she lacks any redeeming qualities. So what's the attraction?
TCM aired the film as part of a series on the films of 1939, "Hollywood's Golden Year," when an outpouring of outstanding movies made for fierce Oscar competition.Gone With the Wind was that year's Titanic, cleaning up at the Academy Awards.
But compared to the Wizard of Oz or any of a half-dozen other films released the same year, GWTW, in my opinion, comes up short in the greatness category. I wouldn't put it in the Top 10 of 1939, let alone the Top 10 of All Time.
My personal favorites from 1939: A toss-up between Mister Smith Goes to Washington, The Four Feathers and Goodbye, Mister Chips, with a special place reserved for the Wizard of Oz.