I’ve watched the new Blu-ray edition of Gone With the Wind twice now, once on its own and once with Rudy Behlmer’s excellent and informative commentary.
The film, for all its flaws, is incredibly entertaining, but the sheer visual beauty of it has at times almost reduced me to tears. The beauty is not rooted in its expressive style but in its technical virtuosity — the Technicolor photography, rendered with unprecedented precision through digital restoration, is simply breathtaking.
The techniques of lighting and framing and camera movement are as brilliant, in their way, as any performance in the film, as any passage of dialogue, as any achievement of art direction — the craftsmanship on display in the photography is as moving as the story.
It’s easy to see Vivien Leigh or Margaret Mitchel or David Selznick as Gone With the Wind‘s crucial auteurs, but if you don’t see Victor Fleming, the film’s principle director, and Ernest Haller, the film’s principle cinematographer, as auteurs of equal importance, you’re just not looking hard enough.
Click on the images to enlarge.