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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

Coming soon: ‘Gone With the Wind’ anniversary


Some movies age well. Others, not so much. And in a world that seems to be changing daily, if not hourly, reactions to the 1939 epic "Gone With the Wind" have changed precipitously.

At least in some minds. 

In its review of the film's premiere (Dec. 19, 1939), New York Times reviewer Frank S. Nugent had this reaction: "It is pure narrative, as the novel was, rather than great drama, as the novel was not. By that we would imply you will leave it, not with the feeling you have undergone a profound emotional experience, but with the warm and grateful remembrance of an interesting story beautifully told."

The reviewer went on to add, "Is it the greatest motion picture ever made? Probably not, although it is the greatest motion mural we have seen and the most ambitious film-making venture in Hollywood's spectacular history."

Compare that to this 2015 review by New York Post reviewer Lou Lumenick: "The more subtle racism of 'Gone with the Wind' is in some ways more insidious, going to great lengths to enshrine the myth that the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery — an institution the film unabashedly romanticizes."

Quite a difference, though not one that everyone agrees with. And now, on the film's 80th anniversary, you'll another chance — indeed, several chances — to see the film and judge for yourself.

Beginning Feb. 28 at 1 and 6 p.m., the film will play at two area Regal Cinemas theaters: Northtown Mall and Coeur d'Alene's Riverstone Stadium. It will play again at 1 and 6 on Sunday, March 3; at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 17; and at 6 p.m. Monday, March 18.

"Gone With the Wind" has a near four-hour running time. The screenings will feature a short — and it's probably safe to say much needed — intermission break.

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