How I voted in Sight & Sound's decennial critics' poll
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1. "Gone With the Wind" (Victor Fleming, 1939)
Some of you might have known this was coming; some of you might be dismayed to see it here. Victor Fleming's (and, to some degree, George Cukor's and Sam Wood's) mammoth, propulsive Civil War soap opera is arguably the title in this list that least resembles a supposed Sight & Sound pick: a producer's film rather than a director's one, many will tell you that its chief aesthetic victories are born of expense rather than artistry. Watch it again, however, and observe how un-Hollywood it is in stark, surprising ways: its cynical, back-handed politics, its nascent, forthright feminism, its gleeful, perverse destruction of its own splendor. And it's as magnificent a feat of sustained storytelling momentum as exists in all mainstream cinema: I can alight upon a TV airing at any given point in its vast narrative, and not be able to turn it off until the astonishing Vivien Leigh has declared tomorrow another day.
Photo Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer