By Kristin Battestella
Now that Melanie Wilkes is buried, Scarlett O’Hara Butler (Joanne Whalley-Kilmer) pursues her wayward husband Rhett (Timothy Dalton) to
Timothy Dalton is actually my favorite Bond (The Living Daylights, License to Kill, and the quirky Beautician and the Beast!) but he has precious little to do here. Everyone in Scarlett is made to look stupid. All Rhett does is bat his eyes at Scarlett, then whisk away again. Over and over they taunt each other. I would have liked to have seen
Two bright spots in Scarlett that earn their keep (Sean Bean’s rapacious self is always a keeper) are Colm Meaney as Scarlett’s cousin Colum and Melissa Leo (Homicide: Life on the Street) as her sister Suellen. Both are few and far between in the series, but their accurate portrayals and authentic looks lend real honesty to their scenes. Sure we love the over the top bits, but it’s nice to remember most of the people during this time were not like Scarlett, Rhett, or Lord Fenton. Many were poor, working class, humble folks.
Pretty and shiny things onscreen, however, are not enough to explain the mishmashed story presented by Hanley. The end of the novel is completely forgotten in favor of a new, murderous idiocy, and the only worthy subplot regarding the Fenian Brotherhood vanishes partway through.
The DVD presentation hinders the viewing of Scarlett as well. The six hour mini series is split over two discs, with no breaks. It’s one straight mother load without even additional credits introducing the players in the second half. So if one did want to pause and return, it’s a matter of skipping chapters instead of having definite episode beginnings. Upon my first viewing, I thought there would be an end at which to stop. Instead I was fighting to stay awake, wondering when Scarlett would end.
Despite my complaints about Scarlett, there is an audience out there who will adore this film. Period buffs, romance fans, folks who like to see Sean Bean stripped and oiled for now matter how brief a time- Scarlett is affordable enough for these indulgences. My set was $6.99 new. Gone with the Wind it is not, but take Scarlett for what it is; guilty visuals to sleep to.