Victor Fleming (1889-1949) started as a photographer but later moving to become a director and made almost 50 movies among some are major classics. He is most famous for The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind (both 1939). Some of his best film was made to both adult and young audiences like, Treasure Island (1934), Captains Courageous (1937) and The Wizard of Oz (1939).
Captains Courageous (1937) is one of the best adventure movies ever made, based on a novel by Rudyard Kipling. The protagonist is a child (played by Freddie Bartholomew) and the movie is suitable for a young audience, but just as much is it a big experience for an adult audience.
The plot is set around a spoiled son of a business tycoon, Harvey, who falling over board at sea and is then saved by a fisherman. Spencer Tracy makes a fantastic portrait of the Portuguese fisherman, Manuel. Manuel and Harvey begin to build up a companionship which is well depicted and the turnings are drawing lots of emotions.
For The Good Earth (1937) Victor Fleming and Gustav Machaty was uncredited for directing besides Sidney Franklin. This is an epic story about a poor farmer and his loyalty wife. Paul Muni and Luise Rainer are playing the leading roles as the farmer Wang Lung and his wife O-Lan. The authenticity are decreased by the fact that these are hardly Chinese (even if they done a good attempt to look like it), and speaking English. But the film is that great and rich that this can be forgotten.
Wang Lung owns a little land, but if the weather conditions turns against him he will be out food and money. This happens then the drought destroys a whole harvest. The family are starving and Wang it forced to sell of his land. But the very low price given make him refuse to sell and instead the family travel to a town with hopes for coming back to better times. By luck they get rich and are not only returning to the land but also expanding. Wang is trying out an extravagance life style and the richness turns out to rob him of all his former humbleness. The Good Earth is set in a time and culture then the woman wasn’t worth much and their husbands could decide over them. There is also a strong motif about the bound a man has to his life and how fast he can lose it then the distractions takes over.
The Wizard of Oz (1939) is a musical and adventure movie. The Wizard of Oz has over the years been incorporated in the popular culture and then somebody alludes to the “Yellow brick road” this is the original source. Also the song “Over the Rainbow” was originally sung in this movie. The Wizard of Oz is a travel into fantasy – a dream of a child about being released from the ordinary existence in Kansas (filmed in black and white) are carried out then she after being swept away in a tornado wakes up in a complete changed landscape, the Land of Oz (filmed in color).
Gone With the Wind (1939) is the epic romantic drama par excellence set in the historical context of the American Civil War. The persons in the center are Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) and Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard). Gone With the Wind is almost four hours long and the budget was over $4 millions. It made a record by winning ten Oscars. The movie hasn’t lost its popularity over the years and just like The Wizard of Oz it is a part of the popular culture.