Gone With The Wind, a romance movie staple, is 74 years old today. How long since you watched it and sighed over the dresses and Scarlett’s pertness?
Actually, I love the movie for the dresses and I love reading the book for the sheer detail and fascination of watching Rhett Butler dash himself to pieces over Scarlett’s self-centered blindness, which shows up so much better in the book than it does on film.
There are a number of biographies about the stars of the movie out there, but have you ever read a biography about the making of the film? I have…and it’s fascinating! The casting and the making of Gone with the Wind was an epic of its own. There were a number of occasions where the film nearly didn’t happen, or where the major cast members were going to be someone else entirely. Then there were the scandals and stories that took place during filming. For instance, Vivien Leigh was at that time having her still-secret and yet to be infamous affair with Laurence Olivier, while Clark Gable went through a messy divorce and married Carole Lombard in a quick civil wedding in Nevada, to the delight of the media. (Carole Lombard died only four years later in a war-time air crash.)
Gone With The Wind won rave awards at the time, and has since been criticised for its lack of attention to real war time issues, such as the Klu Klux Klan, etc., but if you treat the movie simply as a lovely romantic escapade, it can’t be topped.
Why not blow the dust off your CD copy for its birthday?
74 years? That just doesn’t seem possible. This is one of my rainy day movies that I watch about once a year.
I don’t think I watch it once a year…but I do watch it every now and again. I read it more often than I watch it now. I know the movie dialogue too well, alas.
Tracy, when I was a kid I completely failed to understand why Rhett was acting the way he was. Why was he saying he didn’t give a damn, if he loved her? Course, I didn’t understand the implications of him literally sweeping her off her feet and carrying her upstairs, or why she was so happy the next day. 🙂
There were moments the movie did really well…like her purring like a kitten the next morning. And there are moments the movie totally lost, like Rhett’s genuine rage at his own helplessness when Scarlett visits him in jail wearing her mother’s curtains and asking him to help her save Tara. I had the good fortune to have read the book over and over before I got to see the movie, even as a kid (I grew up without film or television), so finally seeing many of the key scenes played out on celluloid wasn’t quite the let down it could have been. I first saw it when I was about twelve…and the book explained all the stuff the film didn’t.
I still find even these days that when a film I like has a book that isn’t a film tie-in, I’ll read it to pick up the extra depths of character and nuances the film didn’t show. It’s usually well worth the effort.