Monday, December 28, 2009
Gone With the Wind
I love this movie! I've always loved it, not just because it depicts the strength of the Old South after the Civil War, but also because of the special effects of that time.
Yesterday, my friend, Fran, and I got to see Gone With the Wind for it's 70th anniversary. It's hard to believe that this incredible flick was released back in 1939 - long before I was even thought of. But it was and to many, it's considered the greatest movie ever made.
The last time I saw the movie was in Richmond, Virginia, 20 years ago. It was the 50th anniversary and Stephanie and I, like the other hundreds of people there, dressed in period regalia and got to feast on local delicacies during the intermission. Several of our friends went with us, and we made it a great party.
One of the most famous movies of all time, GWTW had it's share of notables. Of course, most notable were actors Clark Gable, Olivia DeHaviland, and Leslie Howard. Hattie McDaniel, the actor who played Mammie, accepted any role to further the advance of her race, and said so. Another notable was Susan Myrick from Atlanta. Not an actor, but a dialect expert. She was hired by producer David O. Selznick to coach actors in their southern accent. For Selznick, everything had to be perfect, even down to the hoops under skirts. When Ann Rutherford asked Selznick why having the hoops mattered when no one in the audience would know, his explanation was, "Because you'll know." For him, that was enough.
New to the American movie scene was Vivian Leigh. Cast at the last moment, according to legend, Vivian was "suddenly discovered" when she appeared as a companion to Laurence Olivier during the filming of the burning of Atlanta. Of course, sensationalized legends were just as effective in marketing then as they are today. The truth was that an unknown would be cast and that Selznick wanted the publicity to create a huge buzz in America. Regardless of how Vivian was selected, she was the best choice. Years of critics - both professional and novice - have attested to that.
Needless to say, my head is filled with trivia about this great film. How the movie was made fascinates me even today.
While the last screening was last night, you can still get the DVD or blu-ray at local places around town or from a retailer online. It's a great time to watch an incredible classic.