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This page last updated September 11, 2001 (with general site update, nothing's been changed).
There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton fields
Called the Old South... Here in this pretty world
gallantry took its last bow. Here was the last to be
seen of knights and their ladies fair... of Master
and of slave. Look for it only in books for it is no
more than a dream remembered... A civilization gone
with the wind...
My Thoughts on Gone With the Wind
I was born thirty years after the release of the film version of Gone With the Wind. The first time I can recall watching the movie (I know I'd seen it before this) is when I was sixteen and had rented it from the local video store, much to my mother's amazement. Up until this time, my memory of Gone With the Wind was the scene where Scarlett uses her mother's curtains as a dress. I don't know how old I was when I first saw the movie, but I remember thinking that was just hilarious. Of course I went around my own house trying to determine whether we had any curtains fine enough to be made into a dress. Quite honestly, one of the fondest memories I have of my mother during my teenage years is when she and I sat together and watched Gone With the Wind. A former boyfriend of mine, purchased the deluxe video release edition for me in 1991 and I have watched it on video many times over the years since, however, never had the opportunity to see it on the "big" screen until this past June 26 (1998). I took my 7 year old daughter and my 5 year old step-son to a 9:00 pm showing of the movie. Figuring if they were bored, they'd fall asleep. I figured my daughter would like it, she sat through Titanic with no complaints, potty breaks, or fidgeting . . . I was not so sure about my step-son. They both did great. Jon stayed awake through all but the last hour. He loved the first half, especially the "soldiers" part as he called it. I think I have already succeeded in making them BOTH Windies. We have watched the video many times since seeing the movie in June and they want to watch it again. My daughter has a great memory and I put her to the test recently. I was watching a Clark Gable movie (Mutiny On the Bounty) where he had no moustache. I asked her if she recognized him - and she did! She said, "That's Rhett Butler." I was pretty shocked, I don't know if I would have recognized him not knowing it was him in the movie! I finally got my husband and brother in-law to sit through the movie with me recently. I don't think either of them thought it was as bad as they had been thinking it was going to be. At least now, my husband doesn't have to have me bugging him to watch it with me anymore, I'll stick to watching it with the kids LOL.
My husband and I have continued debates about his interpretations of Scarlett. Of course I know his comments are merely to get me started, and he just sits back and laughs at me in bewilderment that I can be so truly passionate about a story that I defend it and take his comments so personally. My husband claims that Scarlett was nothing but a whore, who sold her body into marriage for money. I'm not a Scarlett lover, never have been but I will defend her and what she did to my death. The first few times I saw the movie, I thought she got what she deserved at the end, I still do in some ways. It was so obvious to me that Rhett loved her, especially when reading the book, and would have brought her the stars on a silver platter if he could have. And I am such a Rhett fan that when I hear those words "Frankly my dear I don't give a damn." I cry not so much for Scarlett but for Rhett. I believe that despite Rhett's efforts to not be a gentleman, underneath it all he was and when he saw Scarlett all those things he tried so hard to push behind him for years he couldn't help but do. There are so many scenes in the book that to me point to this, and I find myself truly feeling sorry for him that he for once in his life gave into love and all the things he swore he would never do, only to have them basically thrown in his face. But she did what she had to do to survive, and I guess one can't blame her for not recognizing the fact that she loved Rhett in return. By the end of the book, eleven years have transpired. That's over eleven years of her thinking that she was in love with Ashley, and at the same time spending a lot of those eleven years taking Rhett and his kindness for granted. My husband has recanted some of his statements when I've explained things from the book that are missing from the movie, but he still doesn't think Scarlett was an all around nice girl. Of course, she wasn't, not even in Ripley's depiction of her in the sequel was she an overly likeable character. There were times in reading both books that I realized had I met someone like Scarlett in real-life I probably would have slapped her silly, but overall Scarlett in my opinion is one of the strongest heroine's written ever.
I recently read the book and the sequel. I've had them both for a few years, however, just never undertook the task of reading them. I'm an avid reader, but with children don't usually find time to read 1000+ page books! I read both books in less than a week. It amazes me that some 60+ years later, the book is still one of the most popular books of all time and is still very easily read. I was captivated by the original, more than captivated I was entranced. I couldn't put it down. Each and every one of the characters has a depth and significance to the story. My favorite character would have to be Rhett, however, Scarlett or Mammy are a close second. I believe most women want someone like Rhett-tall, dark, handsome, a little sinister, mysterious, yet a loving husband and doting father. I also believe there's a bit of both Melanie and Scarlett in me. I was a single mother for five years, so had to do what I needed to do to survive and ensure my daughter's survival. However, I also tend to be kind, trusting, and sincere to a fault with people who perhaps don't deserve it.
My thoughts on the sequel
My thoughts on Ripley's sequel Scarlett are divided. I had in my head for years what happened. I believed Scarlett got Rhett back, they were two of a kind and no matter what he said at the end - he did give a damn! I read the sequel for curiousity's sake. I read it with an open mind, bearing in mind that it had been written sixty years later and by someone with a different writing style. Overall, I liked it. I must admit, I was curious about Gerald & Ellen's family. You read about them throughout the original, however, never met them. Being part Irish, I also enjoyed some of the Ireland portion of the book. I, however, found the gun-running a bit much. Though, I know it takes place - it just didn't seem to belong in the book. I guess it was a way to give Colum depth. I do wish more time and character development had been spent on Rhett in the sequel. We never really knew what he was thinking, doing, planning. He was such a significant part of the original, and should have been in the sequel. I understand that Scarlett was to be about Scarlett, and her growing up, I still felt that Rhett was underdeveloped. My biggest gripe with the book was that I do not believe Rhett would have married anyone but Scarlett. Ripley did briefly touch on the reason for this remarriage, by stating they had gone out to search for a lost child and returned after dark so he had to marry her. I just don't buy it. I believe as much as Rhett may have wanted to regain favor in Charleston, he would not have married her. His mother had accepted him and that was most important to him. He was still married to Scarlett at the time, for crying out loud. This is the one and only thing that I felt was horribly 100% WRONG and should not have been included in the story. I also felt the controversy and dislike for Cat was a little overboard. I did enjoy the fact that Scarlett grew up in the sequel and seemed to become a better person. I think by growing up, she became an even stronger person. Overall, I enjoyed the book as it stands alone. It is no comparison to Gone With the Wind. I don't believe Ripley was trying to compete, or make an equal, I think she was trying to put closure to a book that has stood the test of time.
I never did see the mini-series, though, I have heard it was atrocious. I cannot imagine anyone but Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable playing these roles. They were those characters, hands down. The movie was so well cast overall, that I can't imagine anyone else playing any of the roles. I don't find it a coincidence that Margaret Mitchell wrote the part of Rhett Butler with Clark Gable in mind. It's a shame that he did not get the nod for Best Actor for his performance. He deserved it. It was good to know that Hattie McDaniel got the nod for her role as Mammy. Everyone needs someone like Mammy around, just to keep things (and people) in their place! I know I wish I had someone like her now to help me with my kids. :)
I recently (July 1999) had occasion to finally view the sequel, Scarlett on Encore's Love Channel. Perhaps all of the hype surrounding it had died down enough that I could watch it with an open mind, or perhaps I was just so utterly bored out of my mind that I took the 6+ hours they took to air the mini-series and watched it. I'm not sure, but I was amazingly surprised I didn't hate it at all. Timothy Dalton, while no Clark Gable, grew on me and I found myself somewhat enjoying his portrayal of Rhett Butler. Joann Whaley-Kilmer on the other hand, I didn't enjoy as Scarlett. She wasn't horrid, but I didn't walk away from the movie convinced she was Scarlett. There were scenes from the book that were left out that I was glad were left out and some I was sorry to see left out. There were scenes added to the mini-series I thought fit pretty well. I loved the scene with Scarlett's grandfather Robillard in Savannah. The whole portion of that movie was enjoyable. You realized much to his dismay, he admired the woman, that was the first true indication to me that Scarlett was beginning to grow up. When she was able to turn down a half a million dollars without batting an eyelash, I knew she had changed - even if only slightly at that point. I was glad they left out the part about Scarlett becoming a socialite. It seemed, however, in the book that Rhett and Scarlett ran into each other more than the movie portrayed. I would have liked to have seen more scenes between them when she was in Ireland. I was glad they didn't add in there the whole town disliking Cat, I thought in the book that was just too much. The whole scene at the end with Scarlett standing trial for Earl Fenton's murder was a little crazy, though. One other scene I had a problem with was when Ann Hampton confronts Rhett with the fact that he had called Scarlett's name in his sleep one night. Rhett's response was stupid ("I didn't realize I talked in my sleep."). My God, would it have required Rhett, or even Ann, to realize that by this time Scarlett had been in Rhett's live for over fifteen years. You don't go through everything they went through, marry one another, live together, share a bad together, have your child die and just because you have differences stop caring for the person. I don't know that Rhett knew what to do with himself without having someone to watch over, and when Scarlett left for Savannah Ann took her place. Overall, I didn't mind the mini-series. I actually purchased the video set (2 tapes) and have watched it of my own accord. It's no Gone With the Wind, but I feel the same about the mini-series as I did the book sequel. If viewed for what it is, someone else's adaptation of what they think happened between Rhett and Scarlett it's worth the view. If you're going to watch it expecting Gable, Leigh, DeHavilland and Howard, then you'll be disappointed. Take from it what you like, leave the rest behind.
The Book or The Movie - My Preference
I will admit I prefer the book over the movie. I am a book person more than I am a movie person as it is to begin with. I enjoy allowing my imagination to create the people and scenery. I do believe the film captured much of the feeling the book conveyed, however, felt that some of the intensity in the characters were not as obvious in the film. There were parts cut, especially regarding Rhett and Scarlett I felt belonged in the film. I didn't quite understand why Scarlett's first two children were not included in the movie. Though I understand that with a running time as it was of 222 minutes, they couldn't include everything - but cutting out children seemed a bit drastic. I also understand that by Bonnie being her first child it made it all the more "romantic". Throughout Scarlett's second pregnancy, Rhett secretly escorts her to the mill. His continued visits to her are not as plentiful in the film as they were in the book. The scene after he's gotten out of jail and he shows up at the store to, in his own way, make sure that Scarlett did indeed get the $300 needed to pay the taxes on Tara. That was one of the best scenes in the book, and I thought went a long way toward showing Rhett's sincere like for Scarlett. We don't get the same opportunity to hear their little scuffles. I would have loved to have been alive when the movie came out and been able to experience all of the hoopla that went along with it.
Some Trivia, Bloopers (not even GWTW was perfect) & Facts
-It's hard to believe that filming of the movie began before a Scarlett O'Hara had been cast. They went through over 1,400 women before Selznick's brother presented him with Vivien Leigh. They had begun shooting the fire scenes prior to Vivien being cast and there is a double utilized in the long shots during the fire scene.
-Clark Gable put real alcohol in the decanter during the birth of Bonnie scene when he offers Mammie a drink. She didn't realize this until she took a drink!
-Gable didn't want to take the role. He felt that it would be too
difficult for any man to live up to the expectations everyone would have of Rhett Butler. (I personally think he lived up to those expectations and them some!) He also did not like the scene in which he had to cry on screen - he almost quit over this!
-Vivien Leigh could not produce an effective enough "retching" sound during the famous "I'll never go hungry again" turnip scene. Olivia de Havilland (Melanie) did the sounds instead.
-In the scene in which Rhett brings a shot Ashley to Melanie's room, the lamp Melanie retrieves has an electrical cord attached to it.
-While Scarlett is searching for Dr. Meade when Melanie is in labor, lightbulbs are visible in the street lamps.
-Melanie's pregnancy lasts longer than nine months, based on events that actually occurred and when they occurred.
-When Rhett leaves Scarlett to go to Tara alone, he drops his hat on the ground to kiss her and places his jacket on a fence post. When he retrieves his jacket, his hat is there too.
-George Reeves is credited as playing the part of Brent Tarleton, and Fred Crane is billed as Stuart Tarleton. This is incorrect: Crane played Brent, and Reeves played Stuart.
A quote from Margaret Mitchell's book...My favorite scene. Do you think if she had kissed him back things may have ended differently?
"I love you, Scarlett, because we are so much alike, renegades, both of us, dear, and selfish rascals. Neither of us cares a rap if the whole world goes to pot, so long as we are safe and comfortable." . . . Then his arms went around her waist and shoulders and she felt the hard muscles of his thighs against her body and the buttons of his coat pressing into her breast. A warm tide of feeling, bewildering, frightening, swept over her, carrying out of her mind the time and place and circumstances. . . . He was kissing her now and his mustache tickled her mouth, kissing her with slow, hot lips that were as leisurely as though he had the whole night before him. Charles had never kissed her like this. Never had the kisses of the Tarleton and Calvert boys made her go hot and cold and shaky like this. He bent her body backward and his lips traveled down her throat to where the cameo fastened her basque.--Rhett announcing to Scarlett he's going to join "the Cause" and leave her to get to Tara on her own.
Titanic More Romantic?--Never!
There are those that try comparing Titanic to Gone With the Wind, saying Titanic is the more romantic of the two. I totally disagree with that view. Rose & Jack were just not believable to me - there is no way that she would have given him the time of day. Not in that era anyhow. They just didn't convince me. Rhett and Scarlett, however, established their relationship over a matter of years. It developed, and you knew despite Rhett's claim to not being a marrying man that he would marry her to "catch" her if he had to. They were not of entirely different classes or types of people. Scarlett captured Rhett's attention because of her personality, her attitude, her strength - she was different than the women of the 1860's and he knew he had to have her. They were both charming and intelligent people with like personalities. Seeing them together was believable and the possibility of their being together was plausible, despite Rhett's reputation and the fact he was not received.
Gone With the Wind is a book that everyone should read. If you haven't I strongly recommend you do. I have never been so taken with a storyline as I was by this. I even dreamt about it, honestly!! My husband laughed at me many times, because I just could not get the story out of my mind. When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it. I know that I will read it over and over again from now until I die. I hope that my daughter will read it when she gets a little older and that she and I can share something that my mother and I shared! I am a Gone With the Wind addict - no doubt about it.
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