..she'd walk down the street naked."
COMMENT(s) DU JOUR
THE GUEST Review
"Best known as pudgy British aristocrat Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey' Pudgy? How very Dowager Countess of you." - par
""from Jimmy Stewart to Terminator" - HA! LOVE this! And boy I loved this movie, I hope all the Downton fans flock to the theaters to see it." - jose
Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference to The Film Experience in terms of stability and budget to dream bigger. Consider...
THANKS IN ADVANCE
For those who can't commit to a dime a day, consider a one time donation for an article or a series you are glad you didn't have to live without.
..she'd walk down the street naked."
Entr'acte After last week's screening of the first half of the gargantuan Gone With the Wind. I realized that three fourths of my memories of the movie come from its first half. What would this screening of Act 2 reveal? We return now to wind-swept Georgia and the tale of the most famous of southern belles, Scarlett O'Hara.
Part 2 The first act of GWTW is, largely, a Civil War film albeit one that's told brilliantly off the battlefield. The second act shifts gears to Reconstruction. While the South is being rebuilt, Scarlett is doing her own life remodelling. It's now a romantic melodrama, but pleasantly also a rich ensemble film as each character comes into sharper focus (Hattie McDaniel's Mammy and Olivia de Havilland's Melanie in particular - both superb)
Ashley Wilkes, simpleton that he is, still doesn't get Scarlett, assessing her strength like so:
You never have trouble facing reality."
Oh, Ashley! Our semi-delusional Southern Belle is still continually fantasizing about you, a man she can't have and wouldn't want if she had him, while denying her love for the one she has and does actually want... in her own way. All the way she's hoping to recapture or clinging to her obsession of former glories of the Old South: Tara with its lush lands and easy wealth, the cheap labor force (ahem), and even her girlish waistline which alarming grows to a (GASP!) 20" and she cannot figure why. 'Childbirth? Fiddle-dee-dee!'
If Ashley Wilkes, who idolizes Scarlett, were choosing Part 2's Best Shot, I know just what he'd choose.
Previously on Hit Me With Your Best Shot - Gone With the Wind Pt 1
We return now to wind-swept Georgia and the tale of the most famous southern belle of all time, Scarlett O'Hara Wilkes Kennedy Butler. We've lost a few Best Shot participants this time around (people don't love Part 2 as much I guess - a group which includes me) or they're just running late (which includes me). I'm still debating between a few images and too tired to think any more. I'll decide tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day!
GONE WITH THE WIND PT 2
Click on any of the Best Shot choices to read the corresponding articles
The marriage of Scarlett and Rhett is its own version of Sherman's march... a path of destruction in their wake.
-The Entertainment Junkie
There is something you love better than me, though you may not know it.
-Ashley Wilkes for The Film Experience
a glimpse of reality; her funhouse mirror is cracking
My favorite section of the film [is] the hardcore suffering part, where everyone is starving and filthy and Scarlett has to wear the same dress for 18 months...
Certainly a movie you love wouldn’t take you two weeks to watch...
-Pop Culture Crazy
No use trying to sweet talk me. I knows you since I put the first diapers on you.
-Mammy for The Film Experience
You're a heartless creature. But that's part of your charm.
-Captain Rhett Butler for The Film Experience
One of the great characters and performances in the annals of cinema...
-Antagony & Ecstasy
Scarlett stands confidently and defiantly. Its the only way she knows how.
-The Film's The Thing
Nothing modest or matronly will do for this occasion...
Here's Our Darling Scarlett."
-Melanie Wilkes for The Film Experience
Melanie as the calm moral centre of the film...
-Lam Chop Chop
I love the fact that Scarlett’s bedroom has a portrait of Marie Antoinette in it...
- Allison Tooey
Gone with the Wind is my mom’s favorite movie...
-Coco Hits NY
And that is... the end! Except for my choice. Unless a few stragglers show up. Hope you enjoyed.
Next Tuesday night, September 2nd, our Season Five Finale: THE MATRIX (1999) for Keanu Reeve's 50th Birthday. Why not pick a shot and join us?
Looking back over some of the entries for last week's Best Shot episode (Gone With the Wind's first half) and chasing links here and there I found myself at The Anzrin Exchange a personal blog of Alison somebody. It's not a "best shot" piece but an essay written earlier this year about how Gone With the Wind is viewed now (especially in the wake of 12 Years a Slave) and how it has aged in terms of its racial politics and themes - which are entirely separate things though naturally they're in conversation, especially retroactively.
Back then, the world was a different place. There were Civil War veterans still living, the Holocaust was unknown, interracial marriage was illegal, and the Walt Disney Company was close to bankruptcy. A radically different time.
This is the argument that’s made to defend every racist Grandma at Thanksgiving, and it is the argument that "Gone With the Wind" apologists use to silence its detractors. There’s no denying that this is a film made by racists, for racists, about racists. But, while "12 Years a Slave" is explicitly about slavery, the "meaning" of "Gone With the Wind" has always been a little more fluid. Ultimately it's a movie about people who can’t let go, who ruin their lives by clinging to a past that does not want them anymore. This is true, whether we view that past as a hateful hell or rosy paradise.
In 2014, few people mourn the loss of the Old South, but we’re just as receptive to the idea that dwelling on the past can kill you. And that’s the theme of "Gone With the Wind," when you cut right down to its heart: The people who thrive are the ones who can let go of the past and take charge of their future, who can change.
The bold is mine for emphasis; that's a bluntly stated truth, but one that's easy to miss if we conflate all presentation with endorsement and shut out other ways of looking at the movie. It's a really thoughtful engaging piece, particularly interesting when it comes to the performances of Hattie McDaniel's "Mammy" and Butterfly McQueen's "Prissy," so you should read it. (Hattie & Butterfly's billing as "House Servants," really struck me in the credits this time; that sure is a fancy guilt-easing euphemism for "Slaves," right?)
And if you missed out on this week's Best Shot, there's still time to join us. Any late comers doing GWTW Part 2 (everything after the Intermission) can also do Part 1 and I'll add you in retroactively. We're reconvening on Tuesday night August 26th for the finale.
Seventy-five years ago this December (yes, we'll celebrate again...albeit in a different way) Gone With the Wind premiered. No, that isn't quite right. This epic about a selfish Southern Belle surviving the Civil War and beyond ARRIVED IN STYLE with a three day celebration in Atlanta which reportedly drew one million visitors -- how'd they fit them all into the theater? (Hee). 1939's Best Picture winner arrived with roughly a bajillion times the anticipation that today's blockbusters get because pop culture was far less fragmented back then and everyone was obsessed with it. It would stay in theaters for literally years (the first couple of them at twice the normal ticket price) and become the biggest cinematic smash the world would ever see. To put it into perspective only Star Wars ever came close with The Sound of Music, E.T. and Titanic fighting for a distant third.
To look at something this large for a single defining image is an impossible task (or two images rather since we've split it in half). My favorite recurring visual motif of the film, Scarlett moving against the current of the crowd as befitting her singular tetchy anti-heroine nature and her duties as protagonist just doesn't look magnificent in freeze frames, but my favorite instances are two: First, when war has been declared and she walks up the stairs calmly through a sea of pastel dresses running down them (bless the film's first fired director George Cukor - that's obviously his work!), and second, her selfish exit from the scene of an amputation when she moves from the sweaty interior nightmare of a hospital to the shock of an exterior nightmare of chaos outside in the streets. Other favorite images were too small or atypical. For instance, there's this calming exquisitely lit shot of Mr and Mrs Ashley Wilkes. [more...]