Entries in Vivien Leigh (12)
Fiddle-dee-dee y'all it's Jason from MNPP here with today's sweeping Southern epic edition of "Beauty vs Beast." Yes indeedy today is the 75th anniversary of the biggest movie that ever was and probably ever will be - David O. Selznick's Gone With the Wind (if any movie's ownership belongs to its producer, it's this one) premiered in Atlanta on this day in 1939. Three hundred thousand people lined the streets surrounding the Loews Grand Theater, the cap of three days worth of festivities which brought over a million people to the city. Most of the stars attended, save Leslie Howard who'd returned to England because of WWII, as well as Hattie McDaniel and the other black actors in the film who would've been segegrated from the rest of the cast thanks to Jim Crow. (A situation echoed several months later when McDaniel had to make her way from the back of the room to accept her Oscar.)
The film immediately smashed every record in sight - it sold just about half as many tickets as there were people in the United States, and adjusted for inflation its box office in today's dollars sits at something like three and a half billion dollars. It was a hit!
There were several character iterations I could've gone with for today's competition, but it seemed to me to face Viven Leigh's towering performance as Scarlett O'Hara off against anybody (Melanie, imagine!) would've flounced and trounced any ol' nobody in her way, so instead let's make like we're Scarlett herself and stricken with a crisis of suitors! A beau-tastrophe! Whomever shall we choose?
You've got seven days to vote, which should just give you about enough time to re-watch the first half of the movie up to the Intermission, so get to it.
PREVIOUSLY We took on 2014's blood-soaked war of the sexes with David Fincher's Gone Girl last week, pitting Ben Affleck's full-frontal assault as Nick in one corner opposite Rosamund Pike's icy cool girl Amazing Amy in the other - sure enough Amy kept her nickname tight in her calclating grasp, making off with over 70% of the vote. Said Mareko:
"Cool Girl is fun. Cool Girl is game. Cool Girl is hot. Cool Girl never gets angry at her man."
..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?
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...]