By Molly Haskell
How and why has the saga of Scarlett O’Hara saved this type of tenacious carry on our nationwide mind's eye for nearly three-quarters of a century? within the first e-book ever to deal at the same time with Margaret Mitchell’s liked novel and David Selznick’s remarkable movie model of Gone with the Wind, movie critic Molly Haskell seeks the solutions. via all predictions, the movie shouldn't ever have labored. What makes it paintings so amazingly good are the interesting and uncompromising personalities that Haskell dissects the following: Margaret Mitchell, David Selznick, and Vivien Leigh. As a feminist and onetime Southern adolescent, Haskell is aware how the tale takes on diverse colours of that means in accordance with the age and eye of the beholder. She explores the way it has saved its area due to Margaret Mitchell’s (and our) ambivalence approximately Scarlett and thanks to the complicated racial and sexual attitudes embedded in a narrative that at one time or one other has indignant virtually everyone.
Haskell imaginatively weaves jointly disparate strands, accomplishing her tale as her personal internal debate among attraction and disenchantment. delicate to the ways that historical past and cinema intersect, she reminds us why those characters, so riveting to melancholy audiences, proceed to fascinate 70 years later.
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Extra info for Frankly, My Dear: "Gone with the Wind" Revisited
It was the woman’s angle that Kay Brown, Selznick’s canny assistant, responded to; it was she who pushed for purchasing the movie rights and enlisted ﬁnancier Jock Whitney on her side. For still others, it was a reminder of a war just past, the loss of lovers, husbands, and brothers in the Great War. And it fell eerily in the shadow of a war to come. Nor were men, despite the story’s overpowering appeal to women, excluded from the circle of charm of what became a genuine “crossover” book and movie.
If Vicksburg hadn’t fallen—”; “If we could have held on another year . . ” And always: “If they hadn’t replaced Johnston with Hood” or “If they’d put Hood in command at Dalton instead of Johnston”—not to mention the “if ” expressed by the feckless young war veterans Tommy Wellburn and Rene Picard, forced to put their noses to the grindstone by their new 43 Boldness and Desperation in-laws, the fearsome Mrs. Elsing and Mrs. ” The “ifs” of antebellum Hollywood whereby David Selznick might never have gotten the chance to beat the bank or destroy his career are legion.
In the endless interim between the book’s publication in 1936 and the ﬁlm’s opening in 1939, the press had been subjected to a steady barrage of publicity and was sick of the movie before it arrived. The New York Times’s Frank S. Nugent seemed to exhale a huge sigh of relief mixed with grudging admiration as he conceded the movie’s virtues (the cast, the ﬁdelity of the adaptation) while encapsulating the defects, reaching a conclusion similar to Commager’s appraisal of the book: “It is pure narrative, as the novel was, rather than great drama, as the novel was not.