Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fiddle-dee-dee, Gone With the Wind is 75

When I was 15, I fell in love with Rhett Butler. That's how old I was the first time I saw the movie, "Gone With the Wind." Of course, what girl didn't fall in love with Rhett? The tall, handsome, charming rogue whose cynical attitude actually hid a desperate desire to be loved and accepted. When I saw the movie, and the scene appeared of Scarlett at the top of the stairs at the barbecue, and the camera panned down to Rhett staring up at her, a collective "ahhh" could be heard from all the women in the theater. Rhett, portrayed by actor Clark Gable, was the quintessential "bad guy" that good girls loved. I was hooked and I saw the film dozens of times over the years. The novel, written by Margaret Mitchell, turns 75 years old this year, and the movie came three years later in 1939. This epic saga of the American Civil War and destruction of the south took Mitchell ten years to write, from a table in front of a window in a corner of her living room. The novel has been criticized for its' racial stereotyping, although Mitchell herself was surprised by this, saying her black characters "were the most honorable in the book."

Margaret Mitchell won the Pulitzer Prize for "Gone With the Wind" in 1937.

Hattie McDaniel won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the movie, making her the first African American actress to win an Oscar. However, she was prevented from attending the movie's premiere, due to Georgia's Jim Crow laws, which would have been prevented her from sitting with the white members of the cast. When actor Clark Gable heard of this, he threatened to boycott the event, but Ms. McDaniel convinced him to attend.

Gone With the Wind has been published into 35 languages. Approximately 75,000 copies of the book are still sold annually in North America.

Margaret Mitchell never went on a book tour and gave very few interviews. She died in 1949 at age 48, after being struck by a cab in Atlanta. She'd never written another book.

Until next time,


French Heart said...

Great post/images. Didn't know the history. How very sad that Margaret Mitchell created such an epic story and died too young & in such an awful way.

'Gone With the Wind' was one of three top favorite books of Jackie Onassis/Doubleday Editor. The other's were 'Out of Africa' and 'Wide Sargasso Sea.'

Brenda said...

You're ahead of me Cindy. I was well into my twenties the first time I saw Gone With the Wind. I later read the book. I see very few movies these days. They're all action and no plot. It's a shame.

Cindy said...

Brenda, I read the book first. Our little downtown theater showed the film and the first time I saw it, I went by myself! Then I talked my cousin into going with me to see it again! lol Then a few years later, they started showing it on TV and I lost track of how many times I saw it. I agree about movies today...I rarely go now, too. said...

Cindy, Gone with the wind is one of my all time favorite classic movies. I can't tell you how many times I've seen this movie. You describe Rhett perfectly. The movie had many very sad scenes but much of the movie is hilarious with the drama queen Scarlett. I never tire of this movie.

Thank you for the history of Margaret Mitchell. What a tragedy that she died so young and never wrote another book.



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