Monday, March 2, 2009

Tara on my mind...

Gone with the Wind is on my mind… several small occurrences have reminded me of it lately. It was my mom’s favorite movie while I was growing up. The local movie theatre, The Vogue, would get it for a couple weeks every year. We’d always go together. We knew all the lines, and would talk back to the screen (oh no, Miss Scarlett, don’t drive that buggy through Shantytown…). We always felt guilty getting popcorn at intermission right after poor Scarlett ate those raw turnips right out of ground and hurled. There are of course, stereotypes in this movie that make us cringe now, but it’s still a spectacular, emotionally involving film, with a lot of memories attached. I lost my mom to cancer while I was a teenager, and it was hard to see GwtW without her for awhile, but I read the book several times in high school. A few years ago, Marc and I were in Atlanta for a conference, and I went to the Margaret Mitchell museum, which encompassed the author's home and library, as well as a large adjoining building that housed a museum about the movie. Atlanta also had a wacky restaurant called Pittypat’s Porch that had a great memorabilia collection (and the heaviest food I've eaten in years).

GwtW won best picture at the Academy Awards in 1940 (actually 10 of 13 nominations, a long-standing record). The ceremony was in the Coconut Grove Ballroom at the Ambassador Hotel in LA. The awards were also held fairly often at the Biltmore Hotel (where I stayed last week) during the 1930's & 40's. Off the lobby, the Biltmore has a hallway with photos of the various ceremonies (which were set up more like the Golden Globes back then) including photos of Clark Gable and other stars of the film.

Yesterday, Marc was speaking about copyright, and he mentioned how Turner Classics “colorized” many films so that Turner would still hold rights to that version after the original fell into public domain. I started thinking about all the endless re-masters, re-releases and special editions of GwtW, and this makes me think that the rights are probably safe for a long time. Marc also talked recently about the controversial book The Wind Done Gone, a parody of GwtW by Alice Randall that sees the events from the slave’s point of view.

I think this may be a generational obsession. Does anybody else have stories about this film?

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