Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Sh!#ting on the Classics: Gone With the Wind
From what I remembered, this movie is partially about slavery. I might be going out on a limb here, but slavery and racism are just wrong. Fuck that shit.
THE PLOT IN BRIEF: Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) is a permanently unsatisfied, strong-willed, outspoken woman -- in a word, a bitch. Scarlett meets Rhett Butler, an all-around cad and ne’er-do-well, with whom she is perfectly matched. She scoffs at the idea of ever being in love with him. Instead, she wants Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard), which doesn’t make much sense because, all things being equal, if Scarlett and Ashley ever did wind up in bed together, Scarlett seems like the kind of woman who would break him in half.
What she does not want is for her beloved South to be embroiled in a nasty, costly Civil War. Unfortunately, in that bygone age, that was the only style of Civil War available. Ashley marries Scarlett’s friend Melanie (Olivia de Havilland), with whom he is perfectly matched, and goes off to fight. To spite Ashley, Scarlett marries an extra from Central Casting, who conveniently goes off to fight and immediately dies. Rhett Butler shows up to escort Scarlett and Melanie to a doctor because Melanie is about to have Ashley’s baby, but Rhett ignores the GPS in his buckboard and drives them straight through downtown Atlanta, which is on fire.
War! Good God, y’all, what IS it good for?
But I digress. After the South (spoiler alert!) LOSES the Civil War, Scarlett returns to the family mansion, Tara, which is an empty husk of its former self, and to her father, who is an empty husk of his former self. Starving, she digs up a turnip, eats it, and declares, “As God is my witness, they're not going to lick me. I'm going to live through this, and when it's all over, I'll never grow turnips again.” It is a very inspiring line for the audience to hear because that line signals the intermission.
Scarlett marries Rhett (he loves her and is rich). Though she does not really love him, somehow, they have a daughter together. The daughter meets a tragic end. I will not say how, but trust me: if your daughter wants a pony for Christmas, SAY NO. Rhett suddenly realizes that Scarlett will never love him. I could have told him that little piece of news three hours and fifty-eight minutes earlier.
In probably the most famous closing line in motion picture history, Rhett leaves Tara forever and tells Scarlett, “Frankly my dear, fuck that shit.”
That is pretty much it. The movie is four hours long.
Scarlett O’Hara says, “Fiddle-dee-dee!” a lot. Is that supposed to be cute? Is that something people actually used to say? Is that meant to be sexy? If Scarlett O’Hara really wanted to be sexy, she would say, “I am going to make you a grilled cheese sandwich and then teach you the REAL meaning of ‘way down south.’”
In the opening scenes at Tara, George Reeves makes an appearance, playing the character of Brent Tarleton. George Reeves would later become very famous on the television, playing Superman. This got me to thinking… If the South had had Superman fighting on its side, would it have won the Civil War? Would that fact really change Ken Burns’ documentary all that much? Who would win in a fair fight: Superman or all of the newly freed slaves? I think the secret would be for the newly freed slaves to not stand in a circle and attack Superman one guy at a time, but to really gang up on Superman and use the combined strength of thousands of newly freed slaves to jam some Kryptonite up the Man of Steel’s caboose.
I have read that in real life, Vivian Leigh, who plays the title character of “The Wind,” was a nymphomaniac. If that rumor and another rumor are true -- that her real-life husband, Laurence Olivier, was a closeted homosexual -- she would be one of the saddest “beards” in history. This got me to thinking… If it is true that Olivier’s secret gay lover was indeed funnyman Danny Kaye, did Olivier and Kaye ever engage in a ménage a trois with Kaye’s occasional co-star Bing Crosby? If so, could “White Christmas” be their euphemism for a love that knows no season?
I have also read that Clark Gable, who plays the title role of “Gone,” had false teeth and killer halitosis. This got me to thinking… that little moustache that Gable always wore must have smelled pretty ripe. And Gable’s wife, Carole Lombard -- did she really die in that plane crash or was she just using that as an excuse? Could Clark Gable’s stinky ’stache have driven Carole Lombard to FAKE HER OWN DEATH?
I do know that our own Patrick Bromley has not yet seen this classic film, so here are some scenes he can look forward to seeing once he actually gets around to screening the film: 1) the scene where all those scary Civil War soldier zombies rise from their graves and perform a big musical number; 2) the scene where costars Olivia de Havilland and Hattie McDaniel discuss radical feminism over a traditional Southern breakfast; 3) the thrilling, pulls-out-all-the-stops Kung Fu battle between Clark Gable and a stripped-to-the-waist Ulysses S. Grant; 4) the tender moment when Leslie Howard shoots Ol’ Yeller, and 5) the scene where Clark Gable comes upon the Statue of Liberty and realizes that, all this time, he has been ON EARTH.
You can see why so many people call this movie a classic! They do not make them like this anymore!
Gone With The Wind is a grand soap opera for people who love wearing window curtains as ball gowns and shooting people in the face. Yes, I’m looking at you, Dick Cheney.
People love Gone With The Wind, but it is rather long -- and it stole the Oscar from The Wizard of Oz in 1939. Victor Fleming directed BOTH FILMS.