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Posts Tagged ‘gone with the wind’

Clark Gable is one of my favourite actors, although he died before I was born.  Whenever I watch his films, I can always see just why he was so popular – women loved him, and men wanted to be like him.  He was the ultimate in masculinity, and was not known as King of Hollywood for nothing.

This book is a fairly decent biography, which seems pretty evenhanded throughout.  It does a good job of telling the facts – although there are a couple of errors regarding some of the films – so in a sense, it does do its job, but while I understand that it is impossible to include every single story from someone’s life, I felt that certain things were missed out, which should have been included.  For instance, the book acknowledges that Gable wanted to boycott the premiere of Gone With The Wind, out of solidarity with his  friend Victor Fleming, who was in dispute with producer David Selznick, over his (Fleming’s) directorial credit.  However, it did not even give mention to the well documented fact that Gable was furious that the black members of the cast would not be able to sit with the white members of the cast at the premiere due to Atlanta’s segregation laws, and that he wanted to boycott the premiere for this reason.  Such an occurrence reveals a lot about the measure of a man, and I was amazed that it wasn’t included.

However, the book does a fairly good job of describing Gable’s rise to movie star from very humble beginnings, and generally portrays him as an approachable and agreeable man, easy to work with, and courteous and kind by nature.  It goes into detail about his five marriages – one can’t help but wonder what would have happened had his very happy marriage to actress Carole Lombard not have been cut tragically short by her death in a plane crash.

I would recommend the book to fellow Gable fans – it might not be the most comprehensive biography available, but it’s certainly readable, and respectful without being fawning.

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In 1939, one of the most popular films of all time – Gone With The Wind – was made, and of course as we all know now, it was a roaring success.  Although Clark Gable was cast pretty quickly (and somewhat reluctantly) as Rhett Butler, the casting of Scarlett O’Hara was a real problem for the producer David O Selznick.  Almost every star in Hollywood wanted the part, and – possibly to drum up publicity for the film – a nationwide search was launched to find the woman who would play Scarlett.  This film, which is adapted from Garson Kanin’s book, Moviola, is a dramatisation of the search for Scarlett, and features actors playing many famous stars of the time.

It’s a very entertaining film.  I cannot be certain how much of it is fictionalised (did Joan Crawford, who was already a star by the time of Gone With The Wind, really need to sleep with David Selznick in an attempt to secure a role?!  If so, she must have been REALLY angry when she didn’t even get the role.)

Apart from Tony Curtis, who headed the cast as Selznick, and Harold Gould, who was suitably sleazy and manipulative as Louis B Mayer, head of MGM and father-in-law of Selznick, the stand-put member of the cast was Edward Winter as Clark Gable.  Winter looked the part, and also captured Gable’s speech patterns perfectly.  There were a few amusing nods to other films being made at the time – Mayer mentions that he is making The Wizard of Oz, but doesn’t like one of the songs in it (Somewhere Over The Rainbow), beccause it’s basically not happy enough!  It is also mentioned that Charlie Chaplin is making a film about Hitler, which of course became The Great Dictator.

(I actually find it quite amusing that in the end, despite all the searching and all the huge stars in Hollywood wanting the role of Scarlett, it eventually went to a young British actress, who played the part to perfection!)

Being completely unable to find a trailer or a clip from this film online, I chose instead to use this picture of Sharon Gless and Edward Winter as Carole Lombard and Clark Gable.   It seems that The Scarlett O’Hara War is a little known film, which is a shame. I would definitely recommend it, both as a nod to the 1930s, when the film was being made, and especially to fans of Gone With The Wind.  There is lots of drama, plenty of laughs, and a peek inside the sordidness that could inhabit the movie industry.  Very enjoyable.

Year of release: 1980

Director: John Erman

Producers: David L. Wolper, Stan Margulies

Writers: Garson Kanin (book), William Hanley

Main cast: Tony Curtis, Bill Macy, Harold Gould, George Furth, Edward Winter, Sharon Gless, Barrie Youngfellow, Carrie Nye

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Click here for my review of Gone With The Wind (film)

Click here for my review of Gone With The Wind (novel)

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