Tag Archive: Gone with the wind


With the big, huge success of The Hunger Games this weekend at the box office, it reminds people that some books can be turned into great movies.

It reminds me that a good story can transfix an audience.

Book reading will never go ‘out’ but simply transfer to different venues. I like to read actual books but I have friends who listen to them or read them on one of the various devices out there. How many of us remember when some books (Such as the works of Charles Dickens) would start out as a serial in the newspaper?

I have not read the first book in the Hunger Games yet but I am looking forward to it. However, there are many other books-turned-to-movies that are well worth the time to watch them.

One of my favorite movies for younger children in this genre is Charlotte’s Web  starring Julia Roberts as Charlotte and Dakota Fanning as Fern. If you don’t know the story, it is about a runt pig who is saved by 10-year-old Fern and goes to live on her cousin’s farm. There the pig becomes friends with a spider who is determined to save Wilbur from being dinner. There is something magical about the way Wilbur works his way into the hearts of others, how he and Charlotte develop  a friendship and how Fern grows as a young woman. Many of the voices are perfect match ups and I love the bright and colorful canvas. Then there is the Sarah McLachlan song over the credits that will have the easy weepers (you know who you are) in need of the entire tissue box.

Poster Image from IMDb.com

One of the best series of books-to-movies that I know of is the Harry Potter  series. It would have been easy to let the quality of each successive movie but I found that there is a determination to make the best possible movie with each part of the series. I have written in the past that care must be taken is deciding when to allow a child watch each movie in this series as the comprehension level increases as the characters age. Primary students would enjoy the first three movies while mid-to-older teens are going to love the final three movies more as the action becomes life-or-death situations.

One series that I felt did an incredible job of bringing a series of books to the big screen is The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Peter Jackson combined a collection of characters in a well-paced series that made Tolkein’s Middle-earth come alive in a way I never expected. I was not a fan of the books but I loved this film series. It is a collection of movies that is best suited for pre-teens and older viewers who will enjoy the adult storylines of fear, belief and re-birth.

Finally, for adults I have two rather serious movies that came from books. The first is Atonement written by Ian McEwan. Joe Wright directed the big screen adaptation starring Kierra Knightly and James McAvoy as two people whose lives are forever changed with a false accusation. The situation is complicated with the advent of WWII and a little sister cruelly used by those wanting to hide the original crime.  I was not a fan of the book but once I watched the movie, I admit that I finally got it.

Image from IMDb.com

The last movie I must mention because it is the most well-known and best-selling movie of all time, that is Gone With The Wind. Margaret Mitchell’s book was a love letter to the South before and after the Civil War. It is a picture of a world that I cannot imagine and yet it is the base of so many novels, plays and movies about that region of our country. There is no other movie that I can think of that matches GWTW‘s granduer, panache or storytelling.

These are only a smattering of books-turned-into-movies. What are your favorites? Drop a note at the Record Press Office and I will share them in a future column.

Until next time, see you in the rental aisle.

Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) and Scarlett O'Hara (Vivian Leigh) in Gone With The Wind (1939), picture from IMDb.com.

 

Everyone has one movie in their mind that is a classic, a movie that withstands the test of time and changing politics. 

I suspect for many that movie might be Gone With The Wind. Made in 1939 by the great MGM producer David O. Selznick, it remains the biggest money maker by ticket sales ever. GWTW won ten Oscar awards in a year that saw competitors in The Wizard of Oz , Dark Victory, Stagecoach, Wuthering Heights, Goodbye, Mr. Chips and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. 

Last week, a new definitive Scarlett version has come out on Blue Ray with three DVD discs that feature music, historical background along with the nearly four-hour motion picture. Yes, it costs about $50 but look for the great deals to get a great discount. 

Now for a few words of warning. Before you go grabbing this movie be aware that the politics of it are firmly set in a mid 1930s mindset. There are scenes and attitudes that are definitely racist. This movie has a G rating but it is the rating system of the 1930s that were looser and bendable more than they are now. There is violence and sexual situations that would make this film a PG-13 in our current rating situation. 

Lastly, there is length. This is 238 minutes of viewing, two minutes shy of four hours. You are going to see one person’s interpretation of the South before, during and after the Civil War. And guess what, their sympathies lie with the South. The Yankees (that would be us) are the bad guys who did horrid things to the South during and after the Civil War. 

But let me say this. You are going to see four glorious hours of Vivian Leigh being a selfish minx who will do anything to keep her family from starving, including marrying her sister’s beaux and Rhett Butler for their money. She will spend a lifetime trying to get Ashley Wilkes to love her, only to discover the greatest love of her life as it walks out the door. 

Wait, there is more. Clark Gable puts in a performance as described by Tom Keogh as the most vital, masculine performance put to film. We love Rhett throughout because he understands life so much better than Scarlett, even as his heart breaks into tiny pieces. 

Gone With The Wind is not really a family movie but one for girlfriends to share together. Gather at the house of that friend with Blue Ray, make sure you have your snacks and drinks at the ready.  

Then prepare to find out why our grandmothers and great-grandmothers fell in love with this movie. 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle. 

Let the world, or at least St. Anne, know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and drop a note to P.O. Box 306, St. Anne, IL 60964 or become my friend on Facebook.