Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Frankly, My Dear (Part One)

(I'm splitting this into two posts because its quite massive)

Or alternatively title, The One Where I Admit I Am A Huge Nerd.

While sitting in front of a blank screen trying to put together thoughts to write a cohesive, thoughtful blog post I was distracting myself with Twitter. Scrolling through the many tweets of my friends I stumbled upon this tweet in which Ashley declares she's never seen Gone With the Wind which literally made me choke on my drink, I mean really? The move has been around for 70 years, today! A few minutes later when Kyla admitted to never seeing the movie, my heart broke a little.

You see, Gone With the Wind, is kind of a big deal for me. Not only is it my favorite movie of all time its also my collection. Yes, you read that right. I am a collector of all things Gone With the Wind. So much so, my friend and fellow blogger Jen wrote a paper about it a few months ago for one of her graduate classes. The following are her questions (hopefully she doesn't mind my posting them) and my answers, I know its longer than most of my posts but hey, like the movie (its four hours) its worth it. Hopefully it will encourage more of you to watch this great movie classic (or watch it again)!

What or Who first introduced you to 'Gone With The Wind'? Honestly, I don’t recall my first encounter with Gone With The Wind (neither does my mother, I checked with her). I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love the movie. My mom tells me that I would sit through the whole movie and recite lines along with the characters as a very young child (like 5/6). I’m not sure if I saw it in passing or heard it in-utero (perhaps my mother should have played French tapes?) but its definitely been a life long love. Neither my mom nor anyone else in my family is really as enamored with the movie as I am, so chances are very likely I caught it in passing and it was one of the few things that really held my interest (still does).

Can you describe your feelings when you first saw the movie, and were those feelings the reason why you decided to collect anything related to the movie? I don’t remember my first viewing of the movie, but I would imagine they were very similar to the feelings I have every time I watch the movie. From the first stanza of the overture, I become completely swept up in the dialogue, the characters, the costuming, the music, and the scenery. I literally lose myself in the movie and want to be Scarlett O’Hara. I still feel anxious at certain parts of the movie and cry at a few other places. Every. Single. Time.

I am sure my love of the movie (and the fact that I loved to dramatically recite the “As God is My Witness” monologue) played a huge part in my acquiring my collection. I am a complete romantic (but don’t let that get out) at heart. The movie is a very much more romanticized version of the Old South than the novel and most of the collectibles available reflect that. One of my favorite things about most of my collection are the various dresses the women are dressed in from my plates, to dolls, to music boxes. Most of the artists who design the collectibles are able to perfectly capture the emotions behind each moment they are depicting.

The biggest part of my Gone With The Wind Collection are my plates. I have over 40 of them. As a girl my mom would take me to this little shop nestled between two big department stores called Little Portion Treasures (sadly its no longer in business). It was the sort of store that my mom constantly reminded me to “not touch” anything out of fear I would break it. They had Franklin Mint dolls, San Francisco Music Box Company collectibles in just about everything you could imagine, and a huge Roman angel collection display. My favorite part of the store was the plate displays upstairs. You had to have an employee (usually a tiny, wrinkled old woman who was the absolute sweetest) escort you the narrow steps. Any decorative plate you could ever want was on the walls – The Wizard of OZ, Native American pictures, angels, cats, clowns, Norman Rockwell pictures, etc. They had maybe a dozen or two Gone With the Wind plates that I would have probably stared at all day if my mom had let me. They were set in round oak frames all clustered together. I just knew that one day I wanted to have plate display like that. (And now I do, three of them but not in round oak frames.)

Have you looked into or done research pertaining to the writer of the novel? Have you read the novel? The first time I read Gone With the Wind was for a 6th grade book report. My teacher actually didn’t believe that I had read the entire novel and set up a conference with my mom. I’ve read it numerous times since then. I have read a little bit about Margaret Mitchell but not extensively.

Do you enjoy the Civil War aspect of the book/movie, or is it more just the enjoyment of the story and it could be set really at any time and any place? As a history major, of course the Civil War aspect is majorly appealing. In my opinion the war itself is almost like another character in the book/movie. So much of the actual story is based around the war. I’m not sure that the story could be set at any place or time because so many of the characters decisions and actions are a direct effect of the war. I don’t know that the character would be who they develop into if it wasn’t based during that time period. I suppose some of the characters lives could run parallel: girl meets guy, struggles against odds and through hardships, loses just about everything, pines for best friends husband, then finally marries guy, etc but the story as a whole wouldn’t be the same. The name of the novel/book itself is, as the opening credits of the movie describes, a story about a “civilization gone with the wind.” The story (at least for me) isn’t just about the characters though, its about a way of life coming to an end and the learning to move forward to make a new life from that.


LBluca77 said...

I've never seen it either.

Please still be my friend.

Honestly I don't have a good reason as to why I haven't seen it. It's in my netflix que, it has been for years but I guess I just pass it up for more recent movies to watch.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant!!!! may your love for the movie introduce it to many many more!!!

Kyla Roma said...

LOL Your teacher set up a conference with your mom to confront her with what she thought were lies about Gone with the wind?

Love it. You were such a 6th grade over achiever.

I'm definitely going to have to watch it now, honestly the first moment on skype when I saw your plates was when I knew I had to rent the movie lol

Leanne said...

I read Les Miserables in Grade 6. It's one hell of a book too.

I LOVE Gone with the Wind. Such a great movie.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

Mandy, I never imagined you to be such a closet dork about something. I always thought you were much more level-headed than that. hahaha. I kid. I've always been a bit freaked out by walking into homes with said "collections" ... it's a little overwhelming. But, I do adore that you're passionate about something ... and I like that I just learned something new about you!

Cass said...

I'll admit I haven't seen it either. I don't really know why, but there's a large chunk of classic movies I haven't made it to yet. Like The Godfather, love The Sopranos but never saw any of those.

But name some random horrible movie & I've probably seen it.


And own it too. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

I hope you're sitting down, Mandy, because I also haven't seen Gone with the Wind. I have the book on my shelf and will read it before I watch the movie (cause I'm weird like that).

I hope we can still be friends!?

Cate said...

Is it terrible to admit I've never seen it either?

Ray said...

uh oh, I too have never seen it. I am going to set a goal to watch it over the holidays. I promise!

Little Fish said...

One of the greatest movies ever made! Period!

Oha nd your teacher not believing you'd read the book and calling your mom- hysterical.

Ashley said...

I am fascinated and oddly saddened (though I shouldn't be in this case) by the concept of a civilization gone with the wind. It's so weird to think things could be going on as normal and suddenly everything is upside down and will never be the way it was. It's more complicated when you think that the civilization passing away was supported by slavery.

I really love Scarlett as a character, though. It's weird the way you can hate her and root for her at the same time.

I think my teacher questioned whether I actually read the book too, because we had to read like 2,000 pages on our own that year, and I wiped out half of that with just Gone With The Wind.

Also, have you read the Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood? It's fiction, but part of the story is the girls going to the premiere in Atlanta (I think). I loved reading that perspective.

Unknown said...

WARNING: I'm about to seriously upset you.

I hadn't seen it until a couple of years ago at which point my Grandma, god love her, decided I couldn't go one more day without watching it. She BOUGHT me the movie on VHS (bless her heart since I don't even own a VCR).

When I finally watched it I thought it was the most ridiculous movie I'd ever seen. I actually asked my Grandma to give me the last four hours of my life back.

Please don't hate me.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Wowsers - that is a heck of a book to tackle at that age! Go you! I have read the book but I actually have not seen the movie! My sister-in-law loves it and keeps saying I need to come visit and we can watch it together. But really, I need to just get it from Netflix and spend a Sunday afternoon watching it.

That is so cool that you collect Gone with the Wind memorabilia!

Bayjb said...

I LOVE Gone with the Wind. I remember seeing it for the first time and being amazed by the burning of Atlanta and actually thinking of Rhett Butler as dreamy

Amber said...

I hate to do this to you (put your drink down) but I have to admit that I've never seen Gone with the Wind either. I will get on that. Perhaps even over the next 2 weeks of vacay that I have!

Katie said...

I love you for having this collection. (Well, and for the fact that you are just amazingly cool.)

Also, can I share my love of Madame Alexander dolls? I have a small collection of those, and they are such treasures to me. I always wanted Scarlett, but I never got her!

Yay! I'm glad you have her to enjoy.

Anonymous said...

I've never seen Gone with the Wind either! :-O

It's on my list though - along with all the other classics I managed to somehow avoid seeing. Casablanca... anything that's seen as a classic (I'm there on the Godfather too!) I've never actually seen. But any MST3K movie will most definitely be on my shelf, along with anything Hugh Grant is in :)