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Frankly, My Dear: "Gone with the Wind" Revisited (Icons of America) Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Series: Icons of America
  • Hardcover: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (February 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300117523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300117523
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #728,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In time for the 70th anniversary of the film version, author and movie critic Haskell (Holding My Own in No Man's Land) brings a scholar's rigor to her loving history of our "American Bible," Gone With the Wind. Vivid profiles of author Margaret Mitchell, starlet Vivien Leigh, and film producer David Selznick re-humanize the work, now known more for its epic grandeur, iconic moments and controversial politics. Haskell draws thoughtful parallels between Mitchell and her protagonist, Scarlett O'Hara, and her affection for these women drives a narrative that gets occasionally bogged down in film production minutiae. Haskell falters while trying to defend Mitchell's dialog and gender politics, even going so far as to imply that she understands Mitchell and O'Hara in a way that other critics do not (Roger Ebert, for instance). Haskell also highlights the impact of the film on popular culture, but doesn't bring anything new to the discussion of America's fascination. Though perhaps too finely focused for casual readers, this sincere, detailed celebration should interest long-time fans and students.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Hasn’t everything worth saying about Gone with the Wind been said? Maybe, but how about another book, anyway, one that gathers the pith of what worthwhile has been said and makes it all freshly interesting? That’s what Haskell gives us, too hastily worded in spots but with thoughtful animation throughout. She keeps both novel and movie at hand, moving from one to the other, comparing and distinguishing what Margaret Mitchell expresses from what obsessive producer David O. Selznick, directors George Cukor and Victor Fleming, screenplaywrights Sidney Howard and a host of fixers (including Ben Hecht and Scott Fitzgerald), and actors Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Hattie McDaniel, and others convey. She emphasizes the contributions of Selznick, Leigh, and in an entire chapter, Mitchell, drawing heavily and analytically on existing biographies, the literature of women and the Civil War, Civil War films (especially Birth of a Nation and Jezebel), and film criticism to such engaging effect as to not just revisit GWTW but to revive and intensify the enduring fascination of what Selznick dubbed “the American Bible.” --Ray Olson

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Customer Reviews

After that, I couldn't read this book without a healthy dose of skepticism.
Ponette
This is a very good book, designed to reintroduce a classic book and movie to those who already know them and those have yet to enjoy their benefits.
Kenneth Holditch
The story behind Margaret Mitchell's phenomenon is as fascinating as Scarlett herself.
Debra Conner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Patricia V. Blitzer on March 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Molly Haskell is a genius. With scholarship and enormous wit, she shows us why GWTW means so much to us as individuals and to our culture. Every page of FRANKLY, MY DEAR informs and resonates. GWTW is seared into the American psyche more deeply than CITIZEN KANE, ON THE WATERFRONT, THE GODFATHER rolled into one. Molly Haskell inhabits GWTW. I think of her now as Molly O'Haskell. This is a must-read.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By C. Hutton on February 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Ever since the author published her memoir of her marriage, "Love and Other Infectious Diseases" (1990), I have loved her writing. Now she has taken on the late 1930's with her cultural review and history of the book/movie, "Gone With the Wind". The "Titantic" of its day was a best-seller and Oscar winner. She argues that Scarlett was a feminist hero for her day, the Depression and pre-World War II era. You may not agree with her insights but the reader will be entertained by them.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By YA book lover on February 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
If you are an obsessive GWTW fan like me, who likes re-reading the book and re-watching the movie million of times, who likes talking about GWTW, reading about GWTW and reading about other people talking about GWTW, this book is for you.

"Frankly, My Dear" is a very entertaining, easy to read book, which has a lot of curious facts about both the novel and the movie. I personally enjoyed stories about Margaret Mitchell and her very strange relationships with her two husbands; about manic-depressive Vivien Leigh and her turbulent affair with Lawrence Olivier; about Clarke Gable who refused to cry on screen because of the fear to appear weak to the public, etc.

At the same time, this work is rather superficial and lacks structure and depth of knowledge of the subject. It is roughly divided into several parts addressing the story of creating the book, the difficulties of making the movie. It also attempts to explain why the story has been able to capture hearts of so many millions of readers (not very well unfortunately).

You will not find any deep analysis of GWTW or a decent comparison of the movie and the book. "Frankly, My Dear" is just a bunch of anecdotes thrown together to provide some light entertainment for the fans. It is not necessarily a bad thing. The book gives just enough basic information to spark interest in the subject and to guide fans curious to know more to the better researched sources. As for me, after reading this book I am determined to learn more about both Margaret Mitchell and Vivien Leigh. I think they both are extremely interesting women to know.
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19 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Evelina on June 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
To begin with, I am not supporting the old south. I am describing Mitchell's thinking.

First, the idea that Mitchell was "subversive." Like all liberals Haskell is in love with the concept and she is led to misread Margaret Mitchell. Life is complicated, and a woman can be traditional and conservative, like Mitchell, and still see the faults of the male population, can see the hesitation and fear under male bravado, can acknowledge the strength of women and women`s need to sometimes do something different from the traditional female role. There are always contradictions in culture and a lot of things that seem silly even as we do them and believe them. Moreover, every society has the established order and standards and then something that stands in opposition to it, but not enough to seriously question the established order, just enough to provide people with a safe way to blow off frustration or stress (normal aspects of life). Mitchell sees all this. But acknowledging this does not make Mitchell a feminist or a rebel who wants to change the basic order of things.

Mitchell sees that people can break the rules, provided they are willing to pay the price. Those few who want to be different can take the risk. They may succeed or fail. But those who risk don't expect society to change all its rules for them so that everyone can be made to approve of their breaking the rules. They have to live with some degree of disapproval from others. This is very different from the modern way of thinking that wants to break the rules and get approval for doing so and, in fact, bring about a revolution, abolish the rules, and set in place new ones or none at all. That was not Mitchell.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Dalloway on June 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Molly Haskell takes a fresh look at the whole GWTW oeuvre: the book, the movie, and the people behind both. She mixes a feminist perspective with fun facts and trivia, and comes out with a winning take. She makes a great point regarding why young women (especially) discover GWTW and why it speaks to them so strongly. After watching GWTW when I was 16, I remember thinking that the main characters were remarkably relatable, and Haskell explains why that is. Haskell is scholarly without being dull, enthusiastic about GWTW without being blind to its faults, and thoroughly interesting and entertaining. Highly recommended!
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Frances J. Kiernan on March 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
For anyone who loves "Gone With The Wind" this is the book to read. Against all odds, Molly Haskell has taken a film classic set in amber and raised questions that are not merely fresh but also provocative. At the same time, she brings to the film's seventieth anniversary a voice that is at once personal, clearsighted, and wonderfully exhilarating. Like the movie itself, this book arrives on the scene already assured of its place in film history. In addition it is a pure delight.
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