Sunday, May 4, 2008

Should Gone With the Wind be Remade?

MSN.com recently posted an article on 10 classic films arguing that these movies need to be demoted. The article suggested that these films – defined by movie lovers for generations as true classics and in some cases, cinematic masterpieces – are not worthy of the title “classic.” Number one on the list was Gone With the Wind. Fortunately for the author of this article, he admitted that such a suggestion was sacrilegious in nature. Those of us who love GWTW will feel outrage at his suggestion. Shall we line up and take turns with Gerald’s riding crop? I suppose we don’t need to go to those kinds of lengths, but it’s tempting to give such a blasphemer a piece of our minds!

The article stated that GWTW is filled with melodramatics, poor backdrops with inadequate performances by Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Hattie McDaniel, and Butterfly McQueen. It suggests that the film is past its prime and fails to live up to almost seven decades of accolades.

That riding crop is sounding better and better, isn’t it?

The article does raise an interesting question though. Could Gone With the Wind be remade today and have the impact of the 1939 version?

For me, the answer is a resounding no.

I have a soft spot for classic movies, Gone With the Wind in particular. Most of the time – I always prefer the original to the remake. Classics such as 1940’s The Shop Around the Corner (later to become You’ve Got Mail); 1947’s The Bishop’s Wife (later to become The Preacher’s Wife); the 1954 edition of Sabrina; 1961’s The Parent Trap…absolutely delightful films and while some remakes are acceptable and (in some cases) enjoyable films – the originals are almost always the best version. There are rare exceptions. I prefer the 1945 version of State Fair to the 1933 version. Similarly, I prefer...hmm…actually, no…that’s the only remake I can think of that I like better…

One could argue that a remake of GWTW would be far superior insofar as technology goes, but as technology has evolved over 69 years since GWTW was made – it’s a little like comparing apples to oranges. For 1939, technology in GWTW was way ahead of its time. That no ceilings were ever built, but painted on glass is still incredible to me. And I love that the barbeque scene at Twelve Oaks was almost completely painted in…

Additionally, there is not a single Hollywood star I can even begin to imagine playing Scarlett or Rhett. The cast assembled in 1939 was impeccable and it is impossible to imagine anyone reprising the roles with any success. The closest I could concede is possibly Renee Zellweger as Melanie. However, that’s only because I think Renee Zellweger is a remarkable actress who can handle virtually anything she’s handed. But, if anyone ever should dare to tackle a GWTW remake, I would sincerely pity those cast. The shoes they would have to fill are enormous.

I admit that there are elements of the book that I would have loved to have seen in the film. Characters like Dilcey and Will Benteen are terrific editions to the book and one of my all time favorite book-scenes is when Grandma Fontaine compares Scarlett and Ashley to buckwheat and wheat. Realizing that Selznick had to trim the book considerably, I understand their absence and instead of hoping to see them in a remake, I’ll just continue to enjoy these characters and scenes in the book.

Admittedly, my biggest fear in a GWTW remake is today’s trend of gratuitous sex scenes. They would add nothing in my opinion and I am afraid that any director today would add these scenes, specifically the rape scene between Scarlett and Rhett. I’m not a prude, but c’mon – does Hollywood think that no one in America has an imagination?

Bottom line – the idea of anyone even attempting to recreate Selznick’s masterpiece is ludicrous to me. Some things really should not be tampered with but preserved in their original greatness. Selznick’s interpretation of Gone With the Wind is certainly one of them.

What do you think? I look forward to reading your comments!


12 comments:

Heather said...

Is it possible for someone, somewhere to do an ADEQUATE remake of GWTW? I suppose a not-too-bad version could be redone, if someone was sensitive and enthusiastic enough.

I can't imagine any big 'A' List director doing a good job of it...in fact, all I can picture, when I try to entertain the notion, is some sort of monstrous, 'Titanic'-esque piece of business resulting. Not that I don't have some sort of perverse love for that movie (or maybe just because it's set in 1912), but we just wouldn't want that for GWTW.

One of the things that interested me in what you wrote, though, is the idea that you should maybe make a solid attempt to try and give it a modern cast, yourself.

Now, no one will ever be the same Rhett or Scarlett, but with some serious thinking, you might be able to come up with a good cast list. Have you considered trying? It wouldn't have to be big, mega-famous stars. They could be people on TV, in Indie films...or heck even OTHER classic actors, I suppose. But if you could be completely in charge of casting a remake, who would you pick? :)

I don't know about you, but I tend to get very different images in my head when I read, and then see a movie, so I wonder if some of the characters in the film don't meet up with your mental images from the book?

Alyssa said...

I would LOVE to see Gone with the Wind, as well as Scarlett, remade. Clark Gable frankly doesn't even come close to giving Rhett justice, just as the movie doesn't even come close to giving the book justice.

It's kind of a goal of mine to remake it, if no one has by the time I am able to do it. The actors don't have to be stars...you could pick someone off the street to play the part, providing they can actually act.

And none of this fit the whole book in one movie thing, it simply can't be done. It needs broken up.

I hope you realize that Gone with the Wind is very close to my heart saying all of this...but I agree...it needs to be done right and not a monster....

Ty said...

If they were going to remake it, I think Rhett would be George Clooney and Scarlett would be Catherine Zeta-Jones. It'd be perfect.

Anonymous said...

George Cloony as Rhett Butler FTW! Also Megan Fox for Scarlett. She is a lot like her and Vivien.

Jennifer said...

It's too bad the remake wasn't considered when Elizabeth Taylor was young. She would had been absolutely PERFECT fo Scarlett O'Hara. Catherine Zeta Jones would be excellent too but isn't Scarlett suppose to begin at age 16? Nicole Kidman would've been great too, and to see her with dark hair, she would have beem beautiful;) Maybe, Katie Holmes could pull it off cause she's still young and all...She was really good in the movie"The Gift" set in the south.

dodilee said...

I would really love to see a remake of Gone with the wind. A mini-series, perhaps, could do justice to the long story. Something like "Boys Over Flowers" (Korean version of Hana Yori Dango which was a hige hit worldwide).
The actors in the original film did horrible acting. Hope a remake would ensemble more of the Rhett Butler I know from the book.

Kathy said...

I have read the book a few times and have watched the movie countless times. I agree that the original is a classic and would be close to impossible to improve upon, but I would like to see someone try. I would definitely go and see it.
I read the sequel by Alexandra Ripley as well,and thought that she did a decent job with the book, but I was not a fan of the TV miniseries that they put together. I would like to see them make the sequel into a motion picture as well, and I hope that they follow the books more closely with both of the movies.

Anonymous said...

I think Gone with the wind is a great movie and should be left alone. There should be no remake. The characters on the movie were a great, no one could play those parts better. That movie is a classic and it should stay that way. Sometime the classic is better than the remake ya know.

Anonymous said...

It would be very hatd to fill the shoes of these actors, but I do think it would be something very interesting to see. I see Matthew Mcconaughey as Rhett Butler, Ryan Gosling as Ashley, Mandy Moore as Melanie, thank how well Mandy Moore played a sick/sweet/innocent girl in the movie A Walk 2Remember. I see Shia LaBeouf as Charles. Think Shia Labeouf in the movie Holes. He was such a loveable dork. Scarlett would be the hardest role to find someone for. I think that once again they would have to find someone who is pretty much unknown. If KatyPerry could tone down the sillness she could maybe be interesting. Anyway, I would like to see the film closer to the book:-)

Anonymous said...

Love the book and movie. Disappointed in the choice of actor for Ashley Wilkes. The actor was definitely not a young golden-haired boy. And he had no Souhern accent. Clark Gable was the ultimate Rhett Butler. I've read the book over 100 times. It is like an old friend. When I am sad, lonely or upset, it always lifts my spirits no matter where in the book I am. If you love the book you must lso read, "Rhett's People".

Sariputra Aswaghose said...

There is NO rape scene between Rhett and Scarlett in GWTW.( both the book and the movie) Yes there are a few kisses which are forceful but no brutalization of Scarlett ever takes place.....

Travis said...

This movie is really great and while the classic movie is beautiful, it would be interesting to see the remake of Gone with the Wind. It's good that the young generation will be able to witness this one epic movie.