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Frankly, My Dear: "Gone with the Wind" Revisited

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  378 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
How and why has the saga of Scarlett O’Hara kept such a tenacious hold on our national imagination for almost three-quarters of a century? In the first book ever to deal simultaneously with Margaret Mitchell’s beloved novel and David Selznick’s spectacular film version of Gone with the Wind, film critic Molly Haskell seeks the answers. By all industry predictions, the film ...more
Hardcover, 244 pages
Published February 24th 2009 by Yale University Press (first published January 1st 2009)
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Apr 28, 2011 Loederkoningin rated it liked it
Shelves: history-and-such
Frankly, My Dear is very much like a rebound relationship. It may not leave a lasting impression, but it sure gives you exactly what you need to get a grip on life again after Gone with the Wind has left you with a serious case of book-hangover.

But Haskell saves the day! She, a film critic and a feminist writer, takes you on an interesting exploration of Margaret Mitchell's life, her epic book; how it was perceived at the time and why it's still so immensely popular today, the making of the fil
I prefer the last third of this book to the first two-thirds. That's partially because I've read nearly everything in this book's bibliography on Gone with the Wind and Margaret Mitchell, as well as biographies Haskell lists on Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable: so I felt like she spent a lot of time in the book just summarizing things I already knew. There doesn't seem to be much analysis in the first two-thirds of the book, but for people who want an interesting overview on the film and book, this ...more
Feb 03, 2010 Tatiana rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2010
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-depressi
Aug 07, 2013 Graceann rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: GWTW Fans
I was in turns grateful for, and frustrated by, this analysis of GWTW's enduring popularity. I loved that Molly Haskell delved not only into the film, but spent a great deal of time parsing the book's charms and flaws (you usually get one or the other, but not both). Her view of it is similar to mine, which rarely happens, and there were so many noteworthy comments relating to it that, if I were the kind of person who wrote in books, this one would be full of highlighter marks and comments in th ...more
This felt commissioned rather than inspired - it wanders about and repeats itself in a disorganised fashion, and for much of the time does little more than summarise secondary literature. The film and the novel are both discussed (making a change from most books on GWTW which dismiss the novel in the first few pages in order to concentrate on the film) but also conflated, so that unless you already have a good knowledge of the differences between book and movie, you could get confused. There's a ...more
Oct 16, 2013 Kate rated it really liked it
It's hard to explain why I love GWTW so much. By the end, Haskell had nailed what I love about the story (book and movie).

"Inside the tinkling charms of a Southern-belle saga are the rumblings of a feminist manifesto. And the very thing that makes it easy to dismiss or overlook Gown With the Wind is what gave it legitimacy and vitality at an age when it counts. Because the challenge is posed by a girl whose credentials are anything but sterling, whose motives are almost entirely selfish, and wh
Nov 18, 2013 Amy rated it really liked it
This book had some of the most comprehensive commentary on Gone With the Wind and society that I have ever read. I wanted to give it 4.5 stars. About ten years ago, I did a bunch of my own research on Gone with the Wind. I read several biographies of Margaret Mitchell in an effort to better understand her work. I know it's controversial, but I find so many insights into the human experience when I read the book, I had questions about whether the author intended them or if it was a side effect of ...more
Mar 14, 2009 Linda rated it really liked it
Interesting analysis of Gone With the Wind (both the book and the film) that focuses on the historical and social influences. I thought the author overreached a little by trying to bring these parallels up to the current time.
Apr 26, 2016 Lulu rated it really liked it
An EXCELLENT read. Haskell is whip-smart and so coherent and engaging. This book offers wonderful insight into not only the making of the film but the original novel itself as "our Young Adult masterpiece, the national epic of a Young Adult country, to stand humbly alongside (if not at the height of) the Iliad, the Aeneid, War and Peace, Don Quixote, King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table." Haskell asserts that inside the "tinkling charms of a Southern-belle saga are the rumblings of a f ...more
Nov 24, 2013 Pascale rated it did not like it
A very disappointing read, that gets more and more boring towards the end. Haskell didn't bother to make a plan, and any paragraph could be shifted to any of her 5 chapters without it making a blind bit of difference. Throughout the book she rings the changes on her characterization of Scarlett without unearthing anything deeper ever. The history of the making of the movie and its reception is mashed together with bits of biographical info on Margaret Mitchell. Yet Mitchell's life choices are ve ...more
Feb 22, 2011 Lizzy rated it did not like it
I wanted this to be better. So much better. The anecdotes are interesting, but the analysis of cultural cache is way too personal and lacks much of a connection to society at large. It's not even particularly interesting that Katharine Hepburn (who, of course, was never even a serious contender for the movie role of Scarlett O'Hara) had a similar (privileged) young life to Margaret Mitchell and it's completely irrelevant to the question of why the book or movie remain iconic. Even where the auth ...more
Kathy McC
Jun 22, 2009 Kathy McC rated it liked it
I enjoyed this analysis Gone With the Wind. Parts were a bit dry, hence the three stars instead of four. Ms. Haskell analyzes the long time popularity of both the book and the movie and also includes trivia and little known information about the creation of both book and movie. I found the information about Margaret Mitchell especially interesting. The strong, intelligent women who lived during that historical period are to be commended for their courage and self-determination.
One paragraph was
Jan 03, 2011 Lisa rated it liked it
There are Scarletts and there are Melanies...Haskell both judges and praises Mitchell's GWTW while totally pointing out issues that a certain 13 year old might've glossed over because she got caught up in the epic romance of it all. AHEM, anyway, I still love the book AND movie regardless of its flaws. It is a product of one person's perspective, ideas and time period which should be taken at face value and not used as an educational tool. If you want to learn about the civil war, slavery or the ...more
Dec 25, 2014 Joeydag rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found myself trying hard to keep up with all the threads that the author picks up as she presents so much thought provoking material in this book about the book and the movie "Gone With The Wind" From a biographical sketch of Margaret Mitchell to a study of the Hollywood stars and artists that created the film to the society that has taken the novel and the movie to heart for so many years. The author points out the book is often described as not good literature but a page turner and a best se ...more
Jun 09, 2009 Bill rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book. I never really got the film of GWTW: it always seemed over long and a bit too melodramatic for me. And I have never been that keen on Clark Gable, although he did make lots of very good films. I have read Mitchell's book, one summer long ago that also included reading Dr. Zhivago, another film I thought was over rated. The books I enjoyed more. But Hasekll went a long way to explaining the importance of both the book and the film. My main complaint with the book is that it i ...more
Apr 26, 2011 Maddy rated it really liked it
Unfortunatley for me, I don't know anyone who is as obsessed with Gone with the Wind as I am. So I can't really recommend this book to anyone. That doesn't mean it isn't good, I learned a lot of really interesting things, but you should only read this if you are a real fan of the story, otherwise I imagine it would be kind of boring.

The book explained the extremely determined trio that was Selznick, Leigh, and Mitchell. I do wish it had talked about Vivian Leigh a bit more, but Haskell explains
Oct 06, 2016 Chris rated it really liked it
For years I have wondered how my Northern liberal self could have grown up loving this tale of slaves and cotton fields, where "gallantry took its last bow." Now I know. In a really brilliant piece of writing Haskell deconstructs Gone with the Wind, the book, the movie, and the three people central to its longevity: Margaret Mitchell, David Selznick, and Vivien Leigh. Her premise is that Scarlett O'Hara speaks to readers across most generations and backgrounds, and that the character is a direct ...more
Mar 22, 2009 Candy rated it liked it
Die-hard Gone With the Wind lovers will find new insights into the 1939 classic film and the book that launched it. Fascinating to learn the influences author Margaret Mitchell's life had on her American treasure. The conflicting aspects of race, sex, humor, gender and history are what have made it so rich and enduring. Just consider those characters: a Southern lady who is one tough broad; a brash rogue who is destroyed by love; a passive matron who fights like hell to defend the sister-in-law/ ...more
Jul 30, 2009 Heidi rated it it was amazing
i really enjoyed this book. a must-read for the gone with the wind fanatic, but also a nice diversion if you are someone who is wondering what all the hype surrounding the book and the movie is about. my only complaint is that i felt like author kept apologizing for liking gone with the wind. it was annoying. there is no shame in liking a book filled with fluff and controversial topics. how many books can straddle both of those fences? ms. haskell was a tad too over-analytical about the reasons ...more
May 13, 2009 Michelle rated it really liked it
I'd really like to rate this 3.5. There were parts that were a lot of fun--really brought back all the memories of my mom letting me stay up when they reran GWTW on TV, we'd eat popcorn and cry and laugh and have a terrific time every year. Haskell does a basically good job, until the last two pages when she decides that Sarah Palin is some kind of wicked vamp archetype. ????? Lots of details on the movie that I didn't know about, and some biographical info on M. Mitchell. Nice, fun easy nonfict ...more
Oct 03, 2009 Patricia rated it it was amazing
Molly Haskell writes with the authority of a feminist scholar and knowledgeable movie critic, yet with the charm and simplicity of someone who is having tea with you on your back porch. As a southerner, she brings a unique point of view to her analysis of the author of Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell. Learning about her two marriages is one of the rewards of reading this book. There are others too: Selznick's passion for control, Vivian Leigh's passion for her husband (Olivier), Gable's re ...more
Keli Wright
Mar 16, 2012 Keli Wright rated it really liked it
Let me start with saying I LOVE GONE WITH THE WIND the book and the movie.. so when I saw this book at the library I really wanted to read first it was boring it was written very academic like I was reading someones thesis.. but THEN it got more gossipy..and that is what I was looking for I wanted to read something more like "tmz" I wanted to hear all the gossip..when the book got more like that enjoyed it much more..NOW I WANT TO WATCH THE MOVIE!!!!!
Feb 13, 2009 Judy rated it liked it
As a big fan of GWTW, I tore in to this book with zest. Some of Haskell's insights and anecdotes added to my appreciation of the movie, and understanding of the book. However, I got the distinct impression that, while Haskell might have loved GWTW in her adolescence, she finds it politically incorrect today, and she filled quite a few pages trying to convince herself that it's "okay" to like it now, and I found that a little disconcerting.
Jan 30, 2014 Rissa1516 rated it liked it
I read this book more for the "fun" facts about the author, book, movie, and actors of Gone with the Wind. I felt at times the author of this book went too much into her own life, which to be honest, is not what I picked up this bok for. I'm happy that the author did consider and write about the book instead of just the movie, that was a bonus. Overall, I'm glad I read the book however not the best book on Gone with the Wind.
Mary Beth
Mar 12, 2009 Mary Beth rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A very clear and interesting analysis of GWTW and the roles that the author(Margaret Mitchell), the leading actress(Vivien Leigh), and producer(David Selznick) all played in bringing the book to the big screen. In particular, I was keen to hear Haskell's take on the book/movie's southern origins(with emphasis on the racial, sexual, and political tensions of the time), and the impact both mediums had on modern southern culture(perceived and real).
May 24, 2009 Elaine rated it it was amazing
A chatty, gossipy, disorganized discussion of all things GWTW. She even manages to get Barack Obama and Sarah Palin into the conversation. A great rainy day read, even if you don't like the movie, which I don't. Although not primarily a film analysis, this book does provide insights into the GWTW phenomenon.
May 28, 2009 Ellen rated it liked it
Somewhat disappointed - not that I don't love reading about the process of casting for Scarlett, or about what a control freak David O. Selznick was, but I was hoping for a more in-depth analysis of the film itself. Still - Martin Scorsese says she's one of our best writers on film, so I gotta give her props!
Sep 21, 2009 pianogal rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting commentary on both Gone with the Wind the book and the movie. Some nice insights on David Selznick and Vivian Leigh (I totally didn't know she was with Lawrence Olivier!). Reading the book made me want to watch the movie again, so I did, and I thought Haskell made some good points. If you like GWTW, check this one out.
Margaret Sankey
Jul 23, 2011 Margaret Sankey rated it liked it
Years ago, I was boggled when an episode of the Cosby Show had the daughters all watching Gone With the Wind as a girl's night. This new essay from a film scholar attempts to analyze the universal appeal with sidelights on Vivian Leigh and Margaret Mitchell's own biographies, and an apology for the appeal of Leslie Howard and Ashley-types.
Jan 01, 2013 Teresa rated it really liked it
Not a long read, for anyone who's a fan of GWTW and has a fascination with the socio-economic as well as the psychological aspects of the character of Scarlett O'Hara largely. To be truthful, my interest in Margaret Mitchell is limited so parts of it were dry, but overall a very good read - very insightful. And well-written.
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MOLLY HASKELL author and critic, grew up in Richmond, Va., went to Sweet Briar College, the University of London and the Sorbonne before settling in New York. She worked at the French Film Office in the Sixties, writing a newsletter about French films for the New York press and interpreting when directors came to America (this was the height of the Nouvelle Vague) for the opening of their films. S ...more
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