Gone With the Wind Fans discussion

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Movie or Novel?

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message 1: by Laura (last edited Mar 07, 2011 10:57AM) (new)

Laura | 110 comments Mod
Which do you prefer, the movie or the novel, and why?

I'd have to say the book--not that that's shocking--mainly because there is so much more going on in the novel. I also don't think the novel is quite as romanticized as the movie. Personally, I think the movie has largely shaped the way people read and even think about the novel. I do love the movie, though, and consider it one of the best; that said, if I had to choose, I'd go with the novel.


message 2: by Linda (new)

Linda | 19 comments I have watched little bits and parts of the movie on TV but never purposely sat down to watch it. Through the years I've enjoyed the book so much I'm not making a conscious decision not to watch it. I don't want it to mess me up with what I remember from the book. I know it's a good movie but I just can't bear to watch it since the novel is so so good.


message 3: by Laura (new)

Laura | 110 comments Mod
Linda, I completely understand not wanting to watch the movie. When watching a movie of a novel I love, I usually get so mad at changes made, particularly when they make no sense (House of Mirth movie, anyone?).

However, I really recommend the movie despite any differences between it and the novel. They do not include everything--Will Benteen is left out, for instance--but it is a very strong effort. For the most part the movie is a very faithful adaptation. And it is almost scary how well Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh fit their parts--down even to their looks!


message 4: by Linda (new)

Linda | 2 comments Oh that's a tough one. I've only read the book once, back in junior high, but I've seen the movie several times. I'd have to agree with Linda though, the novel brings more depth to Scarlett and most of the other characters, so I'd say the book, but the movie is really good too.


message 5: by Linda (new)

Linda | 19 comments I will definitely watch the movie one day from start to finish but I'm not quite ready yet. I am enjoying the way GWTW is written so much I don't want to hear another version in my head yet. For example, the movie's "Frankly, Scarlett, I don't give a damn" at the end isn't how the book had it and so that bothers me. I try to analyze the novel's characters by what they say and I play the dialogue over and over in my head. If I have the movie lines interjecting itself with inaccurate dialogue I wouldn't be able to do it to my satisfaction.

Once I'm done with enjoying the book the way MM intended it then I'll be ready for the book. I think once I see the movie there'll be no going back to the "uncorrupted" state.


message 6: by Juli (new)

Juli | 6 comments MOVIE! I love, love, love the book, but really don't have all that much time on my hands. And besides, there's no Clark Gable in the book...


message 7: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Brown (ellenfbrown) | 16 comments The movie was great, but the book to me is on an entirely different level. It has such a depth of detail and richness that could never be fully explored on film. Selznick did a remarkable job -- even Mitchell thought so -- but the book is the winner for my money.


message 8: by Laura (new)

Laura | 110 comments Mod
Ellen wrote: "The movie was great, but the book to me is on an entirely different level. It has such a depth of detail and richness that could never be fully explored on film. Selznick did a remarkable job -- ev..."

Totally agree. I will add, though, that I think Vivien Leigh gives possibly the greatest performance by an actress on screen. Then again, she was a fan of the book before she did the movie, so I suppose that contributed to her exceptional interpretation. :)


message 9: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte (ckh85) | 2 comments Both. The movie was first for me, I've watched it dozens of times and I absolutely love it! So much so that I found it hard to want to read the book, for some reason I could never imagine enjoying that quite as much, but then I saw the book on sale and thought I'd give it a try, if I didn't enjoy it after the first chapter I'd just put it down, 'course that didn't happen, I blame those Tarleton twins for making me carry on reading :)

So glad I did, the book adds so much depth and emotion, that I feel like I can enjoy the movie even more now that I've got an incite into what Scarlet was thinking. And if possible I think I love Rhett even more now! He is defiantly my favourite literary hero.


message 10: by Juli (new)

Juli | 6 comments Y'all are right about the book, but I'm a High School Sophomore and really don't have that much time, so...


message 11: by Linda (new)

Linda | 19 comments I'm so excited! I happened across a four-disc collector's edition of GWTW at the library so I've decided to go ahead and borrow it and finally see the MOVIE!

I'm a little sad because for me the novel, as I know it, will never be the same. From now on the faces I'll see in my head will be intermingled with the movie's versions - whatever they turn out to be. But at least the movie is a quality movie.

I'll let you guys know what I think of the movie afterwards.


message 12: by Anna (new)

Anna (SylviaGrant) But I have to say even though Scarlett needed Rhette, he was right to leave her. I mean sure she's a hardworking gal but she is also selfish and...I can't think of another word for her.

Soooo my favorite line from the movie has to be "Frankly my dear I don't give a damn" and please don't ask me why because I don't know why.


message 13: by Linda (new)

Linda | 19 comments Anna, I'm guessing it's because she got what she deserved. LOL

Well, if there's only one Intermission, then I'm halfway through the movie.

Boy, do I have lots to say about it - both good and bad!! I will try to see the second half soon and come back and report.


message 14: by Linda (new)

Linda | 19 comments Okay, I just finished watching the movie for the first time. I should probably go to bed and wait a few days before I write anything because the things I have to say about this movie would probably make me persona non grata here!

Please, if you love the movie, don't read what follows. I'm sure in a future post I'll be less um, emotionally swept away and thus more tactful. So stop here if you love the movie and wouldn't want to hear anything otherwise about it.

Okay, the exit music is still playing in the background as I type this. My mouth is open and I'm almost out of my seat as I contemplate what they did to this beloved story by Margaret Mitchell.

Okay, the first half of the movie I would rate about a B or B+. I loved the music, I thought it was brilliant. The costumes, hair, sets, were wonderful to see come to life. The scenery was lovely.

But Rhett! What have they done to my Rhett! Clark Gable, while dressed and looking the part, never fully delves into the motivations and nuances of Rhett Butler and instead portrays him smirking throughout the first half of the movie. There was no subtlety in anything he did. Least of all with Scarlett! The beauty of the book and dialogue in their relationship was the tension that was built between Rhett and Scarlett. Without ever being told explicitly, you knew by his actions and expressions (or lack of them) that he was mad about Scarlett.

In the movie he smirked and grinned like a goofball and told Scarlett every chance he got that he loved her. I loved the passage in the book when Prissy finds him after Melanie had a baby and he gets serious and says "Talk fast". It shows the passion and seriousness in attitude he has for the people he loves. In the movie he is still smirking and grinning away. I found him such an irritating character with no depth in the movie.

And Ashley. He was supposed to be this young golden boy. Maybe in his late twenties. This guy looks like he's in his 40s. And I think he took to looking "dreamy" a bit too far. Nothing attractive about him. I don't think he was supposed to be that much of a loser!

But Melanie, OMG, Melanie Wilkes. Olivia de Havilland saved that movie! Well, that and the other positive things about the movie such as the music, cinematography, etc. But in terms of acting, she was the stellar performer in this movie. I didn't see a single misstep with her acting. She was utterly amazing. Melanie Wilkes is as unbelievable a character as they come and could have been played as a two dimensional caricature of a person but Olivia de Havilland played her with sincerity, depth and such warmth and grace. It was beautifully done and thank good because it really made the movie for me.

Vivien Leigh did an outstanding job as Scarlett. There were some scenes which seemed "overacted". Did she win any award for her portrayal? I thought her acting was best when she was on her own without major characters and at her worst with the scenes with Rhett Butler. I blame Clark Gable's limited acting range which made her look melodramatic when she was in the same scene with him.

In fact, the second half of the movie quickly deteriorated into a soap opera for me. The words were there and the action was there but there was no heart. It was just a soap and a bit slow moving at that.

The movie made it out to be all about Rhett and Scarlett and whether they would be back together again. Rhett was even trying to patch things up after she recovered from her fall down the stairs and asking her forgiveness. Wtf? From there on out they played fast and loose with the story and that really irked me. I can see changing things because you have to to fit it in a movie, like how Gerald dies. Okay, no problem. But to mess with the romance of Rhett and Scarlett by making him say things the Rhett of the book would never have said or intended and to ...

Oh, I could go on and maybe I will another day but I'm feeling like I've said enough for one day. Please keep in mind this is a book that I've read since I was 11 or 12 years old. It was my first big novel. I've loved it for decades and I've loved the characters and read and re-read dialogue in the book over and over and admired all the ways the author has created amazing characters - Rhett being my favorite. I didn't find Rhett in the movie version. A dashing guy who dresses like him and acts somewhat like him but doesn't think like him
and doesn't have the character, humanity and utter control (what was that about kicking down the door - good god!) of the Rhett I knew and grew up with in the novel. I'm sure I'll be in the extreme minority here when I say I give this movie a B or B- overall. Enjoyable movie not to be confused with the novel.

Good night!


message 15: by Laura (new)

Laura | 110 comments Mod
Linda wrote: "Okay, I just finished watching the movie for the first time. I should probably go to bed and wait a few days before I write anything because the things I have to say about this movie would probabl..."

You certainly have valid criticisms. I do agree that Leslie Howard, a marvelous actor otherwise, was miscast as Ashley. That said, it's still one hell of a movie. And I firmly believe Vivien Leigh gives probably the greatest performance by an actress I have ever seen. But, to each her own.

I recommend watching the documentary, Gone with the Wind: The Making of a Legend, which has all of the screen tests for Scarlett, Melanie, and some of Ashley. After seeing those, I think you'll appreciate the casting much more. The documentary also looks at all of the immense pressures Selznick faced, from death threats for "celebrating" racism to attempting to please a public viciously in love with and protective of their beloved novel. There was so much riding on this movie and so many entities out for blood if this film did not fit their agenda that its a wonder it was even made and no one died.

It's a really great documentary...and features Margaret Mitchell speaking at the premiere! Can't get better than that!

All of this said, I understand where you are coming from. The House of Mirth is one of my favorites and I kind of worship Edith Wharton--and the movie did not impress me. It's always hard to watch a movie of your favorite book.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


message 16: by Linda (new)

Linda | 2 comments I seem to remember reading that neither Leslie Howard nor Clark Gable wanted to do the movie in the first place. I can't remember why they didn't want to, but although I agree, Ashley's character wasn't at all what I had pictured from reading the book, I fell in love all over again with Rhett in the movie. One thing I hate about seeing the movie of a favorite book is that they have to pick and choose which parts to keep, because they aren't able to include everything without the movie turning into a mini-series. Which actually might have been a good idea in the case!


message 17: by Laura (new)

Laura | 110 comments Mod
Leslie Howard didn't want to because he was sick of playing weak characters and thought he was too old (he was about 45 at the time). He refused to read the book and only learned his own lines.

Gable didn't want to because he was very intimidated about the way fans would take it. He said GWTW was so huge and Rhett such a popular character that he was afraid of trying to fill those shoes. He said he knew any slight deviance from the novel and the fans would hate him. He actually wrote an article about it, which is in The Official Gone with the Wind Companion: The Authorized Collection of Quizzes, Trivia, Photos--And More. Regardless, I think Clarke Gable did a great job. Then again, I saw the movie way before I read the novel, so I guess that may skew my view.

Despite its flaws, GWTW is a great movie, and a hell of a lot better than 99% of the stuff that comes out now. Yelch!


message 18: by Linda (new)

Linda | 19 comments I read that too in the notes that came along with the DVD. His reasoning seemed sound until I saw his performance. Then I thought, he was right, he shouldn't have taken the role. LOL!
He also said something about how he never understood actors who "lived" their characters. What?! I wish they found an actor who understood "living inside their characters." It seems to me he gave up before he even began. He made Rhett Butler so one dimensional I get rather irritated when I think back on the movie.
Now Vivien Leigh by contrast, you can tell she LIVED the role of Scarlett. Too bad her two leading men gave her so little to work with in their shared scenes. Leigh shined when she wasn't sharing the scene with either of those actors.

To me, the film was like a beautiful painting with no heart. Worth seeing for the beauty, not much underneath so not one of the "greats". I wouldn't recommend it to my friends who aren't classic cinema fans or romance fans or fans of any of the actors because there's not much beyond that in the movie. The book, however, I'd recommend to any avid reader.

Just my opinion of course.

I have a feeling those who have seen the movie first before reading the book will be most likely to differ!


message 19: by Linda (new)

Linda | 19 comments Oh, one further note. I read Leslie Howard hadn't even read the novel when filming began. The director finally sent him a copy midway through.

Why am I not surprised? lol


message 20: by Betty (new)

Betty (tgbreviews) I don't have a preference, because I enjoy the book and the movie in different ways. There are certain things or people (like Archie, for example) the movie leaves out that I miss, but that doesn't prevent me from enjoying it.

The way I see it, the movie is a 'quick' way to enjoy GWTW... I reserve the book for times I want to spend some serious time rediscovering all the fine details that I've forgotten since my last read.


message 21: by Jesica (new)

Jesica (jes425) | 2 comments I love both..but if I had to pick.. I would say the novel. They did an excellent job with the movie. The novel explains more and they had to cut a lot out for the movie. I will say.. I think they picked the cast perfectly. I can easily picture each actor when I am rereading the book for the 200th time:)


message 22: by Scarlett (new)

Scarlett | 3 comments I read the book many many times . I like the movie and the book , but if have to choose , I prefer the book . In the book, you will understand the background , the behind stories, the details etc. , while if you didn't read the book , there is something you may not understand . For example , when scarlett drove the carriage to her lumber plant, she met the robbery , then the black big Sam appeared , if you didn't read the book , you would not understand why Sam appeared at that time . Anyway , book is the best . But I do love Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in the movie, hehe


message 23: by Sara (new)

Sara Fox | 1 comments Hi, guys! I'm new here, but Gone with the Wind is both my favorite book and movie. I read the book first and watched the movie many months later, but I like them both equally. They both have different things to offer. The book has a lot more going on in it (for example, Scarlett only had one child in the movie, while she had three in the book), but the movie was so well put together, and brought perfect life to the characters, I think.


message 24: by Belisa (new)

Belisa Sherrer | 1 comments Hi guys! I love GWTW book, the movie was Ok, but if You are like me You will hate to watch a movie that try to destroys your favorite book, second I believe and prove me wrong that Scarlet's caracter is not Well presented, they played (director and actress off course) like a stobborn child which she is, however Scarlett in my opinion is a great woman, so advanced for her time, independed, wise, fierce, not only selfish. Today is the 78th realice aniversary of GWTW.


message 25: by Michael (last edited Dec 10, 2014 12:46PM) (new)

Michael Llewellyn | 10 comments I posted this on my website a while back and even though it's a book review I thought it might be worth another look with the movie's diamond jubilee next week.
http://michael-llewellyn.net/books/ot...


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