Aljean Harmetz wrote this article for the New York Times on June 5, 1977, eleven days after Star Wars was released in the United States. Harmetz focuses on the fact that the human actors in Lucas's technological, futuristic spectacle are clearly upstaged by the amazing robots, C3PO and R2-D2. Most of the other articles that were written about the film, at the time that of its release, focused on George Lucas, the actors, and/or the various technological wonders of the movie. However, this article shines light on two central stars of the film who are rarely recognized as people, never mind stars in the conventional sense. Did you know that there are actors inside the robotic encasings of C3PO and R2-D2? Anthony Daniels spent five months in Threepio's fifty pounds of aluminum, steel, fiberglass, vacu-form plastic, and vulcanized rubber. Kenny Baker was C3PO's "plucky, cheerful, fellow robot. The vacuum cleaner shaped Lou Costello to C3PO's Abbot." Each of these robots has a carefully crafted persona. Lucas said that he strove to make the robots human - characters to which the audience could relate. In fact, these robots are far more central to the Star Wars storyline than one might think. When Lucas first wrote the script, it centered solely on robots. There was no Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, or Princess Leia.
George Lucas devoted almost four years of his life to the production of Star Wars. In the year leading up to the release of the film, he spent 361 days, sixteen hours a day, working on the film. It was his "baby" and he wanted everything about the film to be perfect. It was through Lucas's perfection driven personality that C3PO and R2D2 came into being and through his obsessive craft he created a film with unique character, scenery and sound. In the usual film there are 200 sound units. In Star Wars there are 2,000. Even the sound of a door opening is not the ordinary sound of a door opening on earth. Lucas created a new sound effect. Everything in the film was developed through intense and precise thought. Nothing was "thrown in" to a shot just for the sake of it being there. As a result, Star Wars became a spectacular film replete with meaning. The complexity of C3PO and R2D2 are representative of this intricate process. They are robots, with human like qualities and emotions, a unique product of George Lucas' creativity and vision.
This article was published in the New York Times in May 1976. Thus, it was written and researched prior to George Lucas becoming famous primarily for his Star Wars projects. The first paragraph of the article states, "[he is] in the middle of shooting Star Wars, a 6.5 million dollar space adventure spectacular for Twentieth Century Fox." It is astounding to think that the original Star Wars was budgeted at 6.5 million. This article provides a view - at a moment in time - of the director of one of the industry's most successful movie concepts.
In the article, Lucas states that his intent following the success of American Graffiti was to retire. This is an interesting statement given Lucas' even greater success with Star Wars, post American Graffiti. Since American Graffiti, Lucas has gone on two make a two part trilogy of the Star Wars films (six films), becoming one of the most successful directors and producers of all time. George Lucas has earned millions from the Star Wars films and all their merchandising. As a result of the phenomenal Star Wars success George Lucas created his own production and special effects company on his own compound. It is amazing to think that midway through the first installment of Star Wars, Lucas was ready to throw in the towel.
I suppose it is admirable that George Lucas wanted to retire and do a lot of experimental work that no one would ever see. His love of film is for the sake of the art, not the business or the money. That is why he proclaims that he has no desire to make eighty films or any more "big studio pictures." All of this is admirable, but the bottom line is that he went on to make five more Star Wars movies.
After producing American Graffiti, which Lucas targeted to a sixteen year old audience, he made Star Wars, which he saw as "pure fun" and targeted a fourteen year old audience. He sought to produce a film of pure fantasy that audiences would enjoy at a relatively superficial level.
I believe that this article was used to generate publicity for Star Wars. The article gives a concise summary of the film and its characters. It provides a preview of the film with the intention of peaking the reader's interest and leading him to the theater. An inside look at the movie making process is another aspect of this article. It also provides insight into the mind of a developing filmmaker. In the aftermath of American Graffiti's success, people wanted understand the director and his thought process. They wanted to get closer to the source. This article accomplishes that for its readership and provides the insight that will bring people in to see the next George Lucas movie - Star Wars.
This article, by Clive Thompson, argues that the new film, Star Wars Revelations, a forty minute $20,000 budget film made by Star Wars fans, is better than any film made by George Lucas. Thompson's view is that, despite the impressive size of Lucas' budget for the Star Wars franchise or his aptitude for special effects, the creative minds of the fans turn out a better product time after time. Star Wars Revelations is just one example.
Lucas is no longer making new Star Wars films for his ravenous fans to enjoy. As a result, the numerous fans around the world have taken to making their own sequels/prequels. These fans are doing more than just filling the void; they are doing a better job than the Star Wars creator. The special effects are comparable to those developed by George Lucas. Additionally, these are not small films only accessible to a relatively small audience. It is estimated that in one week, one million people will see Star Wars Revelations - without any promotion or marketing effort. The widespread success of the film is based solely on the devotion of the Star Wars fans and the widespread reach of the internet.
Lucas has always encouraged fan produced films. However, he has stipulated one condition: these fan filmmakers cannot attempt to make a profit from their creations based on Lucas' genius idea. While films such as Star Wars Revolutions are widely circulated and astonishingly high-tech, there are still two major problems with all fan films - the second rate scriptwriting and acting. Thus, even with all of the success of fan films, there will always be an opening for George Lucas to return with one of his professionally made additions to the Star Wars series. Some might suggest that the fan films are better than the authentic Star Wars. However, with two significant problems plaguing fan films, fans can attempt to fill the void, but their productions will never compare to those of the irreplaceable George Lucas.
This article was published in the New York Times in 1977, the year that Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope was released. It is interesting to read and undertand this article in light of its timing which coincides with the film's release. As the article states, "the movie was released yesterday" and Vincent Canby, the author of the article, refers to Star Wars as the "most elaborate, most expensive, and most beautiful movie serial ever made." However, even given the magnitude of the film, Canby warns not to expect anything too significant. "It is fun and funny." The article paints a vivid picture of Star Wars, generating a fabulously positive review of the film and revealing what critics thought at the time of the film's release. As a critic, Canby depicts aspects of the film in a trite and somewhat mocking tone. He reviews all of the characters and major plot lines finding each one funny and amusing in its own way. Canby recognizes that George Lucas has recognized a particular achievement in the manner in which he is "able to recall the tackiness of the old comic strips and serials he loves without making a movie, that is, itself, tacky." However, directly following this complement, he closes his review by stating "Star Wars is good enough to convince the most skeptical eight year old sci-fi buff, who is the toughest critic."
This article reveals that although Star Wars is one of the most financially successful films of all time and has a significant fan base, there are still those who mock the film. One can never make everyone happy and this article exemplifies that fact. It is satisfying to know that Vincent Canby's criticisms did not derail George Lucas from going on to make five other immensely successful films in the Star Wars series. While Canby probably felt the same way about each of Lucas' successive films, his views did not dissuade millions of other people from seeing and supporting the Star Wars adventures.
The Star Wars empire that George Lucas created has millions of fans anxiously awaiting Lucas' next move. What lies in store for the shaky future of Star Wars? An article published in Variety in April 2005, attempts to answer this question.
George Lucas currently has plans for two television series. The first is a three dimensional, animated half hour that would make use of the new CGI animation facility in Singapore. The second is a spin-off live action series. It will center around some of the supporting characters from each of the original Star Wars films. While both of these are interesting concepts, don't expect to see them on television next year. Neither idea is close to production nor does either have a network on which to broadcast. Some networks, such as Sci Fi, USA and the Cartoon Network have expressed interest in Lucas's ideas; however, nothing is close to being finalized.
This article is extremely significant when considering the next move of the successful Star Wars franchise whose fans are constantly demanding new material. George Lucas is one of the most influential filmmakers of our time. Every decision he makes impacts a wide array of people throughout the entire industry. As such, his ideas will likely be imitated and repeated for many years to come. Furthermore, Star Wars is a money making machine. Over the past thirty years, Lucas has built an empire from his six films, making a huge profit not only from the films themselves, but also through product tie-ins, endorsements and copyrights. George Lucas has created a billion dollar industry out of Star Wars. If Lucas' plan to continue the saga on television is successful it will be revolutionary, generating even more money in the transition from big screen to small. This business move will serve as a blueprint for future filmmakers.
In recent years, the sequel genre has become one of - if not the - only successful type of film. Interesting original story lines have become increasingly unique in an environment where risk-taking can mean financial suicide. Thus, the safe and profitable route is to capitalize on already established films. George Lucas has done this arguably better than anyone else. With the move to television, Lucas will attempt to make another valuable addition to the Star Wars empire. Successful or not, the Star Wars tradition will live on forever in the phenomenally successful films.
When George Lucas made the original Star Wars, Epidsode IV-A New Hope, he could not begin to imagine the impact that his film would have. Six Star Wars films and almost thirty years later, the original film has been named the best movie of all time by British film fans. (The entire list of rankings can be seen on the BBC's website.) Star Wars received more than a third of all of the votes in a survey conducted by the British Sky Premiere Channel, landing it in the number one spot.
This poll was taken just prior to the release of The Phantom Menace, the second Star Wars movie. Participants in the survey had the release of the next Star Wars adventure on the top of their minds (as it was released shortly after this poll was taken). Undoubdetly, this had some influence on the survey's results. While no one can detract from the astounding creativity that produced the film's empire, there is also no doubt that this list is missing several influential and key filmmakers. One of the commentators in the article expressed his surprise at some of the titles which appear on the list. This top 100 is uniquely different from many other film polls. Nonetheless, it is a definite representation of those films deemed significant by current film devotees. Star Wars has been viewed and enjoyed by an astounding number of people across generation lines. This fact helped to land it in the number one spot. Furthermore, Star Wars is known for having some of the most devoted and fanatical fans of any film. Therefore, it is no surprise that is would appear in the number one spot of a survey.
We certainly do not need a survey to prove the popularity and influence that George Lucas has had on both the film industry and his fans. However, the article and the "Best Film" designation verify the fact that there are millions of people all over the world who have seen Star Wars and feel that it is a most significant film.
There is a feeling in the industry that the technology of the future is 3-D cinema. George Lucas, head of Lucas Film and one of the most successful and revolutionary filmmakers of all time, seems a bit more hesitant. At a time when theater attendance is slipping, three dimensional projection could be a creative new way to attract an audience, particularly a youthful one. 3-D films were very popular for a short time in the 1950s. However, since then there has not been any significant attempt at rejuvenating the technology. Only recently has there been talk of a future for three dimensional cinema.
On April 3, 2005, Variety reported that George Lucas had revealed at ShoWest that he was "eager to release all six films in the ‘Star Wars' saga in digital 3-D. His plan would be to release one film a year starting in 2007." But "Trekkies" are going to have to wait a little while before they can see their movies in a third dimension. Rick McCallum, producer of Star Wars (special edition), said that the films will not be converted to 3-D until the industry "gets its act together." However, The CEO of In-Three Inc. stated that it would probably be a short time before all films can be and will be converted to 3-D. In the future, In-Three Inc. will be able to provide the technology to convert films produced in status quo format to 3-D for five million dollars.
At the time the Variety article was published in April, 2005, there were no definite plans to release any of the Star Wars films in 3-D. However, there is a distinct possibility that this may change in the very near future. Star Wars is one of the most successful, highest grossing film franchises of all time. As one of the industry's most savvy, technologically advanced filmmakers it would seem reasonable to believe that George Lucas could very well be one of the first to take advantage of the newest technology. If Lucas does make the move towards 3-D, he might be the innovator who influences other producers to do the same. The Variety article provides new information on a topic relevant to the direction in which the future film industry is moving.
The first installment of the six part Star Wars film series was released in 1977. Twenty five years later, in September 2004, the DVD's of the first trilogy ( Episode IV: A New Hope, EpisodeV, The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI, and Return of the Jedi) were released. These DVD's were not comprised of the "classic" film trilogy, but rather the "Special Edition" versions that Fox, Lucas Film and George Lucas released in 1997 (which were originally available only on VHS). Fortunately for fans who can never get enough of everything and anything Star Wars related, the DVD set is loaded with extra features. The four disc set includes a bonus disc highlighting an extraordinary documentary and never before seen footage from the making of the films. Each of the films included in the set has been digitally restored and remastered by THX. In addition to significantly enhanced picture quality, the three films are mastered in Dolby Digital Surround 5.1 EX, yielding amazing sound quality. The Star Wars trilogy can also be viewed by the deaf and non-English speaking as it is subtitled in English, French, and Spanish. All of these additions to the original films not only make the DVD's a worthwhile purchase for viewing enjoyment, but also an important addition to any serious film buff's collection.
The DVD release of the original trilogy (Episodes IV, V, and VI) represents a significant marker in the Star Wars franchise. The groundbreaking films have become an industry unto themselves and the DVD's are one more outlet through which to generate more profit. DVD's are the future of all film. The fact that one of the biggest money-making movies of all time is now distributed on DVD, with added special features, validates the importance of the DVD release. The release of films in DVD format allows the audience to watch movies multiple times. The format also introduces an entirely new audience to a film that may have been produced at a much earlier time. The possibilities for film enhancement, viewing pleasure, and portability all contribute to the significance of the DVD as it relate to the Star Wars franchise.
John Williams composed the music that adds so much feeling and emphasis to the already extraordinary film created by George Lucas. Williams did not begin his career in film. Initially, he worked in television and, later, transitioned to become a pianist for films. John Williams has collaborated with some of the biggest names in Hollywood to create some of the most meaningful soundtracks that exist today. In a succession of events, George Lucas asked Williams to score his Star Wars film, earning him the third of five Academy Awards to date. Williams' close collaboration with Lucas and another important director, Steven Spielberg, has given him the opportunity to compose the scores for some of the most important and successful films in the past few decades. Without John William's contribution to films such as Star Wars and Jaws, we would certainly be viewing- and remembering - these films in a very different way. The musical component which Williams contributes adds suspense, happiness, sorrow, and a myriad of other emotions, where appropriate, to enhance a film's message and impact. The musical score ingeniously adds another dimension and completes the film's settings and action to bring a uniqueness that might otherwise be lacking.
Williams's music comes from the classical tradition, based on the style of late Romantics. At times, the music has modernistic overtones, but mostly it is "just wholesome music full of good memorable tunes with fanfares and fun marches." Williams is thought to be astoundingly capable of constructing "a tune and sound which perfectly complements the mood of a film."
John Williams is a diverse composer who has not only worked in film, but has also conducted orchestras and been commissioned to score events such as the Olympics. Williams is perhaps America's most well known and respected contemporary composer and, as such, his musical contribution to Star Wars is significant. The film is wildly popular because of the successful visual and aural components that merge to create the Star Wars phenomenon. This article puts appropriate emphasis on Williams' role in the film (and also lists his role in several other films).
Dolby is the sound technology responsible for enhancing the audio portion of movies. Star Wars is the film with which we associate Dolby's first major sound breakthrough. This innovative technology created the sound of the Millenium Falcon "whooshing" over the heads of the audience (in Star Wars Episode IV). Dolby has heightened the quality of what we hear in movies since the pivotal 1997 Star Wars film. This article demonstrates that the enjoyment of the visual as well as the audio aspect of film has been revolutionized by the introduction of Dolby sound.
Bill Jasper, chief executive of Dolby laboratories, has set out to expand Dolby's markets and solve the financial problems the company has been experiencing in the past several years. When Dolby gave its input to the original Star Wars movie, the sound quality changed the industry and wowed audiences. However, today, it takes a lot more to impress a jaded consumer. Advanced technology permeates our everyday lives and it is a constant struggle to stay ahead. With the current push for digital cinema, it would appear to present an opportunity for Dolby to command the market. However, the industry will not accept "a Dolby proprietary system." The industry demands an "open" system. Dolby's solution is to work on better compression. That is something the company could sell. Dolby has done a significant amount of work to showcase technological innovations for Disney in the new film Chicken Little. However, installation of new technology is not the mark for which Dolby wants to be known. Instead, CEO Bill Jasper wants to sell "mastering technology and theater hardware." Dolby currently has stiff competition from several other companies, but was faced with a similar scenario when digital audio was introduced. Today, Dolby has eighty percent of that market.
Dolby is a company whose success and profitability is dependent on innovation. Star Wars Episode IV-A New Hope was a revolutionary film partly due to Dolby's audio contributions. Dolby is looking to the future, hoping to realize similar success in the visual market.
Today, almost every film receives a big premiere and a grand opening. There is a red carpet and photographers. It is an essential part of the requisite publicity package. The excitement generated by these events attracts people to the theaters and helps boost film revenues. However, at the time Gone with the Wind was produced, it was rare that a film received such fanfare.
Daily Variety provided coverage of the Gone with the Wind premiere and declared it to be one of the biggest premieres of the time. On the front page of the paper, the morning after the premiere, it was reported that the Atlanta "staged the greatest celebration in its history." The theater, the Loew's Grand, was transformed into the Wilkes plantation house. When people passed by the theater they were curious about what was happening and why the facade of the theater had changed. The response which they received generated publicity for the film. Searchlights, which were visible for several miles, let everyone know that it was premiere night. All of the major stars of the film (and others) - Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, Olivia de Havilland, Evelyn Keyes, Carol Lombard and Claudette Colbert attended. The theater held 2,019 people on opening night, each of whom paid $10 per seat, with the money going to charity. Producers were also in attendance. The next week, there was another premiere in New York. Even with all of this hoopla, there were disappointments. Everything was neither perfect nor did it run smoothly. The late nights took a toll on executives. All of the fanfare and glamour got in the way of business. Additionally, there were reports of disappointing initial grosses. This was blamed on pre-Christmas shopping and "psychological overselling" - because of all of the publicity, people assumed that there would be long lines and therefore did not even bother to come to the theater. Despite some "brief hiccups" the movie went on to gross $390 million worldwide.
This article is very informative, revealing the inner workings of the industry and psyche of the public at the time. Although society has evolved and experienced many changes, much has stayed the same.
It is amazing that a film could be so successful 70 years ago when there were far fewer venues for promotion and fewer theaters to generate a large gross profit. This article also reveals that the formula for a successful film is very similar to today - the celebrities, the publicity, the promotion, the premiere and the fanfare. It is a formula as old as the movies themselves.
Margaret Mitchell had been working as a reporter for a newspaper when she fell from a horse and was forced to resign. She was confined to her small, one-bedroom apartment which she nicknamed "The Dump." Ms. Mitchell was given a typewriter as a gift in order to occupy herself within the confines of her house. She was told to write "what she knew." Secretly, she began to write a book. Given the endless flow of people and friends who came through her apartment, she found it very difficult to hide the manuscript. It seemed unlikely that the novel would ever be published because she kept it a secret from anyone who would be able to publish it for her. However, Mitchell's friend who worked at a publishing company discovered parts of the novel in Mitchell's home. The friend informed her boss, Harold Latham, of the "masterpiece" she had found. Latham flew to Atlanta and questioned Mitchell regarding the novel. However, Mitchell did not want to turn in the novel to the publisher. She claimed that it was "lousy, and she was ashamed of it." In a brilliant use of reverse psychology, Mitchell's friend said to her, "well, I would never expect that you would write a good novel, you don't take life seriously enough." Mitchell was angered by this, raced home and immediately gave it over to Latham. She said "take it before I change my mind." Latham read the novel and changed the name of the main character to Scarlet. This was the inception of one of the most successful novels in history. Gone with the Wind was finally published on June 30, 1936 and had almost just as much impact on Atlanta as the actual events that were detailed in the book. It sold more copies than any other book except for the Bible.
This is a revealing source which details the way in which the phenomenally successful novel, Gone with the Wind, came into existence. It is amazing to think that its author thought that her creation was "lousy." Additionally, it is fascinating how a true phenomenon can be born out of seemingly mundane events and thoughts. One of the greatest, best-selling books of all time is a product of a leisure project on a typewriter in someone's living room. Mitchell did not sit down with the intent of writing a phenomenon; she was just trying to keep herself busy when she could no longer work as a newspaper reporter.
One most consider the novel, Gone with the Wind, as a precursor to the film. It is important to understand where the novel came from and the thought process of its author. It is further fascinating that the novel was as huge a success as the film. Often, a book is successful and interesting, while the movie version of the novel is not. Margaret Mitchell wrote a novel and spawned a film that entertained in its time, continues to be of interest as a period piece, and will continue to entertain many generations to come.
Gone with the Wind is one of the most popular films of all time. But why is that? The author of this article suggests several reasons. He says that the audience has a love/hate relationship with the film and its characters. This relationship with Gone with the Wind has to do with the ways in which ideas, specifically ones relating to sex and gender are "both referenced and violated" in the film, most specifically, regarding Scarlett O'hara. This article outlines exactly what those criticisms are in order to prove that the audience's relationship with the film stems from the way in which sex and gender are presented.
I found this article to be an alternative view to the traditional exclamation that "Gone with the Wind is the best movie ever, a phenomenon!" It is interesting to contemplate the underlying causes of the relationship which Gone with the Wind has with its audience. The author views the film from a sociological perspective. This is a more intellectual approach to the explanation of the popularity of the film.
It is also interesting to consider the fact that the audience does not always love the film or its characters. This is a more realistic way in which to consider the popularity and impact of Gone with the Wind. Life is not perfect and neither are real people and their life stories. Margaret Mitchell recognized this fact when she wrote the novel. I think that the audience appreciates the fact that the characters are flawed and, therefore, made more real. As a result, there are moments when one loves Scarlett O'hara and other times that she is despised. It is because of this portrayal of human realities that the audience can appreciate the film and accept it as a true rendition of relationships and society.
This article sheds light on two issues. The first, that the relationship that the audience has with the film is complex and not always perfect. The second is that while the film is popular, it is not because it represents pure escape. Rather, people love the film because they can relate to the humanity and truth in the situations portrayed.
This article, by Ben Railton, compares and contrasts two immensely successful novels, Gone with the Wind and Absalom, Absalom!. 1936 was an incredible time for both the historical and Southern novel. The two novels studied are perfect paradigms of this fact. Gone with the Wind and Absalom, Absalom! present many similarities and differences between their key characters and settings. These are "two interpretations of history which were coming into conflict at precisely the moment of this coincidental joint publication."
This article provides a unique view of Gone with the Wind. By comparing the novel to another important work of the time, a very different perspective is presented in light of the historical issues of Absalom, Absalom!. This comparison of the two important novels is a means of understanding the framework of Gone with the Wind from a completely different perspective.
As an influential and important producer, David O. Selznick was involved in enough films to be considered one of the greatest producers of all time. It was his involvement in Gone with the Wind that secured him his place in cinema history.
Initially, Selznick worked for his father's company, Lewis J. Selznick Productions, until it went bankrupt in 1923. Then, in 1926, Selznick moved to MGM and worked as a script reader and assistant story editor. He climbed the ranks to become supervisor of production until he was fired because of constant disagreements with Irving Thalberg, the then head of production. In 1927, Selznick was named production chief at Paramount. After the Depression and salary cuts, he moved to RKO and worked as studio boss. When Irving Thalberg became ill, there were many changes made within MGM in the production area. Louis B. Mayer convinced Selznick to return to MGM (coincidentally, Selznick was married to Mayer's Daughter.) With his new job, Selznick was intent on bringing more prestigious films to the screen.
In 1936, Selznick left MGM to become an independent producer, founding Selznick International Pictures. Gone with the wind was his most memorable film produced at this time. There were many problems that occurred during production of the film. Among the myriad of issues was the involvement of six different directors and the relinquishment of distribution rights to MGM in order to get Clark Gable to star in the movie. In the end, Gone with the Wind won ten Academy Awards and is considered to be one of the most important films ever produced.
After a huge tax debt forced Selznick to auction off his company, he formed a new company, David Selznick Productions. Selznick now became more of a talent scout than a producer. He discovered many successful actors and actresses, including Jennifer Jones. In 1949, Selznick married Jones and gave up his independent producer status. He became "something of a joke for his obsession with his wife," producing mediocre films, certainly nowhere near the quality standards of his previous work. Although he continued to work in Hollywood his preoccupation with his wife's career forced him into the background of the industry. Despite this end to his career, David O. Selznick is a name that is "firmly planted in motion picture history." He was the biggest of independent producers at a time when there was rarely such a thing. This site reveals a detailed history of Selznick, why he is considered to be one of the greatest producers of all time, and his tremendous impact on Gone with the Wind.
It is extremely important to understand the background of a producer in considering the product he creates. Selznick's life experiences and opportunities had tremendous influence on the films he made. David O. Selznick's contributions to Gone with the Wind cannot be minimized in understanding the overall impact of the film and its success. Without him, who knows how the film might have traversed it complicated path? Gone with the Wind would certainly not have become the film as we know it today.
Max Steiner was born in Vienna. His grandfather was a "musical impresario". His godfather was Richard Strauss. For a short time, Steiner studied with Gustav Mahler. Steiner studied violin, trumpet, piano, and organ. From the age of twelve, he conducted concerts and from the age of eighteen, he worked a great deal in Britain. Following the outbreak of the war in Europe, Steiner accepted an invitation to move to New York where he spent many years working on theater production, conducting, orchestrating, and producing arrangements for many shows and musicals. Steiner worked with George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, and Sigmund Romberg before he moved to Hollywood to work for RKO and then Warner Brothers.
Steiner worked in Hollywood from the 1930's until the 1960's. He worked on several musicals as musical director and is now known primarily as a composer. His work on the scoring of films includes such masterpieces as "Tara's Theme" from Gone with the Wind, which is instantly recognizable. This work is significant in its representation of Tara - the house and plantation - and its important role in the film. Steiner received many Academy Award nominations and won three times. The "Max Steiner Award" was created in his honor for film music which recognizes Steiner's pioneering role in the early development of the craft of score composition.
Max Steiner's music style is highly distinctive. He does not use subtle nuances, but rather, his language is very direct, illustrating the emotion of the film at particular moments in time. Although Steiner has his signature style, he has been known to borrow an idea or melody from other sources. He has also been criticized for "Mickey Mousing" the film. However, Max Steiner made his mark as a pioneer in the composition of music for film. He created several music scores for films, some of which have become renowned for their power and drama, i.e. King Kong.
Steiner was another key component contributing to the success of Gone with the Wind. The blockbuster movie was further enhanced by the powerful score which complemented the intense plot and scenery. This issue illustrates the magnitude of Steiner's influence in the film industry. The public was aware of Steiner's reputation and when his original score for Gone with the Wind was played, the audience instantly recognized it as Steiner's work. This important facet of the film not only contributed to its overall impact, but most certainly helped contribute to its success.
This article is taken from The Saturday Evening Post. The article describes several different mansions and plantations built centuries ago and still in existence today. This article discusses the unique architecture and relevance of these homes in the contemporary South. The preservation of history is contained in these structures that represented a unique way of life in the Civil War South and Gone with the Wind. These homes bring life and added realism to the film Gone with the Wind.
The homes have been lovingly restored and kept intact. The interiors have been remodeled and updated, while the exteriors remain the same, appearing just as they did in the Civil War era. As the tagline of the article suggests, "The pillars of Southern gentility still stand in the renovated plantation homes and mansions of Alabama, Louisiana and Georgia." The antebellum mansions of the South reflect a bygone way of life and culture that was integral to the manners and mores of Southern society. These special homes serve as reminders of a way of life that we will never see again. Both these homes and Gone with the Wind are surviving icons that bring to life an existence steeped in cultural values of the specific era.
For three days in 1939, celebrities descended on Atlanta, Georgia highlighting the events of the Civil War and its aftermath while overshadowing the events of World War II at the time. This article, written exclusively for About North Georgia by Larry Worthy, details the events of those three days. As with movie premieres today, all of the stars of the movie arrived in town to promote the film. Not only did they come to give interviews and attend the premiere, but they also performed acts of goodwill, such as greeting Civil War veterans, in order to create positive press for the film and its actors. The thought process was that the public would want to see the film if they liked the stars in it.
There were also special events dedicated to the film in order to generate "buzz" and publicity. The "Gone with the Wind ball" attracted a "remarkable" guest list. By the time the day of the premiere arrived, the town was infused with excitement, not only for the film, but also the celebrities. The premiere was a huge event at the Loew's Grand Theater. There were celebrities galore, spotlights sweeping the sky, traffic closures, and a crowd of about 300,000. People waited to get a glimpse of their favorite celebrity as they emerged form their chauffer driven limousines to give radio interviews. Four and a half hours later the premiere was over. The film's stars went on to another premiere in New York the following week. A little known fact surrounding the New York premiere is that Laurence Olivier proposed to Vivien Leigh on the flight out and she accepted. The glitz and glamour of the Gone With The Wind premiere seventy years ago was unique in its time but has remained a standard for movie premieres even today.
This article addresses the issue of slavery which was pervasive in the South during the Civil War. The idea of emancipation was a constantly debated topic within Civil War society. Some wanted the slaves freed while others wanted the Southern institution protected form any intervention. This article from Harper's Weekly is unique in that it is a truly primary source, an actual firsthand article from a real publication of Civil War times. The article was published on December 7, 1861.
The beginning of the article suggests that it is the President and his Generals who must determine what effect the war will have on the South. While there had been no formal change to the policy of slavery at the time of the article's publication, no generals (with the exception of one) permitted "slave hunting" any longer. Additionally, labor was being performed by whites as well as blacks. The article predicts that only time will tell what is to come. The article goes on to say that the Southerners would view a decree of emancipation as laughable. The South sees the entire government and the North as abolitionists. Therefore, an emancipation decree would not be unexpected. The only way to enforce emancipation is through the army. In essence, wherever the Northern army dominates is where abolition would take hold. However, when a general needs more men, he will reconsider his proclamation stating that slaves cannot fight. "Necessity is a most successful schoolmaster."
The article goes on to elaborate on the harsh realities of slavery and emancipation. People acted as they pleased and change was rarely effected without the strong arm of a gun. As a firsthand source, the Harper's Weekly articles are invaluable in their revelation of significant issues often overlooked in history books. Although the article may be biased it is still a highly realistic point of view of the war.
The views held by Southerners regarding slavery during the Civil War are a harsh reality that was pervasive at the time and formed the basis of the Gone with the Wind story. This article provides the reader with additional insight into the characters and types of people who lived during the time of Gone with the Wind and provided the framework for the story that continues to engage generations.
This article, written by Elissa R. Henken discusses the Civil War and is history. The war was fought between the North and the South over states' rights and the abolition of slavery. However, the Civil War also had a significant impact on shaping Southern identity. Although the war is long over, it continues to be an issue of debate amongst the descendants of the original Confederates. It is a part of their history which they will neither relinquish nor put aside.
In this article, Henken details information regarding the Civil War legends and family narratives from people around Georgia. Henken sheds light on the psyche of the Southern mentality of contemporary Georgia. It is interesting to consider that the participants in the article's fieldwork are probably descendants of some of the people who Mitchell used as models for her Gone with the Wind characters. In Henken's article, those descendants of Civil War Southerners provide very strong views of their ancestors. Through the article we are able to see firsthand how Southerners think today and how they view their past. In Gone with the Wind, we see the past of the South recreated in all its glory. The film is a visual embodiment of Henken's study.
Henken's article is particularly interesting to me because it is a primary source and firsthand account of true Southerners, specifically residents of Georgia. The article illustrates real life versions of the fictional characters portrayed in Gone with the Wind. Scarlett O'Hara's and Rhett Butlers truly exist today. In learning about a culture or society, it is fascinating to have firsthand accounts of real people in addition to the fictional versions portrayed in film or literature. Henken's article provides a window into a unique society at a specific time in history. Now, in addition to learning about the Civil War era through a Hollywood studio's view in a great film, I have also attained an understanding of the underlying reality that contributed to the psyche, social mores and political situation of the time.
Gone with the Wind is a film that continues to be relevant because of the time period portrayed, its social influences, and overall importance in the history of film. The release of Gone with the Wind on DVD is significant for a number of reasons. The enhancement of the actual film and the special features added make the DVD an important addition to any film library and just as significant as the film's initial release.
Included in the DVD's content is an in depth interview with Olivia de Hallivand, who plays Melanie. She was nominated for an Academy Award, however, she lost to Hattie McDaniel, who played Mammy. (There is speculation that the reason McDaniel won was as compensation for not being invited to the movie's Atlanta premiere.) In de Hallivand's interview, she reveals the chaos which occurred behind the scenes during the production of the film. For example, directors and writers came and went with alarming frequency.
The most impressive part of the DVD, which makes the DVD "vital and gorgeous", is the attempt to revert to the quality of the original Technicolor process in which the film was shot. The evolution of Technicolor is a significant facet of film history. Gone with the Wind was to be the test of the new Technicolor technology. The production of the film centered around brilliance and contrast of color as well as intricate scenery shots. Much of the original impact of the film lay in the quantity and quality of color schemes throughout the production. As the technology of film progressed, Technicolor was deemed old fashioned and new technology improved upon the once spectacular visions produced by the once unique color delivery system. The Gone with the Wind DVD has resurrected the original screen's Technicolor version of the film.
I feel that it is of great significance and interest for today's audience to see the film just as it was presented in its original form. The use of Technicolor had a significant impact on the audience of the time. Every aspect of a film contributes to the way in which an audience views, comprehends, and appreciates the film. With all the technology available today for production quality enhancement, it is important to have the ability to revert back to the original film version and screen it in its purest form. With every generation producing new audiences with interest in the film, the release of the DVD has made this important piece of film history readily accessible to an even wider audience. The attraction of the DVD lies in its special features. For film buffs and people who are knowledgeable about the history of film and production values, the remastering of Gone with the Wind in Technicolor is an important feature which, perhaps, trumps all of the other aspects of the DVD.