October 21, 2006

Last night I fell asleep thinking about how many times I’ve really seen Gone With The Wind. It’s probably more than three or four. And I’m not counting how many times I’ve seen it on TV or DVD. I’m counting seeing in the theater, projected on the big screen.

I first read the book the summer my parents drove us to the Smoky Mountains for vacation. I was 13 so it was the summer of 1974 (GWTW wasn’t even shown on TV until 1976). Well, I just fell in love with the book: it was the best book ever written, sorry Little Women. And I had to see the movie or else I would die, simply die. After many months of scouring the Thursday paper for what would be showing the coming weekend it finally appeared. Gone With The Wind at the Deerbrook cinema. This Saturday. One showing. Yahoo. I corralled my friend Katie A–a partner in crime GWTW-wise (it was hard to find others who were nerdly enough to read this tome) and we were off to see Scarlett in action. And it was great. For the first (but not last time; the movie’s better than the book) time we compared the book to the movie. We were scandalized! that she wore a white dress in the opening scene. It’s supposed to be the same green dress she wears the next day at the Wilkes’ BBQ. And Bonnie was her only child? What happened to Wade and Ella? Oh, well the devil’s in the details.
Edens Theater

The second time I saw GWTW was at the best theater in the Chicago area: The Edens I. It’s hard to describe how truly great the Edens movie theater was–go here for a fitting description. Although, hyperbolic paraboloid? Yikes. It’s the only time I ever saw it in 70mm. ( 70mm was not a nice thing to do to an old movie). And I remember my dad, who was picking us up (Katie A, again. Bless her) sneaking into the theater for the last 20 minutes. My dad was cool.

The last time I saw GWTW in a theater it was in 1988 at the Music Box on Southport in Chicago. No Katie A this time. I brought my then boyfriend who had never seen this movie, ever. Not even on TV. How could that be? But he liked the movie. But I don’t think he fell for it’s melodramatic charm. During the scene when Scarlett tells Rhett she’s pregnant again and falls down the stairs, he laughed. And he was the only one in the half-packed theater who did. It was great. I loved him for that. And I still love him for that. Even I laugh at that scene now.

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