Well, they don’t call it Hollyweird for nothing, I suppose.
In the era of endless comic book movies, children’s stories and an almost endless run of films celebrating pathological stunted emotional development, it seems Hollywood had long given up on creating great original movies for adults.
The great spiral downward of lowered expectations and low brow tastes continues with endless cycle of remakes hoping for the box office dollar based on nothing more artistic than resurrecting the corpse of classic films of time gone by.
Quentin Tarrantino is the best known of the cinematic necrophiliacs but vying for the title are Tom McCarthy (fresh off Oscar-winning Spotlight) and screen writer Phillip Adams (not be be confused with the Australian media personality) but who oddly enough for a tinsel town player does not have an IMDB bio.
The film in their sights: Gone with the Wind.
Let’s listen to the articulate and erudite Adam’s talking about remaking arguably one of the greatest Hollywood classics of all time:
The script I wrote was pretty wild. Like, all the same things happen in this script as it did in the first movie, but there’s just some amazing, off the wall great things thrown in. We were worried we’d get no funding or have no stars interested in acting in the film. We couldn’t have been more wrong. People really liked it. I think people appreciated the idea that I was adding something new and not just rehashing the exact same film. We can’t wait to start. We’re already in pre-production mode. We start shooting in a July.
“just some amazing, off the wall great things thrown in” – like what? Zombies? Been there, done that. Vampires? That’s soooo yesterday. Sticking to Mitchell’s original book? Well Selznick did a pretty good job at that despite quibbles I have about romanticising what was really a nasty bitch of a character.
But perhaps I’m being too hasty. Perhaps a remake could work if we examine the film from a different character’s point of view – how fascinating if we could see the world of Tara, Seven Oaks and Atlanta from the perspective of Ashley Wilkes or Melanie Wilkes (still my favourite character) or Rhett Butler or Mammy.
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Or perhaps we have an unvarnished take on the real Scarlett O’Hara:
- She abandons two of her four children
- She marries a man she does not love for revenge
- She relentlessly pursues a married man
- She steals her sister’s beau and ends up getting the man killed
- She is motivated by jealousy, hate and fear
- She’s reckless
- She’s an alcoholic
But what concerns me more than the things Adams may throw into the mix, but what things may be taken out or sanitised for today’s historically ignorant, moral busybody, hypersensitive safe-space seeking, trigger-warning demanding audiences.
Gone with the Wind falls foul of today’s political correctness:
- Its prejudicial stereotype of African Americans (hands up, who didn’t want to strangle lazy and whiny Prissy?)
- The KKK is not condemned but applauded for its actions
- The Confederate flag
- Presenting those evil slave-holding southerners as heroes of the piece
- Rhett Butler gets a little ‘rapey’ with Scarlett
A remake of Gone with the Wind that remained true to its source material would not be green lit by Hollywood today, which leave one to ponder exactly how they will treat Margaret Mitchell’s book.
One way or another, it ain’t going to be pretty and I don’t care if Hugh Jackman is going to star.
P.S. The featured image is a satirical take on the classic Gone With The Wind poster from a 1985 advertisement from The Socialist Worker. I’m assuming there’s no copyright on this because as socialists, they would agree, as Karl Marx did, that property is theft.