1939 Was A Great Year for Movies – Gone with the Wind & Wizard of Oz

If you have followed me, on this blog, you know that I recently moved to the New Jersey Shore, but before that, I lived in Mississippi for almost forty years. I was actually born and I grew up in the Bootheel of Southeast Missouri, an area that is just barely inside the Northern border of the Mason-Dixon line, but when I was 18-years-old, I moved to Mississippi, where I attended Ole Miss and where I hung my hat for over three more decades.

Although my birthplace and Mississippi are both parts of the South, Southeast Missouri is not the Deep South. Mississippi is. Soon after I began school at Ole Miss, I was invited to attend the Ole Miss – Memphis State Football Game in Memphis. My date was a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, and Ole Miss Phi Delts were known to be Southerners, through and through. Somehow the conversation of “What does your daddy do?” surfaced. My date said that his dad was a planter. I nearly fell over. It was 1968, and this fellow was telling me that he hailed from a plantation, which I believed had “Gone with the Wind.” I immediately knew that I was out of my league. You see, I was from the rural, cotton-growing part of Southeast Missouri, a place where farmers lived on farms.

Something within that paradigm suggests the essence of the movie Gone with the Wind, which was a telling of how the Civil War devastated the South. The movie says more, however. It tells how, even after the South was down, it found ways to lift its head back upward and to continue to walk, in some ramification of glory.

When the beaten but tough and hardened Scarlett O’Hara determined to re-enter society, she resolved to do so with dignity. She had no fine gown to make her entrance; therefore, she ripped the drapes from the walls and clothed herself in them.

I currently live in the North; and I am continuously amazed that people here believe that Southern females are all soft, kind, and fine ladies. I often chuckle, as I tell them that most Southern women have the ability to seem to be soft and refined, but that many of them are as hard as Scarlett O’Hara.

Contrast Scarlett with Miss Melanie. Now, Miss Melanie was truly a Southern lady. Regardless of how hard times got for Miss Melanie, she could never be less than genteel. Both Scarlett and Miss Melanie could look the part and play the part, but only Miss Melanie was the real deal. The interesting thing, however, is that without Scarlett’s hardness and conniving, Melanie probably would not have survived.

Miss Melanie and Scarlett are prototypes for the South before and after “The Wind”
was gone. To this day, the South is enchanting. I love it. I will always love the South, but today’s South is not the same as it was before the Civil War. Todays’s South simply knows how to continue to carry itself as though it is the Old South.

Without a doubt, there is a degree of difference between Southerners and Northerners. I mostly see the differences in traffic. Up here, there are very few drivers who have good manners. I hate it when people in this area of the North honk at me, and it happens at least once a week. It is like people are sitting at the red light, with their arms perched, ready  to honk. As soon as the light turns green, people start honking. That is unnecessarily rude. It always reminds me that I am not in the South.

In 1939, two of my all-time favorite movies were made: Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of OZ. In my opinion, they are both Oscar-worthy. Wizard was also nominated for the Best Picture of 1939, but Gone with the Wind took the prize. In my opinion, they both took the prize. I was born in 1950, eleven years after these two movies were aired. I am absolutely convinced that both of these movies have contributed to my becoming who I am today.

In 1939, the following were nominated for the Oscar. Several of my movie favorite were released in 1939:

Film Production company(s) Producer(s)
Gone with the Wind Selznick International, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer David O. Selznick
Dark Victory Warner Bros. David Lewis
Goodbye, Mr. Chips Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Victor Saville
Love Affair RKO Radio Leo McCarey
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington Columbia Frank Capra
Ninotchka Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Sidney Franklin
Of Mice and Men Roach, United Artists Lewis Milestone
Stagecoach United Artists Walter Wanger
The Wizard of Oz Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Mervyn LeRoy
Wuthering Heights
List from Wikipedia

During the month of February, I have determined to blog about one of my favorite Oscar-winning movies from the past. Read more about this idea Here.

©Jacki Kellum February 7, 2016

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3 thoughts on “1939 Was A Great Year for Movies – Gone with the Wind & Wizard of Oz

  1. I studied film in college, though I’m hardly expert. But in the discipline I do know that 1939 is often called “the year of movies.” What these films evoke and represent in you, though is more central and vital. I’ve gone to programs where folk asked me about the South as if the South were all a wilderness. Some wilderness in life is fine, but you’re so right about Southern women being strong and civil all within. And then expressed outside when in the world. I’d like to think we Southern men can maybe pull that off as well. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are true Southern gentlemen, and then there are Southern men who simply pretend to be gentlemen. There is a degree of difference between Southerners and Northerners, I see it most in traffic. Up here, there are very few drivers who have good manners. I hate it when people up here honk at me, and it happens at least once a week. It is like people are sitting at the red light, with their arms perched to honk. As soon as the light turns green, people start honking. That is unnecessarily rude. It always reminds me that I am not in the South.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I understand. I don’t like it either. I don’t know if it’s a Northern and maybe an Eastern thing. It seems to me that when I’m in Pittsburgh, drivers are more polite than here in Harrisburg. But the Southern driving community tends to have the best manners, overall.

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