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Friday, September 12, 2008

Gone (but not forgotten) with the wind...

One of my favourite pastimes is catching up on the recently deceased by way of newspaper obituaries. Now, I know how that sounds. But it isn't morbid fascination with the once famous, more a sign of respect. I think one of the highest honours you can have is to be, at some point in your life, deemed significant enough to warrant an obituary in The Times (I choose The Times simply because their scope and coverage is greater than that of most other daily newspapers when it comes to remembering the dead). What's respectful is that the choice of subject isn't dictated by any celebrity status, rather by significance. This means that those remembered are the famous, the infamous and the obscure, all of whom have contributed to their field - from science and sport, education and the environment to music and movies. I'll admit to being most fascinated by the passing of once celebrated film actors and actresses whose stars have either faded or ascended into legend.

Recently, whilst taking in my daily dose I spotted a sad trend...Fred Crane, not a household name but an actor who goes down in history as having the first line in Gone With the Wind, passed away only a month after Evelyn Keyes, who played Scarlett O'Hara's sister in the same film. With only the genetically-prosperous Olivia deHavilland still with us for the main adult cast (her sister Joan Fontaine still going strong too) it's another door closed with that link to "Hollywood's Golden Age" (ask me about my obsession with Luise Rainer next time you see me!). Gone With The Wind is glorious. I remember seeing it at a screening in Sydney to mark it's 60th anniversary, in the same cinema where it was screened back in 1938 and there was a real sense of occasion. A film with an interval! Imagine that these days with the attention span of most audiences. Yes, it's a soap opera, but it's top notch soap.

Whilst our blog isn't all about knitting, there's a good reason to bring it up here too! GWTW does contain a couple of great knitting scenes (and there's plenty to get excited about if your just into pretty frocks). Whilst Rhett and the gang are out raiding the shanty town there's a brilliantly tense scene of the ladies waiting back at home for their return. Quite a bit of knitting going on there and it drives the scene along, the women busying themselves as the menfolk are away. It's interesting that Scarlett, ever the black sheep, does a bit of cross stitch instead! There's also a very moving scene of what I call Unfinished Garment Syndrome. This is a device I've spotted employed in films and telly, using knitting, where someone embarks on a project for someone else. Generally this means either the knitter or the knittee isn't going to make it to the end of the film, the Unfinished Garment being a symbol of the character's untimely demise. It happens here when Mrs Meade clutches her Unfinished Pair of Gloves for her son, recently killed in the war. There's nothing more poignant than a project languishing on the needles, never to be worn by the intended. Watch out for the UGS - it'll having you weeping into your WiP.


1 comment:

Sweet Camden Lass said...

I've been feeling decidedly under the weather with a Chest Infection (and the hidjous antibiotics): this post prompted me to re-watch Gone With the Wind. I'd not noticed the knitting before. Those gloves!

Mind you, the first time I watched it, I was in France on the school French Exchange. Autant en emporte le vent.