Monday, 19 January 2009

Star Crossed

Every now and then you can't beat Gone With the Wind as a great, lazy, sandwich-eating way to spend an afternoon. Apart from Gandhi it's the only film I've ever seen that admitted it needed an intermission (and even had special intermission music! You can't fault David O Selznick for grandeur of scale). And I think the intermission in Gandhi was only there because the cinema management thought, quite rightly, that we might need it. I went to see The Unbearable Lightness Of Being as a student, and secretly rechristened it The Unbearable Numbness Of My Bum, although that may have less to do with the undeniable length (and lack of intermission) of the actual film and more to do with the fact that, if you're not a big fan of Daniel Day Lewis, the sight of him saying "Take your clothes off" FORTY-SEVEN BILLION TIMES can get a little wearisome.

Anyway, back to Gone With the Wind - my delightful friend Marky Mark told me that apparently Margaret Mitchell was a total fan of astrology, and had deliberately written the novel so that each of the main characters was a perfect archetype of a particular star sign, as follows:

Scarlett O'Hara = Aries
Rhett Butler = Sagittarius
Ashley Wilkes = Pisces
Melanie Wilkes = Cancer
I think I more or less got that right. It's a great theory but I worry for the future of fiction if, on top of unsolicited quibbling about inaccuracies in period detail etc, the author was also subject to letters arguing that no Libra would behave like that... but then I would worry, being a Pisces.
(The picture above, by the way, comes from my favourite scene in the film, when Scarlett's unlamented second husband has just died, and she's drunk the better part of a bottle of brandy - Rhett comes to see her, and as she's desperately rinsing her mouth out with eau de cologne to hide the smell of booze, Mammy shows him in with the line "Mr Rhett's here to see you, Miz Scarlett. I told him you was prostrate with grief.")

35 comments:

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Interesting theory. How funny that Rhett is a Sagittarian - MY kind of guy!

And he'd have a lot less histrionics with me quite honestly!

Lucy Fishwife said...

In fact the astrological theory (stop! Why are you backing away nervously??) is that two members of the same sign don't always make a good match because they are too similar, although if you view your own faults as endearing foibles you'll probably see them that way in others! I once went out with a guy who was also Pisces and he drove me round the bend - so drifty, so indecisive, so secretive, so bloody NICE...

French Fancy said...

Blimey, so you and I are like Ashley the wet one Wilkes, heaven forfend (when did it stop being forbid?)

I like the sound of that Guerlain perfume. I used to love the one they did called 'Meteorites', that had a top note of violets that changed to a variation of the same but the buggers discontinued it.

DDL - the best Hamlet I ever saw

Steve said...

I must confess that... gulp... I have never ever watched this movie. I don't know how it's slipped beneath my movie radar but... *shrugs* ...it's just passed me by. But for great Sunday afternoon films you can't beat Mary Poppins or Half A Sixpence.

Lucy Fishwife said...

FF - I know, I was really annoyed about the Ashley Pisces thing. Marky Mark assured me that actually Ashley is a dreamer, an idealist, a man too easily brought low by the grim weight of reality... yeah yeah. Since Mark is himself a thoughtful and caring Cancerian I think he was being kind on this point. I don't remember Meteorites (although I remember the face powder! Cool!) but I guardedly recommend Insolence. Not "My Insolence" though, which mings for Britain. My feelings for DDL are not based on his undeniable acting talent but his stony face and general flakiness (binning Isabelle Adjani by FAX? How naff?)...

Steve - Seriously, watch it sometime - even the resolutely non-fiction Mr Fishwife enjoyed it (lots of battle-wounded and History with a big H). Other Sunday afternoon greats include Singin' In The Rain and Ratatouille though, both of which are child-friendly too!

Titian red said...

Ahh, Aries, that explains so much. I, too, have made dresses from curtains.
A good film for tea and crumpets with toasty fire and few brain cells is "The Bishops Wife". Can't go wrong with Niven and Grant can you ?

Lucy Fishwife said...

But have you ever said "Fiddle dee dee!!" when thwarted of your whims? I haven't seen The Bishop's Wife - I should remedy this - always thought David Niven would have made a far better C K Dexter Haven than Bing Crosby too... (in High Society I mean... sorry, following a Cary Grant train of thought, as one can)

Rol said...

The appeal of An Unbearable Lightness Of Being for me was now DDL saying "take your clothes off" 47 times... but Lena Olin doing as requested.

Sigh.

Red Rum said...

I haven't seen The Bishop's Wife, either, will get it from Lovefilm. OOOH exciting! Planning to watch The Browning Version this evening. Wind (as film expert types like to abbreviate long titles by using the last word) is my 5 year old daughter's FAVE film already - she runs after her little brother crying "oh Ashling, Ashling." Do you think it's bad to let a kid watch a film like Wind, given that it's so politically incorrect and all?

Titian red said...

Have I ever said "Fiddle dee dee"?, well what do you think ? My only medal was for advanced flouncing, and I regularly say "Tsk" and even "Oh la".
I worry quite a lot that I may be a Boris Johnson clone as "Crikey", "Yikes" and "Yippee" serve their purpose on a regular basis too.
(Needless to say I also have the ability to render the ether cerulean.......... no examples will be given to spare the innocent)

Reluctant Blogger said...

It's a long time since I walked the film or read the book. But I did love both.

I am an Aries - very unpredictable and flighty. But sweet and vulnerable underneath my brash exterior. No idea what star sign I should go for but I have a tendency to be drawn towards Aquarians.

Lucy Fishwife said...

Rol - I have a similar thing with "The Big Easy" - duff, mostly, but was Dennis Quaid at his finest or what? And it wasn't 15 hours long, although I doubt I'd have minded.

Red Rum - my mum took me to see it when I was ?11?ish. I don't remember being confused by the difference in attitude and prejudice - just thinking that OF COURSE it was different because it was a film. Get them to watch "A Matter of Life & Death" too!

TR - "oh la" is great, but "fie" beats it hands down! Or indeed anything from a 17th century play with characters called things like Lord Foppington and Saucy Meg. My swearing is very schizophrenic due to too many years in public-facing jobs. At work I'm like a vicar's wife. At home I swear like a navvy.

RB - I may take the book on holiday and read it again. Amazingly like the film (that should be the other way around but you know what I mean). Apparently the perfect match for you is your opposite sign - they are so different from you that you will find each other endlessly fascinating. Not sure what it is for Aries...

Deirdre said...

my swearing is schizophrenic too..for the same reasons...and my favorite afternoon film is random harvest with greer garson or any thing with Bette Davis.....and I'm a scorpio...who matches me? and crikey you're a quick reader...

Lucy Fishwife said...

Deirdre - I'm starting to feel like Mystic Meg here! Your opposite sign is Taurus -You're secretive and quick to sting, they're open and stubborn and rarely bear a grudge. You'll never be bored. I think I deserve MANY brownie points for not making any "moon in Uranus" jokes here...

Red Rum said...

Question! (Sorry, couldn't resist). If Clark Gable had such minging halitosis, like Viv said he did, then how come he managed to pull so much? It couldn't all have been down to his success, charisma and looks. Maybe his WAGs had no sense of smell? Speaking of which, Lucy, how come you've got so much perfume? Are you loaded or well-connected, or both? (Feel free to ignore this very nosy question, obviously)

Lucy Fishwife said...

Viv said a lot of things and was notoriously promiscuous and insane (though gorgeous) - maybe he turned her down? Maybe he DID have halitosis but most women didn't comment because being seen out with Clark Gable was too good an opportunity to miss...
Loads of perfume oh yes - you sound like my friend Foxy Highflyer who said to me once "How can YOU afford Annick Goutal?" which I thought was harsh but fair. I do in fact have a whole shelf in my wardrobe full of perfume acquired over the years - kept in the cool dark so unspoiled (mostly)! I also have an addiction to www.theperfumedcourt.com - tiny tester sprays of anything that takes your fancy - and tend to order shedloads at a time. Now the dollar is eating the pound for breakfast I'm cutting back...

Red Rum said...

I get mine from www.theperfumeshop.com - the best prices I've found yet and I've done SERIOUS research...

Lucy Fishwife said...

OOOOH YUM - off to have a look. Thank you!

Red Rum said...

Feel a bit bad about that website - should have made it clear that it doesn't have a huge selection, especially of the rarer and very posh classics, but it happens to stock mine, which is almost impossible to find now for some reason. Hope that your hopes weren't dashed. RR

Brother Tobias said...

I bought the DVD of Doctor Zhivago the other day...the original, David Lean/Robert Bolt one. It's got an intermission (at three and a half hours it needed one), and an overture to boot.

Lucy Fishwife said...

RR - No worries! I sometimes go through a "hard to find, strange names" phase with perfumes but still love the old Guerlain/Chanel/Dior favourites.

BT - Dr Zhivago is another Sunday special chez Fishwife! Although I saw Bertolucci's "1900" a while back and it had the same huge scale, and EVERY famous actor in the WORLD was in it.

Deirdre said...

love love love 1900....

mantua maker said...

Another Powell and Pressburger that's good for a Sunday afternoon is "I know where I'm going!". I watched it at a very impressionable age and still have fantasies of striding across acres of Scotland dressed in a beautifully cut jacket and pencil skirt.

Lucy Fishwife said...

Deirdre - I KNOW isn't it great. And I was sitting there watching it going "Gerard Depardieu... Robert de Niro... Donald Sutherland... God who else????"

MM - Hello dolly! Well you're more than capable of creating the beautifully cut 1940s clothes...

Aparatchick said...

Brother Tobias and I share a love of the finest of Sunday afternoon films - Doctor Zhivago. I saw it when I was 12, and it started me on a love of all things Russian (a not particularly popular passion here in the US in the 1970s).

DDL - oh, be still my beating heart! They had to drag me whimpering out of the theater after Last of the Mohicans (tho' the Isabelle Adjani thing and his dreadfully serious-looking wife count against him).

And yes, Melanie is definitely a Cancer.

Eryl Shields said...

Hello, I saw your name on Can Bass's side bar and suddenly I was here. I haven't seen (or read) Gone With the Wind for at least twenty years and am now feeling rather deprived.

My favourite perfume ever has to be Guerlain's Jicky but sadly these days all Guerlain perfume gives me a headache when it's freshly applied. Same with Chanel No 5, the first expensive perfume I ever sniffed. So after searching high and low for something I both liked and could wear I have settled on a Miller Harris one the name of which I can never remember but it comes in a green box.

Lucy Fishwife said...

Aparatchick - Congratulations on having escaped the gulag of disapproval that always greets the original thinker! Plus say what you like about the Russians but you can't beat them for a gigantic gloomy house-brick of a novel. Yes, Melanie is definitely a Cancer - seemingly soft and domestic but would kill to defend their home...

Eryl - I can't promise Can Bass's level of erudition! Wow, Jicky... It's been ages since I wore it. Gorgeous but makes me smell like Margaret Dumont in a Marx Brothers movie - unfeasibly well-bred but completely humourless. Poor you, being cast out of Guerlain paradise. Does it give you a headache on other people? Could you get round it by spraying it on your clothes instead of your skin?

david mcmahon said...

Came her from Fat Frumpy and Fifty. Next time I'm in London, I'll have to come to your bookstore.

Lucy Fishwife said...

Do! My only excuse to my boss when she catches me blogging when I should be working is that I'm raising the shop's profile... Prove me right!

inkspot said...

Brandy and eau de cologne? Blimey, that's louche. What kind of bookshop do you run, anyway? Is it one where if I say "ferrule" a hidden door swings open to reveal an orgy of Peruvian rent boys?

Red Rum said...

I want to come to the bookshop too! Especially if you HAVE got rent boys tucked between the first editions. Can I have the address please? Or your e-mail to ask you for it? Thanks RR

Perfumeshrine said...

Baffling that while incapacitated from her accident, that Margaret of a writer had the mind to focus on astrological typecasting!! If I were her I'd focus on medical volumes instead and slip an accident or two in the story to make a parallel (and would probably turn the epic into a whole "who dunnit" too, faithful to my inquisitive astrological sign, mind you!).

Scarlett as an Aries however is an interesting idea: The combustible thing is certainly there, I wonder how the wiles however are fitting. (aren't Aries supposedly straight-shooters?)

OK you have inspired me: I am breaking down "Wuthering Heights" into astrological types too! Heathcliff is a Scorpio (naturally), Catherine (the first one) is an Aries (something is afoot, LOL), Edgar is a Pisces (so accomodating and really a nice guy)...This is not so good for literature, but simply great for online taunting

:-))

Lucy Fishwife said...

Inkspot - Sadly, while there is an extensive market for That Sort Of Thing, we signally fail to provide it. If you say "ferrule" you would probably get a lengthy search for some French author called Jean-Auguste Ferrule (or similar).. we're otherwise very satisfactory as a bookshop though!

Red Rum - We have rent BILLS. I see where the misunderstanding arose. Would you settle for a copy of "Entertaining Mr Sloane"?

Helg - I have several Aries friends - what they want is WHAT THEY WANT NOW PLEASE and if straight talking won't get it, charm will be deployed. My personal favourite is Macbeth - Libra or Gemini?

Perfumeshrine said...

Ahhhh...the Scottish play! ;-)

Libra, I think: socially ambitious, reluctant to be stained, undecisive, diplomatic at parts.

Magnificent, we could go on all day like that and several authors' bones could be cluttering from the annoyance! LOL!

ScentScelf said...

Wait! Explain Macbeth as a Gemini!! Inquiring summer born minds want to know...