Every year for Shelf Awareness for Readers, I review a couple of coffee-table books for the holidays. I received two beautiful ones this year that I think movie lovers on your gift list would appreciate. I really did watch Gone with the Wind again after reading all the behind-the-scenes stories.
These reviews originally appeared in Shelf Awareness and are republished here with permission.
The Making of Gone with the Wind by Steve Wilson
Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the film adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, this gorgeous treasure trove by Steve Wilson showcases more than 600 items from producer David O. Selznick’s archives.
These items, also on exhibit at the Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin (where Wilson is curator of the film collection), include storyboards, costume sketches, stills from the screen tests of the top contenders for Scarlett O’Hara, on-set photos, and confidential memos from the creative minds behind the movie.
Among the most fascinating artifacts is the seven-page edict from the Hays Office (Hollywood’s censors), with notes about which elements were objectionable (e.g., painful childbirth, use of the N word by “white people”) and needed to be toned down or eliminated. Fans of the classic film will see it again with new eyes after reading this book, and those who haven’t experienced it will want to settle in for a viewing.
Styling the Stars: Lost Treasures from the Twentieth Century Fox Archive by Angela Cartwright and Tom McLaren
Angela Cartwright, who played Brigitta von Trapp in The Sound of Music, grew up on movie sets and was fascinated by the way actors transformed into their characters. She and coauthor Tom McLaren delved into the Twentieth Century Fox archives and found negatives of long-forgotten continuity photos from movies made from the late 1920s to the early 1970s.
Continuity photos are taken on sets to document the makeup, hairstyle and wardrobe of every actor in every scene so that the looks can be recreated at a later time. Because the shots in Styling the Stars: Lost Treasures from the Twentieth Century Fox Archive are not publicity stills, the actors are more unguarded than carefully posed. Marlon Brando smiles with sand and fake blood on his face, and Doris Day pretends to be grumpy in a robe and pajamas. The book also covers little-known facts (Olivia de Havilland had to wear her own clothes in Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte). Classic-movie lovers will enjoy these glimpses of stars in the process of creating some of their iconic roles.