What is it with Wizard of Oz fans and people who write about that film? Are you incapable of doing the least little bit of homework to even see if what you are saying is remotely correct? Are you so insecure in your adulation of the Wizard of Oz that you need to trash the highest grossing film (and the number 1 novel) of all time to make some inane point? It's become so pervasive that it's laughable and really undermines the 75th anniversary of the Wizard of Oz. But, that's really beside the point. When Mr. Bergstedt and others write such completely inaccurate commentary it really calls into question the integrity of anything else they have to say.
So, since Mr. Bergstedt bothered to look up nothing before drawing a picture of GWTW being ignored by the populace just a mere 5 years after its record breaking blu-ray box set-set DVD re-release, accompanied by a huge event in Marietta, GA, and special screenings in historical theaters nationwide, let me show him just how inaccurate a statement he made.
Upcoming GWTW 75th Anniversary events in 2014
Since the article that inspired this blog directly stated "you don't see any festivals happening for that film (GWTW)" I thought I'd include a list of just a few of the major upcoming events planned for this year in celebration of GWTW with links to supporting news articles.
June 6-8: GWTW 75th Anniversary Celebration in Marietta, GA
News Link, News Link
July 27, 2014: The Fox Theater of Atlanta presents Gone With the Wind - reserved seating and special pricing - News Link
September 9, 2014 - Jan 5, 2015: The Making of Gone With the Wind presented by the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, TX - News Link
September 12-13, 2014: Celebrating Clark Gable and the 75th anniversary of Gone With the Wind
GWTW related books released for the 75th anniversary
Since the article that inspired this blog post was "reviewing" a novel related to Wizard of Oz, I think it's a good time to highlight a list of the many books and publications that have already been released and will be released in 2014 related to GWTW.
Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait by Kendra Bean (October 15, 2013)
The Charms of Miss O'Hara: Tales of Gone With the Wind & the Golden Age of Hollywood from Scarlett's Little Sister Paperback by Phillip Done (April 24, 2014)
The secret of the belles, the 75th anniversary edition by Kathy Witt (June 7, 2014)
The Complete Gone With the Wind Trivia Book: The Movie and More by Pauline Bartel (June 9, 2014)
Road to Tara: The Life of Margaret Mitchell by Anne Edwards - re-release (July 23, 2014)
A Study of Scarletts: Scarlett O'Hara and Her Literary Daughters by Margaret D. Bauer (July 31, 2014)
The Making of Gone With The Wind by Steve Wilson and Robert Osborne (September 1, 2014)
The Scarlett Letters: The Making of the Film Gone With the Wind by John, Jr. Wiley (October 8, 2014)
Ruth's Journey: The Story of Mammy from Gone with the Wind by Donald McCaig (October 14, 2014)
LIFE Gone with the Wind: 75 Years of the Great American Movie by The Editors of LIFE (October 14, 2014)
Theaters apologize to fans for not screening GWTW
While people like Mr. Bergstedt make such ridiculous comments, the one piece they may not have taken into account is the conflict of interest that has happened with Warner Brothers owning both the film rights to both the Wizard of Oz and GWTW. There's no doubt the Wizard of Oz has been tremendously helped this year by the parent company who has poured millions into its 75th anniversary marketing while purposefully removing GWTW from licensed public view. Personally, I find it ironic that such lengths have had to be taken to support a Wizard of Oz 75th anniversary. If the two had equal access to be screened in theaters in this 75th year and the two were being given equal treatment in social media and marketing from the holders of the film rights, Mr. Bergstedt would likely find himself asking "does anyone remember it's the Wizard of Oz's anniversary too?
I have watched as theater after theater have scheduled GWTW screenings only to have to cancel because of licensing restrictions from Warner Bros and then almost always replace the screening with the Wizard of Oz and then openly apologize to the fans for not being able to screen GWTW. I have NEVER seen a theater apologize for not showing the Wizard of Oz on the big screen. Most of the theaters that show GWTW annually use it as a revenue builder for all of the other films they show and their audiences demand to see GWTW year after year!
The most public occurrence of the cancellation of GWTW and apology to an audience happened in Pulaski, Virginia earlier this year with the following statement, "I have to make what I would consider the worst announcement I've had to make as administrator of this page. We received news from Warner Bros. yesterday that they have pulled all licensing for 'Gone With The Wind' until October of this year in order to re-release it for it's 75th Anniversary. The excitement and interest we have received over us screening this wonderful film has been overwhelming, as is our disappointment in now having to announce that we cannot show it at this time. We WILL however show it just as soon as possible. We're hoping that perhaps we can have something like a re-release celebration. Again, we can't stress enough our displeasure of having to postpone this film. It is always distressing for us to let you down. As soon as we know what we'll be replacing it with, we'll make an announcement. Thank you all for all your support!" This statement was followed up with a news article in their local paper further explaining the situation.
In addition, the Orpheum in Memphis released the following statement with the release of their 2014 film festival: "While the Orpheum Theatre regrets that Gone With The Wind will not appear in this year’s series due to suspended licensing during the film’s 75th Anniversary, other beloved annual classics such as Casablanca and Breakfast at Tiffany’s will be presented." In April, The Alabama Theater made the following statement, "It is almost time for us to announce the 2014 Summer Film Series lineup! Unfortunately we will not be able to show Gone With The Wind due to licensing restrictions with the upcoming theatrical re-release for its 75th anniversary."
I will let these statements stand for themselves in how important GWTW is to fans.
Author's concluding statement
While I've been writing this blog, some have questioned why I would write something longer than the original article that inspired my response. Well, 1) I am tired of the lies, 2) I'm tired of the Wizard of Oz being held up as some kind of culturally and morally superior subject, and 3) my patience ran out more than a month ago and all I can say is I'm not taking the BS anymore.
I do hope the little event at the Judy Garland Museum Mr. Bergstedt wrote about to set up his completely inaccurate criticism and dig in to Gone With the Wind goes well, but Mr. Bergstedt need not worry about GWTW, because its fan base, film screenings, authors, fans, and bloggers seem to be able to support it just fine. Besides, Warner Bros keeps promising that the end of this year will see the roll-out of the Warner endorsed 75th anniversary celebrations. Well, as Scarlett says, "after all tomorrow is another day" and she is already being and will continue to be celebrated in 2014 and beyond.