‘Gone with the Wind’ outdoors

Posted: August 15, 2013

The Winchester Star

Millwood — Fiddle-dee-dee, Scarlett and Rhett are coming to Historic Long Branch.

The historic house in Millwood will hold an outdoor screening of the 1939 classic film “Gone with the Wind” as part of the Winchester-Frederick County’s upcoming Civil War Weekend, Executive Director Nicholas Redding said.

The film will be shown at 8 p.m. Saturday at the house, 830 Long Branch Lane. People may start arriving at 6:30 p.m.

The idea behind the event is to provide a night of “affordable and old-fashioned fun,” he said. Admission is $8 per car.

“We don't see this as a fundraiser,” Redding said. “We see this more as a friend-rasier in the community for us to provide something fun for them to do and also learn a little something.”

People are invited to bring chairs and blankets and share in a movie night under the stars in a natural amphitheater at the historic property. The movie will be shown in its entirety — about four hours — with a short break.

There will be limited concessions, but people are encouraged to bring a picnic and “make a night of it,” he said. No alcohol is allowed.

The movie is a 1939 American historical romance film, adapted from Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel and produced by David O. Selznick, of Selznick International Pictures.

At the 12th Academy Awards held in 1940, it received 10 Academy Awards from 13 nominations, including wins for Best Picture, Best Director (Victor Fleming), Best Adapted Screenplay (posthumously awarded to Sidney Howard), Best Actress (Vivien Leigh), and Best Supporting Actress (Hattie McDaniel, becoming the first African-American to win an Academy Award).

Before the movie starts, Redding will offer an introduction and a “Historian’s Toolbox Playbill” to provide moviegoers with the facts to be “critical historians” for the night.

The brief talk will focus on the film’s place in history and how perceptions and understanding of the Civil War has changed since the 1930s, he said.

Although he said he won’t be too harsh, the talk will explore a little of what the movie got right and where it “erred on the side of artistic license.”

Several of the perceptions held when the film was made in the 1930s are now understood to be inaccurate, he said. Some of those he will discuss include the portrayal of the “loyal slave” and the causes behind the war.

“But the movie does capture the way people in the 1930s remember the Civil War, which is different from the way we remember the Civil War today,” he said. “It is a historical document in and of itself so it can be fun to enjoy it that way.”

On top of that, it’s just a great movie, said Sally Coates, executive director of the Winchester-Frederick County Convention and Visitors Bureau. She calls it her “favorite movie in the whole world” and said she has seen it at least 50 times.

“I love everything about it. I like the story, and I like Scarlett and Rhett. I even have a picture of them on my wall in my office,” she said.

The outdoor movie is an entertaining nighttime addition to the Civil War Weekend activities, which include 11 attractions held in Winchester and Frederick County, she said.

Long Branch is looking for different ways to engage the public about history and relevant topics on different periods of American history, Redding said. Using films like “Gone with the Wind” is one way to do that.

“This is the first of many smaller events we plan to have at Long Branch to get people talking about history and the importance of history,” he said.

In case of rain, the movie will be shown under a tent.

Information

Historic Long Branch, 830 Long Branch Lane, Millwood, will have an outdoor screening of “Gone with the Wind” at 8 p.m. Saturday. People may start arriving at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $8 per car. For more information, call 540-837-1856.

— Contact Laura McFarland at lmcfarland@winchesterstar.com