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Frankly, My Dear: "Gone with the Wind" Revisited Hardcover – Feb 24 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (Feb. 24 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300117523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300117523
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #691,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"This is a beautifully written and well-detailed account of the making of a movie that has, by now, become an American treasure, a landmark in popular entertainment. And it’s written by a real Southerner, who happens to be one of the best writers on film we have."—Martin Scorsese
(Martin Scorsese)

“An absolutely marvelous work—provocative, perceptive, richly informative, and written with a contagious passion. Molly Haskell has given all of us who are in thrall to Gone with the Wind countless fresh insights, not only about its characters and the era in which they lived, but also about ourselves and our own times.”—Olivia de Havilland
(Olivia de Havilland)

"Molly Haskell is a magician to coax such exciting, fresh, brilliant analysis from such a problematic classic.  Her feeling for ambivalence and nuance reveals unsuspected shadings, and thrillingly elucidates Gone with the Wind’s miraculous tightrope act of masculine-feminine sensibilities."—Phillip Lopate
(Phillip Lopate)

“Beautifully written and fascinating to digest, Molly Haskell's Frankly, My Dear towers above any other book that's yet been written about Gone with the Wind. It has the kind of insights into the Wind phenomenon that only a writer of Molly Haskell's stature, wisdom and clarity could give us. It is quite the perfect toast to both the book and to the film version of Wind on the latter's 70th birthday."—Robert Osborne, Host of Turner Classic Movies
(Robert Osborne)

"With her sharp feeling for movie culture, sexual politics, and the elusive mores of the old South, Molly Haskell brilliantly sketches the contribution of everyone who shaped Gone with the Wind into a problematic but enduring popular classic."—Morris Dickstein, author of Gates of Eden and Leopards in the Temple

(Morris Dickstein)

"A stunning piece of criticism, written with fever-pitch intensity, that demonstrates so movingly why it's impossible to name the kind of greatness found in Gone with the Wind and impossible to refrain from trying."—Alan Trachtenberg, author of Lincoln's Smile and Other Enigmas
(Alan Trachtenberg)

"In engaging and witty fashion, Haskell seamlessly weaves together biographical and autobiographical issues, production information, sharp critical commentary, and cogent analysis of the literary, social and political context of both the Margaret Mitchell novel and the David Selznick adaptation. She gives us numerous important insights into the deep mythology of the film and its ability to function as 'the Bible of America.'"—James Naremore, Indiana University
(James Naremore)

"Molly Haskell has written a new book about Gone With the Wind. If you give a damn about this subject, I urge you to seek it out."—Pamela Fiori, Town & Country
(Pamela Fiori Town & Country 2009-02-01)

"Haskell's feminist perspective comes to the rescue of a film most academics won't touch and current critics dismiss."—New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)
(New York Times Book Review 2009-03-08)

"What Molly Haskell does so deftly is dismiss conventional wisdom about Gone With the Wind."—Margaret Moser, Austin Chronicle
(Margaret Moser Austin Chronicle 2009-03-27)

"A smart, sassy, and sophisticated reappraisal of the novel and the movie."—Glenn C. Altschuler, Tulsa World
(Glenn C. Altschuler Tulsa World 2009-02-22)

“. . . an earnest work of moviegoer remembrance that’s also affectionate scholarship . . . Haskell clarifies the long shadow that Scarlett O’ Hara casts over the American movie imagination.” — Armond White, International Herald Tribune
(Armond White International Herald Tribune 2009-03-03)

“The era of Scarlett O’Hara is long Gone with the Wind but her story still fires our imagination. Molly Haskell explains why it mattered and, Frankly My Dear, why it continues to.” - Elissa Schappell, Vanity Fair
(Elissa Schappell Vanity Fair 2009-03-01)

". . . affectionate scholarship . . . [Haskell] disentangles the film's qualities from the confounding issues of misogyny, racism and intellectual snobbery. . . . Haskell's critical sensitivity rescues Scarlett's Americanism and femininity, indicating how her image rebounds upon our eternal political struggles and deepest fantasies . . . "—Armond White, New York Times Book Review

(Armond White New York Times Book Review)

". . . Molly Haskell . . . rises to the task of explaining this uniquely American cultural phenomenon by boldly burrowing into both the 1936 best seller by Margaret Mitchell and the big-screen epic it inspired. . . . It leaves you yearning to return to Tara . . ."—Susan Wloszczyna, USA Today
(Susan Wloszczyna USA Today)

"Molly Haskell applies her deep movie knowledge, feminist eye, and Southern roots to a fiercely smart appreciation of Gone With the Wind. . . ."—Entertainment Weekly
(Entertainment Weekly)

"It's near exhilarating to read Molly Haskell's Frankly, My Dear, a revisitation that explores the reverberating complexities of the Margaret Mitchell franchise. . . . "—Steve Coates, New York Times
(Steve Coates New York Times)

". . . Molly Haskell is interested in the meeting points between film, sociology and history, and she writes about all of them, together and separately, with ease and authority. . . . Her research and insights—her intelligent understanding of all she surveys—are unsurpassed. . . .” — Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
(Mick LaSalle San Francisco Chronicle)

“[Haskell’s] passion for her subject is whopping, and her book is a flat-out must for any fan of epic Hollywood. She doesn’t tell all the stories — only the ones worth hearing, and they gleam in between ingeniously fevered pages on slavery, or startling memories of Haskell’s Virginian schoolmates climaxing on first reading the book. A near-perfect example of how cinema ought to be written about.”—Antonia Quirke, The Times (UK)
(The Times (UK))

Chosen as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2009 by Choice Magazine
(Choice 2010-01-01)

“Besides her unique and crucial role in American feminism, Haskell is also one of the best writers on film in America, and both as a critic and stylist she’s only getting better.”--The L Magazine
(The L Magazine)

About the Author

Molly Haskell is a writer and film critic. She has lectured widely on the role of women in film and is the author of From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 26 reviews
30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Frankly, It's Fabulous March 1 2009
By Patricia V. Blitzer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Molly Haskell is a genius. With scholarship and enormous wit, she shows us why GWTW means so much to us as individuals and to our culture. Every page of FRANKLY, MY DEAR informs and resonates. GWTW is seared into the American psyche more deeply than CITIZEN KANE, ON THE WATERFRONT, THE GODFATHER rolled into one. Molly Haskell inhabits GWTW. I think of her now as Molly O'Haskell. This is a must-read.
22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
The Return of Ms. Haskell Feb. 28 2009
By C. Hutton - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Ever since the author published her memoir of her marriage, "Love and Other Infectious Diseases" (1990), I have loved her writing. Now she has taken on the late 1930's with her cultural review and history of the book/movie, "Gone With the Wind". The "Titantic" of its day was a best-seller and Oscar winner. She argues that Scarlett was a feminist hero for her day, the Depression and pre-World War II era. You may not agree with her insights but the reader will be entertained by them.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Entertaining, albeit superficial... Feb. 5 2010
By YA book lover - Published on
Format: Paperback
If you are an obsessive GWTW fan like me, who likes re-reading the book and re-watching the movie million of times, who likes talking about GWTW, reading about GWTW and reading about other people talking about GWTW, this book is for you.

"Frankly, My Dear" is a very entertaining, easy to read book, which has a lot of curious facts about both the novel and the movie. I personally enjoyed stories about Margaret Mitchell and her very strange relationships with her two husbands; about manic-depressive Vivien Leigh and her turbulent affair with Lawrence Olivier; about Clarke Gable who refused to cry on screen because of the fear to appear weak to the public, etc.

At the same time, this work is rather superficial and lacks structure and depth of knowledge of the subject. It is roughly divided into several parts addressing the story of creating the book, the difficulties of making the movie. It also attempts to explain why the story has been able to capture hearts of so many millions of readers (not very well unfortunately).

You will not find any deep analysis of GWTW or a decent comparison of the movie and the book. "Frankly, My Dear" is just a bunch of anecdotes thrown together to provide some light entertainment for the fans. It is not necessarily a bad thing. The book gives just enough basic information to spark interest in the subject and to guide fans curious to know more to the better researched sources. As for me, after reading this book I am determined to learn more about both Margaret Mitchell and Vivien Leigh. I think they both are extremely interesting women to know.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Refreshing take on an old title June 19 2009
By Mrs. Dalloway - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Molly Haskell takes a fresh look at the whole GWTW oeuvre: the book, the movie, and the people behind both. She mixes a feminist perspective with fun facts and trivia, and comes out with a winning take. She makes a great point regarding why young women (especially) discover GWTW and why it speaks to them so strongly. After watching GWTW when I was 16, I remember thinking that the main characters were remarkably relatable, and Haskell explains why that is. Haskell is scholarly without being dull, enthusiastic about GWTW without being blind to its faults, and thoroughly interesting and entertaining. Highly recommended!
19 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Don't agree that Mitchell was subversive or a feminist June 30 2009
By Evelina - Published on
Format: Hardcover
To begin with, I am not supporting the old south. I am describing Mitchell's thinking.

First, the idea that Mitchell was "subversive." Like all liberals Haskell is in love with the concept and she is led to misread Margaret Mitchell. Life is complicated, and a woman can be traditional and conservative, like Mitchell, and still see the faults of the male population, can see the hesitation and fear under male bravado, can acknowledge the strength of women and women`s need to sometimes do something different from the traditional female role. There are always contradictions in culture and a lot of things that seem silly even as we do them and believe them. Moreover, every society has the established order and standards and then something that stands in opposition to it, but not enough to seriously question the established order, just enough to provide people with a safe way to blow off frustration or stress (normal aspects of life). Mitchell sees all this. But acknowledging this does not make Mitchell a feminist or a rebel who wants to change the basic order of things.

Mitchell sees that people can break the rules, provided they are willing to pay the price. Those few who want to be different can take the risk. They may succeed or fail. But those who risk don't expect society to change all its rules for them so that everyone can be made to approve of their breaking the rules. They have to live with some degree of disapproval from others. This is very different from the modern way of thinking that wants to break the rules and get approval for doing so and, in fact, bring about a revolution, abolish the rules, and set in place new ones or none at all. That was not Mitchell. Yet Haskell twists things around to make Mitchell into some kind of rebel against the order of the old south or traditional male female roles. Mitchell was not subversive. She was not about changing the rules. In fact, she lamented change.

Seeing the fault of something or the negative side of it does not mean you want to destroy it or even change it. Rather, you realize that the "bad" part is an inevitable accompaniment to the "good" part. You accept that tradition has its disadvantages just as everything does. Haskell makes much of the fact that Mitchell created strong female characters. That has nothing to do with feminism. Contrary to feminist teaching, women's strength has always been acknowledged, but in a way different from ours today. Until recently people thought that a woman could be strong without becoming like a man or acting like one. She could still be feminine and strong, like Melanie. A woman can be strong and smart without being feminist. The other kind of strong woman is Scarlett. In Scarlett, Mitchell created a ruthlessly selfish, resourceful, determined, ambitious character. Sometimes women are like this and it can serve a purpose, Mitchell is saying. Mitchell clearly did not endorse the view that every women should be like Scarlett. She saw the costs and benefits of Scarlett's conduct. The character of Scarlett is also no feminist. She does not think that everyone should be like her or that she is spearheading social change or anything remotely like that. Scarlett thinks only of her own benefit and her family's. And she pays a price for it.

At the same time that she lauds feminism, Haskell defends and appreciates the traditional male ego. She finds Rhett Butler attractive. But feminism and the male ego cannot live in the same place. One drives out the other. Haskell admits this in a backhanded kind of way. She sees that the tough Scarlett and the tough Rhett are a good combination. But Scarlett has to be a little softer and let Rhett take the lead at least some of the time. But Scarlettt is so strong she can't give, can't bend, can't reach out. Rhett can't bend to her will first because he is a man. Scarlett has to give first. Haskell has no way to bring together the woman who is strong like a man is strong and the masculine man. Neither does Mitchell.

Haskell makes a good point about Leslie Howard when she points out that he was a heartthrob in his day. He is the gentler male, different from the Clark Gable character. But he was still a man with the male ego. He was not a wimp as some contemporary readers think. When women were soft, men could be soft without risking their masculinity.