TV documentary shows 'rebel' side of Margaret Mitchell

Georgia public broadcasting show Thursday on 'Gone With The Wind' author

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MACON, Ga. -- In April 1936, a few weeks before Gone With the Wind  was published, the novel’s author was the guest speaker at a Saturday breakfast in downtown Macon.

Margaret Mitchell, author of 'Gone with the Wind'  AP file
AP file
Margaret Mitchell, author of 'Gone with the Wind'

She had friends here. They knew her as Peggy, Peggy Marsh. Her novel would bear her now famous maiden name: Margaret Mitchell.

An article in the next day’s Macon Telegraph -- a piece written by one of her acquaintances, fellow newspaper columnist Blythe McKay -- described how “Margaret Mitchell Marsh, tiny, brunette, clad in spring-like apple green suit and wine hat that shaded her animated features, enchanted the more than 200 guests with her informality and her subtle humor.”

Now, 75 years and a couple of months after that visit, a documentary about the world renowned author, Margaret Mitchell: American Rebel, will be shown at the Douglass Theatre on Wednesday evening, the night before its television premiere on GPB. A panel discussion on the writer’s life and work will follow.

The film set out to capture the spirit of a homegrown literary hero, one who didn’t put on airs -- a quality made evident at her breakfast appearance here before the Macon Writers Club in 1936.

Pamela Roberts, the GPB documentary’s executive producer, says the film may dispel some misconceptions about Mitchell.

“We think, ‘OK, she was probably just a little housewife who sat down in her apartment and churned out this great big book.’ Then you find out that she is this very forward-thinking modern woman who is essentially, without ever using the term, an early feminist,” Roberts said.

“You’ll learn that Margaret Mitchell was really complicated and yet delightful. ... She didn’t take herself too seriously. She didn’t ever say, ‘I’m a great writer.’ ... Never bought a house, never bought fancy clothes, never bought new car. ... She sounds like a saint. But on the other hand, she’s a swearing, just this rebellious person who just doesn’t care what society thinks about her. ... She really is a rebel for all time.”

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Riverman1
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Riverman1 06/26/11 - 03:28 pm
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Wow...what a woman!!! She

Wow...what a woman!!! She loved the south in fiction and in life.

"There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Old South….Here in this patrician world the Age of Chivalry took its last bow….Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave….Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind…."

seenitB4
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seenitB4 06/26/11 - 03:40 pm
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-----------------------------

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Scarlett: As God is my witness, as God is my witness they're not going to lick me. I'm going to live through this and when it's all over, I'll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again.

Ahhhh......how I love that movie.....I bet her personality was alot like Scarletts.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 06/26/11 - 04:04 pm
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SeenitB4, probably. I liked

SeenitB4, probably. I liked that other picture of Margaret Mitchell if you follow the link. She was a sparky, cutie with lots of humor. Loved her telegram to the publisher who asked her if Southerners brushed their teeth in 1860. She wired back, "No, they picked their teeth with a Bowie knife."

I'll point out one thing about her talk before the Macon group in 1936. They believed she was outspoken and bold for a woman in that time even though her book hadn't been published yet.

Back then relatively few books were published and if a major publisher accepted your book, you WERE IN even though the book hadn't actually come out yet. So she was already secure and knew fame was assured at the time of her talk before the Macon folks. As the article says, her biggest worry was if her beloved Southern people would approve of the novel. Ha....guess she had nothing to worry about.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 06/26/11 - 04:19 pm
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Miss Mitchell's story is

Miss Mitchell's story is hardly the stuff of epic. Growing up in a comfortably middle-class Atlanta home, she absorbs her grandmother's stories of the Civil War and the burning of their city by the Yankees. Young Peggy, as she likes to be called, goes to Smith College in Massachusetts and hates it. Back in Atlanta, her mildly scandalous reputation is made more so by her first marriage, to Red Upshaw, a bootlegging rake. Later, her second husband encourages her to expand her writing talents beyond feature articles for The Atlanta Journal. Her first and only novel becomes one of the best-selling books of all time.

"A Burning Passion" pounces on every conceivable parallel between Mitchell fact and Mitchell's fiction. Like Scarlett, Peggy is portrayed as rebellious and spirited. She is played by Shannen Doherty, who seems most comfortable when, in a Roaring 20's scene, she prances about in a public fountain in her underwear. Otherwise, Ms. Doherty looks sullen and, well, pudgy. Red Upshaw (Dale Midkiff) is Peggy's own Rhett, only without an ounce of charm or promise. And when the story drifts, as is its wont, Peggy gets a Scarlett line like, "I don't want to think about all that today."

Some of her book probably is based on her 1st husband-----a scoundrel haha.....she probably loved dearly but realized how much after the fact.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 06/26/11 - 07:42 pm
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Ahhh, good stuff. So Red was

Ahhh, good stuff. So Red was a scoundrel just like Rhett. I had always seen Mrs. Mitchell as a staid recluse, but she was anything but that. A pretty and spirited girl who would have been fun to have a drink with. Remind me to watch the documentary Thursday night on GPB.

TrulyWorried
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TrulyWorried 06/26/11 - 09:06 pm
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What time on Thursday will it

What time on Thursday will it be broadcast on GPB???

seenitB4
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seenitB4 06/27/11 - 11:45 am
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9pmThursday

9pmThursday night...

http://www.mycountypaper.com/henrydailyherald/headlines/124117309.html
As a child she heard tales of the CivilWar...hah she was 10 when she realized the South lost!!

seenitB4
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seenitB4 06/27/11 - 11:54 am
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