Thursday, June 23, 2005

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

The Movie: Gone With the Wind, 1939 (Sidney Howard, screenwriter, from the novel by Margaret Mitchell; Victor Fleming, dir.)
Who says it: Clark Gable as reformed rake and Southern gentleman Rhett Butler
The context: Rhett is leaving his wife, Scarlett (Vivien Leigh), who wails, “Where shall I go? What shall I do?”
How to use it: When you… oh, never mind.

Yeah, I know about the American Film Institute's list of 100 Best Movie Quotes -- and no, I didn't watch the TV show, I was in an airport. Part of me is gratified that most of those quotations have already appeared in this blog, and part of me is annoyed that so many of the lines the AFI's voters chose have devolved into meaningless cliches.

Like this one, which ranked #1 on the AFI's list. People use it literally, and don't even think about what they're saying when they use it. In the movie, however -- and to an even greater extent, in the book -- this line is a lie. Rhett says goodbye after mourning the loss of his love for Scarlett, but this line is as much to convince himself as it is to brush her off. It's deeply ironic and sad, and overuse has turned it into something flippant and cute. So phooey to the AFI, I say.

Gardiner seems deserted after Los Angeles; since the town has about as many residents as my old neighborhood in L.A., I guess that makes sense. Dizzy and I checked out the bamboo patches along Water Street this morning, on our way down to the river. No signs of pandas yet. Perhaps they're nocturnal.


JJ said...

It turns out that bamboo is native to North America. When I was a kid (in Texas) we used to call it "River Cane."


Perhaps they are extremely small pandas.

R. U. Serious said...

Sorry about the pandas. I ate the last one. I'll pick up some more when I'm in China.

Damned If I Know

Beth said...

Best movie quote ever: Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.