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Film Critique Of Selznick's Films Essay

2624 words - 11 pages

"I have a different concept of producing thanother producers. Some producers are money men,and others are just lieutenants. For me toproduce is to make a picture. As a producer,I can maintain an editorial perspective thatI wouldn't have as a director. I considermyself first a creative producer, then a showmanand then a businessman. You need all three thingsto succeed in the business today."-David O. SelznickThe film Since You Went Away was released in 1944. This epic film attempted to relate to the American audience that was dealing with the war foreclosing and the flux of soldiers coming home at the time. The Hollywood studios were constantly trying to do their part for the war buy making ...view middle of the document...

" (Eyman p. 121) In this period, Selznick's style was remembered best by his epic length movies in which he paid special attention to detail. His films catered to the female market but also had potential to cross over to the male segment. Selznick was "increasingly becoming aware of the commercial value of his name." (Fenster p.36) He decided to repeat the formula that worked well in Gone With the Wind and made a decision to purchase a war novel/diary from Margaret Wilder. Since You Went Away spawned from Wilder's novel, after Selznick spent many hours on developing the screenplay and hiring the right cast. The war film was a popular genre to produce during the war years in North America. Also, it was seen as a noble effort to make 3. a film about the war. Most of the skilled directors or producers of these films, stylized their own vision of the war with their special trademarks throughout the film. Films that did this, usually did will well at the box office as well as at the Academy Awards Ceremony. David Selznick was looking for a hit movie to follow the success of Gone With The Wind and he hoped Since You Went Away would be a blockbuster. Selznick spent nearly "$3,000,000 on this film", (Thomas p. 220) which meant glossy and detailed scenes throughout the film. This was an unusual amount of money for a film from this period, but David Selznick was known in Hollywood for his elaborate budgets.The films length allowed Selznick to allow it to take place over a year. The story begins in January 12, 1943 which is immediately after Mr. Hilton departs for the war. The Hiltons are a middle/upper class family who are now faced with dealing with dealing with the trials and tribulations of everyday life without the support of a male authority figure. A lot of emphasis is placed on the female audience's familiarity with "the details of day to day living and plenty of humorous sentimental reportage of housekeeping: rationing, the problems of two growing daughters and the business of getting jobs to help the 4. family's reduced budget."(Hartung p 374) Selznick increased the original ages of the two daughters so Shirley Temple (Bridget) and Jennifer Jones (Jane) could play the roles and romance could be introduced. Nineteen forty-four was quite the turbulent year for the American populous. The war was coming to a close, and America saw the return of their heroes after a glorious battle. But, there was also a feeling of nervous uncertainty and anxiety regarding the heroes return. The reviewers and reviews of Since You Went Away were very much in tune with this feeling. In the press, critics viewed this film in either of two ways. First, it seen as a triumphant return of Selznick and secondly, the critics thought the movie attempted at a realistic portrayal. An article in...

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