Friday, May 4, 2018

Nathan Platte on Gone with the Wind (and others)

A very interesting play off the famous "Tara" theme in Gone with the Wind could form the basis of a comparison paper. Nathan Platte reveals that the composer, Max Steiner, had actually written jazz/blues versions of the tune for two films just a year or so earlier: link. The films are They Made Me a Criminal (1939)—starring John Garfield, Claude Rains, and Ann Sheridan—and Crime School (1938), which stars Humphrey Bogart and Gale Page. As the titles suggest, both belong to the distinctly Warner Bros. genre of inner city crime and gangster films.

Quite a distance from southern plantations! Platte's explanations and speculation about the transformation from crime film to antebellum romance are stimulating in themselves, and one or more of them might well be explored further in a paper that forms and argues a thesis.

Nathan Platte is the author of Making Music in Selznick's Hollywood (Oxford University Press, 2017): link to publisher page.