Hattie McDaniel’s Path to Her Oscar

Last year, in part because of the celebrations surrounding the films of 1939, I had a chance to introduce Gone With the Wind to younger viewers in my family who had never seen the film. It’s not a favorite movie of mine, so I could understand their appalled reactions to the innate racism of the story that implied that a slave’s first loyalty was to the families that owned them, (even after the Civil War and emancipation). Seen at a glance in GWTW, maybe the antebellum South’s biggest problems may only seem to be uppity white trash like Victor Jory’s oily Jonas Wilkerson, or the need for rebellious girls like Scarlett to maintain their hypocritical poses in a rigid social structure, while secretly acting on their own half-understood impulses, and the upheaval caused by those damn Yankees. But look a bit closer and you can see the story of changing attitudes and a brave woman struggling to make her mark in a world that both rejected and accepted her.  I don’t mean Scarlett Katie O’Hara, either.

Perhaps the strange nostalgia that Hollywood bathed the Old South in from The Birth of a Nation (1915) on culminated in the orgiastic grandeur of GWTW, but, seen in context, the latter film’s cultural impact was part of the beginning of the end of certain prejudices as well. The movie, which still makes money in just about every format in which it has been marketed, may often seem overblown but is fun and repeated viewings there is still one performance that consistently brings the story to moving life for me. Whenever the luminous Hattie McDaniel (1895-1952) appears on screen, she is a clear-eyed character completely unhampered by social niceties, or even the need to restrain herself in order to survive in a topsy-turvy world. Playing a woman who acts as a Greek chorus, a conscience, a pillar of strength and a judgmental maternal figure–all delivered with a ferocious edge of anger, impatience and seemingly inexplicable love for members of the white O’Hara family, particularly Scarlett, she is enormously appealing. In a way that was echoed by fellow character actresses and truth-tellers Eve Arden and Thelma Ritter, her Mammy told it like it was, but with a difference that made her bravery more impressive–she was an African-American woman playing a slave in a period when such stock characters were most often dehumanized.

McDaniel and the filmmakers took what might have been a clichéd role embodying the ugliest of racial stereotypes and transformed it into a portrait of human being of considerable complexity, endowing her character with a rich blend of humor, empathy, and intelligence. While the story did not acknowledge her character’s life when white people weren’t around, a viewer would have to be quite obtuse not to recognize her vital sense of her own power and her intuitive understanding of others. This is particularly true of Scarlett (Vivien Leigh), whose ploys she readily sees through, but there is also a particularly sympathetic affinity passing between Mammy and the realistic and dashing Rhett Butler, who was played by Clark Gable, an actor who had enjoyed working with her previously in China Seas (1935-Tay Garnett) and Saratoga (1937-Jack Conway). (If you have a chance, see Saratoga sometime and revel in their exchanges throughout the film, in which the appealingly raffish pair seem to be rehearsing for their mock battles and affectionate skirmishes in GWTW).

Landing the role meant competing with such popular performers as Louise Beavers, whose touching work in Imitation of Life (1934-John M. Stahl) has never received the accolades it deserved. According to several sources, Beavers, who had previously established a reputation for creating characters of an exceptional gentle sunniness, arrived to audition for Mammy dressed in her finest clothes, while Hattie McDaniel came dressed in the apparel that her character would wear. As an actress, McDaniel, the daughter of two former slaves, must have been sensitive to the implications of her role since, throughout the film, she remains very near center stage, even while other characters die or disappear from the massive story as an entire society is transformed. As a child she had been so prone to singing nonstop that she later explained that her mother used to give her a dime to knock it off for a while, and her father and brothers were all musicians and performers at some time during their lives, so leaving school at an early age may have had some appeal for her. As a former vaudevillian who had traveled with a minstrel show until the Depression forced her to take on jobs as real maids and as a ladies room attendant, McDaniel‘s film career before GWTW had included several roles playing servants on screen beginning in 1932. In retrospect, some earlier parts now seem surprisingly docile, such as her role as a contented plantation slave–complete with a Southern dialectin The Little Colonel (1935-David Butler).

However, there were strong hints that her spirit, backed up by her powerful physical presence and resonant voice could not be held down by increasingly outdated archetypes when she played a character, even if she was a maid most of the time. A kind of breakthrough came under George Stevens‘ direction in Booth Tarkington’s Alice Adams (1935), which told the story of young woman (Katharine Hepburn, in one of her most finely tuned early performances) and her slightly pretentious ambitions for herself and her poor family as she sought to find a place in small town society. After inviting a young man from a prominent family (Fred MacMurray) to dinner, a hired maid (Hattie McDaniel) is signed on to serve an elaborate meal on a particularly hot evening. Sullen, and silently disgusted with these affected white people (Hepburn refers to the maid as “la domestique”) who insisted on having her wear an ill-fitting maid’s cap, McDaniel‘s brief scene builds into a rhapsody of domestic disaster as everything goes wrong and her contempt for these people grows more evident. Some critics felt that the actress deserved special mention, with Andre Sennwald in his 1935 review of Alice Adams in The New York Times reflecting audience’s delight in his comment that no review would be adequate “if it neglected to applaud Hattie Daniels for her hilarious bit as the hired maid during the classic dinner scene.”In The Mad Miss Manton (1938-Leigh Jason), she answers the door and throws a pitcher of water in the face of Henry Fonda, an act of enormous impudence and physical aggression for that time. In The Shopworn Angel (1938-H.C. Potter), Hattie yells back at her employer Margaret Sullavan whenever she is barked at by her. In addition, McDaniel clearly has other priorities outside of work, and it is implied that the character likes to step out at night, and sleep late in the morning–just like her musical comedy star boss (and many real human beings).

These unusually assertive roles did not escape the attention of critics and audiences. Production Code Office honcho Joseph Breen reminded RKO that the impishness shown by the actress in roles such as The Mad Miss Manton “may be objectionable in the South where the showing of Negroes on terms of familiarity and social equality is resented.” Despite reported script changes that led to the part being trimmed of its “inappropriateness”, in the existing film the actress had a field day, answering a persistent doorbell with the muttered remark, “I ain’t deaf…sometimes I wish I was” and when sharply reminded by her employer (Barbara Stanwyck) that an individual “is our guest”, the maid simply points out that “I didn’t invite her.”

As her prominence grew within the film industry, she found herself straddling a fault line that grew during her lifetime as the country moved toward the Civil Rights movement that burst forth shortly after her death. White and black audiences were often united in their appreciation of her, but progressive if perhaps somewhat naive observers, were understandably pained by the menial roles McDaniel and others were consistently asked to play. From Hattie McDaniel‘s point of view, she was a working actress at a time when most of her co-workers were unemployed and her presence on screen, along with her ability to mold her parts to comment on the stereotypes may have reflected a gradualist approach to change that she favored. Her intelligent playing, warmth and humor enabled her to transcend expectations, but the actress had little control over her career choices, and could wind up in a film such as Maryland (1940-Henry King), playing painfully hackneyed roles that demeaned her and all actors of color–not to mention the effect on audience assumptions. To McDaniel, her articulate speech, regal carriage, and beautiful clothes off screen reflected her own awareness that “I’m a fine black Mammy [on the screen], but I’m Hattie McDaniel in my house.”

With the blockbuster status of Margaret Mitchell‘s bestselling Gone With the Wind and David O. Selznick‘s flair for publicity, the casting in GWTW attracted the attention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which, under Walter White wanted to have some influence over the script’s depiction of the Black characters and the racially charged dialogue. According to several biographies, Selznick mollified his critics in the black press by promising to hire a technical advisor specifically representing their interests (he never did, though he did hire a white Southern historian as a consultant). Eventually the script, which underwent so many revisions throughout shooting that censorship became nearly impossible, was amended to remove the hateful “N” word completely from the script, though it was used by Hattie McDaniel‘s character in the script when criticizing black tramps she encountered in a scene set in Reconstruction period, almost up to the time of shooting. In a release to the black press, McDaniel, as a contractee of Selznick International, was also photographed with three individuals identified as onset representatives of the black community concerns (two were actually film production employees). Despite these fast shuffles, Hattie’s broad shoulders carried the mantle of one of the most fully realized black characters in a major motion picture up to that time. One scene in particular, when Melanie (Olivia de Havilland) arrives to comfort the Butlers after their daughter’s tragic death, stood out as a consummate piece of acting. Mounting the stairs, a heartsick Mammy explains that “Mister Rhett done los’ his mind since Bonnie was killed trying to make her pony take a high jump,” locking himself and his child’s cold body away in his bedroom and refusing to hear of anyone’s burying the child in the ground, concerned that this would even be considered, since the girl was so afraid of the dark. De Havilland, who privately nursed hopes of an Oscar nod for her restrained but powerful performance said later that “the scene probably won Hattie her Oscar and that almost broke my heart too–at least at the time.”

Despite delivering a performance that Variety would say “set a mark on this moment in the picture as one of those inspirational [high points] long remembered,” credit and respect from her colleagues on the set and in her industry as well as audiences had to wait. When the Selznick organization made it known to Atlanta officials that the black members of the cast such as Hattie McDaniel, Butterfly McQueen, Oscar Polk and Everett Browne would be attending the premiere in late 1939, this was nixed when it became clear that these actors would not be made welcome. When the mock-up of the souvenir program for the premiere featured a prominent photo of Hattie McDaniel along with her co-stars Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Leslie Howard and Olivia de Havilland, there were objections raised. In private, an outraged David Selznick felt that he was in a spot that made him “seem ungrateful for what I honestly feel is one of the great supporting performances of all time”, but, even though it galled him, after reflecting on what was at stake financially, and with the advice of his counselors, he accepted the Southern city fathers’ edict, and removed Hattie‘s picture. One of the few bright notes in this sad recounting was the name of one of the youths who was a part of the celebration in Atlanta on December 14, 1939 as a member of the Ebenezer Baptist Church Choir. Then ten years old, Martin Luther King, Jr. would eventually be instrumental in changing such accepted customs.

After the film received a more general release, the accolades poured in, with particular praise for McDaniel‘s multi-dimensional characterization. Critics, including Edwin Schallert of The Los Angeles Times wrote that her “remarkable achievement” was “worthy of Academy supporting awards while some publications in the Black community and the liberal press were understandably troubled by the flaws in the film, such as the warped picture it painted of slavery and the Confederate cause. Criticism of those scenes that depicted  “Negroes as ignorant, incapable and superstitious” might appear side by side with articles in the same periodicals that praised Hattie McDaniel‘s performance and pressed for her nomination for an Oscar. Leading up to the nominations and voting period for the Academy Awards, for the first time, Black entertainment professionals, including veteran actor Clarence Muse and select journalists, were admitted to the Academy for voting. Outwardly jubilant, the attention and pressure that the actress endured from this period on in her career must have been gratifying and daunting. As she tried to explain to those who questioned her choice of the role, Hattie said, “This is an opportunity to glorify Negro womanhood. I am proud that I am a Negro woman because members of that class have given so much.”

McDaniel did receive her nomination and the enthusiastic public support of Selznick, and many members of her industry and audiences. Breaking a color barrier in American life while having her acting receive its due must have been gratifying for the actress, whose name was submitted along with Maria Ouspenskaya for Love Affair, Geraldine Fitzgerald for Wuthering Heights, Edna Mae Oliver for Drums Along the Mohawk, and, of course, Olivia de Havilland for GWTW.  Seventy years ago this month, on the evening of February 29, 1940, as about 1,700 people gathered at the Coconut Grove in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, Hattie McDaniel arrived on the arm of her escort, F.P. Yober, in a blue gown with a few discreetly sparkling rhinestones, topped with an ermine cape and with gardenias cascading from her hair onto her right shoulder. However, as she entered to take her seat, the actress, who was greeted by spontaneous applause among the attendees*, even though, she once more found herself seated, not with her white co-workers from this production, but in the corner of the room away from them.  The rest is history:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3hpmgn7Q30]

Despite this, one more slight among many, the film won 8 Oscars that night, and the next day on the front page of The Los Angeles Sentinel was a large picture of the actress with one word under her radiant, if slightly stunned visage: “Winner.” Her comment as she was accosted by a flying wedge of reporters after receiving her award  was the simple comment that “Well, all I have to say is I did my best and God did the rest.”

In the remaining twelve years of Hattie McDaniel‘s life she continued to produce a prodigious amount of work in film, radio and television while her cherished Oscar was prominently displayed in her home. Her private life appears to have been sometimes painful, (she was married four times, each time relatively briefly and lived with declining health beginning in the mid-40s), but publicly and professionally, she presented an example of an African-American whose efforts to honor her deep spiritual roots by helping others among her family, friends, community and country have much longer shadows than she could have imagined.

In a pair of sad codas to this story of a vibrant, pioneering woman who endured so much in her quest for achievement and recognition, Hattie McDaniel‘s Oscar is now missing, (seen at right, the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in those days was a smaller statuette with an attached plaque). After her death of breast cancer in 1952 at 57, the star left her history-making Oscar to the leading Black institution of higher learning, Howard University. Hattie McDaniel hoped that the Oscar might inspire future generations there. In the tumultuous days following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King in 1968, the statuette reportedly went missing, with some reports claiming that the award was consigned to a watery grave in the Potomac River by students bitter over its association in a time of stereotyping and racism. As far as I have been able to confirm, Howard University has not confirmed that part of the story, but has reported the Oscar as missing and AMPAS has declined to provide a replacement to the school. As of last year, Tom Gregory, a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, reported that this situation has not been resolved. If anyone can clarify this situation further, I hope that they will share any facts they may know about this matter.

Days after Hattie McDaniel‘s death, her expressed wish to be buried in Hollywood Memorial Park (now known as Hollywood Forever), was denied–since the cemetery was white only,  (even in death?!). Consequently, an estimated five thousand mourners and limousines loaded down with flowers and the famous accompanied her body to Rosedale cemetery, where she rests today, (seen at left). In 1999 Hollywood Forever (clearly under new management), held a ceremony 47 years after her death to unveil a cenotaph in her memory consisting of a pink marble pillar with three hundred attendees gathered to finally honor her memory.

To be honest, I only pay desultory attention to modern day Oscar races. The participants seem somehow blander and airbrushed than some of those who came before, but my interest was piqued by a news item in The Hollywood Reporter on November 11th of last year that warmed my classics-lovin’ heart. In a story about the award season that was earning kudos for Mo’Nique, the actress who stunned critics and audiences alike as the abusive mother of victimized child in the extremely powerful film Precious (2009), the odds-on favorite to win an Oscar as the Best Supporting Actress in this year’s Academy Awards mentioned that she owns the rights to the life story of Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American to garner an Oscar for her outstanding role in Gone With the Wind (1939) and she hopes to use any new found clout to prepare a biopic about the complex career and life of the GWTW actress with Lee Daniels, the director of Precious.

As Todd Boyd pointed out in his recent thoughtful piece on The Root, it took almost two and a half decades for that color barrier to be breached again after McDaniel‘s coup, with Sidney Poitier’s win as Best Actor for Lilies of the Field (1963-Ralph Nelson), followed by Lou Gossett, Denzel Washington, Whoopi Goldberg and Cuba Goodings wins in the supporting categories. Since 2001, Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Jamie Foxx, and Forest Whitaker have been awarded Best Actor and Actress Oscars, with Morgan Freeman and Jennifer Hudson receiving recognition for their excellence in the Supporting categories. I’m not sure if in this distracted age all the movies that have earned Academy Awards will live as long as GWTW but isn’t it possible that some of those real barriers are gone? Still, I can’t help hoping that somewhere Hattie McDaniel was smiling if she could hear Mo’Nique‘s comment about her Best Supporting Actress nomination when the actress said “I’m really appreciative to be in that category with that woman. It’s phenomenal. She was amazing for what she did to the entertainment industry. She brought people together through love.”
For those of us who enjoy Hattie McDaniel any way we find her, I have included a clip from Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943-David Butler), a film in which she joyously rocks the house singing an Arthur Schwartz and Frank Loesser song, “Ice Cold Katie”, ably assisted by just about every Black performer in Hollywood at the time, including Willie Best, all in the name of a cause she supported for years–entertaining the troops in wartime:
[wpvideo 4bGPTXHp]
UPDATE 3/8/10:
After winning the Oscar as Best Supporting Actress last night, Mo’Nique told reporters that the “reason why why I have on this royal blue dress is because it’s the color that Hattie McDaniel wore in 1940 when she accepted her Oscar. The reason why I have this gardenia in my hair, it is the flower that Hattie McDaniel wore when she accepted her Oscar. So for you, Miss Hattie McDaniel, I feel you all over me.”

_________________________________

*One reason why the people in the Coconut Grove may have been eager to applaud Hattie McDaniel‘s approach that night was the fact that The Los Angeles Times leaked the names of the winners in their late edition just prior to the Academy Awards ceremony, a not uncommon event in the early years of AMPAS history. If that happened today, a special prosecutor would probably have to investigate the matter.

Sources:

Benshoff, Harry M., Griffin, Shawn, America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality at the Movies, Wiley-Blackwell, 2004.
Jackson, Carlton, Hattie: The Life of Hattie McDaniel, Madison Books, 1990.
Walters, Ben, Queen of Comedy Mo’Nique Takes a Dramatic Turn, The Hollywood Reporter, November 11, 2009.
Watts, Jill, Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood, HarperCollins, 2005.

48 Responses Hattie McDaniel’s Path to Her Oscar
Posted By saraeg : February 18, 2010 9:50 pm

Dear Moirafinnie, Thank you so much for this lovely story about Hattie Mcdaniel. I have always loved her performances in any movie I can catch her in, and I am also very happy to learn about the possibility that Mo’Nique may prepare a biopic on the life of Hattie. I hope this film will be made with love and care and I will be watching for it in the future.

Posted By saraeg : February 18, 2010 9:50 pm

Dear Moirafinnie, Thank you so much for this lovely story about Hattie Mcdaniel. I have always loved her performances in any movie I can catch her in, and I am also very happy to learn about the possibility that Mo’Nique may prepare a biopic on the life of Hattie. I hope this film will be made with love and care and I will be watching for it in the future.

Posted By Errol Jones : February 19, 2010 12:21 am

You can ‘knock’ GONE WITH THE WIND all you want…but it still remains one of the BEST FILMS ever made. And you are ‘knocking’ it when you say that your children were shocked by the way slaves were
presented in the movie..but isn’t that..the way it was then? If you
are going to know the whole story of the Old South, then you have to show the injustice and inhumane way people were treated then.

Show me another film of the Old South that does as much justice to telling ‘the truth’ as this film did. That is why, even though you don’t seem to like it,..still is ‘solid gold’ wherever it is played or purchased.

I am also a devoted fan of HATTIE MC DANIEL and her performance in that film, alone…(not counting all the other films she should have been nominated for..and won)…gave her the chance to show just how accomplished an actress she was. She was nominated, along with OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND in the same film, for Best Supporting Actress and although Miss De Havilland was strong in the role of Melanie, she could never TOP the great performance that dear Hattie gave. It was a well deserved Oscar win…in a GOLDEN CLASSIC FILM OF OUR TIME.

Posted By Errol Jones : February 19, 2010 12:21 am

You can ‘knock’ GONE WITH THE WIND all you want…but it still remains one of the BEST FILMS ever made. And you are ‘knocking’ it when you say that your children were shocked by the way slaves were
presented in the movie..but isn’t that..the way it was then? If you
are going to know the whole story of the Old South, then you have to show the injustice and inhumane way people were treated then.

Show me another film of the Old South that does as much justice to telling ‘the truth’ as this film did. That is why, even though you don’t seem to like it,..still is ‘solid gold’ wherever it is played or purchased.

I am also a devoted fan of HATTIE MC DANIEL and her performance in that film, alone…(not counting all the other films she should have been nominated for..and won)…gave her the chance to show just how accomplished an actress she was. She was nominated, along with OLIVIA DE HAVILLAND in the same film, for Best Supporting Actress and although Miss De Havilland was strong in the role of Melanie, she could never TOP the great performance that dear Hattie gave. It was a well deserved Oscar win…in a GOLDEN CLASSIC FILM OF OUR TIME.

Posted By Jeff H. : February 19, 2010 2:04 am

Hattie must been a favorite of Selznick-she has a cameo in the beginning of NOTHING SACRED and had great supporting role in SINCE YOU WENT AWAY as (sadly) the maid to Claudette Colbert’s family. She also gives a magnificent performance as Queenie in the 1936 SHOW BOAT, and even gets to sing a bit of “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man” with Paul Robeson.

Mo’nique would make an interesting Hattie, but I suspect that getting the financing for a film like that will be like pulling teeth-I wish her much luck in getting that film made.

Posted By Jeff H. : February 19, 2010 2:04 am

Hattie must been a favorite of Selznick-she has a cameo in the beginning of NOTHING SACRED and had great supporting role in SINCE YOU WENT AWAY as (sadly) the maid to Claudette Colbert’s family. She also gives a magnificent performance as Queenie in the 1936 SHOW BOAT, and even gets to sing a bit of “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man” with Paul Robeson.

Mo’nique would make an interesting Hattie, but I suspect that getting the financing for a film like that will be like pulling teeth-I wish her much luck in getting that film made.

Posted By kingrat : February 19, 2010 2:00 pm

Moira, thanks for a wonderful piece about Hattie McDaniel, particularly appreciated since I just saw her hilarious turn in ALICE ADAMS.

I believe GWTW is a bit subtler in its attitudes toward slavery than it is given credit for. Consider the contrast between the attitudes of Prissy and Mammy. Prissy is passive-aggressive, not particularly concerned about saving the fine china or even about Miss Melly and the birth of her child. Mammy naturally has so much love to give that she can’t resist giving it to Scarlett just as if they were equals and Scarlett were her own child. Both of these are believable responses to dealing with the situation of being a slave. I could go on and on about the ways the different women in the film, including Mammy and Prissy, shows us different possibilities for women in their society, but I want to keep this thread centered on Hattie McDaniel. I’d love to see a good film about her.

Posted By kingrat : February 19, 2010 2:00 pm

Moira, thanks for a wonderful piece about Hattie McDaniel, particularly appreciated since I just saw her hilarious turn in ALICE ADAMS.

I believe GWTW is a bit subtler in its attitudes toward slavery than it is given credit for. Consider the contrast between the attitudes of Prissy and Mammy. Prissy is passive-aggressive, not particularly concerned about saving the fine china or even about Miss Melly and the birth of her child. Mammy naturally has so much love to give that she can’t resist giving it to Scarlett just as if they were equals and Scarlett were her own child. Both of these are believable responses to dealing with the situation of being a slave. I could go on and on about the ways the different women in the film, including Mammy and Prissy, shows us different possibilities for women in their society, but I want to keep this thread centered on Hattie McDaniel. I’d love to see a good film about her.

Posted By suzidoll : February 19, 2010 2:42 pm

Wonderful post on McDaniels. I am sincerely hoping that Mo’Nique and Lee Daniels (not Boyd, but I can see why you made this typo) do make a biopic of her. She deserves to be mythologized and remembered.

I still watch the Oscars, though I, too, am disappointed in the caliber of the show and stars in comparison to previous eras. The corporatizing of Hollywood has ruined most of its institutions and traditions, the Oscars included.

Posted By suzidoll : February 19, 2010 2:42 pm

Wonderful post on McDaniels. I am sincerely hoping that Mo’Nique and Lee Daniels (not Boyd, but I can see why you made this typo) do make a biopic of her. She deserves to be mythologized and remembered.

I still watch the Oscars, though I, too, am disappointed in the caliber of the show and stars in comparison to previous eras. The corporatizing of Hollywood has ruined most of its institutions and traditions, the Oscars included.

Posted By Al Lowe : February 19, 2010 4:41 pm

I have mixed feelings about this blog.

It is too easy for a younger generation to trash GONE WITH THE WIND. What do you prefer? TITANIC? ROBOCOP? GWTW remains a powerful movie with a depiction of strong female characters. My parents died in the 1970s but I fondly remember my Mom insisting my Dad take her to see GWTW every time it was reissued. Clark Gable, whose performance is not to be sneered at either, once said he remained a big star due to the reissuing of GWTW.

But, yes, unfortunately, there are the racial stereotypes. I served two stints in the Army and in 1970 wrote for the Army newspaper at Fort Lee, Va. Can anyone guess what the name of the paper was? It was called THE TRAVELLER and was named after Robert E. Lee’s horse. One story I wrote concerned a Black man protesting that textbooks in Virginia schools had references saying that slavery was not all that a bad a thing for the Negroes. Much of what I wrote didn’t make the paper.

Sorry, Moirafinnie. I’m not the fan of yours that I used to be. You make snide remarks about GWTW and GOING MY WAY and yet you write a blog for a channel that specializes in showing such classic films for devotees.
Anyway, it is time that you or another Morlock give Hattie McDaniel a blog she deserves. Not just GWTW and ALICE ADAMS. Talk about her career in depth. SHOWBOAT. SINCE YOU WENT AWAY. THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS. Her other roles. What about her personal life?

Thanks for listening to me.

Posted By Al Lowe : February 19, 2010 4:41 pm

I have mixed feelings about this blog.

It is too easy for a younger generation to trash GONE WITH THE WIND. What do you prefer? TITANIC? ROBOCOP? GWTW remains a powerful movie with a depiction of strong female characters. My parents died in the 1970s but I fondly remember my Mom insisting my Dad take her to see GWTW every time it was reissued. Clark Gable, whose performance is not to be sneered at either, once said he remained a big star due to the reissuing of GWTW.

But, yes, unfortunately, there are the racial stereotypes. I served two stints in the Army and in 1970 wrote for the Army newspaper at Fort Lee, Va. Can anyone guess what the name of the paper was? It was called THE TRAVELLER and was named after Robert E. Lee’s horse. One story I wrote concerned a Black man protesting that textbooks in Virginia schools had references saying that slavery was not all that a bad a thing for the Negroes. Much of what I wrote didn’t make the paper.

Sorry, Moirafinnie. I’m not the fan of yours that I used to be. You make snide remarks about GWTW and GOING MY WAY and yet you write a blog for a channel that specializes in showing such classic films for devotees.
Anyway, it is time that you or another Morlock give Hattie McDaniel a blog she deserves. Not just GWTW and ALICE ADAMS. Talk about her career in depth. SHOWBOAT. SINCE YOU WENT AWAY. THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS. Her other roles. What about her personal life?

Thanks for listening to me.

Posted By moirafinnie : February 19, 2010 7:33 pm

Thanks for all your kind replies. Suzi, I must have been thinking of Todd Boyd’s name while typing Mr. Daniels but that has now been amended.

Hi Errol and Al,
I am sorry if you interpreted my purpose in writing this piece was to be snide about Gone With the Wind or to trash it–far from it. My real purpose was an attempt to celebrate Hattie McDaniel‘s career achievement, looking at the kind of stereotypes she and GWTW rose above via her characterization in the film and her triumph as the first African-American to win an Academy Award.

I can’t help it if GWTW is “not a favorite movie” of mine but it is a powerful story and I learn from it every time I’ve seen it (so far about 10 times). I enjoy many aspects of the storytelling feat that was accomplished in this film and the many talented people who made it, but like most works of lasting value, it can be interpreted differently by various people.

As I wrote, “seen in context, the…film’s cultural impact was part of the beginning of the end of certain prejudices as well” and I do think it made a difference–even prompting the reexamination by people of good will about their attitudes toward race. However, I concentrated on McDaniel‘s career in relation to this film and her efforts to make her way in a sometimes hostile environment with grace. I am sorry if you think I did her or this film an injustice. However, Al, while you did not think that I included enough facts about Hattie McDaniel‘s personal life, or her other films, there are many salient personal facts about this hard working pioneer’s life, and her talented contributions to key films that were related to GWTW.

As to Going My Way, Al, I had to see that movie every single St. Patrick’s Day for 12 years at St Patrick’s School, okay? I’ve always enjoyed Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald and even get choked up when Father Fitzgibbon’s mother shows up, but please don’t ask me to like the movie or feel guilty because I don’t want to watch it anymore. If all that means that I don’t really like classic movies, that revelation will come as quite a surprise to my family and friends.

Have a great weekend,
Moira

Posted By moirafinnie : February 19, 2010 7:33 pm

Thanks for all your kind replies. Suzi, I must have been thinking of Todd Boyd’s name while typing Mr. Daniels but that has now been amended.

Hi Errol and Al,
I am sorry if you interpreted my purpose in writing this piece was to be snide about Gone With the Wind or to trash it–far from it. My real purpose was an attempt to celebrate Hattie McDaniel‘s career achievement, looking at the kind of stereotypes she and GWTW rose above via her characterization in the film and her triumph as the first African-American to win an Academy Award.

I can’t help it if GWTW is “not a favorite movie” of mine but it is a powerful story and I learn from it every time I’ve seen it (so far about 10 times). I enjoy many aspects of the storytelling feat that was accomplished in this film and the many talented people who made it, but like most works of lasting value, it can be interpreted differently by various people.

As I wrote, “seen in context, the…film’s cultural impact was part of the beginning of the end of certain prejudices as well” and I do think it made a difference–even prompting the reexamination by people of good will about their attitudes toward race. However, I concentrated on McDaniel‘s career in relation to this film and her efforts to make her way in a sometimes hostile environment with grace. I am sorry if you think I did her or this film an injustice. However, Al, while you did not think that I included enough facts about Hattie McDaniel‘s personal life, or her other films, there are many salient personal facts about this hard working pioneer’s life, and her talented contributions to key films that were related to GWTW.

As to Going My Way, Al, I had to see that movie every single St. Patrick’s Day for 12 years at St Patrick’s School, okay? I’ve always enjoyed Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald and even get choked up when Father Fitzgibbon’s mother shows up, but please don’t ask me to like the movie or feel guilty because I don’t want to watch it anymore. If all that means that I don’t really like classic movies, that revelation will come as quite a surprise to my family and friends.

Have a great weekend,
Moira

Posted By Al Lowe : February 19, 2010 8:26 pm

Moirafinnie, I was tempted to let this slide – but c’mon, you know better than that.

It seems easy for you to fight back by responding to some accusation I never made. I never said you “don’t really like classic movies.”
I did say that you made snide remarks about some classics. And you did.
Now you mention that GWTW is a powerful story and a lot of talented people contributed to it. If you had said that in your original blog, there would have been no criticism.

By the way, I did read your original blog. I would have liked more biographical information on Hattie and more discussion on individual films – but maybe others disagree with me.

You said GWTW is not your favorite film. What in the world do you mean by that? Do you like it or dislike it?

It is not like this is the first time I ever read you or responded to your blogs. And you know that. I know your credentials and how much you love other movies.
You mention how many times you saw GWTW and GOING MY WAY. Unlike you, I don’t count how many times I saw movies. I’m sure I probably saw them more times than you did. Generally everyone who writes in watches old movies a lot.

I write as a journalist and sometimes people love my writing. And sometimes I get the opposite reaction. Who knows? Maybe the next time you write something I’ll love it. I have been enthusiastic in the past.

Posted By Al Lowe : February 19, 2010 8:26 pm

Moirafinnie, I was tempted to let this slide – but c’mon, you know better than that.

It seems easy for you to fight back by responding to some accusation I never made. I never said you “don’t really like classic movies.”
I did say that you made snide remarks about some classics. And you did.
Now you mention that GWTW is a powerful story and a lot of talented people contributed to it. If you had said that in your original blog, there would have been no criticism.

By the way, I did read your original blog. I would have liked more biographical information on Hattie and more discussion on individual films – but maybe others disagree with me.

You said GWTW is not your favorite film. What in the world do you mean by that? Do you like it or dislike it?

It is not like this is the first time I ever read you or responded to your blogs. And you know that. I know your credentials and how much you love other movies.
You mention how many times you saw GWTW and GOING MY WAY. Unlike you, I don’t count how many times I saw movies. I’m sure I probably saw them more times than you did. Generally everyone who writes in watches old movies a lot.

I write as a journalist and sometimes people love my writing. And sometimes I get the opposite reaction. Who knows? Maybe the next time you write something I’ll love it. I have been enthusiastic in the past.

Posted By Errol : February 19, 2010 8:35 pm

Well…Thanks for your response back…but the thing that bothers me most, in what you said…was that GWTW was so shocking to younger people you showed it to. As I asked you before….what beter film about the way slaves were treated has there been?

I really don’t give a tid-bit on whether YOU, personally don’t like the film…but it should have been an eye-opener to younger peoiple…and not ‘looked down on’..because that is the way it was! There are already too many ‘younger people’ who don’t believe many of the things in our History books. Slavery should have been shown…as it was…just as it has to be shown to them that there WAS…a Holocust, since many of them don’t believe that happend either.

ALSO…there were the house slaves and the field slaves and I think GWTW showed…that there was a difference in how they were treated.

My final thought…is that I think you did great justice to Ms. Mc Daniel….but tried to cheapen a great classic film that will probably still be watched….years after we are GONE WITH THE WIND….It was here before I was born…and it remains as stirring today as it did…before I was born.

Have a good weekend…

Posted By Errol : February 19, 2010 8:35 pm

Well…Thanks for your response back…but the thing that bothers me most, in what you said…was that GWTW was so shocking to younger people you showed it to. As I asked you before….what beter film about the way slaves were treated has there been?

I really don’t give a tid-bit on whether YOU, personally don’t like the film…but it should have been an eye-opener to younger peoiple…and not ‘looked down on’..because that is the way it was! There are already too many ‘younger people’ who don’t believe many of the things in our History books. Slavery should have been shown…as it was…just as it has to be shown to them that there WAS…a Holocust, since many of them don’t believe that happend either.

ALSO…there were the house slaves and the field slaves and I think GWTW showed…that there was a difference in how they were treated.

My final thought…is that I think you did great justice to Ms. Mc Daniel….but tried to cheapen a great classic film that will probably still be watched….years after we are GONE WITH THE WIND….It was here before I was born…and it remains as stirring today as it did…before I was born.

Have a good weekend…

Posted By moirafinnie : February 19, 2010 9:42 pm

I am sorry but my words are not going to change your feelings, gentleman. I will try as best I can to communicate better in the future.

Errol,
I believe that the best stories about slavery from the point of view of the people who experienced it first hand may have been in the television movie The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974) and the mini-series Roots(1977). They are not perfect films either, but at least to me were quite effective.

Posted By moirafinnie : February 19, 2010 9:42 pm

I am sorry but my words are not going to change your feelings, gentleman. I will try as best I can to communicate better in the future.

Errol,
I believe that the best stories about slavery from the point of view of the people who experienced it first hand may have been in the television movie The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974) and the mini-series Roots(1977). They are not perfect films either, but at least to me were quite effective.

Posted By suzidoll : February 20, 2010 5:35 pm

I love GONE WITH THE WIND, and I even love all the movie-lore surrounding. There is so much of it that it is hard to know what the real truth behind its making was.

Having said that, I agree with Moira that McDaniel’s role was a stereotype as were the other roles for African-Americans in the film, as were the majority of roles for black actors in Hollywood at the time. Like Moira says, it’s to the actors’ credit that their performances rose above the stereotypes. But, I can’t justify any film’s racial stereotypes by pointing out it’s other great features.

Also, I don’t believe for a minute that anything about the depiction of these black characters was “like it was at the time.” Fictional narratives set in history don’t reflect the era they are about; they reflect the era that produced them.

To fully understand just how limited and STEREOTYPED black actors were in Hollywood in regard to choice of roles (or, lack thereof), just look at the films of Oscar Micheaux. While full of bad production values, they are alive with black actors playing a diversity of ARCHETYPES — heroes, villains, detectives, cowboys, cops, business owners, wealthy entrepreneurs, lovers, virtuous leading ladies, bad girls, etc., etc.

Moira, you rock as always.

Posted By suzidoll : February 20, 2010 5:35 pm

I love GONE WITH THE WIND, and I even love all the movie-lore surrounding. There is so much of it that it is hard to know what the real truth behind its making was.

Having said that, I agree with Moira that McDaniel’s role was a stereotype as were the other roles for African-Americans in the film, as were the majority of roles for black actors in Hollywood at the time. Like Moira says, it’s to the actors’ credit that their performances rose above the stereotypes. But, I can’t justify any film’s racial stereotypes by pointing out it’s other great features.

Also, I don’t believe for a minute that anything about the depiction of these black characters was “like it was at the time.” Fictional narratives set in history don’t reflect the era they are about; they reflect the era that produced them.

To fully understand just how limited and STEREOTYPED black actors were in Hollywood in regard to choice of roles (or, lack thereof), just look at the films of Oscar Micheaux. While full of bad production values, they are alive with black actors playing a diversity of ARCHETYPES — heroes, villains, detectives, cowboys, cops, business owners, wealthy entrepreneurs, lovers, virtuous leading ladies, bad girls, etc., etc.

Moira, you rock as always.

Posted By Klondike : February 20, 2010 5:47 pm

Thank you for a great blog, Moira.
The Divine Ms. McDaniel was always a fond favorite of mine in all her roles, ever when the social niches of those characters made me cringe just a bit.
I felt you walked a pretty fine (& fair) between wide-awake candor, and perspective-of-era here. To your detractors/critics, I will stand in your corner long enough to address one pivotal point:
Fellow Readers, this is an article about Hattie McDaniels, not about Gone With The Wind; the movie gets mentioned as much as it did here simply because it was the source of McDaniel’s meatiest & best-known role, and featured the performance for which was awarded the first-ever Oscar to an African American.
Your picayune obsession with mandating the worship of a motion picture being referenced in an article about a famous actress, is equivalent to judging a review on Richard Nixon’s Checkers Speech based on the author’s dislike of Scottish Terriers.

Posted By Klondike : February 20, 2010 5:47 pm

Thank you for a great blog, Moira.
The Divine Ms. McDaniel was always a fond favorite of mine in all her roles, ever when the social niches of those characters made me cringe just a bit.
I felt you walked a pretty fine (& fair) between wide-awake candor, and perspective-of-era here. To your detractors/critics, I will stand in your corner long enough to address one pivotal point:
Fellow Readers, this is an article about Hattie McDaniels, not about Gone With The Wind; the movie gets mentioned as much as it did here simply because it was the source of McDaniel’s meatiest & best-known role, and featured the performance for which was awarded the first-ever Oscar to an African American.
Your picayune obsession with mandating the worship of a motion picture being referenced in an article about a famous actress, is equivalent to judging a review on Richard Nixon’s Checkers Speech based on the author’s dislike of Scottish Terriers.

Posted By Errol Jones : February 20, 2010 11:07 pm

To: Moirafinnie…At least I am not into ‘knocking..your two choices’…and like I said before, to me..GWTW will remain a break
through movie on slavery… and THE OLE SOUTH..not preceding years like “Miss Pitmann”. As for “ROOTS” it was a MINI-SERIES for tv and NOT a movie….made about THE OLE SOUTH.

To Both..Moirafinne and Klondike: If I feel like responding on a critic..I will do so. Like Al Lowe…I agree that you changed your situation on the movie, once you were confronted with these things that some of us disliked. AND ONCE AGAIN…You can dislike GWTW all you want…but it will outlast you and I and anyone on here. It has proven itself. CASE CLOSED as far as I am concerned.

If you don’t wish me to comment on your blog anymore, then please let me know. I am a movie lover and have been around for a very long time. I just ‘wish’ this piece on Ms. Mc Daniel had not started out on the negative side and maybe none of these responses coming in, would have ever have happened.

Posted By Errol Jones : February 20, 2010 11:07 pm

To: Moirafinnie…At least I am not into ‘knocking..your two choices’…and like I said before, to me..GWTW will remain a break
through movie on slavery… and THE OLE SOUTH..not preceding years like “Miss Pitmann”. As for “ROOTS” it was a MINI-SERIES for tv and NOT a movie….made about THE OLE SOUTH.

To Both..Moirafinne and Klondike: If I feel like responding on a critic..I will do so. Like Al Lowe…I agree that you changed your situation on the movie, once you were confronted with these things that some of us disliked. AND ONCE AGAIN…You can dislike GWTW all you want…but it will outlast you and I and anyone on here. It has proven itself. CASE CLOSED as far as I am concerned.

If you don’t wish me to comment on your blog anymore, then please let me know. I am a movie lover and have been around for a very long time. I just ‘wish’ this piece on Ms. Mc Daniel had not started out on the negative side and maybe none of these responses coming in, would have ever have happened.

Posted By Patricia : February 21, 2010 12:34 pm

I would like to add a favourite Hattie movie moment of mine. Your mentioning “The Mad Miss Manton” brought it to mind because it concerns Henry Fonda.

In “The Male Animal” suddenly notorious professor Henry Fonda is trying to avoid the press. He answers the phone attempting to emulate his maid’s voice declaiming that the professor ain’t at home. Standing above him, Hattie gives him that look of disdain and disapproval. Fonda responds with an embarrassed, sheepish, apologetic look. She shakes her head and leaves him in his misery. I love it!

Posted By Patricia : February 21, 2010 12:34 pm

I would like to add a favourite Hattie movie moment of mine. Your mentioning “The Mad Miss Manton” brought it to mind because it concerns Henry Fonda.

In “The Male Animal” suddenly notorious professor Henry Fonda is trying to avoid the press. He answers the phone attempting to emulate his maid’s voice declaiming that the professor ain’t at home. Standing above him, Hattie gives him that look of disdain and disapproval. Fonda responds with an embarrassed, sheepish, apologetic look. She shakes her head and leaves him in his misery. I love it!

Posted By Jeff Heise : February 21, 2010 2:28 pm

To Errol: While I will state that GWTW is a classic, to me it has never been THE classic film. There are others that I think are much better, but my opinion and others cannot detract from the rightful place the film has earned. For me, the best things about the film are Gable, deHavilland, McDaniel, Steiner’s score (still one of the most criminal Oscar race thefts ever), the photography, the sets and costumes and Fleming’s direction. Minuses: Howard’s (mostly) disinterested performance, I REALLY do not like Scarlett although I think Leigh is astounding in the part and Scarlett’s sudden revelation that Ashley loved Melanie and not her (talk about an obvious duh!).

The film probably came to me at a disadvantage because by the time I finally saw it (on the big screen) I had been told by so many people that it was the greatest film ever, while all I really liked was what I mentioned above. These days, the story of the making of the film fascinates me more, but I still enjoy watching it (I now have the Blu-Ray collector’s set.).

Also Errol, as far as a film depicting the way slaves are treated: have you heard of a little film called AMISTAD?

Posted By Jeff Heise : February 21, 2010 2:28 pm

To Errol: While I will state that GWTW is a classic, to me it has never been THE classic film. There are others that I think are much better, but my opinion and others cannot detract from the rightful place the film has earned. For me, the best things about the film are Gable, deHavilland, McDaniel, Steiner’s score (still one of the most criminal Oscar race thefts ever), the photography, the sets and costumes and Fleming’s direction. Minuses: Howard’s (mostly) disinterested performance, I REALLY do not like Scarlett although I think Leigh is astounding in the part and Scarlett’s sudden revelation that Ashley loved Melanie and not her (talk about an obvious duh!).

The film probably came to me at a disadvantage because by the time I finally saw it (on the big screen) I had been told by so many people that it was the greatest film ever, while all I really liked was what I mentioned above. These days, the story of the making of the film fascinates me more, but I still enjoy watching it (I now have the Blu-Ray collector’s set.).

Also Errol, as far as a film depicting the way slaves are treated: have you heard of a little film called AMISTAD?

Posted By Errol Jones : February 21, 2010 7:35 pm

Now that the ‘dust’ seems to have settled over the GWTW snubs…I would now like to express my thoughts on HATTIE MC DANIEL..truly one of the screens best supporting character actors ever.

My family had talked about Hattie and her wonderful performances all the time I was growing up. I had only got to see her a couple of times, at that point, on movies that had made it to television.
I remember the first time I had watched her was in “SHOW BOAT”, “GEORGE WASHINGTON SLEPT HERE” and “THE GREAT LIE”. All I knew, is that there was ‘not enough’ of this very talented lady in the films
and when she was on the screen..she seemed to draw your attention toward her..and the rest of the actors were just not that important, as long as I was watching her on the screen.

I came from a white family in ‘southern’ Utah..and I figured I would never get to see the film that all the family had talked about and the great performance that Hattie Mc Daniel gave in GWTW. But as a teenager, in the mid 1950′s…my dream of seeing her performance finally came true, because GWTW had been re-released and so I finally got my chance to see her in her Oscar winning role as Mammy.

From then..and on…I always looked for more of her films to explore and enjoy. She was a credit to her craft. My dream was to become an actor and I, too, fell into that area of being a character actor and I did pursue my dream. Have been a professional stage musical/comedy actor for the past 43 years and am still doing shows to this day.

I bring this up…because it was watching great supporting actors
like Ms. Mc Daniel..that made me realize some very important things in the acting trade. I always remembered that you did not have to be ‘the lead’ to steal a scene. In fact, you didn’t even have to be saying lines..and the scene could still go toward you.
Look at Hattie as Mammy in GWTW..There were times when she was not saying a word…but with ‘one look’ could ‘make’ the scene HERS! She did it in many/most of her films. Yes..the words helped to make her character work..but they were not always needed…and you have to be darn good, to have that happen.

I liked LOUISE BEAVERS too..but did not find it the same with her roles as it was with Hattie’s, as far as achieving this kind of acting. Hattie was A PRO..when it came to this…and whether you are a man or a woman, finding your place in the acting establishment, you learn..TO LEARN..from BOTH men and women who did it long before you…and did it WELL.

I am also now a collector of old radio shows, such as SUSPENSE, THE WHISTLER, THE JACK BENNY SHOW and my all time favorite AMOS ‘N ANDY. I still do not have all of their shows, but I do have two with Hattie as their guest. I don’t know how many times I have played the episode where HATTIE is out to get a MAN and she comes to use Andy and the King Fish’s escort service. YOU didn’t have to SEE her..you only had to HEAR her voice and you could picture the whole story.

HATTIE MC DANIEL was an inspiration to many of us..in many different ways. These are some of the ways she inspired me..as an actor..and a devoted fan of movie classics.

Thanks for reading this..
Errol

Posted By Errol Jones : February 21, 2010 7:35 pm

Now that the ‘dust’ seems to have settled over the GWTW snubs…I would now like to express my thoughts on HATTIE MC DANIEL..truly one of the screens best supporting character actors ever.

My family had talked about Hattie and her wonderful performances all the time I was growing up. I had only got to see her a couple of times, at that point, on movies that had made it to television.
I remember the first time I had watched her was in “SHOW BOAT”, “GEORGE WASHINGTON SLEPT HERE” and “THE GREAT LIE”. All I knew, is that there was ‘not enough’ of this very talented lady in the films
and when she was on the screen..she seemed to draw your attention toward her..and the rest of the actors were just not that important, as long as I was watching her on the screen.

I came from a white family in ‘southern’ Utah..and I figured I would never get to see the film that all the family had talked about and the great performance that Hattie Mc Daniel gave in GWTW. But as a teenager, in the mid 1950′s…my dream of seeing her performance finally came true, because GWTW had been re-released and so I finally got my chance to see her in her Oscar winning role as Mammy.

From then..and on…I always looked for more of her films to explore and enjoy. She was a credit to her craft. My dream was to become an actor and I, too, fell into that area of being a character actor and I did pursue my dream. Have been a professional stage musical/comedy actor for the past 43 years and am still doing shows to this day.

I bring this up…because it was watching great supporting actors
like Ms. Mc Daniel..that made me realize some very important things in the acting trade. I always remembered that you did not have to be ‘the lead’ to steal a scene. In fact, you didn’t even have to be saying lines..and the scene could still go toward you.
Look at Hattie as Mammy in GWTW..There were times when she was not saying a word…but with ‘one look’ could ‘make’ the scene HERS! She did it in many/most of her films. Yes..the words helped to make her character work..but they were not always needed…and you have to be darn good, to have that happen.

I liked LOUISE BEAVERS too..but did not find it the same with her roles as it was with Hattie’s, as far as achieving this kind of acting. Hattie was A PRO..when it came to this…and whether you are a man or a woman, finding your place in the acting establishment, you learn..TO LEARN..from BOTH men and women who did it long before you…and did it WELL.

I am also now a collector of old radio shows, such as SUSPENSE, THE WHISTLER, THE JACK BENNY SHOW and my all time favorite AMOS ‘N ANDY. I still do not have all of their shows, but I do have two with Hattie as their guest. I don’t know how many times I have played the episode where HATTIE is out to get a MAN and she comes to use Andy and the King Fish’s escort service. YOU didn’t have to SEE her..you only had to HEAR her voice and you could picture the whole story.

HATTIE MC DANIEL was an inspiration to many of us..in many different ways. These are some of the ways she inspired me..as an actor..and a devoted fan of movie classics.

Thanks for reading this..
Errol

Posted By Jacqueline T Lynch : February 23, 2010 7:44 am

Thanks for another great post, Moira. I agree Hattie McDaniel’s performance in GWTW is outstanding, and a revelation in many respects. She is my favorite thing about that film, and her famous scene after the death of Scarlett’s child never fails to move me to tears, no matter how many times I see it.

Posted By Jacqueline T Lynch : February 23, 2010 7:44 am

Thanks for another great post, Moira. I agree Hattie McDaniel’s performance in GWTW is outstanding, and a revelation in many respects. She is my favorite thing about that film, and her famous scene after the death of Scarlett’s child never fails to move me to tears, no matter how many times I see it.

Posted By Stooge : February 23, 2010 1:07 pm

Really terrific piece. Thank you for it!

Posted By Stooge : February 23, 2010 1:07 pm

Really terrific piece. Thank you for it!

Posted By CineMaven : February 28, 2010 1:12 pm

Hello Moira. This was a wonderfully written article about the wonderful Hattie McDaniel. She spoke for so many whose voices would not be heard.

Thanx!

CineMaven.

Posted By CineMaven : February 28, 2010 1:12 pm

Hello Moira. This was a wonderfully written article about the wonderful Hattie McDaniel. She spoke for so many whose voices would not be heard.

Thanx!

CineMaven.

Posted By Richard Sutor : March 29, 2010 3:28 pm

Moria,

Your article moved me to tears several times and I had to replay Ms. McDaniel’s acceptance speech 3 times times before I could keep my eyes clear for the whole response. What a fantastic actress she was.

I, too, have high hopes Mo’Nique is successful in bringing the life and career of Hattie McDaniel to the screen.

But there’s one Hattie McDaniel performance that is still locked away from public viewing – and that needs to be corrected. Disney’s 1946 Song of the South saw her portraying Aunt Tempy in another excellent performance. She even gets to sing in this role.

Thank you for writing this article.

.

Posted By Richard Sutor : March 29, 2010 3:28 pm

Moria,

Your article moved me to tears several times and I had to replay Ms. McDaniel’s acceptance speech 3 times times before I could keep my eyes clear for the whole response. What a fantastic actress she was.

I, too, have high hopes Mo’Nique is successful in bringing the life and career of Hattie McDaniel to the screen.

But there’s one Hattie McDaniel performance that is still locked away from public viewing – and that needs to be corrected. Disney’s 1946 Song of the South saw her portraying Aunt Tempy in another excellent performance. She even gets to sing in this role.

Thank you for writing this article.

.

Posted By stevie68a : September 6, 2010 11:11 am

She steals every scene she’s in GWTW. It is notable that she was, in fact, part of the family at a time (1939) when that would not be acceptable.
Viva Hattie McDaniel!

Posted By stevie68a : September 6, 2010 11:11 am

She steals every scene she’s in GWTW. It is notable that she was, in fact, part of the family at a time (1939) when that would not be acceptable.
Viva Hattie McDaniel!

Posted By Penny Rahming : January 19, 2011 5:55 pm

Wondering about Hattie’s escort, F. P. Yober. Was he an actor or a close friend? I am researching an actress Bernice Lancaster Yober. Later Hattie’s escort was Wonderful Smith. Loved Hattie in all her roles.

Posted By Penny Rahming : January 19, 2011 5:55 pm

Wondering about Hattie’s escort, F. P. Yober. Was he an actor or a close friend? I am researching an actress Bernice Lancaster Yober. Later Hattie’s escort was Wonderful Smith. Loved Hattie in all her roles.

Posted By moirafinnie : January 20, 2011 3:59 pm

Hi Penny,
I have been trying to find out more about Mr. Yober, too, but so far, after looking in newspaper archives available and in biographical information on Hattie McDaniel, I haven’t found any more about this escort. Given the range of Hattie McDaniel’s interests in life, F.P. Yober may have been a gentleman friend or a business associate, though I would guess that the actress would want to choose someone she could rely on for support on such a special occasion. I hope that if you find more out about Bernice Lancaster Yober or F.P. and their possible connection to Miss McDaniel, you will feel free to post it here, as I will too if I discover more.

Thanks so much for bringing to light this question.

Moira

Posted By moirafinnie : January 20, 2011 3:59 pm

Hi Penny,
I have been trying to find out more about Mr. Yober, too, but so far, after looking in newspaper archives available and in biographical information on Hattie McDaniel, I haven’t found any more about this escort. Given the range of Hattie McDaniel’s interests in life, F.P. Yober may have been a gentleman friend or a business associate, though I would guess that the actress would want to choose someone she could rely on for support on such a special occasion. I hope that if you find more out about Bernice Lancaster Yober or F.P. and their possible connection to Miss McDaniel, you will feel free to post it here, as I will too if I discover more.

Thanks so much for bringing to light this question.

Moira

Posted By Karen : January 26, 2011 12:04 am

Recently, McDaniel’s personal Signed Presentation Script for Gone With The Wind went up for auction. It was purchased by The Shaw-Tumblin Gone With The Wind Collection. I have learned that the script, along with several original Gone With The Wind Costumes, will be on display at the Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas beginning April 30, 2011.

Posted By Karen : January 26, 2011 12:04 am

Recently, McDaniel’s personal Signed Presentation Script for Gone With The Wind went up for auction. It was purchased by The Shaw-Tumblin Gone With The Wind Collection. I have learned that the script, along with several original Gone With The Wind Costumes, will be on display at the Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas beginning April 30, 2011.

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