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Stephen King at the Movies.
Though Selina refuses charity, she is kind, and the two shake hands in mutual respect. Finally, in the last few moments of the film, the older Selina looks at her work-worn hands Fig.
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Roelf, a successful artist who has absorbed her attitude toward life and beauty, pays tribute to her by kissing them. The studio was not simply remaking the property; research files indicate that the narrative was expected to resonate with the heartbreaking problems so many American farmers were enduring in Later, in the s, after 56 above: 2. Probably because whenever I 89 had any spare money it went back into the farm for improvements. Although only one in thirty Americans held stocks and bonds, they were partly responsible for initiating a crash that destroyed the livelihoods of thousands of farmers who had never heard of bonds.
Critics appreciated this second feature-length version. The Ferber classic should not disappoint those who enjoyed the silent version, comment indicated.
The reviewer acknowledged that it was not a typical Hollywood film: Plot is not the important thing in So Big. It is characterization, the revelation of plain folk doing the things they think, striving always toward a goal of useful citizenship. It goes back to the days when farm life was drudgery, but brings it up to the day of the tractor, the radio, the automobile, paved highways and so many other conveniences which have radically altered rural life. When Stanwyck made So Big, she was a rising independent contract star, perhaps best known for her partnerships with director Frank Capra Ladies of Leisure, But though Stanwyck was well known, So Big arguably contributed to making her a bigger star.see url
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Perhaps most significantly for a glamorous young female star of her calibre, she allowed herself to age, to look pale, tired, lined, desiccated, and bent with work. Although Colleen Moore had done the same thing in , she could not entirely overcome her image as the ultimate flapper. From History to Nostalgia Although it was normal for studios to reread old literary acquisitions and scripts in order to assess their future value, Warner Bros.
With skilful treatment, it can be made into a fine picture. The characters are real and interesting; the story is convincing. It offers an important role for an actress— Bette Davis perhaps. Instead of being a pioneering modern farmer, Selina would become a symbol of the American schoolmarm and an inspiration for future generations of boys a female Mr. Chips, perhaps. No studio had ever dared to alter her material to such an extent, whether from fear of legal retaliation or the outrage of loyal fans. In Warner Bros.
The icon of s wartime motherhood, Mrs. Miniver Mrs. Mildred Pierce Warner Bros. Fundamentally changing So Big would have serious implications. In the original novel and first two films, Selina is shown not only working in a traditionally male occupation during peacetime, but also scientifically improving agriculture when men were sticking to time-tested but failing methods. Women were modern advocates for change; men were traditionalists. However laudable the history of American female schoolteachers, theirs was a conservative occupation, repetitive, and geared to the development of young male minds.
So Big was to be a war picture! While in the midst of other projects, he continued to work on the screenplay with Pagano. In their hands rests the responsibility—and privilege—of moulding the lives of future citizens. This is the story of a woman who helped bring Freedom into the classroom. We all owe her a debt of gratitude.
Wald tried for months to get the studio to commit to producing his new script. Miniver and Stella Dallas, etc. But Wald knew Pagano was getting ahead of himself; the studio still balked at remaking the film. Again, I call your attention to the script I have on So Big. As you know, Jane Wyman read the script some time ago and is most anxious to do it. I doubt very much whether you would have trouble in getting a top female personality for this story.
What would you like to do about it? The two did not work together on So Big. It took an additional five years before audiences saw the last remake, and by then, Wald was involved in other projects. In all of her studio contracts, she retained radio and even television rights. Even during the s, when television was still in experimental stages and shown only in public venues, Ferber recognized its future value as a private entertainment medium. So while Warner Bros.
The script, adapted by Addie Richton and Lynn Stone, was remarkably faithful to the material, and CBS gave the work a careful advertising campaign. Former Warner Bros.
The story continued to draw audiences in many media, and as the book reached its twenty-fifth anniversary, Ferber began to consider future dramatic productions. Selina 62 So Big, — remained a truck farmer, but the studio wanted to update the time frame. We are attempting to begin the story in and end it in or , as opposed to the original version which began in Like the s, the period after the Second World War was dominated by economic expansion, consumer spending, and an increasingly conservative political culture.
Eventually, perhaps wary of potential complaints from Ferber, the studio decided to begin the story in instead of In the meantime, Warner Bros.
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In October , Ferber renewed the copyright on the novel, and Doubleday continued to release new editions of the book. When the project again moved forward in June , Warner had assigned writer John Twist to the project. The script opens with Dirk, Dallas, and Roelf discussing the old Selina in Or crossed the continent in covered wagons. That magnificent jaw-line—and those eyes, all lit up with lights—from somewhere—inside. Some of its people still remained as Dutch as the Netherlands, and its fields were still as green as the lowlands of Amsterdam.
One had only to drive the few miles from the city and look at it to see the past. Her father, an itinerant gambler in the novel and earlier films, is by a fabulously rich Chicago businessman famous enough to be painted by John Singer Sargent. Pervus, once a stupid, stolid, prejudiced man, becomes a shy but romantic farmer, bringing Selina flowers on his way home from the markets.
Even the town minister of High Prairie loses his pious misogyny. One could argue that postwar Hollywood was more invested in rehabilitating the patriarchy and defusing the tensions between men and women than in championing a pioneer feminist. After all, on its surface, this period tale of a self-sacrificing mother had an enduring and harmless sweetness. A twelve-year-old boy from San Francisco 64 So Big, — 2. She was a bastion of traditional American values. Myths of the complacent, untroubled s are no longer historically tenable.
Other female novelists had followed similar narrative patterns, which endured throughout the studio era.
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