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Fiddle-dee-dee, Han Solo!

Lord almighty. Did everybody else know this already? George Lucas & co. ripped off Margaret Mitchell. Seriously.

I'm reading Gone With the Wind--and finding it totally cool, by the way--and just came across this little scene between Scarlett and Rhett that looked oddly familiar:

“Don’t giggle,” he said, and taking her hand, he turned it over and pressed his lips into the palm. His lips traveled to her wrist and she knew he must feel the leap of her pulse as her heart quickened and she tried to draw back her hand.

He laughed softly.

“Don’t pull away! I won’t hurt you!”

“Hurt me? I’m not afraid of you, Rhett Butler, or of any man in shoe leather!” she cried, furious that her voice shook as well as her hands.

“An admirable sentiment, but do lower your voice. Mrs. Wilkes might hear you. And pray compose yourself.” He sounded as though delighted at her flurry.

“Scarlett, you do like me, don’t you?”

That was more like what she was expecting.

“Well, sometimes,” she answered cautiously. “When you aren’t acting like a varmint.”

He laughed again and held the palm of her hand against his hard cheek.

“I think you like me because I am a varmint. You’ve known so few dyed-in-the-wool varmints in your sheltered life that my very difference holds a quaint charm for you.”

This was not the turn she had anticipated and she tried again without success to pull her hand free.

“That’s not true! I like nice men—men you can depend on to always be gentlemanly.”

Uh-huh. Let's review this scene from The Empire Strikes Back, a scene I always thought was charming and funny and original:

HAN: You could be a little nicer, though. Come on, admit it. Sometimes you think I'm all right.
LEIA: Occasionally, maybe. When you aren't acting like a scoundrel.
HAN: (Taking her hand and massaging it) Scoundrel? Scoundrel? I like the sound of that.
LEIA: Stop that.
HAN: Stop what?
LEIA: Stop that! My hands are dirty.
HAN: My hands are dirty too. What are you afraid of?
LEIA: Afraid?
HAN: You're trembling.
LEIA: I'm not trembling.
HAN: You like me because I'm a scoundrel. There aren't enough scoundrels in your life.
LEIA: I happen to like nice men.
HAN: I'm a nice man.

Damn. I am dumbfounded.

This page noted the same parallel, and also has photos of the two movie posters looking similar. Oy. Nothing is sacred out there.

Must cross post to Ringwraith LJ too.



( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 4th, 2006 07:16 pm (UTC)
May. 4th, 2006 08:19 pm (UTC)
Thank goodness for that, at least. Now maybe I can buy a copy without feeling dirty.
May. 4th, 2006 08:01 pm (UTC)
I *love* GWTW, hideous political incorrectness and all. Is that not one of the best examples of character development EVER, esp. considering the author had never written a substantial work of fiction before? The arc of Scarlett's character fascinates me.

I also love Rhett's next line: "You mean men you can bully." (And yes, I've read it waaaaaay too many times!)

Re the similarities: As we authors always hear, there hasn't been a truly original thought since about the time of Plato. And I'd be just this side of flummoxed to hear that George Lucas had ever read GWTW. But then, he probably had help writing the script. Perhaps the scene was actually *meant* as a nod back to GWTW? It's anybody's guess, I suppose.

Thanks for the observation--makes for some interesting thinking!
May. 4th, 2006 08:29 pm (UTC)
I loved Rhett's gallant offer to be his mistress, myself; and her answer. :D

True on the original thoughts--I recanted and took out the word "plagiarism," since I didn't exactly mean it, and it's more of an "homage" perhaps.

This is my first time thru GWTW, and I can definitely see its mark now on most of the romance genre, but did not expect to find a mark in Star Wars! Hee. However, come to think of it, Han Solo is a lot like Rhett. Blockade runner, space pirate, same deal. Leia is rather more noble than Scarlett, but also less interesting. :)

I'm in awe of Mitchell (and only 335 pages in), not only for writing ONE novel in her life and getting the Pulitzer for it, but for walking the line between solid historical fiction and fun romance, and also for creating sympathy for such selfish and roguish characters.

When I'm through I'll probably be soliciting more reactions from my f-list, particularly you Southerners and Civil War buffs. I'm a Yankee by all known ancestry, and have tended to suck at history class, but still, this is good stuff.
May. 4th, 2006 10:18 pm (UTC)
Different enough, though. :) , 'upright' women have probably wanted to be seduced by rebel men since the beginning of time. ;)
May. 4th, 2006 10:19 pm (UTC)
hmm that was supposed to go to the main post, but hi!
May. 5th, 2006 04:28 am (UTC)
Oh, mercy, I will cheerfully talk about the minutiae of GWTW until you are utterly sick of it. :-) MM was, of course, a born-and-raised Georgian, and a lot of the war stories in the book are barely-altered ones from what she heard as a child from her older relatives. There's a scene I doubt you've gotten to yet where the adults are sitting on the porch late at night talking about the war, and they allow their children to stay up and listen because they think it's so important. You cannot IMAGINE how much the war has affected the culture here, even to this day. It's a bit sobering to consider that the Southern U.S. has something in common with most of the rest of the world that most Americans cannot *imagine*, and that is the experience of being conquered, razed, and occupied by a hostile and much-detested foreign army.

The stuff you're reading about now happened in my BACKYARD, more or less. Sure, Tara doesn't exist, but just about everything else she names by location does. I could walk you along the route Sherman's army took through this city. The old oaks on the grounds of the Georgia Tech president's official residence have minie balls in them. If you dig up the ground to plant flowers in certain areas, you're almost sure to unearth bullets and buttons and dozens of other artifacts. It's all still very real to us hereabouts.

As for Scarlett being less noble than Leia: oh heck yeah. :-) But for all the unethical stuff that she does, you'll note that she never shirks her responsibility to her family, even the ones she despises. Sick dad, useless sisters, dense sister-in-law--she takes care of them all, even at the cost of horrible personal sacrifice, because that's just what southerners DO. That's one reason I could kick Selznick in the head for taking Wade and Ella out of the movie, because they are a HUGE motivation for a lot of what she does (Wade especially).

Anyway. Like I said, I could discuss this book (and the regional history) until the flies dropped off the wall in boredom. :-) If you ever want to pick it over without boring your flist to tears, drop me an email!

Enjoy the book, and I hope you have better luck putting it down and going to bed than I did the first time I read it!!!
May. 7th, 2006 10:40 pm (UTC)
I've never set foot in Civil War territory, but others from both the North and South have said the same--it's practically a recent event in some places. It truly is astounding to think about what our own countrymen did to each other, and believed about one another. Here in the West we're kind of drifting free of visible history. "Old West" ghost towns and Lewis & Clark trail markers are about as exciting as it gets. When I visited London, and saw parts of buildings that were 900 years old, I had to stand still a minute while my brain crashed and reformatted itself. :)

So true about Scarlett's steely character! It's clever of MM, really--painting Scarlett as so vain and awful and spoiled, and yes, perhaps she is all of that at the start. But she's never entirely despicable, and her actions clearly show her strength and loyalty as the story progresses. I'm glad she's starting to show some cares for Wade. I'm about halfway thru now, and her disregard for her own little boy was perhaps what bothered me most about her so far. Naturally I can't comprehend anyone not loving their baby boy to distraction.

It is indeed hard to put down, but I'm enjoying prolonging the reading of it too. Then I will have to re-watch the movie. Then, the f-list may just have to be bored some more with my babblings!
May. 8th, 2006 03:31 pm (UTC)
>>I'm about halfway thru now, and her disregard for her own little boy was perhaps what bothered me most about her so far. Naturally I can't comprehend anyone not loving their baby boy to distraction.

Heh, of course you can't! I do think it's quite realistic, though. I feel quite bad for Scarlett in that part of the book. She's only 16, and obviously very vain and self-absorbed, but she really doesn't know what she's letting herself in for. Sex is a mystery to her, and then she pops out this baby she doesn't really want and who was fathered by someone she hardly knew and is dead. Pretty harsh. The regulations on mourning were so strict, too! I always cheer when Rhett persuades her to dance.
May. 9th, 2006 08:55 pm (UTC)
Well, obviously I'm biased a bit. ;) But yes, marriage must have been a nasty shock for any delicate lady of that era. And those mourning rules were insane. I would have hated them myself. Her standing up with Rhett is an awesome scene. Can't wait to see the film again when I'm through, and watch it in full color!
May. 4th, 2006 11:49 pm (UTC)
That's funny, I never realized that...however, it does fit with George's pattern. For many of the space combat/action scenes, he took old WWII movies and essentially copied the fight sequences. He freely admits to it, and they've shown the exact footage that he copied over: gunners in turrets shooting down circling Japanese Zero's = Han and Luke in the Falcon's turrets shooting down Tie Fighters; US Mustangs in formation peeling off to make a bombing run = X-Wing Fighters in formation peeling off to start their run down the Death Star trench.
May. 7th, 2006 10:00 pm (UTC)
Interesting! I didn't know about those. Figures, then.
May. 5th, 2006 01:39 pm (UTC)
I love Gone With the Wind! Rhett and Scarlett make such a nice pair of scoundrels.
May. 6th, 2006 05:29 am (UTC)
Oh my, that *is* funny!
May. 6th, 2006 05:31 am (UTC)
I'm a huge GWTW fan, too! Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts. :-)

I went through a *major* GWTW phase in junior high and high school. I was very obsessed with the movie, loved the book (read it twice - need to read it again one day). :-) Margaret Mitchell was a *fascinating* lady.
May. 7th, 2006 10:41 pm (UTC)
Re: PS
You've got an icon and everything! Cool--I look forward to your thoughts too. This is definitely one excellent story.
May. 7th, 2006 11:57 pm (UTC)
Re: PS
LOL! An icon for every occasion! ;-) This one is by proverbial_icon. Yes, we must chat!
May. 18th, 2006 05:20 pm (UTC)
Not surprising since the Star Wars films are a direct rip of classic sci-fi serials of old.

The real question is...how did he KNOW it was in the book?? What kind of man reads Gone with the Wind?? Huh?? :)
May. 22nd, 2006 04:30 pm (UTC)
Probably had a female screenwriter on staff. I know I can't get MY husband to read it, even though it is a great book. It's viewed as much too "girly" out there. (Though it isn't actually so much...)
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )