May 11, 2009 Director of "Gone with the Wind" and "Wizard of Oz" Is Subject of Book Talk

“American Master” Victor Fleming Was Part of Hollywood’s Golden Age

Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217

Victor Fleming was the most sought-after director during Hollywood’s golden age, renowned for his ability to make films across an astounding range of genres: westerns, earthy sexual dramas, family entertainment, screwball comedies, buddy pictures, romances and adventures.

Baltimore Sun film critic Michael Sragow will discuss and sign his new biography, “Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master,” during a Books and Beyond event on Tuesday, June 2, at noon in Dining Room A on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The event, sponsored by the Library’s Center for the Book and the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

Fleming is best remembered for directing two iconic movies, “Gone with the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz,” but the more than 40 films he directed also included such classics as “Red Dust,” “Test Pilot,” “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and “Captains Courageous.” Paradoxically, his talent for knowing how to make the right film at the right time, rather than remaking the same movie in different guises, has resulted in Fleming’s relative obscurity in our time.

Michael Sragow restores the director to the pantheon of great filmmakers and fills a hole in Hollywood history with this portrait of a man at the center of the most exciting era in American filmmaking. Sragow argues that the actors Fleming directed wanted to be their characters (Fleming created enduring screen personas for Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and Gary Cooper), and actresses wanted to be with him (Ingrid Bergman, Clara Bow and Norma Shearer were among his many lovers).

“Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master” (Random House, 2008) not only returns the director to the spotlight but also gives us the story of a man whose extraordinary personal style was as thrilling, varied and passionate as the stories he brought to the screen. The book will be available for sale and signing following the program.

The Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division holds the world’s largest collection of moving images, with more that 1.2 million items in its film collections and more than 3 million audio materials. Its collections range from the first motion picture registered for copyright to contemporary classics.

The Center for the Book was created in 1977 to stimulate public interest in books and reading. For information about its programs, publications and national reading-promotion networks, visit

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may be accessed through the Library’s website,, and via interactive exhibitions on


PR 09-098
ISSN 0731-3527