One of America's classics made in 1939, Gone With The Wind. Set in Atlanta during the duration of Civil War and the Reconstruction period afterwards. This movie takes the audience onto The O'Hara Plantation where we meet sixteen year old Scarlett O'Hara played by Vivien Leigh. We watch as the beautiful Old South gets torn apart as the Civil War begins. Scarlett goes from being a naive young girl to a brave young women; who saves her families land and builds it back up. While struggling between manipulation and true feelings for her one true love.
The focus of the story is Scarlett O'Hara, who in the opening scence is a sixteen year old girl flirting with many boy at her neighbors barbeque. Scarlett is one of the most beautiful girls in the area and all the men flock to her. She finds out that her first true love Ashley Wilkes is engaged to her passive cousin Melanie. Scarlett is furious and in a hurried decesion Scarlett gives into Charles Hamiltion when asked to marry him. That is the same day the Civil War began and the men went of to war. This unknowingly changed Scarlett's life forever.
A couple months later Scarlett is widowed. Throughout the movie through trial and tribulation Scarlett ends up remarrying again twice to Frank Kennedy and Rhett Butler. Rhett Butler is an older wealthy gentlmen who is truly in love with Scarlett but is also aware her heart belongs to Ashley Wilkes. Rhett struggles to win Scarletts heart, when in reality Scarlett loves him too but dosen't show it until it is too late. At one point in 1864 things worsened in the South and Scarlett had to make some very hard decisions just to provide food on the table. You watch Scarlett mature rapidly and her heart harden a little bit. Vivien Leigh does a remarkable job enbodying the chracter of Scarlett O'Hara her:presence, stlye, expression and timing is seemingly effortless.
Mise-en-Scene is incredibly used in this film. The two aspects I particularly enjoyed the most are costumes and Natualism. The costumes embody the characters so well that you forget that it is set in the past. They sort of take you to that time period and it feels naturel to watch. Particular costume parts that stand out to me are the ones of Mammie the house servant wore played by Hattie Mc Daniel. Bascially the attire of a house slave, but later in the movie Rhett Butler buys her a red silk petticoat and asks to see it and she blushes to show him. There is another scence when Mammie is helping Scarlett into her corset and Scarlett is complaining about the remaining baby weight.
The understanding that womens body image was important to them and the expectations of modesty were unspoken through their clothng. In the opening you learn women could not show their bosums before three-oclock and Scarlett rebels against the rule. Also the dresses that all the women wear are big and beautiful with many layers, bows, lace and ruffles. The challenge women had wearing that attire and still being comfortable is interesing. We get to watch how they approach that challenge with ease. Hattie Mc Daniel was the first African-American to receive an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress role in this film.
Naturalism meaning that how a place looks is the way it is suppose to look was apprent in Gone with the Wind. The cinematography done by Ernest Haller was absolutely amazing. Everything from the outside settings to the inside of the buildings is perfect for the time period. The building are adorned with props that are correct for that time period. It feels like a journey through the past and it is never forced. For example one of the opening scenes two young slave boys are swinging a large bell back and forth and then you hear the forman yell quitting time.
Outside are rich agriculuture such as cotton fields, rich trees, plants and lawns. Inside the props are:the velour fabric drapes, gorgeous chandeliers, elegant paintings on the walls. There is a scene where Scarlett is standing with her Father on a hill on Tara looking out onto the plantation. There is an incrediable sunset in front of them you can see their silhoulette as the camera zooms out showing the house in the background. Everything seems to be exactly placed in the right time for the right time period.
In conclusion Gone With The Wind is an exceptionally American work of talent. The actors and actresses embodied the characters in this movie. The scences took you to another time and you forget what time period you live in. The duration of 238 minutes goes by naturally, not forced or stretched out. The story of a young women torn between saving her families land and going after her one true love. While her one true love is impossible to attain she almost misses out on the love of her life which is right in front of her. You see the motivation behind Scarlett's at times manipulating actions and realize that she is only doing what she feels she has too. Sometimes it costs her much more pain instead of joy. In the end her pride and her journey is not in vain because her land is saved.