Gone With the Wind
This week’s movie I chose to watch is Gone With the Wind. It was released in 1939 starring Vivian Leigh, Clark Gable, Leslie Howard, and Olivia de Havilland. Produced by David O. Selznick and directed by Victor Fleming (who gets screen credit but four others also directed).
One of the impressive things about this epic is that it uses all the extra screen time to inform us about the personal lives of its characters. Nowadays any period drama with a lot of horses and explosions gets called an “epic,” but Gone With the Wind deserves the label because it presents enough detail to be a facsimile of reality. It also presents some rough subject matter very rough for the time, including rape, prostitution and, of course, slavery.
At the time the film was made Technicolor was not widely used. It was shot in 3 strip. There were only seven cameras in existence and Selznick had rented all them.
Acting is actually not the film’s strongest suit, and most of the characters have weaknesses that make them hard to like. Leslie Howard as Ashley Wilkes is a prime example of this.
There is a heavy emphasis on silhouettes set against rust-colored evening skies such as the scene with Scarlett and her father standing beside a tree then the camera pulls back to reveals Tara and colorful sunset. Then there is scene in the hospital where Scarlett and Melanie are volunteering as nurses, there silhouettes are shown very tall on the wall behind them even though the movements don’t match there actions. Another silhouetted scene is after Scarlett’s “I will never go hungry again” speech the camera pulls back to show her against the light of the sunrise. During the scene when Melanie is delivering her baby the only light in the room is coming window slats.
Since Gable could not dance, a floating platform was used during the waltz scene to make him and Scarlett appear to glide around the room. The camera makes it look that it is moving with the...