Manning, Carol S. “The Belle Gone Bad- and Just Gone.” The Southern Literary Journal. 37.1 (2004). < http://proxy.library.upenn.edu:2298/journals/southern_literary_journal/v037/37.1manning.html>
“The Belle Gone Bad- and Just Gone” offers a critical analysis of the image of the “Southern Bell” throughout history. According to author Carol S. Manning, the “Belle Gone Bad,” popularized by characters like Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind, is an exaggerated, flirtatious version of the traditional Southern Belle that serves to critique the traditional practice of patriarchy in the South. In traditional literature, the “dark seductress” characters, like “bad belle” Scarlett, generally perishes while the pure, “good belle” survives. However, Margaret Mitchell, along with other feminist writers of the period, reverses this trend, granting strength and ultimate success to their untraditional protagonists.
Manning’s article define the evolution of mythological and romanticized images of Southern women as “Southern Belles” and highlights the characteristics that separates her from the realistic woman of the period. As the most famous Southern Belle in history, Vivien Leigh’s depiction of Scarlett O’Hara serves as the most poignant personification of the glorified Southern woman. Her character that balances a demure disposition with a strong will, and challenges the patriarchal society in which she was raised. While Scarlett’s character is reflective of a “believable” Southern woman of the period, it is important to note the influence of Hollywood melodrama on her character. Such influence undoubtedly adds to the mythic, fairy-tale like aspects of Leigh’s depiction of Scarlett O’Hara.
Cronin, Jan. “The Book Belongs to All of Us: Gone With the Wind as a Postcultural Product.” Literature/Film Quarterly, 35.1 (2007).
Jan Cronin’s article discusses author Margaret Mitchell’s reaction to the film version of her epic novel Gone With the Wind. According to Cronin, Mitchell was upset with the film’s appeal to “old southern mythology,” which diverted from the historical realism Mitchell strived to attain in her novel. In the preface of the film, written by Ben Hecht, Mitchell’s commitment to literary historical accuracy is undermined by a lofty and flowery introduction that appeals to mythic imagery:
“There was a land of Cavaliers and
Cotton Fields called the Old South ...
Here in this pretty world
Gallantry took its last bow ...
Here was the last ever to be seen
of Knights and their Ladies Fair,
of Master and of Slave ...
Look for it only in books, for it
is no more than a dream remembered,
a Civilization gone with the wind ...”
The influence of Hollywood on the screenplay produced a more fairy-tale like script, rather than the “seamless cultural narrative” represented by Mitchell’s novel. Cronin does contend, however, that Mitchell herself is guilty of indirectly appealing to the myth of the “Old South” in her novel, as a major theme throughout the novel is the end of the “Golden Age” of Georgia.
Understanding Mitchell’s response to Selznick’s film adaptation of her epic novel provides a unique insight into the historical accuracy the Hollywood project. As Cronin elucidates, Mitchell’s considerable effort to accurately illustrate the social fabric of Georgia during the Civil War is not entirely translated to the film. Instead, the “South” as understood by Mitchell stands in opposition to Hollywood’s portrayal of the region, thereby producing a film aimed at captivating audiences' hearts and imaginations rather than their minds.
Donaldson, Susan V. “Telling Forgotten Stories of Slavery in the Postmodern South.” The Southern Literary Journal. 40.2 (Spring 2008) < http://proxy.library.upenn.edu:2298/journals/southern_literary_journal/v040/40.2.donaldson.html>
Susan Donaldson’s article explores the response of the black population to Gone With the Wind’s depiction of slavery and African Americans. Due to the depictions of Black characters like Prissy, a “stupid” and “sqeaky” slave, the reaction from the Black community was strongly negative. Even writers like Malcolm X describe the discomfort and disgust they endured watching the humiliation of actress Butterfly McQueen in her role as Prissy. African American historian and feminist Alice Walker described viewing the film as a “nightmare… in which the suffering of millions of black people over hundreds of years of enslavement is trivialized to the point of laughter. It is a film in which one spoiled white woman’s summer of picking cotton is deemed more important than the work, under the lash, of twenty generations of my ancestors.”
Donaldson’s article is of particular importance to the analysis of the historical truth underlying the film Gone With the Wind because it provides the responses of black Americans to the film, a typically silenced minority. Acknowledging that the film employs racist stereotypes in their depiction of slaves is critically to understanding the true Black culture in the South. Further, in light of Alice Walker’s response to the film, it is important that the viewer understands the hypocrisy and manipulation of the film. Scarlett is cast as a heroine and matriarch for much of the film, however she is only granted this title because she attempts the work that her slaves have been doing for her people for generations.
Essentially, Donaldson describes Gone With the Wind as a misleading illustration of the 19th Century South, as well as a misguided acclamation of white Southern women.
Dontinga, Randy. “Southern Storm.” Christian Science Monitor 4 Sept. 2008. 1 Dec. 2008. http://features.csmonitor.com/books/2008/09/04/southern-storm/
Southern Storm provides a historical overview of the Union Army’s destructive and infamous “March to the Sea” under General William Sherman that left much of Georgia in ruins during the American Civil War. In an interview with Civil War historian Noah Andy Trudeau, author Randy Dontinga provides a distinction between with is true and what is myth surrounding General Sherman’s notorious march. According to Trudeau, popular belief tends to paint General Sherman’s quest through Georgia as a lawless and moral-less tromp that left the Old South crippled and ruined. While Trudeau concedes that the Union Army did torch homes, confiscate crops, and destroy railroads, American mythology on the whole paints a “much grimmer” picture of General Sherman’s March than history suggests. Perhaps one of the most striking misunderstandings surrounding the Union invasion of Georgia surrounds the Northern Army’s treatment of the local population. Dontinga’s article suggests that as opposed to being destructive monsters, Union soldiers were “often respectful and even polite to Southerners, and spent most of the time admiring local women.” Although Sherman’s actions resulted in the fracture of the Southern economy and spirit, Dontinga and Trudeau illustrate that Sherman may not deserve his villainous, destructive reputation.
A historical account of General Sherman’s March to the Sea is valuable in assessing the historical accuracy of Gone With the Wind, as many of the novel’s most memorable scenes depict the destruction of Scarlett’s “world” at the hands of the Union Army during Sherman’s march through Georgia. The film’s infamous fire scene, along with the depiction of the total destruction of Twelve Oaks and Scarlett’s deadly encounter with a rogue Union soldier all provide the viewer with a villainous perception of the Union forces under Sherman’s command. According to Dontinga’s article, the Union forces’ torching of homes and confiscation of crops illustrated in Gone With the Wind are historically accurate. However, the wicked depiction of the Northern forces is not necessarily historically accurate, but is rather reflective with popular Southern mythology in the wake of their loss in the Civil War.
Richardson, Riché. “Southern Horrors, Global Terrors.” Black Renaissance, 7.3 (Fall 2007). 30 Nov. 2008.
Southern Horrors, Global Terrors by Riche Richardson analyzes the manner in which producers D.W. Griffith and David Selznick approached translating the racially-charged novels “The Clansman” and “Gone With the Wind” into film. Both novels, set during the American Civil War and rooted in Southern ideology, utilize virulent racist language to illustrate the pervasive bigotry typical of the South during the War period. Griffith’s 1915 film Birth of a Nation, based on the novel “The Clansman,” retains and advances the novel’s racist elements. In contrast, Selznick’s 1939 film adaptation of Gone With the Wind offers an ostensibly less racially-charged account of the War and Reconstruction than both the film’s literary counterpart and Birth of a Nation. Richardson describes the film version of Gone With the Wind as more “sanitized,” ignoring numerous instances in the novel where popular characters like Rhett Butler and Melanie Wilkes dehumanize and devalue African Americans. Further, Richardson contends that Selznick’s omission of many of Margaret Mitchell’s racist elements is reflective of Hollywood’s contemporary rejection of overt racism as distasteful and morally reprehensible.
In assessing the consistency of Gone With the Wind with the history of the Civil War and Reconstruction, Richardson’s article provides a valuable insight into the nature of racism in the 19th Century South. Both novels advance the Southern ideology of the period that aimed to perpetuate black inferiority to the white supremacist class. As the article illustrates, Griffith chose to accommodate such bigotry in his film, while Selznick chose to “tone down” Mitchell’s racist elements. Selznick’s choice to abandon much of the bigotry that pervades the literary narrative may make the film more appealing to contemporary Hollywood and American culture, but makes the film less reflective of the Southern ideology of the period.
Conde, Mary. “Some African-American Fictional Responses to Gone With the Wind.” The Yearbook of English Studies. 26. (1996) JSTOR. University of Pennsylvania Library. Philadelphia. 1 Dec. 2008. < http://www.jstor.org/stable/3508659>
In her essay, author Mary Conde addresses the African American community’s reaction to Gone With the Wind, and the novel’s writer Margaret Mitchell’s reaction to their criticism. The most common criticism of the novel is that it appealed to a mythic and romanticized ideal of the “Old South” that ignores the atrocities of the Civil War and the practice of slavery. However, Mitchell vehemently denies these accusations, claiming that she herself denies the existence of any rosy Southern ideal. Further, it is important to note that her novel’s protagonist, Scarlett O’Hara, does not support the Confederate cause and, as illustrated by her emotional breakdown in the hospital while treating veterans, is deeply moved by the atrocities war. Despite Scarlett’s dismissal of the Confederate cause as a justification for war, many African Americans continue to dismiss Gone With the Wind as a gross misrepresentation of the era of slavery in the South.
The reaction of the African American community to the Hollywood adaptation of Gone With the Wind provides numerous examples of the historical inconsistencies and myths present in the film. Many of these reactions have taken the form of fictional writing intended to undermine the glorification of the “Old South.” Novels like Dessa Rose and Jubilee depict the black woman’s struggle during the Civil War. In both novels, the protagonists are hideously scarred, and the plot is ridden with violence and exploitation. Such novels stand in direct contrast to Mitchell’s novel, and paint a more realistic, albeit grim, picture of the American South in the Civil War.
Toplin, Robert Brent. “Hollywood’s History: The Historians’ Response.” Reviews in American History, 24.2 (1996)
Robert Brent Toplin’s review of Hollywood’s adaptation of literature to film throughout history analyzes the historical accuracy of David Selznick’s celebrated blockbuster hit Gone With the Wind. In his analysis, Toplin acknowledges the common tendency of Hollywood producers and writers to remove minor stories or characters to simplify the story into a streamlined melodrama. Further, moviemakers will often overstate truths in addition to simplifying them to elicit a response from the audience. Such “creative uses of evidence” are apparent in Hollywood’s Gone With the Wind.
Toplin cites historian Catherine Clinton’s discussion of Gone With the Wind in which the scholar addresses the film’s classic flaws. Clinton argues that Selznick’s constant appeal to “Old South” romanticism detracts from the broader historical and cultural message of the film. However, the most troubling issue for Clinton concerns the depiction of slaves as “happy-go-lucky darkies who are ever loving and loyal to their… benevolent masters.” Clinton finds Selznick’s illustration of slavery and the slaves themselves as offensive and distastefully romanticized. Clinton concedes, however, that the film provides an adequate and realistic view of an “up-country” Georgia. Gerald O’Hara’s humble foreign origins, coupled with Scarlett O’Hara’s rise from “southern belle” to matriarch during the Reconstruction, serves as a reliable reflection of the social fabric of Northern Georgia in the post-war South. Futher, Rhett’s initial resistance and skepticism toward the war movement in the beginning of the film was a sentiment shared by many Confederates in the antebellum period.
De Havilland, Olivia. “Making a Classic by Committee.” Newsweek. 19 July 1999. EBSCO MegaFILE, 1 Dec. 2008. < http://proxy.library.upenn.edu:2054/login.aspx?direct=true&db=keh&AN=2058091&site=ehost-live>
In this article, actress Olivia de Havilland (Melanie Wilkes) provides a first hand account of the rotation of directors that worked on the film production of Gone With the Wind. Production of the epic film began under the leadership of director George Cukor, who was held in high regard by the lead actresses Vivien Leigh (Scarlett O’Hara) and de Havilland. According to de Havilland, lead actor Clark Gable (Rhett Butler) prompted the sudden replacement of Cukor with Victor Fleming. Fleming, a “master of action and spectacular scenes,” worked with Gable on a number of projects before the production of Gone With the Wind. Gable sought out Fleming in an effort to help him develop the character of Rhett Butler. The American public had a clear idea of Rhett Butler from Margaret Mitchell’s novel, therefore Gable’s Hollywood career hinged on his success in his role. Realizing the importance of his leading role in Gone With the Wind, Gable demanded that Fleming replace Cukor at the helm of production. However, Cukor continued to hold meeting with de Havilland and Leigh in secret to coach the actresses.
One month after joining the crew of Gone With the Wind, Fleming suffered a nervous breakdown that prompted him to take a leave of absence from the set. Sam Wood, his replacement, filled in for Fleming until he was well enough to return. Upon regaining his health, Fleming was reinstated by Selznick to co-direct the remainder of the epic alongside Wood.
As one of the most ambitious and extensive cinematic projects of the 20th Century, it is only fitting that Gone With the Wind is the product of the talents of three of Hollywood’s leading directors. It is inevitable that each director provided the film with a unique understanding of Mitchell’s novel, and their own perception of how the “old south” should be depicted. The historical accuracy of the film, therefore, cannot be assessed based on the beliefs of Seznick, Cukor, Fleming, and Wood individually, as the project was a collaborative effort.
Juddery, Mark. “Gone With the Wind.” History Today (Aug. 2008). EBSCO MegaFILE. University of Pennsylvania Library. Philadelphia. 1 Dec. 2008.
In his article “Gone With the Wind,” author Mark Juddery analyzes the impact and popularity of the epic film that has sold more box office tickets than any other film in Hollywood. The 1939 film Gone With the Wind depicts popular American folklore, a search for true love, and a historical account of the “popularly glorified” Civil War. The nostalgia and pride associated with the Civil War, along with a love for Hollywood melodrama in American culture, makes Gone With the Wind an enduring classic that cultivates Southern pride.
However, the success of Gone With the Wind cannot only be attributed to the film’s appeal to the glorified “Old South.” The film was also a great technical achievement. MGM studios pooled considerable resources into the production, filming the work in Technicolor and utilizing spectacular set designs and special effects. The grandiose sets, Selznick argued, “satisfy both the audience’s appetite for glamour and Mitchell’s insistence on authenticity.”
In examining the perennial popularity of Gone With the Wind, one may understand the importance of studying the film’s historical accuracy. As one of the most viewed films in Hollywood history, Selznick’s cinematic adaptation undoubtedly shapes the American understanding of the Civil War and the Antebellum Southern culture.
Magliozzi, Ron. “Crazy With the Wind: The ‘Gone with the Wind’ World Premiere Campaign Scrapbook.” MoMa, 18. (Autumn-Winter 1994). http://www.jstor.org/pss/4381278
Ron Magliozzi’s description of the world premiere of the Hollywood epic Gone With the Wind illustrates how the opening of the celebrated film was itself a historical event. The publicity campaign for the film, which began with a nation-wide search for the perfect Scarlett and Rhett, culminated in the star-studded Atlanta premiere of unprecedented size and glamour. MGM representatives took over Atlanta starting over a month before the film’s December premiere in 1939. The Hollywood professionals embarked on plans for a three day Gone With the Wind “civic festival,” including a parade with the film’s stars, a costume ball, and finally the world premiere screening of the film.
Given the hubbub and attention granted to the premiere of Selznick’s Gone With the Wind, it is clear that the film would attract a large audience and undoubtedly influence American culture. Not only did the film influence future Hollywood premieres and the future scale of film production, but it rekindled America’s longing for mythic “Old South” romanticism. Due to the scope and influence Selznick’s work, it would be beneficial to grant particular attention to the truths and myths underlying the film.
John Patterson’s article “Film & Music: Up Front: On film: It's Black History Month in the US - the perfect time to rerelease films that Hollywood considers too embarrassing to show for today” expresses annoyance of many films disappearing for its explicitly racial content. He understands that the content may be offensive, such as "Song of the South" and "Gone with the Wind," which are “racially questionable hit” and "Mandingo," a melodrama on the effects of slavery on victims and pratitioners. Patterson in conclusion expresses that these movies should be back in circulation because viewers now have broader understanding of differences in perspectives based on time periods and changes.
Patterson, John. “Film & Music: Up Front: On film: It’s Black History Month in the United States - the perfect time to rerelease films that Hollywood considers too embarrassing to show for today.” The Guardian 29 Feb. 2008: 2.
Conde, Mary. “Some African-American Fictional Responses to Gone with the Wind.”
The Yearbook of English Studies, Strategies of Reading: Dickens and After Special Number, 26 (1996). .
This article, written by Mary Conde, describes the general sentiments felt by members of the African American community in response to Gone with the Wind. While a plethora of novels have been written in regard to the Civil War period, Gone with the Wind received a majority of the attention and became known as one of the most popular, influential films of the period. The film’s widespread success has often been attributed to the timing of its production. The story emerged during the Great Depression, providing those in despair with a form of entertainment and divergence from the toils of daily life. The story of Gone with the Wind was attractive to many individuals, especially those in the North who had taken an interest in the culture and aesthetic nature of the South; however, African Americans expressed disconcert over their misrepresentation in the story and produced fictional works that often paralleled Gone with the Wind while depicting their plight and drive to escape in a more accurate fashion.
While Gone with the Wind is set in the southern town of Atlanta during the Civil War and period of Reconstruction, critics often claim that the film leaves out crucial parts of the historical event and focuses more on the personal lives of white characters in the story. The film is often criticized as portraying the South in a vantage point that is too good to be true for the time period in which it takes place. Rather than showing the harsh conditions prevalent among African Americans, the story incorporates the character of ‘Mammy’, a cheerful slave who is oblivious to the treatment and restrictions placed against the other slaves around her. In order to express their feelings of injustice, African Americans produced stories of their own that presented heroines who, unlike Scarlett O’Hara, were not naïve to the racial tensions and discriminations against a population of people.
This book chapter gives a description of the major films from each year as well as a bit of the events happening during that year. It provides a background from which to view "Gone with the Wind." The competition for the year is given along with the history surrounding the year of its release.
War was on the horizon for Europe and America was feeling some of the effects. Many films were made that expressed some sort of patriotism. Most were films on what it was to be an American and Americanism.
The Army was using Hollywood in their making of training films. It was also the year of the New York World’s Fair. Hollywood was helping to make educational films with the creation of Teaching Film Custodians, by Will H. Hayes. The chapter lists stars of that year such as Mickey Rooney, Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Shirley Temple, Bette Davis, and James Cagney.
Some of the films that year included “Stagecoach,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” and “Babes in Arms.” There is a description of each of the films and a few others. It gives a little bit of the plot and some background behind it. It also gives certain facts like the stars of the film, the running time, the director, the producer and the scriptwriter. “Gone with the Wind” was expected to flop due to many factors such as cost of production and the length of the film. However, it ended up being a very serious threat to other films that year. This chapter gives a glimpse of that.
In 1939, “Gone with the Wind” swept the Oscars. The year of its release, it saw unprecedented success. Most people believed that the film would fail. It had too many things going against it. Vivien Leigh was almost completely unknown and she was playing the role of Scarlett with a major star like Clark Gable. Many doubted whether she could hold up her side of the narrative. Also, the cost of production on the film seemed like more than could ever be made back in the box office.
This description from the 1939 Oscars gives a portrayal of the success of “Gone with the Wind.” The film was nominated for ten Academy awards, more than any movie before it. It ended up winning eight of those ten. One of the Oscars given out that night was Best Supporting Actress, given to Hattie McDaniel for her portrayal of Mammy. It was the first Oscar ever given to a Black woman.
“Gone with the Wind” had record setting success. This chapter in the book demonstrates that success. It lists the various award nominations as well as the winner. It also gives some details about that year and the events surrounding it. This information leads to an understanding of the impact of the film.
In chapter three of this book, Donald Bogle analyses the performances of the black servants in “Gone with the Wind.” He argues that the roles of the black servants in this film are more realistic than other black roles that came before it. He sees the characters and the performances of most of the black actors as an advancement of blacks in film.
Before “Gone with the Wind,” Bogle states that most of the characters in Civil War films were shown as only slaves. He sees the relationship shown between the black servants and white masters in “Gone with the Wind” as more accurate portrayals of the relations between actual blacks and whites in ante-bellum south.
Bogle looks most closely at Hattie McDaniel in the role of Mammy. She does not play the role of the entirely subservient slave, as in other movies. Instead, she is one of the family members, and has a voice of her own which she uses quite boisterously throughout the film Her character acts as a sort of mother to Scarlett. Bogle sees this as a major advancement in the role of blacks in film because she is not just a slave but a real character. She is simply comic relief but a major part of the film.
Bogle also looks at other black characters in the film such as Prissy and Pork. Overall, Bogle is pleased with most of the character portrayals, though he does see some of the servant characters as perpetuations of stereotypes. This view gives light to the racial implications of “Gone with the Wind” and actually sees them as moving in a positive direction, unlike other views.
This book looks at the movie from the perspective of David O. Selznick, the producer. It goes through every part of the filming process.
It starts with Selznick trying to decide whether or not he should do the movie. He was asked to do it by Kay Brown, a New York Editor. The book was amazingly popular but Selznick was reluctant to do the film.
He did decide to do it though and it ended up being a major success. He had many difficulties while producing it though. This book goes through and details the process of producing the film and it does it entirely from Selznick’s side. It relates it to events in his life and what was going on around him. It details all of the decisions he had to make while producing the film as well.
This book gives a look at the actual production of the film. It looks at the troubles surrounding it and at the people involved in it. It shows what Selznick wanted from the film and what he did with it. It displays the difficulties surrounding the film as well. Selznick was the major force behind everything within the film. He had his hand in every part of the film and made most of the major decisions concerning the future of the film and how it looked. It is necessary when looking at the film, to understand what went on to make it and the major influences of it. This book provides that information.
This article looks at the reception of “Gone with the Wind” by the African American Press. It analyzes the response of this particular group and what that meant for the film as a whole. There was a lot of criticism on the film by the press. However, the portrayal of some of the African American characters was received favorably.
Hattie McDaniel’s role was praised by the press. The movie as a whole was not entirely criticized for its portrayal of African Americans. The press saw it mostly as a step up from other portrayals of the racial group. However, there was resistance to the favorable representation of the plantation culture. The hegemony of the film was not looked upon favorably by the African American press, especially since it seemed to condone it throughout the film.
Overall the film was both accepted and criticized for many reasons by the African American press. It allowed Hattie McDaniel to win the Academy Award. The African American response to the film also helped Hollywood shape future films. The portrayal of more complex Black characters was well received and expected after that film.
This article explains the view of the African American culture. It looks at something other than the majority for an opinion on the film. This is not always a view given on something that was so favorably received by popular culture. It provides insight into the different types of spectators and to the opinions of other groups.
This article compares the novel, “Gone with the Wind,” with another novel written around the same time, “Absalom, Absalom!” It compares the development of male characters in the novels, Rhett Butler and Quentin Compson. Both novels focus on the aristocracy of the South as well as the Civil War and the ante-bellum south. It looks at the effects of miscegenation on both of the characters development. Both see the influence as negative and it effects how they ultimately view the South and its future.
Railton argues that few essays have focused on bother of the novels and few have focused on race within the novels. He argues that race relations are a very strong theme within both books but it is rarely dealt with in essays about the books. Railton not only compares and contrasts the development of the two male characters. He, also, examines how the two novels fit into the broader spectrum of thought in the 1930’s. He looks at how the two novels interacted with southern historical thought at the time.
This article gives some perspective into the creation of the movie. It delves into the themes of the novel which enter into the film, and gives an analysis of race that is different from many essays. The comparison with “Absalom, Absalom!” also allows for new interpretations of the film as a product of its time.
This article examines the character of Scarlett O’Hara in a psychological sense. It looks over her characteristics and social tendencies in an effort to categorize her psychological personality.
Deeks uses Adler’s four types of people, which are categorized by their interest in society and their manner of gaining or working towards perfection. There are three types that actively seek out their goals as well as avoid outside problems and have low societal interest. They are the ruling type, the getting type and the avoiding type. The last type is the socially useful type, which works well and cooperates with his or her society. Deek argues that Scarlett is the getting type.
Deeks identifies certain characteristics which make this type the most suitable for Scarlett. Scarlett is conniving and manipulative towards everyone around her. She uses people to get what she wants through coercion and seduction. She does not cooperate with those around her or attempt to improve the society which she is a part of. She only works to get what she wants and nothing else. This does not make her happy because she cannot interact with the people around her in a way that is not manipulative.
This article gives a specific view of Scarlett as a character and a human being. It is a psychological examination of a character as a human being and not just a fictional being. That makes the character more tangible and provides a different angle of the film.
This article argues about “Gone with the Wind” from a sociological perspective and takes a look at some themes that are not often focused on when discussing the film. Racial questions seem to be the first that are focused on when talking about “Gone with the Wind” This article takes a look at the class structure within the film instead. It looks at how that class structure is portrayed as the ideal and encouraged by the film.
Butsch examines how the main characters fit into a specific class structure. Scarlett is portrayed as Southern Aristocracy and therefore upper class at the start of the film. She remains upper class throughout the film, despite being poor, but leaves behind the ideals of the aristocracy. She begins to represent a capitalistic society, in which only the fit survive. Scarlett gradually moves towards this representation through her relationship with the two main male characters in the film. Rhett represents that capitalistic society and Ashley remains Southern Aristocracy. Eventually, Scarlett moves away from Ashley and towards Rhett.
The film legitimates the class structure in the film by only portraying one class. There is no class struggle because there is only one class. The audience is also meant to identify with the upper class through Scarlett’s struggles. This approach sheds light on the social implications of the film. The discussion of class structure and capitalism provide, yet another approach for viewing the film and the themes which it contains.
The chapter in this book on “Gone with the Wind” explains the problems with the casting of the movie. It took a great deal of effort to find the right actors for the different roles within this film. The way that the casting started made the film see doomed from the beginning. David O. Selznick, the producer, had a great deal of trouble finding the right Scarlett and was turned down by many different actresses. The filming actually started without Scarlett being cast because the role was so difficult to fill.
There was also some difficulty in getting Clark Gable to play Rhett Butler. He was the most popular suggestion for the part and most of America called for him to play it. However, he refused at the start and it took a great deal of convincing to get him to agree to the film.
The casting of this film did a lot to further its success. This shows that that was not always how it seemed. The show appeared to be a disaster before it even hit the theaters or even began shooting. This book gives all the background information on who was considered and for what reasons. It gives information on Selznick’s reasoning behind his choice of Vivien Leigh for the part of Scarlett O’hara. It also gives some background on the actresses and actors involved in the production. The film was dependent on a few actors and actresses.
This article discusses major themes within the novel and briefly compares them to those of the movie. Beye argues that the novel portrays both blacks and women as slaves to white men within the old southern society. Women are forced into marriage and life of servitude to their husbands. They must play out certain roles and are not permitted to even dress comfortably.
Beye argues that Scarlett struggles to detach herself from this slavery through identification with male characteristics. She does not act as the other docile southern females act. Instead, she is outspoken and predatory. She takes after her father in that she works for what she wants. She is shown and strong and willful and this is what allows her to survive in a society that is collapsing. Scarlett is able to adapt and does not stay in a position of servitude towards men. She realizes soon in the book that she does not need men to succeed. She manages her own business. It is a novel deeply rooted in the feminine perspective. Rhett Butler is not the same character that he is in the movie. Instead, he merely plays the compliment to Scarlett and little else. He is not the same powerful prescience that he is in the movie.
The novel is also seen as more racist in some sense than the movie is. Scarlett seems harsh on the blacks and comes to have a low opinion of them in the end. Beye argues that the connections between Scarlett and the blacks are not the same as the movie. This argument toward the book gives a picture from which to view the movie. It is clear that the movie was not an entirely strict interpretation of the novel.
Call#: Van Pelt Library PN1997.G59 V47 1997
Today, almost every film receives a big premiere and a grand opening. There is a red carpet and photographers. It is an essential part of the requisite publicity package. The excitement generated by these events attracts people to the theaters and helps boost film revenues. However, at the time Gone with the Wind was produced, it was rare that a film received such fanfare.
Daily Variety provided coverage of the Gone with the Wind premiere and declared it to be one of the biggest premieres of the time. On the front page of the paper, the morning after the premiere, it was reported that the Atlanta "staged the greatest celebration in its history." The theater, the Loew's Grand, was transformed into the Wilkes plantation house. When people passed by the theater they were curious about what was happening and why the facade of the theater had changed. The response which they received generated publicity for the film. Searchlights, which were visible for several miles, let everyone know that it was premiere night. All of the major stars of the film (and others) - Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, Olivia de Havilland, Evelyn Keyes, Carol Lombard and Claudette Colbert attended. The theater held 2,019 people on opening night, each of whom paid $10 per seat, with the money going to charity. Producers were also in attendance. The next week, there was another premiere in New York. Even with all of this hoopla, there were disappointments. Everything was neither perfect nor did it run smoothly. The late nights took a toll on executives. All of the fanfare and glamour got in the way of business. Additionally, there were reports of disappointing initial grosses. This was blamed on pre-Christmas shopping and "psychological overselling" - because of all of the publicity, people assumed that there would be long lines and therefore did not even bother to come to the theater. Despite some "brief hiccups" the movie went on to gross $390 million worldwide.
This article is very informative, revealing the inner workings of the industry and psyche of the public at the time. Although society has evolved and experienced many changes, much has stayed the same.
It is amazing that a film could be so successful 70 years ago when there were far fewer venues for promotion and fewer theaters to generate a large gross profit. This article also reveals that the formula for a successful film is very similar to today - the celebrities, the publicity, the promotion, the premiere and the fanfare. It is a formula as old as the movies themselves.
Margaret Mitchell had been working as a reporter for a newspaper when she fell from a horse and was forced to resign. She was confined to her small, one-bedroom apartment which she nicknamed "The Dump." Ms. Mitchell was given a typewriter as a gift in order to occupy herself within the confines of her house. She was told to write "what she knew." Secretly, she began to write a book. Given the endless flow of people and friends who came through her apartment, she found it very difficult to hide the manuscript. It seemed unlikely that the novel would ever be published because she kept it a secret from anyone who would be able to publish it for her. However, Mitchell's friend who worked at a publishing company discovered parts of the novel in Mitchell's home. The friend informed her boss, Harold Latham, of the "masterpiece" she had found. Latham flew to Atlanta and questioned Mitchell regarding the novel. However, Mitchell did not want to turn in the novel to the publisher. She claimed that it was "lousy, and she was ashamed of it." In a brilliant use of reverse psychology, Mitchell's friend said to her, "well, I would never expect that you would write a good novel, you don't take life seriously enough." Mitchell was angered by this, raced home and immediately gave it over to Latham. She said "take it before I change my mind." Latham read the novel and changed the name of the main character to Scarlet. This was the inception of one of the most successful novels in history. Gone with the Wind was finally published on June 30, 1936 and had almost just as much impact on Atlanta as the actual events that were detailed in the book. It sold more copies than any other book except for the Bible.
This is a revealing source which details the way in which the phenomenally successful novel, Gone with the Wind, came into existence. It is amazing to think that its author thought that her creation was "lousy." Additionally, it is fascinating how a true phenomenon can be born out of seemingly mundane events and thoughts. One of the greatest, best-selling books of all time is a product of a leisure project on a typewriter in someone's living room. Mitchell did not sit down with the intent of writing a phenomenon; she was just trying to keep herself busy when she could no longer work as a newspaper reporter.
One most consider the novel, Gone with the Wind, as a precursor to the film. It is important to understand where the novel came from and the thought process of its author. It is further fascinating that the novel was as huge a success as the film. Often, a book is successful and interesting, while the movie version of the novel is not. Margaret Mitchell wrote a novel and spawned a film that entertained in its time, continues to be of interest as a period piece, and will continue to entertain many generations to come.
Gone with the Wind is one of the most popular films of all time. But why is that? The author of this article suggests several reasons. He says that the audience has a love/hate relationship with the film and its characters. This relationship with Gone with the Wind has to do with the ways in which ideas, specifically ones relating to sex and gender are "both referenced and violated" in the film, most specifically, regarding Scarlett O'hara. This article outlines exactly what those criticisms are in order to prove that the audience's relationship with the film stems from the way in which sex and gender are presented.
I found this article to be an alternative view to the traditional exclamation that "Gone with the Wind is the best movie ever, a phenomenon!" It is interesting to contemplate the underlying causes of the relationship which Gone with the Wind has with its audience. The author views the film from a sociological perspective. This is a more intellectual approach to the explanation of the popularity of the film.
It is also interesting to consider the fact that the audience does not always love the film or its characters. This is a more realistic way in which to consider the popularity and impact of Gone with the Wind. Life is not perfect and neither are real people and their life stories. Margaret Mitchell recognized this fact when she wrote the novel. I think that the audience appreciates the fact that the characters are flawed and, therefore, made more real. As a result, there are moments when one loves Scarlett O'hara and other times that she is despised. It is because of this portrayal of human realities that the audience can appreciate the film and accept it as a true rendition of relationships and society.
This article sheds light on two issues. The first, that the relationship that the audience has with the film is complex and not always perfect. The second is that while the film is popular, it is not because it represents pure escape. Rather, people love the film because they can relate to the humanity and truth in the situations portrayed.
This article, by Ben Railton, compares and contrasts two immensely successful novels, Gone with the Wind and Absalom, Absalom!. 1936 was an incredible time for both the historical and Southern novel. The two novels studied are perfect paradigms of this fact. Gone with the Wind and Absalom, Absalom! present many similarities and differences between their key characters and settings. These are "two interpretations of history which were coming into conflict at precisely the moment of this coincidental joint publication."
This article provides a unique view of Gone with the Wind. By comparing the novel to another important work of the time, a very different perspective is presented in light of the historical issues of Absalom, Absalom!. This comparison of the two important novels is a means of understanding the framework of Gone with the Wind from a completely different perspective.
As an influential and important producer, David O. Selznick was involved in enough films to be considered one of the greatest producers of all time. It was his involvement in Gone with the Wind that secured him his place in cinema history.
Initially, Selznick worked for his father's company, Lewis J. Selznick Productions, until it went bankrupt in 1923. Then, in 1926, Selznick moved to MGM and worked as a script reader and assistant story editor. He climbed the ranks to become supervisor of production until he was fired because of constant disagreements with Irving Thalberg, the then head of production. In 1927, Selznick was named production chief at Paramount. After the Depression and salary cuts, he moved to RKO and worked as studio boss. When Irving Thalberg became ill, there were many changes made within MGM in the production area. Louis B. Mayer convinced Selznick to return to MGM (coincidentally, Selznick was married to Mayer's Daughter.) With his new job, Selznick was intent on bringing more prestigious films to the screen.
In 1936, Selznick left MGM to become an independent producer, founding Selznick International Pictures. Gone with the wind was his most memorable film produced at this time. There were many problems that occurred during production of the film. Among the myriad of issues was the involvement of six different directors and the relinquishment of distribution rights to MGM in order to get Clark Gable to star in the movie. In the end, Gone with the Wind won ten Academy Awards and is considered to be one of the most important films ever produced.
After a huge tax debt forced Selznick to auction off his company, he formed a new company, David Selznick Productions. Selznick now became more of a talent scout than a producer. He discovered many successful actors and actresses, including Jennifer Jones. In 1949, Selznick married Jones and gave up his independent producer status. He became "something of a joke for his obsession with his wife," producing mediocre films, certainly nowhere near the quality standards of his previous work. Although he continued to work in Hollywood his preoccupation with his wife's career forced him into the background of the industry. Despite this end to his career, David O. Selznick is a name that is "firmly planted in motion picture history." He was the biggest of independent producers at a time when there was rarely such a thing. This site reveals a detailed history of Selznick, why he is considered to be one of the greatest producers of all time, and his tremendous impact on Gone with the Wind.
It is extremely important to understand the background of a producer in considering the product he creates. Selznick's life experiences and opportunities had tremendous influence on the films he made. David O. Selznick's contributions to Gone with the Wind cannot be minimized in understanding the overall impact of the film and its success. Without him, who knows how the film might have traversed it complicated path? Gone with the Wind would certainly not have become the film as we know it today.
Max Steiner was born in Vienna. His grandfather was a "musical impresario". His godfather was Richard Strauss. For a short time, Steiner studied with Gustav Mahler. Steiner studied violin, trumpet, piano, and organ. From the age of twelve, he conducted concerts and from the age of eighteen, he worked a great deal in Britain. Following the outbreak of the war in Europe, Steiner accepted an invitation to move to New York where he spent many years working on theater production, conducting, orchestrating, and producing arrangements for many shows and musicals. Steiner worked with George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, and Sigmund Romberg before he moved to Hollywood to work for RKO and then Warner Brothers.
Steiner worked in Hollywood from the 1930's until the 1960's. He worked on several musicals as musical director and is now known primarily as a composer. His work on the scoring of films includes such masterpieces as "Tara's Theme" from Gone with the Wind, which is instantly recognizable. This work is significant in its representation of Tara - the house and plantation - and its important role in the film. Steiner received many Academy Award nominations and won three times. The "Max Steiner Award" was created in his honor for film music which recognizes Steiner's pioneering role in the early development of the craft of score composition.
Max Steiner's music style is highly distinctive. He does not use subtle nuances, but rather, his language is very direct, illustrating the emotion of the film at particular moments in time. Although Steiner has his signature style, he has been known to borrow an idea or melody from other sources. He has also been criticized for "Mickey Mousing" the film. However, Max Steiner made his mark as a pioneer in the composition of music for film. He created several music scores for films, some of which have become renowned for their power and drama, i.e. King Kong.
Steiner was another key component contributing to the success of Gone with the Wind. The blockbuster movie was further enhanced by the powerful score which complemented the intense plot and scenery. This issue illustrates the magnitude of Steiner's influence in the film industry. The public was aware of Steiner's reputation and when his original score for Gone with the Wind was played, the audience instantly recognized it as Steiner's work. This important facet of the film not only contributed to its overall impact, but most certainly helped contribute to its success.
This article is taken from The Saturday Evening Post. The article describes several different mansions and plantations built centuries ago and still in existence today. This article discusses the unique architecture and relevance of these homes in the contemporary South. The preservation of history is contained in these structures that represented a unique way of life in the Civil War South and Gone with the Wind. These homes bring life and added realism to the film Gone with the Wind.
The homes have been lovingly restored and kept intact. The interiors have been remodeled and updated, while the exteriors remain the same, appearing just as they did in the Civil War era. As the tagline of the article suggests, "The pillars of Southern gentility still stand in the renovated plantation homes and mansions of Alabama, Louisiana and Georgia." The antebellum mansions of the South reflect a bygone way of life and culture that was integral to the manners and mores of Southern society. These special homes serve as reminders of a way of life that we will never see again. Both these homes and Gone with the Wind are surviving icons that bring to life an existence steeped in cultural values of the specific era.
For three days in 1939, celebrities descended on Atlanta, Georgia highlighting the events of the Civil War and its aftermath while overshadowing the events of World War II at the time. This article, written exclusively for About North Georgia by Larry Worthy, details the events of those three days. As with movie premieres today, all of the stars of the movie arrived in town to promote the film. Not only did they come to give interviews and attend the premiere, but they also performed acts of goodwill, such as greeting Civil War veterans, in order to create positive press for the film and its actors. The thought process was that the public would want to see the film if they liked the stars in it.
There were also special events dedicated to the film in order to generate "buzz" and publicity. The "Gone with the Wind ball" attracted a "remarkable" guest list. By the time the day of the premiere arrived, the town was infused with excitement, not only for the film, but also the celebrities. The premiere was a huge event at the Loew's Grand Theater. There were celebrities galore, spotlights sweeping the sky, traffic closures, and a crowd of about 300,000. People waited to get a glimpse of their favorite celebrity as they emerged form their chauffer driven limousines to give radio interviews. Four and a half hours later the premiere was over. The film's stars went on to another premiere in New York the following week. A little known fact surrounding the New York premiere is that Laurence Olivier proposed to Vivien Leigh on the flight out and she accepted. The glitz and glamour of the Gone With The Wind premiere seventy years ago was unique in its time but has remained a standard for movie premieres even today.
This article addresses the issue of slavery which was pervasive in the South during the Civil War. The idea of emancipation was a constantly debated topic within Civil War society. Some wanted the slaves freed while others wanted the Southern institution protected form any intervention. This article from Harper's Weekly is unique in that it is a truly primary source, an actual firsthand article from a real publication of Civil War times. The article was published on December 7, 1861.
The beginning of the article suggests that it is the President and his Generals who must determine what effect the war will have on the South. While there had been no formal change to the policy of slavery at the time of the article's publication, no generals (with the exception of one) permitted "slave hunting" any longer. Additionally, labor was being performed by whites as well as blacks. The article predicts that only time will tell what is to come. The article goes on to say that the Southerners would view a decree of emancipation as laughable. The South sees the entire government and the North as abolitionists. Therefore, an emancipation decree would not be unexpected. The only way to enforce emancipation is through the army. In essence, wherever the Northern army dominates is where abolition would take hold. However, when a general needs more men, he will reconsider his proclamation stating that slaves cannot fight. "Necessity is a most successful schoolmaster."
The article goes on to elaborate on the harsh realities of slavery and emancipation. People acted as they pleased and change was rarely effected without the strong arm of a gun. As a firsthand source, the Harper's Weekly articles are invaluable in their revelation of significant issues often overlooked in history books. Although the article may be biased it is still a highly realistic point of view of the war.
The views held by Southerners regarding slavery during the Civil War are a harsh reality that was pervasive at the time and formed the basis of the Gone with the Wind story. This article provides the reader with additional insight into the characters and types of people who lived during the time of Gone with the Wind and provided the framework for the story that continues to engage generations.
This article, written by Elissa R. Henken discusses the Civil War and is history. The war was fought between the North and the South over states' rights and the abolition of slavery. However, the Civil War also had a significant impact on shaping Southern identity. Although the war is long over, it continues to be an issue of debate amongst the descendants of the original Confederates. It is a part of their history which they will neither relinquish nor put aside.
In this article, Henken details information regarding the Civil War legends and family narratives from people around Georgia. Henken sheds light on the psyche of the Southern mentality of contemporary Georgia. It is interesting to consider that the participants in the article's fieldwork are probably descendants of some of the people who Mitchell used as models for her Gone with the Wind characters. In Henken's article, those descendants of Civil War Southerners provide very strong views of their ancestors. Through the article we are able to see firsthand how Southerners think today and how they view their past. In Gone with the Wind, we see the past of the South recreated in all its glory. The film is a visual embodiment of Henken's study.
Henken's article is particularly interesting to me because it is a primary source and firsthand account of true Southerners, specifically residents of Georgia. The article illustrates real life versions of the fictional characters portrayed in Gone with the Wind. Scarlett O'Hara's and Rhett Butlers truly exist today. In learning about a culture or society, it is fascinating to have firsthand accounts of real people in addition to the fictional versions portrayed in film or literature. Henken's article provides a window into a unique society at a specific time in history. Now, in addition to learning about the Civil War era through a Hollywood studio's view in a great film, I have also attained an understanding of the underlying reality that contributed to the psyche, social mores and political situation of the time.
Gone with the Wind is a film that continues to be relevant because of the time period portrayed, its social influences, and overall importance in the history of film. The release of Gone with the Wind on DVD is significant for a number of reasons. The enhancement of the actual film and the special features added make the DVD an important addition to any film library and just as significant as the film's initial release.
Included in the DVD's content is an in depth interview with Olivia de Hallivand, who plays Melanie. She was nominated for an Academy Award, however, she lost to Hattie McDaniel, who played Mammy. (There is speculation that the reason McDaniel won was as compensation for not being invited to the movie's Atlanta premiere.) In de Hallivand's interview, she reveals the chaos which occurred behind the scenes during the production of the film. For example, directors and writers came and went with alarming frequency.
The most impressive part of the DVD, which makes the DVD "vital and gorgeous", is the attempt to revert to the quality of the original Technicolor process in which the film was shot. The evolution of Technicolor is a significant facet of film history. Gone with the Wind was to be the test of the new Technicolor technology. The production of the film centered around brilliance and contrast of color as well as intricate scenery shots. Much of the original impact of the film lay in the quantity and quality of color schemes throughout the production. As the technology of film progressed, Technicolor was deemed old fashioned and new technology improved upon the once spectacular visions produced by the once unique color delivery system. The Gone with the Wind DVD has resurrected the original screen's Technicolor version of the film.
I feel that it is of great significance and interest for today's audience to see the film just as it was presented in its original form. The use of Technicolor had a significant impact on the audience of the time. Every aspect of a film contributes to the way in which an audience views, comprehends, and appreciates the film. With all the technology available today for production quality enhancement, it is important to have the ability to revert back to the original film version and screen it in its purest form. With every generation producing new audiences with interest in the film, the release of the DVD has made this important piece of film history readily accessible to an even wider audience. The attraction of the DVD lies in its special features. For film buffs and people who are knowledgeable about the history of film and production values, the remastering of Gone with the Wind in Technicolor is an important feature which, perhaps, trumps all of the other aspects of the DVD.