Gone With The Wind

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1. In class, we discussed the studio system. According to the text, Gone With the Wind is a vindication of the studio system. The film had five directors working on the project. The film also had twice the amount of writers a film usually has. It also had two main cinematographers. Also during the Hollywood Studio System, the book talks about the casting of African Americans. Black actors only had five basic types of parts: Toms, coons, mulattoes, mammies, and buck. In Gone With The Wind, Hattie McDonald played mammy. Also we discussed how this film won 8 Academy Awards for best picture, best director, best actress, best supporting actress, best screenplay, best cinematography, best editing, and best art direction. You can see why due to scenes and the overall film. Vivian Leigh, who actually had to lose her British accent and learn a Southern accent, received the best actress award for her well portrayed spoiled, conceited, and conniving southern belle. Victor Fleming received the best director award. He transformed the book to film flawlessly with unique shots of the war, like all the wounded soldiers.

2. The article Gone With The Wind by Mark Juddery from History Today examines the legacy of this film since its release in 1939. It has sold more tickets in any film in history and quickly broke the box-office records. It was filmed in Technicolor and had spectacular sets. The producer, David O Selznick decided to release the film as a single movie with intermission. Filming began in 1938 and released in 1939. It depicted the war seventy four years later. It revitalized the memories from the South and sought to bring the audience into a mythical land. It inspires pride for the way the film portrayed the dignity and the suffering of the Confederate men and women. Even though the Civil War has a spot in everyone's hearts, the film only has a backdrop during the first half. It doesn't have any battle scenes either.
       The film basically focuses on the life of Scarlett O'Hara, a spoiled "southern belle" from Atlanta, whose family owns a cotton plantation. When the war is declared, Scarlett quickly marries one, who eventually dies of measles. After the war, Scarlett is forced to change her self-centered attitude and save her family from stravation. Nevertheless, she still remains egocentric and materialistic. Scarlett is mainly searching for romance. She is widowed twice, head over heals for Ashley Wilkes, and winds up unhappily married to Rhett Butler. Rhett Butler is portrayed as a southern gentleman who is well-educated, well-groomed, and well-mannered. In some instances, he suffers no remorse, but is further presented as a gentlemen. She may not be an appealing character, but in the end has a positive attitude.
        The other half of the article focuses on the angry criticism the film received for it depiction of slavery. Critics have suggested that this film has inspired a "racist white feminism that has alienated many African- Americans from the modern women's movement." Others says that Gone With The Wind softened the racial politics of the novel. The slaves are portrayed very positively in the film though. They were played by real African Americans and this film receive the first black actor to win an Oscar.

3. This article related to the film through many examples. To revitalizes the memories from the South during the war, there were a couple scenes that depicted this. When Scarlett was helping out as a nurse, it showed how many men were injured, the lack of doctors and nurses, and the grueling pain everyone was going through. There was even a short scene with a man getting his leg amputated. The film even shows a shot of millions of soldiers that were laying in the deserted towns just waiting for medical help.
        Focusing more on Scarlett, there are plenty of scenes that show her characteristics shining through. To save her family from starvation, Scarlett winds up killing a Yankee soldier and taking his money. Her positive attitude is shown when she has to pick cotton on her own field and help wash her own clothes. Further more she goes to jail to get money from Rhett Butler in order to get money for taxes on the plantation. When that doesn't work, she is still persistant. She notices that one of her sister's friends owns a small store with lumbar business on the side. The lumbar business is considered lucrative after the war. Just to get the money for taxes and her foot in the lumbar business, she winds up marrying him and saving Tara, even though she doesn't love him. These are definitely an example of her perseverance and greed. An example of her being materialistic is when she marries Rhett Butler. She married him for his money, lavish dresses, and gifts from him.
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        Rhett Buttler is shown always wearing a suit and is groomed well. When Scarlett and Rhett were walking with Bonnie, he was well mannered, tip his hat to the ladies, and said hello.He is a gentlemen when he helps Scarlett leave Atlanta and find her way home to Tara. He feels great remorse when Scarlett fell down the stairs, while pregnant. Otherwise, he is not the nicest man. He handles Scarlett roughly either by grabbing her or forcing her to kiss him. He tells her she is shrewd and selfish. He even insults her motherhood by saying "a cat is a better mother than you" (Internet Movie Database).
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       As for the so called harsh depiction of slavery, Mammy and other African Americans are treated equally throughout the film. Scarlett did speak down to Mammy and hit Prissy when she lied about birthing babies. But Rhett gave Mammy a red petticoat for appreciation. Scarlett does treat most of the black men like normal human beings. When she was attacked on her way to the lumbar mill, Sam saved her. She showed gratitude toward him.

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4. For it's place in history, the film's story line was far in the past. The whole film is based on the Civil war, which was seventy four years before the movie was released. I think Victor Fleming was trying to remind people how hard the South had to work to overcome the Yankees. As regards to cencorship, this film does not follow the Production Code. There were numerous scenes of Rhett and other drinking and smoking. Even a lady, Scarlett, was shown drinking shots of alcohol. Lastly, even though this line is very famous, it does swear. The line "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn", was actually tried by The Production Code. Victor Fleming did a fantastic shot with shooting each scene. He emphasizes negative space and depicts foreshadowing very well. When you see the stained glass window in the church, there is only one of the doctor's in the lower thirds of the screen. This shows that something is going to happen to the window, which winds up being broken by a brick. Even though the audience does not pick up on this, Scarlett's father dying from falling off his horse foreshadows what happened to Bonnie. Bonnie also dies from trying to do a jump with her horse. Also Fleming shows passage of time through subtle clues. When Scarlett and the rest of the girls are waiting for Ashley and Rhett to get back, one of the girls is reading a book. Each time a scene cross fades, the woman is reading a few chapters ahead of what she was reading before. The clock was even shown going around really fast. There were a lot of close ups and shots going from interior to exterior too.  No wonder why Gone With The Wind won so many awards. It is a little long, but the plot and aesthetics are presented very well.

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