Gone With The Wind


Gone With The Wind Essay, Research Paper

Gone with the wind (1939) dir. Victor Fleming

This is a film about contrast. In the film clip, lagre amount of contrast can be found between characters, lighting, the way of how colour is presented, the way of how camera being placed, and the way of how shots being taken.


From the film clip (and the whole film), the colour image is strong on contrast, not only the colour of the settings, the furnitures, and the costumes, also the colour contrast of indoor and outdoor.

In the film clip, the major colour is grayish, the tones contain grayish olive green, grayish blue ( Melanie?s costume), and grayish brown. It gave the audience an impression of desolated space, like a castle. With a large amount of gloomly shadows of furnitures and stairs, it empasis the dismal of the indoor surroundings strongly.

The dull tone of indoor settings is different when compare with the outdoor setting. When Melanie announced to the people who were out in the field through the window, the colourful image of the field outside is a strong contrast to the dull and gloomy image inside the house. This created a feeling of a hidden incident is happened or happening inside the house but the public outside is never known. As the colour concept of people (i.e. audiences) always treated colourful as joyful, happiness and innocent, and dark, dull, gloomy are always connected with evil, crime and secrets.

The costumes are designed to signifly the difference in the personalities of Melanie and Scarlet. The costume of Melanie is a grayish-blue lingerie, an additonal over coat, and the a long plait with an untidy hair, that makes her looks compelety as a peasanty woman. Her pale face and the pair of sunken eyes also suggests she is weak, sick, and need protection.

Scarlet is wearing a bright colour one piece dress with patterns, her hair hair looks tidy with a white hair net, her light make up, looks elegant and sexy when compared with Melanie. And also created an impression that she doesn?t belongs to the dismal, gloomy house, she doesn?t belong to the working peasant lifestyle. However, she is wearing a pair of old leather shoes which covered by dirt, dry mud and dust, that hide under her pretty dress. It means even thought she is not belong to there, or she think she is not belong to there, but her birth place, her root is Tara, the place with mud, dust, and peasant in the field.

There are also a contrast in the film clip of Northerns and Southerns. The costume of the Union deserter is full of dust and dirt, his military uniform is not well-dressed, his lopsided cap, his dishevelled hair and his distorted face is covered with dust and half hidden under the beard. All of it suggested he is not just a deserter, but a outragerous, arrogant boorish fellow. The image of a soldier is a well disciplinarian, but the deserter looks similar as a robber, an intruder. When compared with Scarlet and Melanie, who representing the Southerns, the deserter who representing the Northerns are more like a devil. Despite the history, Northerns are created as devil and bad guys in this film clip. Costumes created the typical and classical characterisation of the Hollywood film ? strong contrast of strong and weak, good and bad.

The classical Hollywood lighting style is presented in this film clip ? three point lighting is projected on every characters, even while they are moving down the stairs or moving upward.

The another important point is the way of using lighting to descibe the strong contrast between Melanie and Scarlet. At the beginning of the film clip, Scarlet enters the house under the shadow of the stairs, and then Melanie walks into the frame from the stairs under the light. As comparison, Melanie looks more angelic then Scarlet, as the colour concept in people?s mind, psycologically, audience gained impression of Melanie as angelic, pleasant, warm and a dependent woman, because she walks into the frame from the light, and Scarlet seems have her cold and dark side of personality and as an independent woman.

The lighting of indoor and outdoor is an important contrast as well. The bright, sunny outdoor natural lighting is to empasis the dark, and gloomy indoor atmosphere.


The film clip starts with a long shot of Scarlet entering the house, and Melanie is coming down from the stairs, then the camera follows the movement of Scarlet, shows the dominant of Scarlet between Scarlet and Melanie. Large amount of close up and medium close up of Scarlet is used to empasis the dominant of Scarlet?s position in the house and her personal feelings.

The tension of the climax of this film clip begins when Scarlet looks throught the window and saw the Union deserter walking toward the house with a gun in his hand. A point of view shot is used to represent what Scarlet saw, and zoom into the Union deserter more clear as finally the clear image of the Union deserter is in focus.

The atmosphere is more tensely when the close up of the Union Deserter?s hand opens the jewellery box, and the close up of carlet?s hand grabs the gun in her drawer.

Then the long, eye level shot of Scarlet walking down of the stairs followed by the medium low angle shot of the Union deserter. The low angle shot makes the Union deserter looks he is powerful, evil and dominant of that scene. (However, that is not Scarlet?s point of view, because she?s up on the stairs and the deserter is down under in the foyer.) Then, when the deserter looks up to Scarlet, a point of view shot of the deserter by a medium close up on Scarlet?s face, and with soft focus it makes Scarlet looks more pretty, it suggested the sexual intention of the deserter at that moment, he not just want to rob the jewels (the earring) and money, but also have certain sexual intention on Scarlet.

After the deserter killed by Scarlet, Melanie rushed out to the stairs, and the camera focused on Melanie with a medium close up from her face, then panned down to the army knife which she is firmly grabbed in her hand. This panning action to to empasis to the audience that the only common point between Melanie and Scarlet ? both of them carry a weapon and prepare to fight with the intruder.

When the people, the family of Scarlet who is working in the field at that time asked loudly what happened inside the house, Melanie turned back to the window and yelled out a lie. It is a over shoulder shot, but an unusual over shoulder shot, usually when this kind of over shoulder shots appear, the object or the person having conversation with the character is always on focus, that is, the image of the object or people is more clear. However, in this shot, Melanie?s back is more clear and in focus. Because how the audience?s reaction is not important in this scene, the important point is, Melanie lie to the public for Scarlet, which she is not supposed to, and which audience not supposed she will. Therefore the camera is focus on her back.

Ideology and Characterisation

From the techniques and style of the misc-en-scene, cinematography, editing and dialoge of this film clip (and this film) is creating a contrast and tension between Scarlet and the people, environment and emotion around her.

The personality of Scarlet is desicbed clearly as a strong, brave and indenpendent woman. She dare to hate, and dare to love. She rather choose the way she want to go instead of choosen by the others. She would not hide her feeling because she doesn?t aware or care much for the other?s feeling. The personality of Melanie is weak, soft-hearted and dependent. She is opposite to Scarlet?s personality in certain extendence.

If Scarlet?s personality can be desribed as an Aries?s personality; then Melanie?s peronality can be as Cancer?s.

Therefore, if the statement — ?Narrative (or film storyline) mainly based on contrast and conflict between characters to character, or characters to the history background.? Is accepted, then the narrative of Gone with the Wind is formed and opened up with the contrast between Melanie and Scarlet. And the conflict between Scarlet and the Civil War period, between Scarlet and her love.

At the beginning of Gone with the Wind, the image of Scarlet is a pretty and sexy woman, who has alot of admirer. However, she loves Ashley, at least she thinks she loves Ashley. However Ashley announced on the picnic party he wants to marry with Melanie. Therefore, the destiny of Melanie and Scarlet is connected together, and affecting each other.

.In the film clip, Scarlet shoot the deserter with no mercy, and then discuss with Melanie how to manage the corpse in a very reality tone, it is just like discussing how to hide a furniture, an object. A conflict with Melanie, she hasn?t got any idea of how to solve and hide for this kind of serious crime.

But Melanie lie for Scarlet, even thought it is something out of her personality. At that moment they are standing at the same line.

Therefore, this is the way of opening up the possibilities of more complexity of the narrative ? Melanie and Scarlet is not totally against each other, they still the help from each other, like Scarlet work for Melanie, Melanie lie for Scarlet, they are situated in a very subtle relationship, this is the formation of the the story.

Finally, the director described the Northerns are robbers, intruders to the Southerns. This film clip is standing in the point of view of a Southerns. As Southerns are the oppose of liberation the black slave, we can noticed that this film still having the shadow of the white supremeism


Gone with the wind and the sunset(1992) Dr Karen Chen, Meiah Publisher

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