It’s the American south in 1861 and Scarlett O’Hara is in love with her neighbour Ashley Wilkes. When he announces his engagement to his cousin, southern belle Scarlett marries in spite, but is soon widowed by the Civil War. Only adventurer Rhett Butler knows of her secret love for Ashley. Yet he courts her nonetheless. And Atlanta comes under siege by the Union army ... The film is a spectacle of superlatives, including its use of colour. To shoot the burning of Atlanta, the production used seven Technicolor cameras, every one in existence. Production designer William Cameron Menzies received a special Oscar for his use of colour, “not only fences and ruins were painted black but acres of grass were blackened. No attempt was made to make Gone With the Wind pretty. When unpleasant colours were inquired to enhance the drama, they were used. Red skies and indigo backings were planned for a macabre, strong and unhappy atmosphere”. It was all part of David O. Selznick’s plan, “this picture in particular gives us the opportunity occasionally – as in our opening scenes and as in Scarlett’s costumes – to throw a violent dab of colour at the audience to sharply make a dramatic point”.
by Victor Fleming
with Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Leslie Howard