Tuesday, August 19, 2014

HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT: Gone With The Wind (part 1)


This week brings the first part of a special 2-week edition of Hit me with your best shot as we tackle the seminal classic - "Gone with the Wind". Nathaniel had us dedicate this first post to the first half of the film (pre-intermission) and it gave us many glorious images to choose from. No matter how you feel about the film, there's no denying its visual grandeur.

Set around the American Civil War, the film shows the fall of the highly romanticized Southern way of life. It depicts these events in a very cinematic way, with stunning views of impressive plantations and the opulence associated with them. It's almost enough to make you pity those seemingly "harmless" Confederates.

For my best shot then, I wanted to capture the visceral power of the film.

Click below for my favourite shot...


My chosen shot comes from the section of the film where the Civil War has begun to creep into the residential areas of Georgia. Most of the citizens evacuate but Scarlett (Vivien Leigh) stubbornly demands that Rhett (Clark Gable) take her home to Tara. As they make their way through dangerous terrain, we get this striking shot of them passing a blazing inferno. Few things in cinema are as evocative as fire and this shot is no exception. It expresses many of the important themes of the film.

The fire represents the main idea of destruction and war. We also get a good sense of the scale of the film. The grandiose building dwarfs the people and the carriage, which is a common visual cue throughout with the plantation settings. The somewhat triangular shape of the burning structure also reminded me of a church, in line with the fact that religion formed the essential pillar of this society. Finally, the silhouette of Clark Gable running with the horse and carriage in tow gives a sense of the adventure movie elements of the plot.

Much of the architectural emblems of the South came crumbling down and soon many of the social traditions followed. It's sad that so many persons lost their lives for "The Cause" but it also preceded the end of slavery and fostered more progressive attitudes among the people. Sometimes you really need to just burn it all down to inflict necessary changes. Of course, the South still resisted for many more years but it never was able to go back to the old ways. As the title suggests, it's gone with the wind.

4 comments:

  1. wasn't this the shot that was filmed before they even cast Vivien Leigh? (shooting had already begun before they settled on a Scarlett which is... insane)

    good choice

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    Replies
    1. Thanks.

      Wow, that's unbelievable. Didn't know that.

      Delete
  2. Great pick. I agree, a very evocative and important shot right there. Definitely a highlight from the film.

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