Establishing Film Theme: “Gone With the Wind”

Free «Establishing Film Theme: Gone With the Wind» Essay Sample

Gone with the Wind is an epic romance-historical movie produced in the year 1939 and based on Margret Mitchel’s novel with the same title. The story revolves around a girl (Scarlett) who is in love with a married man (Ashley),a neighboring plantation owner, despite warnings from her father and her servant. Rejected by Ashley, Scarlett marries Charles, who is Melanie’s brother before he goes to war where Atlanta faces the Yankees. This classic movie depicts the various filming techniques used in film production.


Gone with the Wind has several themes that include the cost of war, permanence of land, personal reliance, and personal strength laying emphasis on self-reliance as a key to success. Most of the characters in the movie Gone with the Wind are the most successful when they rely on themselves. Scarlett builds a very successful business by refusing to listen to other people’s opinions but trust his skills and judgment. Rhett, a character who is rejected by his family, makes a fortune thanks to his confidence and abilities. Melanie is another character who refuses to listen to other people’s opinions instead living her life as she wants (Bartel, 2014). Her choices and decisions allow her live a happier life up to her death compared with anyone else she lives behind.

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Film Techniques Used


Cinematography defined as the art of motion-picture photography first appears in this movie in the form of Melanie and Scarlett’s shadows on the walls of the makeshift hospital. Afterwards, when Melanie is delivering her baby, the room is only lit by a silver light that appear between the slats of the window; the darkness makes the scene intimate that gives it a powerful simplicity. Tera outhouses, side views, and background vegetation are all in matte painting (Sterritt, 2013). The train station roof, the streets with burning houses, the Old Armory decorations, and the scenes of wounded soldiers lying on the ground – all these refers to the use of cinematography in this movie.

Style of Acting

The style of acting of the various characters in this film reflects their role and helps in establishing the theme. Scarlett, with her bold looks, her flirty appeal, and the way she acts innocent when guilty, is an example of brilliant acting. She is always to attract Ashley’s attention by flirting with other men;when this technique refuses to work, she marries as an act of jealousy. Ashley, on the other hand, is a soft-spoken man who denies his attraction to Scarlett so that he can marry Melanie (Sterritt, 2013). However, when he goes to war, he changes and appears to be a man washed out and full of depression. These two examples clearly show how actors adopt different acting styles to introduce a particular theme in the movie Gone with the Wind.

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Mise-en-Scene Application

Mise-en-scene is a term used to refer to the stage setting of a play with regard to environment or surroundings of a scenery. Gone with the Wind applies this technique very well in the whole plot of the movie.


Being an integral part of mise-en-scene, costumes have been used effectively in different occasions and scenes being congruent with the idea, for example, the curtain dress symbolizes Scarlett’s will to survive. Scarlett wears it in three scenes of the movie: the scene where she meets with Frank Kennedy, the jail scene where she is asking Rhett to assist her financially, and in the scene where Scarlett and Mammy are walking along the streets of Atlanta. Another example that depicts the use of costumes is Rhett Butler’s last suit in the movie that is supposed to demonstrate charismatic and effortless confidence (Wilson, 2014). The scene where Ashley changes his gentleman attire to a soldier’s uniform introduces a theme of war; his clothes turning to rags in this scene depict the effects of the war in the South. Most of the costumes in this movie reflect the historical periods of war and reconstruction.

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Hair and Makeups

The characters in the film should look according to the role and appear natural. Hair and makeups are other parts of mise-en-scene. They are widely and congruently used in this movie with characters like Pritchard, who is an old soldier having long unkempt beard and old clothes that are supposed to show the adverse effects of the war in the movie.


Music, being the other part of mise-en-scene, is easily recognized in Tera theme. The viewers can enjoy epic, soaring melody or background music that blends very well with every theme-scene. The directions of the movie are well managed which allowed it to get some Academy awards including the famous Oscar (Wilson, 2014).

Entertainment Value

The entertainment value of Gone with the Wind is good enough with actions revolving around some themes and main characters all through its running time that is a crucial factor in mise-en-scene quality.

Alternative Techniques

Apart from the mentioned techniques, other film productions such as camera moves, hand-held, Dutch angle, high and low angle would have been useful in bringing out certain themes more clearly as per the theme (Sterritt, 2013). An example would be using the high angle that would make a weak character in the movie appear small.

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Gone with the Winds is considered a successful classic film bearing in mind that when the production took place, technology in the filming industry was not well established but it have stood the test of time effectively using the available techniques to highlight its themes.

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