I remember my mom was a fan of vintage Hollywood movies. I watched all of them with her when I was a child. Whenever they came on TV, she would tune in, and together we would watch them from beginning to end. While I assume other children watched Disney films, I however, got to watch the original Bond movies, The Sound of Music, Hitchcock thrillers, and Gone with the Wind. What did all these old classics have in common? Incredibly beautiful iconic female characters, great fashion and romance and drama done in the most legendary way. This post I will be focusing on the lush adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s 1937 novel Gone with the Wind.
Made in 1939, and so epic in its nearly 4 hour long story-telling, this movie was the big one. It had in it so many love stories and triangles that there was never a dull moment. And the colours and costumes in this film were fantastically grand, beautiful and perfect. Taking place in the Civil War era in the United States’ history, it showcased a very strong female character, Scarlett O’hara, played by the actress Vivienne Leigh. My mother told me so many women loved her character portrayal so much that the most popular westernized name in Hong Kong given to baby girls at a time was “Vivien”. (If that was the case, how did I end up with my modest name Emmie?) Well, anyways, back onto track, Vivien Leigh played Scarlett, a “southern belle” who full of determination, pride and guts, was a victim of unrequited love, even with all of her beauty. While watching the film, we don’t know weather to pity or admire her, for her dire circumstances; with not getting the beau of her dreams and for having to survive war, famine, and poverty during the worst of the civil war. As we all know, the South loses, but Scarlet never lets that affect her.
One of my favourite things about Scarlett was that she was not ashamed of her attractiveness and was not afraid to use it to get ahead or for survival reasons. She wasn’t able to land her love obsession Ashley Wilkes, a southern gentleman with honor, but she was sure able to beguile playboy, womanizer Brett Butler. A skill that is not to be taken lightly. He fell for her hard.
What do you think? Can contemporary Hollywood actresses compete with Vivien Leigh’s Scarlett? Or is even trying to out do this gal a hopeless venture? I for one think this is a tall feat. What do today’s Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Watson, or Emilia Clarke have on Scarlett O’Hara? Apparently nothing, if you’ve been able to catch this classic gem of a film.