Only five days after its premiere, a poll indicated that 56.5 million people planned
to see the film Gone with the Wind.
Ignoring inflation, it yielded the highest box-office
take of any film ever and was awarded eight Academy Awards, a record which was held
for almost 20 years.
There is no doubt that this film is an American classic, but many
still speculate about how this film reached so many people.
Gone with the Wind had a
fantastic plot and talented actors, but so did many of the other films at the time.
enduring popularity and success of the film Gone with the Wind can be attributed to its
ideal release during the late 1930s: the height of feminism, the boom of Technicolor, as
well as the time of the creative, yet volatile disposition of David Selznick.
In America, the Thirties were a time of economic depression and war.
preceded by the flappers of the jazz age, bold movie actresses, and by the grim realism of
the Depression, putting many women away to work outside their homes for the first time
in their lives.
Although Scarlett O’Hara was a woman of the 1860s in the film, she
encompasses all of the aspects of women in the thirties. Scarlett’s lusts and passions are
symbolic of the sex symbols of the time such as Clara Bow, Louise Brooks, Mae West,
and Jean Harlow.
Like her idols, she wanted total control, especially with her own sexual
During the film, Scarlett flirts often with men saying phrases like, “Now isn't
this better than sitting at a table? A girl hasn't got but two sides to her at the table.”
are few scenes where the men are not flocking around her, which often leads to
confrontations with their wives.
Furthermore, Scarlett’s character is brave, quick-witted
She is the modern, free-spirited woman who exemplifies the desire to
achieve one's dreams in the harshest of times.
Her financial independence during the film
inspired many American women who were in the same position in the post-depression