Gone with the Wind Visual Analysis

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A disheveled man carries a scantily clad young woman in his arms while staring intensely into her eyes. She holds his gaze, but doesn’t appear to be as interested in him as he is in her. The background is ablaze, and the foreground is interposed with three separate images. The first is a group of men on horseback, racing down a street, the man on the lead horse is approached by a woman in a cascading white gown, her arms raised either begging him to stop, or bidding farewell. The second image is a path leading away from the woman up to an elaborate, well-maintained home. The final image is one of a couple in a carriage racing away from a burning city behind them. It is clear from the intimate pose of the couple featured at the top, and the interposed war images, that this poster advertises a wartime love story.

This poster was released in 1940, in the United States of America, advertising the very successful feature film Gone With the Wind. The movie had been released limitedly in December of 1939 and widely released in January of 1940. At this time, America was in the midst of the Great Depression, as well as caught up in the exciting, devastating news of the recent European war that was said to rival the then-named Great War. Not only was America in the midst of two crises, one at home and the other across the pond, but also The Great War was still fresh in the minds of many.

With the entire country buzzing about foreign war and domestic economic depression, the people looked to Hollywood for empathetic relief. They found it in the romances, and particularly, the wartime romances, Hollywood was releasing at the time. Because of this search for relief, the poster – and the images it proffers – fit the demand perfectly.

A master painter, whose name is unknown, created the poster Hollywood released for Gone With the Wind. The artist chose oil paints for his medium and an old-fashioned, impressionistic style, which gave the finished image a feeling of...
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