Saturday, 14 April 2012

The barbecue... and war.

Twelve Oaks is the Wilkes family plantation, and is simply breathtaking. Tara is beautiful, yet it lacks the grandeur of Twelve Oaks. Scarlett has many a time daydreamed about being mistress of the grand house, and arriving at the plantation makes her more determined to win Ashley.

Twelve Oaks - party goers arriving.

She and her family are met by Ashley's father and sisters, India and Honey, and immediately begin socialising and gossiping, or in Scarlett's case, flirting wildly! Her plan is quite simple - be the belle of the "ball" and make all the men fawn over her so that Ashley becomes wildly jealous and dismisses Melanie and tells Scarlett he loves her and wants to marry her instead. Sound plan, wouldn't you say?

Scarlett is reintroduced to Melanie, and is completely lovely to her (more game plan tactics!).

Meeting cousin Melanie.

Here is when we see the infamous Rhett Butler for the very first time. He is bewitched by Scarlett, as all the men are, but not entirely for the same reasons. He finds her attractive, obviously, but he cannot help but be entertained by her act, which he knows it is. She is by far the most interesting person at this country barbecue!

Here is a little scene which always makes me smile!! 

He looks like is if he knows what I look like without my shimmy....

As you can imagine, Scarlett is intrigued, but not enough to distract her from her plan. She takes to her role with gusto and is soon surrounded by all the men at the barbecue - much to the dismay of all the young, single women, and the disapproval of the older, married ladies. Scarlett could have any of the fine young beaux, but only has eyes for Ashley, who we soon see only has eyes for Melanie. One would think Scarlett would realise her mistake in Ashley's feelings, but blinded by love, she continues to pursue him. 

Surrounded by men at the barbecue.
The barbecue is full of men discussing the imminent war, much to the displeasure of Scarlett, who finds all the war talk boring. At this point, I will also mention that "Gone with the Wind" is not just a story about unrequited love, but also about the Civil War, and it goes into great detail about it. In fact, the book was used in schools in the late 1930's and early 1940's for its account of the Civil war, which Margaret went to a great effort to research and recount.

The women retire for the afternoon to get some "beauty sleep" before the evening's festivities (my sisters and I always think it quite a fun joke to say the other needs a beauty sleep like the ladies in "Gone With the Wind" before going out for the night!). Scarlett, however sneaks out to find Ashley and declare her love (!). Really, I could recount this for you, but Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard and Clark Gable do it so well, I wold be doing you an injustice if I took that away from you...

I adore this scene. Her expressions are priceless. Ashley is so weak and awful, and Rhett is so smooth, you wonder why Scarlett doesn't forget Ashely then and there and bunk up with Rhett! It always plagued me how Ashley led Scarlett on throughout the whole story, making her think he loved her yet HAD to marry Melanie. However, the more I watched it and read it,  the more I realised that he probably did love her in a way, but realised that marrying Melanie was the best for all of them (plus he did dearly love Melanie). What really bugged me was the way he couldn't just let Scarlett go. This issue goes in wide circles, because you say one thing and it ends up back at another!! What do you think about Ashley? Do you think he truly loved Scarlett? Or just couldn't bare to hurt her by letting her down completely?

After leaving the room, Scarlett overhears a few of the other ladies talking about their dislike for her and her behaviour with the men. The only person to come to her defence is none other than Melanie, which just manages to make Scarlett angrier. Suddenly, the scene erupts into chaos with war being declared and all the men running about excitedly and leaving immediately to enlist. Scarlett, overcome with heartache over Ashely's rebuke, agrees to marry Charles Hamilton, Melanie's brother. She does this without thinking, but you can tell it really comes from spite (poor bugger!). 

Scarlett charms Charles.

A heartbroken Scarlett is proposed to by Charles.

And so Scarlett is married, as are Ashley and Melanie, and off to war both men go, as do many, many other hopeful young men...

Marrying Charles.

Ashley marries Melanie, and Scarlett marries Charles.

Scarlett, heartbroken over Ashley's indifference at her wedding.

Mitchell, M .(1974). 'Gone With The Wind'. Pan Books Ltd, Cavaye Place, London, MacMillan London Ltd.

All still frames and movie clips courtesy of Selznick International Pictures and MGM.

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