When I first saw Gone with the Wind as a teenager, I was captivated. There was romance! Comedy! Tragedy! History! Elaborate costumes and eye-popping sets! What was not to love about all that? I thought GWTW would be a perfect candidate for one of my Movie Monday posts because there are several amazing houses in it: Tara, Twelve Oaks, and Aunt Pittypat’s house–not to mention the mansion Rhett builds for Scarlett in Atlanta after they’re married.
First, let’s take a look at Tara, where Scarlett and her family lived.
As the family reads from the Bible and says their prayers in the parlor, Scarlett can’t stop thinking about Ashley and the fact that he’s planning to marry Melanie:
I always loved Scarlett’s bedroom. I like the angled ceilings, the moldings and trims, and the steps that come down into it from the hall:
Did you know that the movie was actually filmed in California and not anywhere near the South? Tara was built on the back lot of Selznick International Studios in Culver City (Culver Studios) and was left standing there until the late 1950s when it was sold to someone who planned to make it the centerpiece of a new amusement park.
Well, the park never panned out, but the front door from Tara is now hanging at the Margaret Mitchell House & Museum. The rest of the house is reportedly “rotting” in storage somewhere, which is sad. Here’s how it looked in 1959, when it was sold at auction (via Retro Web):
The exterior of Twelve Oaks was actually a matte painting. When I took the photo of it off the DVD, it shows how the images of the carriages rumbling up the drive were added later, creating a ghostly effect:
The drive and grounds were supposedly inspired by Boone Plantation. You can see a photo of the famous “Avenue of Oaks” that served as the inspiration for Twelve Oaks’ avenue in my post about The Notebook.
The did create a real front porch for the scenes where Scarlett and her family were greeted at the door, but the barbecue scenes were shot at Busch Gardens:
Update: I posted photos of the Greek Revival home which, according to some sources, served as the inspiration for Twelve Oaks. You can see it here.
The grand staircase at Twelve Oaks:
Scarlett sees Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) for the first time:
I was always fascinated by the idea of the women going upstairs to take a nap together in the middle of the party. And all those little slave girls put to work fanning them. They weren’t “good old days” for everyone, that’s for sure. Apparently, when they were filming this in the 1930s, the set itself was segregated in the beginning, which makes Hattie McDaniel’s Oscar win for playing Mammy even more significant:
Scarlett escapes from “nap time” and peeks out from the landing to see what’s going on downstairs:
The men are downstairs having a meeting about the possibility of war:
Scarlett beckons Ashley into the library:
I like the curved walls of the library:
After Ashley refuses to dump his “plain-faced cousin” Melanie and marry Scarlett instead, Scarlett picks up a vase and throws it. We all know who’s lying on that settee, having heard every word:
After the war, Twelve Oaks is just a shadow of its former self. Here we get a view of the crumbling staircase that Scarlett comes back to. It always made me mad that the soldiers would destroy such beautiful homes! Scenes like this made me want to cry, even as a teenager (is it wrong that this upset me more than the scenes of the wounded soldiers?):
Scarlett becomes a widow during the war and is so bored with mourning that she goes to stay with Aunt Pittypat in Atlanta, where she is courted by Rhett Butler. Here she is, trying on a hat that he brought her back from Paris. Love the arched doorway into the room with the piano:
The front entry of Aunt Pittypat’s house:
Ashley returns to Atlanta on leave for Christmas. Note the Christmas tree on the table behind them, lit with real candles:
A view of the landing from upstairs:
After the war, Scarlett marries Rhett and they build themselves the biggest, glitziest mansion possible in Atlanta (another matte painting, I believe):
The famous red-carpeted staircase:
Rhett and Scarlett have adjoining rooms. This is Rhett’s. Scarlett has just given birth to their daughter Bonnie. In the scene, Rhett hands Mammy a glass of brandy. It was supposed to be tea, but Clark Gable played a trick on Hattie McDaniel and replaced it with the real stuff. They had to retake the scene because she spat it out. You’ll notice she sniffs it first before drinking it–she clearly didn’t trust Gable not to try it again!
Scarlett is too busy brushing her hair and checking her appearance in the hand held mirror to pay much attention to baby Bonnie:
Check out vanity area of Scarlett’s room–the crystal light fixtures, the swooping draperies, and is that a polar bear rug?
They only show Bonnie’s bedroom briefly, but what a bedroom it is! Look at all the murals on the walls:
The back of the house:
The parrots are a great detail. Of course Scarlett would have parrots on her patio:
A shot of the front entry from the top of the stairs–after Scarlett falls down them: