Monday, December 10, 2007

"Gone With The Wind" - Zodiacal Connection?

Sixtyeight years ago this week, on 15 December, 1939 the movie "Gone with the Wind" had its premiere. Sixtyeight years and no re-make? That must be some sort of record. Come to think of it though, who could play Rhett Butler these days? Johnny Depp - perhaps.

It has been said that Margaret Mitchell, author of the book, source of the movie's plot, used astrological stereotypes to help develop the characters. I searched for confirmation of this. Perhaps it's common knowledge, but it was new to me.

I eventually found a piece by astrologer Alex Trenoweth HERE which states
".......readers have failed to notice that Gone With the Wind is, as Neil Spencer describes: “a thinly disguised astrological allegory. Margaret Mitchell based the characters of her torrid epic on the zodiac, leaving a blatant trail of clues which were only picked up in 1978 when US astrologer Darrell Martinie was shown photocopies of notes from Mitchell`s library.”

That's fairly reliable provenance. I'm careful, not because I have an overly suspicious mind, but because, as we all know, you cannot automatically trust everything you read on the internet!

Further investigation threw up, in a discussion forum, a list of zodiac signs and related GWTW characters. ( I don't know the origin of this list, or whether it is reliable.)

Aries - Scarlett O'Hara
Taurus - Scarlett's Father, and Tara the Plantation
Gemini: Prissy and Aunt Pitty Pat
Cancer: Melanie (Ashley's Wife)
Leo: Rhett Butler
Virgo: Scarlett's Mother
Libra: Belle Wattling (The Madam and friend of Rhett Butler)
Scorpio: Mammy
Sagittarius: Bonnie (daughter of Rhett and Scarlett)
Capricorn: Ashley Wilkes
Aquarius: Mr Kennedy, Scarlett's 2nd husband and Ashley's sister India Wilkes
Pisces: Scarlett's sisters and Scarlett's 1st husband.

The Ashley Wilkes Plantation named 12 Oaks after the 12 Zodiac Signs.


Wikipedia tells us that many of Mitchell's characters are based on people she knew. Both theories could be correct.

"While Margaret Mitchell used to say that her Gone with the Wind characters were not based on real people, modern researchers have found similarities to some of the people in Mitchell's own life as well as to individuals she knew or she heard of....
Researchers believed Rhett Butler to be based on Mitchell's first husband, Red Upshaw. She divorced him after she learned he was a bootlegger. ........".
And more
And:
"Over the past years, the novel Gone with the Wind has also been analyzed for its symbolism and mythological treatment of archetypes".
Which may, or may not, be an oblique reference to the astrological connection.

During the times in which the story is set, segregation and slavery were part of life in the southern states of the USA. I found that, even on the date of the movie's Atlanta premiere, December 1939, the ugliness of segregation hadn't disappeared. This from an article HERE

"Noticeably absent were Hattie McDaniel (Mammy) and Butterfly McQueen (Prissy), black actresses with major roles who were not welcome in the white side of the segregated Atlanta society. Noticeably present was a young Martin Luther King, Jr., who sang in a "negro boys choir" from his father's church, Ebenezer Baptist. "

Many years ago, I worked with a young woman who was obsessed with Margaret Mitchell's novel. I remembered her as I was typing this. She had a battered paperback copy of the book which went everywhere with her. She'd finish the book, then immediately start again at the beginning. Proof indeed of the power of the author's storytelling talent - and perhaps of the strength of astrology's archetypes!

17 comments:

Persephone said...

Hello and many thanks for bringing up my article!

GWTW has set many records, such as most memorable movie, best leading female, most memorable line, etc.. It's a movie embedded in Amercian culture. Personally, I found the characters based on the zodiac far less impressive than the incredible story of Margaret Mitchell herself.

Anyway, it's been nice to visit and I wish you the very best.

Alex

Twilight said...

Hello Alex - many thanks for your visit, and your fascinating article which fuelled my blog post.
:-)

Anonymous said...

GWTW the musical is opening in London's West End on 22nd April 2008 at the New London Theatre and it will be based on the book not the film.

Rhett? Darius Danesh - A Leo!

Twilight said...

Hi Anon

Interesting.

And Darius Danesh - now there's a blast from the past! I had a low grade crush on Darius when he was in Pop Idol many moons ago (I can be a daft old bat at times!)

I think he'll make a good Rhett Butler, I can easily imagine him in the part - right zodiac sign as well!

Anonymous said...

on the gwtw offical site you can see videos of Sir Trevor Nunn talking about why they chose Darius.
Having read the book I can see no one else better to play the part, as said JOhhy Depp perhaps, but he isnt really much like Rhett apart form being dark, Daiur slooks like a bigger more manly Johhny Depp, plus he has appeared in the West end playing Billy Flynn and has played Sky in Guys and Dolls also,If you had a low grade crush on Daiurs when he was in PI, well - look at him now, grown up into the most handsome man I have seen for a long time!

Twilight said...

Oh yes! I always thought Darius had stardom written all over him!
I wasn't aware he'd been in stage musicals though - thanks for the information.

I've had a peek at the GWTW site http://www.gwtwthemusical.com/

I'll do a blog post about Darius after the weekend, and link back to this one.

Thanks again, Anon. :-)

Anonymous said...

TCM ANNOUNCES AN EXCLUSIVE DOCUMENTARY
GONE WITH THE WIND – THE MAKING OF THE MUSICAL

Following announcements that the classic 1936 Margaret Mitchell novel and one of the most commercially successful films of all time, Gone with the Wind, is to undergo a theatre musical adaptation for the West End stage – Film Channel TCM (Turner Classic Movies) is pleased to reveal that all the behind the scenes preparation will be documented by a TCM camera crew shadowing the production with exclusive access right up until the opening night at the New London Theatre on 22nd April.

Gone with the Wind – The Making of the Musical follows one of the most exciting theatrical projects of recent years in a production led by acclaimed British director Sir Trevor Nunn. This honest and realistic documentary will see the cast and crew go through the hard work, joy and excitement that is involved in such a large and ambitious production. The making of the much anticipated show will also include interviews with Sir Trevor Nunn, Darius Danesh who has been cast as Rhett Butler, and Jill Paice who will play Scarlett O’Hara. Other members of the cast and crew will also be talking to camera about their experience and involvement whilst viewers will also get a look into the rehearsals. TCM delves even further behind the scenes, filming the office buzz, the marketing campaign meetings and the photo shoots.

TCM VP & Channel Manager, Alan Musa said, “Gone with the Wind continues to be one of TCM’s most popular films and the stage production further emphasises its appeal to audiences today. We are thrilled to have this unique opportunity to give our viewers an insight into such a major production.”

The UK television premiere of Gone with the Wind – The Making of the Musical will be on 20th April at 1pm on TCM, preceded by the film at 9am. Repeated: 24th April at 8pm.

Twilight said...

Thank you Anon, much appreciated - I'm going to copy this comment to today's blog, in case readers don't click back to this one.

I hope TCM in the USA will air the film at some point.

Anonymous said...

Aries - Scarlett O'Hara
Taurus - Mammy
Gemini - Prissy
Cancer - Melanie Hamilton
Leo - Rhett Buttler
Virgo - Scarlett's father
Libra - Belle Wattling
Scorpio - Ashley Wilkes
Sagittarius - Scarlett's mother
Capricorn - Frank Kennedy
Aquarius - India & Honey Wilkes
Pisces - Charles Hamilton

Anonymous said...

Rhett Butler has to be a scorpio to me. He is too introspective to be a Leo (no offense-married to one), he had too much insight into the psychological aspects of human behavior/motivations of the people around him and he was in touch with the darkside (sinner or saint) he was a sinner, unpopular and most of all could read between the lines of the darker side of life. Not idealistic. Usually scorpio men are very intelligent...sorry he is Scorpio. Ashley is in fairly land (idealist-Aquarius)and absolutely NOT scorpio not even a grey lizard. Most of all Rhett was a devoted, protective father and could care less about anyone who didn't like him other than the ones he loved. If you know scorpio men, fidelity is a big deal breaker. In the second movie, Scarlett, he could never sever his bond of love for her and realizes its hopeless. He will always love her and rushes to her aid in Ireland to save her. In the end he rises like an eagle to forgive her and win his love back. Passionate Rhette your a true Scorpio!

Twilight said...

Anon and Anon ~~~ thanks for your thoughts on this.

I don't have any strong opinions either way on Rhett Butler's likely astrology. My views would be coloured too well by the movie version of the book and Clark Gable's Sun in Aquarius.

A case for Rhett with Aquarius sun might be made too!
;-)

Dionysuspsyche said...

I agree, I have a lot of Leos in my life, and I've known my fair share of Scorpio men and women. I think Rhett Butler is a Scorpio.

I also think that Ashley is too idealistic and dreamy...I think he's more of a Pisces. It would also make more sense when he says that he and Melanie are so much alike since Pisces and Cancer are both water signs.

I don't think anyone can disagree that Scarlett is an Aries, although when I first saw it, I thought she was a Scorpio. Interesting that Vivien Leigh is one though!

Twilight said...

Dionysuspsyche ~~ Hi!

Thank you for your thoughts on this. It's always an interesting astro exercise to match book/movie characters and signs. I find myself doing it everytime I go tto the cinema or read a book.
:-)
Thanks again for keeping the thread alive after so long.

Anonymous said...

I would think Ashley was a Pices too, but the book says otherwise. Ashley was born on 4/15 or 4/16, on the cusp of Aries/Taurus:

CHAPTER LIII
"It was Ashley's birthday and Melanie was giving him a surprise reception that night..."Scarlett had never seen Melanie so excited or so happy."You see, dear, Ashley hasn't had a birthday party since--since,you remember the barbecue at Twelve Oaks? The day we heard aboutMr. Lincoln's call for volunteers? Well, he hasn't had a birthdayparty since then."

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~~~ hi there! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Ashley, if born 14 or 15 April would have definitely had Sun in Aries, though Mercury and Venus, maybe other planets could easily have been in Taurus lending a different "feel" to his nature.
He maybe had Pisces rising or Moon in Pisces. No person fully embodies their Sun sign, we're an amalgam of stuff from all planetary positions and aspects.

:-)

Anonymous said...

Absolutely agree. Went back to his birthdate and year and it shows venus in the first house, and this sure sounds like Ashley to me. This would explain the strong Aries (Scarlet) to Ashley (Aries) connection?:
This is a strong position for Venus, for it adds charm to your personality and gives you an amiable and pleasant disposition.
You concentrate a great deal on your appearance and even if you are not especially beautiful or handsome, you have a quality of softness and friendliness, which endears you to many.
You like to keep beauty and grace around you as much as possible. You have a strong affinity with nature and prefer the quiet life of the country to the plastic constructions of city life.
It is likely that you grew up in an atmosphere of warmth and congeniality. Now it is easy for you to project these same feelings to family and friends, and others often count on you to restore peace in difficult situations.
You have strong inclinations toward music, art and drama and you may wish to cultivate a form of artistic expression.
You work very hard to get along with others, and you usually try to win arguments with diplomacy rather than force. You must learn to be self-assertive when necessary and to stand up for your own rights, forcefully if need be. Otherwise, people will not have much respect for you.

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~~ Hi again!

Venus in first house would seem to be a perfect fit - but in order to be sure that Venus was in 1st house we'd need to know his exact time of birth - I can't remember whether there's evidence of that anywhere in book or notes......but it's a very good theory!
:-)