Gone With The Wind-Titanic Comparison

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I'm a longtime "Gone With The Wind" enthusiast collector and researcher. I knew upon seeing "Titanic" for the first time that there were many similarities with "Gone With The Wind." Here's what I've compiled so far, with some input from fellow "Windies" who also love "Titanic." Please let me know if you have any additions, corrections, or general comments. Thanks.

Gone With The Wind vs. Titanic
The Similarities


1. Both GWTW and Titanic are fictional (love) stories placed within a historical context.

2. Both stories cover a tragic circumstance that has never been totally resolved. The Civil War is still unresolved in the minds of many, especially in the South. The sinking of Titanic still has many unresolved issues as well. It is likely that these issues will never be resolved.

3. Both stories depict some of the most affluent parts of society in their respective time periods.

4. Both stories cover class dichotomy (slavery in GWTW; 3rd class steerage in Titanic).

5. Both stories have an Irish flavor.

6. The lead female characters are named Scarlett and Rose, both of which are shades of red.

7. Scarlett and Rose are very close in age, 16 and 17 respectively.

8. Both Scarlett and Rose were engaged/married to men they did not love.

9. Both Scarlett and Rose loved men that they weren't supposed to know.

10. The lead male characters (Rhett Butler and Jack Dawson) are both "dashing rogue" types, living life as it comes.

11. Both films feature a lead female character that is headstrong and who has to deal with adversity and loss after living a very comfortable life, surviving the ordeal and able to rebuild her life.

12. Scarlett has Mammy while Rose has her mother Ruth, both of whom disapprove of the actions of their respective charges.

13. Both films feature a corset-lacing scene, with the Mammy/Mother character doing the lacing-up and voicing some disapproval.

14. In both films, there is a "What shall I do?" scene. In GWTW, Scarlett asks (Captain) Rhett (Butler), "Where shall I go? What shall I do?" In Titanic, an immigrant woman holding a child asks the Captain "Capitan, What shall I do?"

15. Both films include a beautiful sunset silhouette scene featuring their respective homes: Tara in GWTW and the ship in Titanic.

16. Both films show the horror of death through pullback scenes (the carshed full of dead and dying soldiers in GWTW; the passengers in the water immediately after the final sinking of Titanic).

17. Both films have a dancing scene in which the female lead is doing something she shouldn't be doing. After all, Scarlett is in mourning so she shouldn't accept the dance with Captain Butler. And, as a first-class pasenger, Rose is above dancing and partying with Jack in 3rd class steerage.

18. Both films feature staircase scenes. GWTW has the Twelve Oaks staircase as well as the staircase in Scarlett's and Rhett's Atlanta home that is used for two crucial scenes: the "rape" scene and the "miscarriage" scene. Titanic uses the Grand Staircase as the passage way to and from first class, where Rose meets Jack to cross the line into his life as they go to the party in steerage and where Rose is reunited with Jack and all the dear souls who perished when Titanic sank.


19. Both films took about 3 years from preproduction through release.

20. Both films were the among the most expensive films, if not the most expensive, made to date (GWTW cost $4 million while Titanic cost $200 million).

21. Both movies opened in December. In fact, both GWTW and Titanic premiered on the exact same date--December 19--in New York City.

22. Both films can be considered an "epic film."

23. Both films are extraordinarily long. GWTW runs 222 minutes (3 hrs. 42 min. with a 20-minute intermission), while Titanic runs 197 minutes with no intermission.

24. Both David O. Selznick and James Cameron became driven ("obsessed") with their films.

25. Both DOS and JC gave up salaries/profits in order to get the film made. (Reports are that JC will be compensated, now that "Titanic" has far surpassed its break-even point.)

26. Both DOS and JC paid close attention to the historical detail, even reshooting scenes so that they would be totally correct.

27. The production of both films utilized the most current technology available and broke new ground in developing techniques for filming special situations.

28. Vivien Leigh and Kate Winslet are both British actresses playing the lead role of an American girl.

29. Both Vivien Leigh and Kate Winslet went to great lengths to get their respective roles while their leading men, Clark Gable and Leonardo DiCaprio, were disinterested and indifferent, at least initially, to playing their roles.

30. Clark Gable and Leonardo DiCaprio share certain mannerisms (according to a film history professor at the University of Michigan).

31. Both films had some of the longest credits (cast and technical) ever to date.

32. Both films featured a lush musical score, which utilized some appropriate songs of the period.

33. Both films have a "breakout" song: "Tara's Theme" (aka "My Own True Love") from GWTW and "My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic.


34. Both films can be considered the biggest box office draw to date.

35. Both films were extremely popular upon their release, selling out shows consistently and seeing a lot of repeat business.

36. Titanic has already broken the box office records for the highest domestic gross revenues for an initial release; GWTW undoubtedly did the same for its time, given that the movie ran for weeks in cities and returned for additional engagements several times within two years of its initial release (while never going out of theatres at any time).

37. Both films garnered a record number of Academy Award nominations to date. GWTW received 13 nominations; Titanic received 14 nominations, tied for the all-time record with All About Eve (1950).

38. Both Vivien Leigh and Kate Winslet received Oscar nominations for their leading lady roles.

39. Both GWTW and Titanic were shutout in the Best Actor category. Clark Gable was nominated but did not win; Leonardo DiCaprio did not even get nominated.

40. In the Best Supporting Actress category, Hattie McDaniel won an Oscar for her role as Mammy in GWTW, setting a milestone as the first African-American to win an Oscar. Gloria Stuart was nominated for her role as Old Rose in Titanic, setting a milestone as the oldest Oscar nominee; when she wins the Oscar, she will become Oscar's oldest winner.


-- Kathleen Marcaccio (dkosh@msn.com), March 07, 1998


Thanks for the awesome comparison. I have watched GWTW couple times but I never knew there were that many comparisons. Maybe thats why they often use GWTW for comparison, how much it made in theaters(which tickets sold for $.25 a piece) and in some articles compared to now with inflation,which makes the film grossing amount worth more. It said that titanic ran 11th in the scheme of things. Although how can people compare movies of the past at a even level now?

-- Kerry Scheuers (michelle_08@yahoo.com), March 07, 1998.

Kathleen, that is an impressive list! There are many things here that I knew, but didn't think to correlate.

Thanks for sharing that with us!


-- Kip Henry (kip-henry@ouhsc.edu), March 07, 1998.

Thank you, Kathleen. I am a "GWTW" fan, and I had noticed several of these similarities. But, when I tried to point them out to other people they didn't really seem to understand. I was beginning to think I was just fabricating similarities because "GWTW" and "Titanic" are my two favorite movies of all time. Thanks for the great list and for letting me know I'm not crazy!

-- Julie (joiner@stsplus.msstate.edu), March 09, 1998.

Also, if I recall, many people predicted that "Gone With the Wind" would be a major commercial flop, or at least not make its money back. This should sound familier!

Although one can take the "connections" or "similarities" game too far, those were interesting facts Kathleen. But...can anyone connect "Titanic" and "Gone With the Wind" to Kevin Bacon???

-- Thomas Shoebotham (cathytom@ix.netcom.com), March 09, 1998.

Also, both movies involve a promise the heroine makes that she spends the rest of her life fulfilling. Scarlett vows "As God is my witness, I will never go hungry again", and Rose promises "I'll never let go." Both of these scenes are very dramatic parts of their respective movies.

-- Cindy (cydwalker@aol.com), March 09, 1998.

Tom: I'm not sure that critics ever expected that GWTW would be a commercial flop. There was far too much interest in this movie from the public. If anything, I think they thought it would not be a critical success. But I will see if I can locate any info on this angle.

Here's my Six Degrees of GWTW-Titanic, linking the two leads from each movie:

Vivien Leigh was in The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961) with Jill St. John who was in The Player (1992) with Jack Lemmon who was in Hamlet (1996) with Kate Winslet.

Clark Gable was in Run Silent, Run Deep (1958) with Burt Lancaster who was in 1900 (1976) with Robert De Niro who was in Les Cent et Une Nuits (1995) with Leonardo DiCaprio.

And here's your answers for linking to Kevin Bacon:

Vivien Leigh was in Ship of Fools (1965) with Elizabeth Ashley who was in Dragnet (1987) with Tom Hanks who was in Apollo 13 (1995) with Kevin Bacon.

Clark Gable was in Combat America (1943) with Tony Romano who was in Starting Over (1979) with Kevin Bacon.

Both Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio were in Titanic (1997) with Bill Paxton who was in Apollo 13 (1995) with Kevin Bacon.

Cindy: Thanks for the suggestion about both Scarlett and Rose making a promise that carries them through life. I'll add it to my list.

-- Kathleen Marcaccio (dkosh@msn.com), March 10, 1998.

Kathleen Thank You!!! for the Kevin Bacon post.

I am still laughing so hard I'm crying!!!

-- crystal smithwick (crystal@9v.com), March 10, 1998.

Another commonality: both movies were produced roughly 80 years after the historical event depicted.

-- Bob Gregorio (donthave@wishidid.com), March 16, 1998.

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