Who is Cedric Gibbons?

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Who is Cedric Gibbons? A Prolific Film Industry Icon

Cedric Gibbons is an American film, art director, and set designer who is perhaps best remembered as the production designer on MGM’s classic films, such as The Wizard of Oz and Gone With The Wind. He is widely credited with revolutionizing the art direction of the modern American film industry and helping to create the blockbuster movie phenomenon of the 20th century.

From Art School Prodigy to Hollywood Hero

Cedric Gibbons was born in New York City in 1893. As a young man, he moved to Paris to study at the École des Beaux Arts and quickly developed a passion for art and design. After graduating, he returned to the United States and found a job at the Famous Players-Lasky film company in 1915.

Gibbons’ Technological Innovations

It was at Famous Players-Lasky that Gibbons began to develop his innovative and groundbreaking skills as a production designer. He implemented the latest electronic and sound innovations of the time, helping to transform the art direction and sound production of the modern American film industry.

Innovative Art Direction and Set Design

Gibbons’ innovations in art direction and set design helped to elevate film production to a whole new level. He was able to give films greater dramatic effect through the development of layered lighting techniques, painted backdrops, and symmetrical sets. He also was the first to incorporate matte paintings and miniature sets in films, allowing viewers to enter into fantastical worlds and become engaging with the story.

Creating Lasting On-screen Hits

Gibbons was the head of MGM’s art direction department for over 25 years and during this period he created some of Hollywood’s most renowned films. His earliest works include The Freshman, a silent comedy which was a box office success, as well as Street Scene, an aviation drama which he co-directed with King Vidor.

Revolutionary Designs for The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind

The movies which have probably become the most remembered of Gibbons’ works are The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind. He created the iconic art direction and set designs for both films. In The Wizard of Oz, he conceived the famous yellow brick road and the Emerald City. For Gone With The Wind, he designed the famous Tara plantation house and the burning of Atlanta scene.

A Life Well Lived

Aside from his role as an influential art director, Gibbons also had a successful career in other aspects of the film industry. He worked as a producer, technician, and writer, and was responsible for bringing together renowned filmmakers and actors from different studios to star in MGM films. He was also an Oscar-winning costume designer and is credited as the founder of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

A Legacy of Quality Design

Cedric Gibbons was truly a revolutionary figure in the 20th century movie industry, responsible for integrating advanced technological advances into films, as well as creating iconic art direction and set designs. Through his efforts, he played an integral role in the development of the American blockbuster movie phenomenon. His legacy continues to live on through his various projects and will not be forgotten anytime soon.

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