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More Fascinating Facts About “Gone With the Wind”

Image Source: love4beautyart @ Instagram

That Sound Sounds Familiar

Back in the day, it was common to reuse and repurpose sounds from one scene to another. “Gone With the Wind” also used this technique. In the Atlanta ballroom scene, the sound of women screaming was reused later when Scarlett joins Main Street in Atlanta. In the first scene, it was used to show excitement, while in the second, it was used to convey fear.

Notable Firsts

“Gone With the Wind” was the first film to be nominated for more than ten Oscars and the first to win more than five Academy Awards. This was a significant achievement, considering the first-ever Academy Award was given in 1929, making movies created in the following decade more likely to break records.

War Couldn’t Stop Gone With the Wind

Despite the challenges posed by events like the Blitz and World War II, “Gone With the Wind” continued to play in the United Kingdom for 216 weeks after its release in 1940. The film’s resilience in the face of adversity is notable, as it withstood significant historical events and continued to attract audiences for over four years.

Immortalized by the Postal Service

The United States Postal Service issued a special “Gone With the Wind” stamp in 1990, featuring a picture of Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh hugging each other. This stamp is a testament to the film’s enduring cultural impact, as it was honored with a commemorative postage stamp.

Getting the Accent Just Right

The film’s producers recognized the importance of authentic southern accents and hired two accent coaches to ensure the actors’ performances were accurate. Susan Myrick, a Southern expert, was instrumental in guiding the actors on Southern accents and manners during screen tests.

Fitzgerald Was Fired

Before shooting began, famous author F. Scott Fitzgerald was brought in to help with the script, but he was quickly let go. The reasons behind his departure remain a mystery, as Fitzgerald and others involved in the production kept this information confidential.

Mother Knows Worst

Adele Longmire, who was noticed by casting directors for the role of Scarlett, missed the opportunity to audition for the main role due to being underage and her parents’ refusal to let her go to New York for the audition. Their decision was based on their concerns with the contract she would have to sign if she got the part.

Nobody Wanted a Yankee Scarlett

Actress Paulette Goddard, a contender for the role of Scarlett, was ultimately not chosen due to concerns about her New York roots and accent. David O. Selznick believed that American and southern audiences would prefer the heroine to be played by an English woman rather than a New Yorker.

Charlie Chaplin’s Girlfriend Was Almost Cast as Scarlett

Vivien Leigh was chosen over Paulette Goddard after a lengthy audition process. Selznick’s concern about Goddard’s known association with Charlie Chaplin and their unmarried cohabitation led to the decision to cast the relatively unknown English actor Leigh instead.

A Publicity Penalty

In the past, Hollywood was meticulous about avoiding scandals, leading to decisions like not casting Paulette Goddard as Scarlett due to her association with Charlie Chaplin. This cautious approach aimed to prevent bad publicity and maintain the film’s reputation.

Strictly adhered to specific guidelines regarding the inclusion of certain themes and language in films. The term “damn,” for instance, was deemed inappropriate for use, resulting in Selznick being penalized for the film’s final scene. Rumors circulated about a $5,000 fine for violating the Production Code, which, regardless of their accuracy, contributed to the movie’s publicity.

If more evidence is needed to underline the movie’s significant influence, consider NBC’s offer to MGM of a staggering $5 million for the television broadcast rights. Surprisingly, this hefty sum was paid for a single airing of the film, which eventually took place in 1976.

The original source material, “Gone with the Wind” novel, inspired multiple adaptations, with several international versions taking the unexpected form of musicals. These ranged from a Japanese-British production in the 1970s entitled “Scarlett,” to a 1997 Japanese all-female musical, and a French musical in 2003. Further iterations emerged in the UK and Canada in 2008 and 2013.

The cast of “Gone With the Wind” boasted six Oscar-winning actors, including Vivien Leigh and Hattie McDaniel for their roles in the film, as well as Clark Gable, Olivia de Havilland, Thomas Mitchell, and Jane Darwell for other performances.

The search for the actress to portray Scarlett was extensive, with numerous auditions taking place. Watching all these auditions consecutively would have occupied an entire day.

The film initially had a five-and-a-half-hour script, ultimately resulting in a lengthy runtime despite attempts to reduce it. While the novel provided a lengthy source material, the original script was further expanded, adding 15 pages to the already extensive content.

Although the film achieved global fame, with various countries producing unofficial “sequels,” an official film sequel never materialized. However, a GWTW TV sequel in the form of the 1994 miniseries “Scarlett” did emerge, based on the novel’s sequel.

As one of the most influential and popular films, “Gone With the Wind” became one of the most quoted movies in history. Only 1942’s “Casablanca” outdid it in terms of quotes on the list of best movie quotes ever. “Gone With the Wind” secured the 1st, 31st, and 59th places with memorable lines such as “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again!” and “After all, tomorrow is another day!””Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

The epic film “Gone With the Wind” follows four main characters, but most of the time they are seen in separate scenes. There is actually only one scene in the entire movie that features all four of its principal characters. Devoted fans will know which scene we’re talking about. If you’re not yet that devoted, we can let you in on the secret. It happens after the attack on Shantytown. Rhett tells the other three what happened to Frank Kennedy, our heroine’s second husband.

The film’s story takes place in two different district historical time periods – the Civil War and the Reconstruction. To illustrate the divide between the two times, the movie is divided in half. This means that the transition to the Reconstruction period happens precisely when the film hits its half-time mark. Sadly, this cool little detail doesn’t work in each and every version of the film. A lot of it depends on how the editing of each and every version.

Despite being such a long movie, a lot of effort was made to include small easter eggs that take every minute and second into account. One of these easter eggs is that at the Wilkes’ barbecue, our heroine actually sees all of her future husbands in the span of one minute and a half. Charles Hamilton and Frank Kennedy, and Rhett Butler, can all be seen in the entrance hall.

“Gone With the Wind” broke many different records. One of them is being the first color film to win an Oscar for Best Picture. As the first best color picture, the film’s directors used colors as a way to symbolize Scarlett’s different life stages. At first, she is dressed in white to represent her teenage innocence. By end of the movie, she’s wearing a black dress, meant to symbolize the misery her selfish behavior brought on her.

“Gone With the Wind” deals with heavy topics, but that didn’t stop castmates from trying to have as much fun on set as possible. Their idea of fun? Pulling pranks on each other, of course. Clark Gable and Hattie McDaniel had a budding friendship on set, which resulted in some spirited stunts. In one scene, Gable switched Hattie’s tea with actual alcohol. The poor soul didn’t know until it was her time to take a sip.

The film wanted to stay as true to the book as possible, but there was just one problem. Main actress, Vivien Leigh’s eye color did not match Scarlett’s color as it was described in the book. Leigh had blue eyes, while Scarlett had emerald green ones. In a time before CGI, post-production corrections had to be done manually. This means that someone had to see and color her eyes green in each and every frame. Colored contact lenses could have helped save a lot of time.

You already know that pretty much every actress in Hollywood and outside of it auditioned for the role of the film’s heroine, Scarlett O’Hara. Katharine Hepburn (no direct relation to the acclaimed Audry) also tried her hand at getting the desired role but failed. Still, she scored a different notable role, as the maid of Honor at the wedding ceremony of Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier.

You might already know that when it comes to acting, it’s not always about the person who had the biggest role, but many times it’s about the person who has the biggest name. This is why, on the film’s first posters, Clark Gable’s name was first, while Vivien Leigh’s was last. But, the posters changed after Vivien won an Oscar for Scarlett.

It sounds crass when we put it like that, but Leslie Howard actually had good reason to be one of the only few cast members who missed the premiere. The English actor returned to his home country because of WW2. He was needed back in England, as he was actually part of the British intelligence. The busy soldier didn’t give up acting and filmed three different movies during the war.

Sounds kind of random, doesn’t it? Well, apparently it was actually his father, Martin Luther King Sr. who was invited to the Atlanta Premiere. Being a well-known Atlanta preacher,The community urged him not to attend an event that excluded the black actor who had appeared in the film, but he ultimately went, bringing his son, Martin Luther King Jr., with him. The actors today are expected to have versatile skills, but Vivien Leigh, who starred in “Gone With the Wind,” could not dance and had a dance double for the film. There were also instances where she refused to make fake vomiting sounds and another actress had to take her place. Director George Cukor instructed Leigh to slap her co-star, leading to real tears and an agreement between the two actresses. Hattie McDaniel dressed in character when meeting with producers, and Olivia de Havilland researched childbirth for her role. Thomas Mitchell’s horse had previously appeared in another film, and Leigh and Clark Gable were known for smoking heavily during the shoot. Leigh also had artistic differences with the directors, and McDaniel faced controversy as a black woman playing a maid.

Hattie McDaniel faced criticism from her community for her role in the film, but she was undeterred. She saw it as a lucrative opportunity and famously said she preferred to “make seven hundred dollars a week playing a maid than seven dollars being one.”

Olivia de Havilland Liked to Mess Around

Contrary to her sweet and innocent character, Olivia de Havilland enjoyed playing practical jokes and pulling pranks on her fellow cast members. One such prank nearly caused Clark Gable to strain his back during a scene where he had to carry her, as she had fastened herself to the set.

Private Lessons

Although director George Cukor didn’t spend much time on set, actresses Olivia de Havilland and Vivien Leigh felt they had much to learn from him and requested private coaching sessions. Interestingly, the other directors working on the film were not informed of these sessions.

It Could Have Been Longer

The initial rough cut of the four-hour epic was 48 minutes longer than the final version of the film. Editing the 88 hours of raw footage down to a 4-hour runtime was a challenging task.

So Long

The film’s nearly four-hour runtime prominently features its main character, Scarlett, portrayed by Vivien Leigh, who appears on screen for a total of nearly 2.5 hours. This performance holds the record for the longest time a single actor has won an Oscar for.

Memorable Music

Gone With the Wind’s original score, which lasted almost three hours, was the longest work of composer Max Steiner’s career at the time. The production of the music involved five different orchestrators and featured two main themes in the score.

Setting the Score

Max Steiner composed the music for the film in just three months, an impressive feat considering he also wrote the scores for twelve other movies in the same year. To keep up with the demanding schedule, he occasionally used chemicals to stay awake for up to 20 hours at a time.

Nobody Really Liked Their Characters

Many of the actors involved in the film had complaints about their characters. Clark Gable, in particular, initially did not want to play Rhett Butler and only agreed after being promised assistance with his personal matters by the studio. Leslie Howard and Rand Brooks also had their own grievances about their respective roles.

Mitchell’s Stamp of Approval

Producer David O. Selznick sought author Margaret Mitchell’s input on various aspects of the film, including the portrayal of Scarlett O’Hara by Vivien Leigh.

One of the few critiques Margaret Mitchell had about the design of Tara mansion was ignored, causing Mitchell’s withdrawal from commenting on the production.

Age Is But a Number

Barbara O’Neil, who portrayed Ellen O’Hara, Scarlett’s mother, was 28 at the time of filming, playing the mother of a 16-year-old character. Vivien Leigh, at 25, played Scarlett beside a mother who was only three years older. Thomas Mitchell, who played Scarlett’s father, was 47 at the time.

Stronger Than Wind

Olivia de Havilland, the oldest surviving cast member, attended the film’s 70th and 80th anniversaries and passed away in 2020 at the age of 104.

Casting Rhett

Clark Gable was chosen to play Rhett Butler, despite consideration of other actors like Ronald Colman, Errol Flynn, and Gary Cooper. Cooper declined, expressing doubt about the film’s success.

What’s in a Name?

Margaret Mitchell had several title options for her novel, including “Ba! Ba! Black Sheep,” “Tomorrow Is Another Day,” “Tote the Weary Load,” “Not in Our Stars,” or “Bugles Sang True.” The initial name choice for Scarlett was Pansy.

The Offical Collector

James Tumblin, a fan of “Gone With the Wind,” amassed a collection of over 300,000 memorabilia items, some of which were featured in a 2012 exhibition.

Dressed to the Nines

Scarlett O’Hara’s outfits became sought after by collectors and aficionados. One of her dresses, bought for $20, was later auctioned for $137,000. A straw hat she wore sold for $52,500.

See a Man About a Horse

During street scenes, approximately 1,100 horses and mules were used. Some horses had specific roles, such as Thomas Mitchell’s white horse named Silver Chief and Cammie King’s black horse named Mister Butler.

The Math Behind the Film

Creating the screenplay was a challenging task, as using all the dialogue from the novel would have resulted in a 168-hour-long movie. The lines that made the cut were shot on 500,000 feet of film.

Record-Breaking in Every Way

“Gone With the Wind” won eight Academy Awards out of thirteen nominations, setting a record unmatched by modern cinema.

The Mother of All Blockbusters

“Gone With the Wind” set a record for being the longest sound film to win an Oscar for Best Picture, with a runtime of 234 minutes. It also had a massive impact at the box office, grossing approximately 4 billion dollars when adjusted for inflation. This achievement even earned it a spot in the Guinness World Records as the highest-grossing film in history.

You Have the Right to Remain Cheap

When “Gone With the Wind” was released in 1936, it became a worldwide sensation and sold millions of copies. Despite the book’s immense success, the movie rights were initially purchased for only $50,000. However, producer David O. Selznick later realized their true value and awarded the author, Margaret Mitchell, a $50,000 bonus.

Delivering Baby Wilkes

The memorable character of Melanie Hamilton, portrayed by Olivia de Havilland, is famous for the scene in which she gives birth. To ensure a convincing performance, the director literally pinched the actress’s toes off-camera to elicit a display of pain.

Just a Casual Best Seller

Margaret Mitchell wrote “Gone With the Wind” as a project to pass the time while recovering from a car accident. The book unexpectedly gained enormous popularity and became the second-most popular book in the United States, second only to the Bible.

Take a Hike, Hitchcock

Producer David O. Selznick sought help from Alfred Hitchcock to adapt the book into a screenplay. However, Selznick did not use any of Hitchcock’s detailed suggestions and instead collaborated with sixteen writers over several months for the adaptation.

The Secret Screening

The film’s first screening was kept confidential, with the audience unaware of what they were about to watch. The secrecy extended to locking the theater doors during the screening to prevent any accidental spoilers from leaking.

Where’s the Oscar?

Following Michael Jackson’s passing, it was discovered that he possessed producer David O. Selznick’s Oscar. Despite efforts to locate it, the statuette was never found, arousing speculation about its whereabouts.

Michael Was a Fan

Michael Jackson, a well-known fan of “Gone With the Wind,” acquired the Best Picture Oscar figurine that once belonged to David O. Selznick for $1,542,500, indicating his admiration for the film.

A Literal State Holiday

In England, “Gone With the Wind” was so popular that everybody got a day off when it premiered. The film’s success extended beyond the screen, becoming a cultural phenomenon.

off in honor of Kate and William’s wedding. It seems that “Gone With the Wind” also had a similar impact. The film was released in December of 1939 and was highly anticipated, especially in Atlanta, where the local government declared it a holiday!

Jimmy Carter, in his pre-presidential days, reminisces about the event as the most significant one to occur in the South during his lifetime.

A Popping Premiere

When the movie premiered in 1939, it was an extravagant event. With high anticipation surrounding its release, around 300,000 people flooded the streets around the Atlanta premiere venue. The stars’ limousines made their way to the place in a long procession, and the event even included an elaborate costume ball.

It’s All About the Money

In today’s world, the wage gap is a well-known issue that many are striving to address. However, during the film’s production, things were very different. There was an incredible pay discrepancy between the two main stars: Clark Gable, who had 70 days of shooting on set, was paid $120,000, while Vivien Leigh, who had 125 days of shooting, was paid a mere $25,000.

Leslie Howard Was Having a Hard Time

Leslie Howard, who played Ashley Wilkes, the character who ends up marrying Melanie Hamilton, was hesitant about his role. He didn’t think he was the right fit for the role, mainly because he was 40 at the time, whereas the character he was supposed to play was 21. Despite the praise for his performance, he disliked the role due to feeling inadequate.

Cine-Math

1930s Hollywood had limited filming technology, which made shooting one of the first scenes a challenge. Scarlett watching the sunset with her father with the family plantation in the background was made possible with the help of UCLA mathematicians. Producer David Selznick approached them for assistance, and they used numbers and formulas to design a realistic backdrop for the actors to be filmed against.

On-Set Friendship

Hattie McDaniel and Clark Gable developed a friendship while working together on the set. Unfortunately, their sweet relationship wasn’t made public due to the social and political climate of 1930s Hollywood. Absurdly, it was illegal for McDaniel to even attend the movie premiere. This outraged Gable, who threatened to miss the event in protest but was convinced otherwise by Hattie herself.

Gone With the Wife

At the beginning of the film’s shoot, Clark Gable was married to Texan socialite Maria Langham, but was secretly seeing actress Carole Lombard. With the studio’s help, Gable divorced Langham and eloped with Lombard. Similarly, Vivien Leigh was involved with Laurence Olivier while being married to Herbert Leigh Holman. She married Olivier after divorcing Herbert.

Got a SAG Card? You’re Hired

During the nearly 4-hour cinematic creation of “Gone With the Wind,” the film touches on many issues, including the horrors of war. The scene after the battle, showing the suffering wounded soldiers, was planned to be filmed with 2,500 extras, but the Screen Actors Guild only had around 1,500 registered extras. To fill the remaining spots, high-quality dummies were used.

Starting With Destruction

The very first scene shot for the film was Atlanta burning to a crisp. The fuel for this fire was old set pieces from previous productions. The intense fire resulted in nearly 2 hours of footage and numerous calls to the fire department from people who thought the studio was burning. Filming this burn had to be done in a single take as there was no time or means to burn another.“`html

Kiss and Tell

Clark Gable played Rhett Butler and was a dream man for many. Vivien Leigh, who kissed him in the film, found the experience to be underwhelming as Gable wore bad-smelling dentures and ate garlic as a prank before their famous kissing scene.

Frankly, My Dear, I Don’t Give a… Hoot?

The film “Gone With the Wind” faced challenges with the use of the word “damn” and had to negotiate its inclusion with the Motion Picture Association for several months.

Hattie McDaniel Making History

Hattie McDaniel made history as the first black woman to win an Academy Award for her role as Mammy in the film. However, due to discriminative laws at the time, she was unable to attend the premiere.

Big Boys Cry on Cue

Clark Gable refused to cry in his role as Rhett Butler and threatened to leave when told to shed tears on camera. Eventually, he delivered a powerful teary scene after learning about the results of Scarlett’s fall down the stairs.

Clashing With Clark

There was a rumor that director George Cukor was fired due to Clark Gable’s dissatisfaction with him, as Gable believed Cukor was focusing too much on Vivien Leigh and not enough on him.

Searching for Scarlett

Finding the right actress to play Scarlett O’Hara took time, with many young actresses vying for the role. The production even started with a body-double stand-in until Vivien Leigh was cast, despite initial reservations about an English actress playing the part.

Directors Were Dropping Like Flies

“Gone With the Wind” saw three different directors during its production, including George Cukor, who was fired after 18 days, and Victor Flemming, who suffered a mental breakdown halfway through filming and was temporarily replaced by Sam Wood.

Image Source: love4beautyart @ Instagram

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