Scarlett O’Hara is in love with drippy Ashley Wilkes, và is devastated when he announces that he plans khổng lồ marry her cousin Melanie. She pleads with Ashley to marry her instead, but then, on the first day of the Civil War, she meets mercurial Rhett Butler. A man lớn match her strength of character và romantic desires, Butler changes the course of her life. Despite hunger, and the burning of Atlanta, Scarlett survives the war and its aftermath, but ultimately loses the only man she really loved. (tcm)


Clark Gable … Rhett Butler Vivien Leigh … Scarlett O’Hara Leslie Howard … Ashley Wilkes Olivia de Havilland … Melanie Hamilton Hattie Mc
Daniel … Mammy Thomas Mitchell … Gerald O’Hara

Production Notes:

Directed by: Victor Fleming Written by: Sidney Howard Produced by: David O. Selznick/Selznick International Distributed by: MGM Film location: Culver City, California, USA Premiered: January 7, 1940 (UK) / April 29, 1940 (USA)

The search for Scarlett

David O. Selznick’s highly publicized search for the perfect girl khổng lồ portray the infamous Scarlett O’Hara in his 1939 film has become the stuff of Hollywood legend. It couldn’t be just any actress, although the majority of leading Hollywood ladies tested for the part. She had to be as Margaret Mitchell described: striking green eyes, slanted brows, đen hair, magnolia white skin, và an arresting face. Surely there was someone who could fit that description, but the hunt for the right girl was not a decision to lớn be made on a whim. With a budget nearing $4 million (backed by Selznick’s father-in-law, Louis B. Mayer of MGM, and Jock Whitney, the film was the costliest to date) he knew whoever they chose had to be perfect. “The public wanted Gable to lớn play Rhett; they were torn about Scarlett,” said Evelyn Keyes, who was cast as Scarlett’s younger sister, Suellen. Even Clark Gable had his qualms about being cast as the scowling, roguish Rhett Butler. He didn’t want the part, thinking he could never live up khổng lồ the public’s expectations of how Rhett was supposed to lớn act & look. Any discrepancy from the novel, và they would know it, he said. Eventually he gave in when Selznick promised him a $50,000 bonus in his paycheck so he could divorce his current wife, Rhea Langham, & marry blonde bombshell, Carole Lombard. On August 24, 1938, Gable was loaned from MGM. Selznick had his Rhett, but was still looking for his leading lady. The danh sách of actresses that had read for the part was a mile long; everyone who was anyone had been in a frenzy trying to lớn get this, the most coveted role in film history. From Joan Crawford khổng lồ Lana Turner, big names & unknowns showed up in hopes of walking away with it. Selznick even sent a team khổng lồ the South khổng lồ try and find an unknown, but was unsuccessful in this venture.

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Thus far, the frontrunner was Paulette Goddard, David Selznick’s neighbor và Charlie Chaplin’s mistress. Perhaps Selznick held back on signing Paulette due to the fact that no one knew if she and Charlie were officially married or not, & he wanted his Scarlett khổng lồ be a perfect “good girl” without scandal tarnishing the image of his film. This is somewhat contradictory lớn the situation of the woman eventually signed lớn the part.

While America was caught in the middle of Gone with the Wind frenzy (the novel having won the Pulitzer prize and book sales having exceeded 300,000 within the first six weeks of publication), there was a 24 year old unknown British beauty with magnolia white skin, dark hair, & blue-green eyes who had her heart phối on the role of Scarlett.

Vivien Leigh had become enraptured with Margaret Mitchell’s novel since its release in England in 1937. While making the film 21 Days opposite then lover, Laurence Olivier, a co-star quipped that Larry would make a good Rhett Butler. Vivien, overhearing the statement declared, “Larry won’t play Rhett, but I shall play Scarlett O’Hara. Wait and see.” She was of course dismissed by her colleagues at the time, but as biographer Hugo Vickers said, “When Vivien wanted something, she was extremely determined to lớn get it.” She had her portrait taken by photographer Angus Mc
Bean & sent khổng lồ Hollywood for consideration, but prior to lớn this she hadn’t played in any significant films, và when then director George Cukor viewed Vivien in Fire Over England, he failed to lớn see the spark beneath the Elizabethan costumes.

Still, fate had something miraculous in store for the young ingenue. In 1938, director William Wyler had come to London lớn try và woo Laurence Olivier lớn Hollywood with the part of Heathcliff in Samuel Goldwyn’s adaptation of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Larry said he would not do it unless Vivien was cast as Cathy along side him. This, said Wyler, was impossible, as the part had already been promised to fellow Brit, Merle Oberon. He did, however, offer Vivien the part of Isabella, Edgar Linton’s sister in the story. Vivien refused saying she’d play Cathy o she’d play nothing. “I said khổng lồ her, ‘Look, Vivien, you’re not yet known in America. Maybe some day you will be but for a first part, you’ll never get anything better than Isabella’,” explained William Wyler in the 1980’s. “I made this deathless prediction. She sure showed me!”

Larry liked the part he was offered but was reluctant lớn leave Vivien behind. Eventually, Vivien reasoned with him & he mix off for America on her 25th birthday. In the mean time, Vivien took the role of Titania in the West end production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. At the time, both she and famed ballerina, Margot Fonteyn, were playing the same part in different theatres, & they were both bestowed the unofficial title “prettiest girls in London”. It only took a month before Vivien and Larry could no longer bear khổng lồ be apart. Long letters và phone calls every day were costing too much money, & Larry was miserable without her. Wiring him to tell him that she was on her way, she booked a passage on the Queen Mary & headed for America in December, 1938.

Vivien’s reason for coming lớn Hollywood was twofold. She desired to be near Larry, và it also presented her with the opportunity to chạy thử for the role in GWTW, which had not officially been cast as of yet. It was good luck that Larry’s American agent, Myron Selznick, was David Selznick’s brother. Larry arranged a meeting between he và Vivien, and all three drove over khổng lồ the Selznick lot where the famous “Burning of Atlanta” scene was being filmed (with stand-ins for Scarlett và Rhett). Legend has it that Myron, tapping David on the shoulder, said, “Hey genius, meet your Scarlett O’Hara.” Whether this was said or not, David was enraptured with Vivien from the first glance. He later wrote that he would never recover from that first look. She had, physically, just what he was looking for in his heroine. The only other question was, could she act?

The first test Vivien gave was for George Cukor, in a dress fresh off the previous actress’ body, and with her natural English accent. “I don’t think she’d ever heard a Southern accent before,” said George Cukor, who would remain a life-long friend of Vivien’s. But he loved the fire she showed when going through the lines. She was then tested opposite Melvyn Douglas, a contender for the role of Ashley Wilkes. The neurotic desperation she brought khổng lồ the reading of the paddock scene when Scarlett is out in the orchard with Ashley clearly stands out when compared with tests from other actresses such as Lana Turner và Tallulah Bankhead. It is interesting to lưu ý that the screen test, under Cukor’s direction is much more intense than the one filmed by Victor Fleming for the final version of the film.

Vivien soon became the front-runner for the role, & even author Margaret Mitchell agreed. She said that she was astounded by all of the different facial expressions Vivien gave at different moments, & that as far as she was concerned, Vivien was their gal. Thus, on Christmas day, 1938, Cukor jokingly informed Vivien, “Well, I guess were stuck with you,” and the unknown British beauty walked away with what would become the most famous female role in cinema history. The tabloids, particularly Hedda Hopper và other gossip columnists, seethed at the idea of a foreigner playing their American heroine, but audiences paid no heed & praised Vivien for her brilliance in the film.

She was only paid 1/4 of Clark Gable’s salary for the film, and signed a seven year contract with Selznick International (both to hers & Larry’s dismay), but Vivien’s performance was worth its weight in gold. Over time she has become synonymous with the character of Scarlett; a perfect example of the actress fitting the part. Had Vivien not been cast, it is safe to say that not only would the film have been vastly different, but it may not have reached the cấp độ of pop-culture phenomenon that is still holds today.

"Gone With The Wind" became the vị trí cao nhất grossing movie of all time (adjusted for inflation, it boasted ticket sales of $1.823 billion) & won ten Academy Awards in 1939, but it took a significant toll on its star Vivien Leigh.
It was the movie that set Hollywood và Atlanta on fire. But for Vivien Leigh, who played Southern belle Scarlet O’Hara, the making of “Gone With the Wind” was hell on earth.

The film would go on lớn become the đứng đầu grossing movie of all time (adjusted for inflation, it boasted ticket sales of $1.823 billion), winning ten Academy Awards in 1939. But it took a significant toll on its 25-year-old female lead. Exhaustion và pressure from long days & nights on the movie phối had her taking sedatives to calm her hysteria until one day, she accidentally overdosed.

At the time, Leigh was involved in an affair with English actor Laurence Olivier. The two had fallen head over heels on the movie set “Fire Over England” two years before her starring role as Scarlett. Leigh had abandoned her husband, lawyer Herbert Leigh Holman, & their baby girl for Olivier — who had left his wife, actress Jill Esmond, and their young son.

“Howdareyou takefourpills lượt thích that, you hysterical little ninny,” Olivier wrote lớn Leigh in a letter, having heard of her overdose. He also enjoyed penning her sexy letters, including one that read, “Urrgh! Bend over — Yes, take your drawers down – no, lift your skirt up –nowthen: Smack! Smack! Smack!,” according khổng lồ “Truly, Madly: Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier và the Romance of the Century,” (Grand Central Publishing), out now, by Stephen Galloway.

Vivien Leigh with lover Laurence Olivier, who enjoyed penning her sexy letters on the mix of “Gone With The Wind.”Getty Images
Clark Gable feared he wouldn’t master the Southern accent of his character Rhett Butler, while Leigh’s sophistication made him feel like a rube.Every major female star in Hollywood — including Bette Davis và Katharine Hepburn — had begged director George Cukor for the role in what was lớn be the biggest motion picture ever made.

The role of Scarlett, Leigh hoped, would make her a legitimate actress — and equal to Olivier, who was soaring creatively as a Shakespearean stage and film actor.

Almost as soon as filming began in December 1938, the problems started with the actress, who had undiagnosed bipolar disorder. In addition lớn sudden crying and mood swings, she was plagued by other random maladies. Her eyes itched, & her skin was peeling from an allergy lớn the red dirt that had been imported from Georgia lớn recreate the look of the South on the Hollywood set.

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Margaret Mitchell, tác giả of “Gone With the Wind,” speaks with producer David Selznick và actors Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable và Olivia De Havilland.Bettmann Archive
To make matters worse, her period was late — và she feared she would need an abortion, as neither she nor Olivier had planned on having children together. During down time on the set, Leigh invented a vile new trò chơi called “Ways lớn Kill a Baby.” Pretending she was holding a baby in her arms while driving, she would coo sweetly to lớn the infant before hurling it out the window.

Meanwhile Olivier, who was back on the East Coast testing for a film, was imploring her khổng lồ send him her underwear. “I am sitting naked with just my parts wrapped in your panties,” he wrote khổng lồ her. “My longing for you is so intense…”

Exhaustion and pressure from long days & nights on the movie phối had the 25-year-old Leigh taking sedatives khổng lồ calm her hysteria until one day, she accidentally overdosed.Bettmann Archive
Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in “Gone with the WInd.” She went on lớn win an Oscar for the role.Leigh appeared to lớn be headed for a complete breakdown until producer David Selznick begged Olivier khổng lồ visit and calm her down. The couple happily escaped lớn Kansas City, where they thought they wouldn’t be recognized.

“I’m so grateful khổng lồ you,” Leigh told Selznick on her return to the set. “Larry met me in the hotel lobby, and we went upstairs, and we f–ked, và we f–ked, and we f–ked the whole weekend.”

Leigh appeared lớn be headed for a complete breakdown until producer David Selznick begged Olivier khổng lồ visit & calm her down. The couple happily escaped to Kansas City.Getty Images“I’m so grateful to you. Larry met me in the khách sạn lobby, and we went upstairs, and we f–ked, và we f–ked, & we f–ked the whole weekend.”

Vivien Leigh lớn producer David Selznick after he granted her time off mix with her lover Laurence Olivier

Leigh wasn’t the only one on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The whole staff was suffering exhaustion from 3 a.m. Wake-up calls & long days.

Co-star Clark Gable arrived on mix with his own issues, because he had no say in the role, having been lent out by another studio. He feared he wouldn’t master the southern accent, & Leigh’s sophistication made him feel like a rube, insecure over his small-town upbringing in eastern Ohio. His mood softened when he received a knitted sock from his newest wife to lớn keep his genitals warm. The instructions: “Don’t let it get cold. Bring it trang chủ hot for me.”

Olivier started putting more pressure on Leigh by writing lớn her that “Gone With The Wind” was going to lớn be an obvious disaster. “To make a success of your career in pictures is essential for your self respect and our ultimate happiness,” he wrote the actress, who would go on to lớn win Best Actress for the role. And if she failed, he suggested, “I am afraid you may become just — well, boring.”

Instead, “Gone With The Wind” changed Leigh’s life forever and made her a superstar, but the exhaustion và dark moods that overwhelmed her on mix were only the beginning.