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Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American epic historical romance film adapted from Margaret Mitchell's 1936 novel of the same name. The film was produced by David O. Selznick of Selznick International Pictures and directed by Victor Fleming. Set in the American South against the backdrop of the American Civil War and Reconstruction era, the film tells the story of Scarlett O'Hara, the strong-willed daughter of a Georgia plantation owner, from her romantic pursuit of Ashley Wilkes, who is married to his cousin, Melanie Hamilton, to her marriage to Rhett Butler. The leading roles are portrayed by Vivien Leigh (Scarlett), Clark Gable (Rhett), Leslie Howard (Ashley), and Olivia de Havilland (Melanie).

Production was difficult from the start.

The film received positive reviews upon its release in December 1939, although some reviewers found it overlong.

Gone with the Wind has been criticized as historical revisionism glorifying slavery, but nevertheless, it has been credited for triggering changes to the way African-Americans are depicted cinematically.

Plot


On the eve of the American Civil War in 1861, Scarlett O'Hara lives at Tara, her family's cotton plantation in Georgia, with her parents and two sisters. Scarlett learns that Ashley Wilkes —whom she secretly loves—is to be married to his cousin, Melanie Hamilton, and the engagement is to be announced the next day at a barbecue at Ashley's home, the nearby plantation Twelve Oaks.

At the Twelve Oaks party, Scarlett privately declares her feelings to Ashley, but he rebuffs her by responding that he and Melanie are more compatible.

Scarlett is widowed when Charles dies from a bout of pneumonia and measles while serving in the Confederate Army. Scarlett's mother sends her to the Hamilton home in Atlanta to cheer her up, although the O'Haras' outspoken housemaid Mammy tells Scarlett she knows she is going there only to wait for Ashley's return. Scarlett, who should not attend a party while in mourning, attends a charity bazaar in Atlanta with Melanie where she meets Rhett again, now a blockade runner for the Confederacy. Celebrating a Confederate victory and to raise money for the Confederate war effort, gentlemen are invited to bid for ladies to dance with them. Rhett makes an inordinately large bid for Scarlett and, to the disapproval of the guests, she agrees to dance with him.

The tide of war turns against the Confederacy after the Battle of Gettysburg in which many of the men of Scarlett's town are killed. Scarlett makes another unsuccessful appeal to Ashley while he is visiting on Christmas furlough, although they do share a private and passionate kiss in the parlor on Christmas Day, just before he returns to war.

Eight months later, as the city is besieged by the Union Army in the Atlanta Campaign, Scarlett and her young house servant Prissy must deliver Melanie's baby without medical assistance after she goes into premature labor. Afterwards, Scarlett calls upon Rhett to take her home to Tara with Melanie, her baby, and Prissy; he collects them in a horse and wagon, but once out of the city chooses to go off to fight, leaving Scarlett and the group to make their own way back to Tara. Upon her return home, Scarlett finds Tara deserted, except for her father, her sisters, and two former slaves: Mammy and Pork. Scarlett learns that her mother has just died of typhoid fever and her father has become incompetent. With Tara pillaged by Union troops and the fields untended, Scarlett vows she will do anything for the survival of her family and herself.

As the O'Haras work in the cotton fields, Scarlett's father is killed after he is thrown from his horse in an attempt to chase away a scalawag from his land. With the defeat of the Confederacy Ashley also returns, but finds he is of little help at Tara. When Scarlett begs him to run away with her, he confesses his desire for her and kisses her passionately, but says he cannot leave Melanie. Unable to pay the taxes on Tara implemented by Reconstructionists, Scarlett dupes her younger sister Suellen's fiancé, the middle-aged and wealthy mill owner Frank Kennedy, into marrying her, by saying Suellen got tired of waiting and married another beau.

Frank, Ashley, Rhett and several other accomplices make a night raid on a shanty town after Scarlett is attacked while driving through it alone, resulting in Frank's death. With Frank's funeral barely over, Rhett proposes to Scarlett and she accepts. They have a daughter whom Rhett names Bonnie Blue, but Scarlett, still pining for Ashley and chagrined at the perceived ruin of her figure, lets Rhett know that she wants no more children and that they will no longer share a bed.

One day at Frank's mill, Scarlett and Ashley are seen embracing by Ashley's sister, India, and harboring an intense dislike of Scarlett she eagerly spreads rumors.

Scarlett and Rhett visit Melanie, who has suffered complications arising from a new pregnancy, on her deathbed.

Cast


Despite receiving top-billing in the opening credits, Gable—along with Leigh, Howard, and de Havilland who receive second, third and fourth billing respectively—has a relatively low placing in the cast list, due to its unusual structure. Rather than ordered by conventional billing, the cast is broken down into three sections: the Tara plantation, Twelve Oaks, and Atlanta. The cast's names are ordered according to the social rank of the characters; therefore Thomas Mitchell, who plays Gerald O'Hara, leads the cast list as the head of the O'Hara family, while Barbara O'Neil as his wife receives the second credit and Vivien Leigh as the eldest daughter the third credit, despite having the most screen time. Similarly, Howard C. Hickman as John Wilkes is credited over Leslie Howard who plays his son, and Clark Gable, who plays only a visitor at Twelve Oaks, receives a relatively low credit in the cast list, despite being presented as the "star" of the film in all the promotional literature. [[CITE|undefined|http://afi.com/members/catalog/DetailView.aspx?Movie=1181&s=]] Following the death of Mary Anderson—who played Maybelle Merriwether—in April 2014, there are only two surviving credited cast members from the film: Olivia de Havilland who played Melanie Wilkes and Mickey Kuhn, who played her son Beau Wilkes. [[CITE|undefined|http://latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-mary-anderson-20140408-story.html]]

Production


Before publication of the novel, several Hollywood executives and studios declined to create a film based on it, including Louis B. Mayer and Irving Thalberg at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Pandro Berman at RKO Pictures, and David O. Selznick of Selznick International Pictures. Jack L. Warner liked the story, but Warner Bros.'s biggest star Bette Davis was uninterested, and Darryl Zanuck of 20th Century-Fox did not offer enough money. Selznick changed his mind after his story editor Kay Brown and business partner John Hay Whitney urged him to buy the film rights. In July 1936—a month after it was published—Selznick bought the rights for $50,000. [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=0x8AFchW4JsC&pg=PA17]] [[CITE|undefined|http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/web/gwtw/book]] [[CITE|undefined|http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/web/gwtw/scarlett]]

The casting of the two lead roles became a complex, two-year endeavor.

The arrangement to release through MGM meant delaying the start of production until the end of 1938, when Selznick's distribution deal with United Artists concluded. Selznick used the delay to continue to revise the script and, more importantly, build publicity for the film by searching for the role of Scarlett. Selznick began a nationwide casting call that interviewed 1,400 unknowns. The effort cost $100,000 and was useless for the film, but created "priceless" publicity. [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=0x8AFchW4JsC&pg=PA17]] Early frontrunners included Miriam Hopkins and Tallulah Bankhead, who were regarded as possibilities by Selznick prior to the purchase of the film rights; Joan Crawford, who was signed to MGM, was also considered as a potential pairing with Gable. After a deal was struck with MGM, Selznick held discussions with Norma Shearer —who was MGM's top female star at the time—but she withdrew herself from consideration. Katharine Hepburn lobbied hard for the role with the support of her friend, George Cukor, who had been hired to direct, but she was vetoed by Selznick who felt she was not right for the part. [[CITE|undefined|http://tcm.com/tcmdb/title/414427/Gone-With-the-Wind/notes.html]] [[CITE|undefined|http://tcm.com/tcmdb/title/414427/Gone-With-the-Wind/articles.html]]

Many famous—or soon-to-be-famous—actresses were considered, but only thirty-one women were actually screen-tested for Scarlett including Ardis Ankerson, Jean Arthur, Tallulah Bankhead, Diana Barrymore, Joan Bennett, Nancy Coleman, Frances Dee, Ellen Drew (as Terry Ray), Paulette Goddard, Susan Hayward (under her real name of Edythe Marrenner), Vivien Leigh, Anita Louise, Haila Stoddard, Margaret Tallichet, Lana Turner and Linda Watkins. [[CITE|undefined|http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/web/gwtw/scarlett/girltest.html]] Although Margaret Mitchell refused to publicly name her choice, the actress who came closest to winning her approval was Miriam Hopkins, who Mitchell felt was just the right type of actress to play Scarlett as written in the book. However, Hopkins was in her mid-thirties at the time and was considered too old for the part. [[CITE|undefined|http://tcm.com/tcmdb/title/414427/Gone-With-the-Wind/notes.html]] [[CITE|undefined|http://tcm.com/tcmdb/title/414427/Gone-With-the-Wind/articles.html]] Four actresses, including Jean Arthur and Joan Bennett, were still under consideration by December 1938; however, only two finalists, Paulette Goddard and Vivien Leigh, were tested in Technicolor, both on December 20. Goddard almost won the role, but controversy over her marriage with Charlie Chaplin caused Selznick to change his mind. [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=0x8AFchW4JsC&pg=PA17]]

Selznick had been quietly considering Vivien Leigh, a young English actress who was still little known in America, for the role of Scarlett since February 1938 when Selznick saw her in Fire Over England and A Yank at Oxford . Leigh's American agent was the London representative of the Myron Selznick talent agency (headed by David Selznick's brother, one of the owners of Selznick International), and she had requested in February that her name be submitted for consideration as Scarlett. By the summer of 1938 the Selznicks were negotiating with Alexander Korda, to whom Leigh was under contract, for her services later that year. Selznick's brother arranged for them to meet for the first time on the night of December 10, 1938, when the burning of Atlanta was filmed. In a letter to his wife two days later, Selznick admitted that Leigh was "the Scarlett dark horse", and after a series of screen tests, her casting was announced on January 13, 1939. [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=quf-7VPsZWEC&pg=PA405#v=twopage]] Just before the shooting of the film, Selznick informed newspaper columnist Ed Sullivan : "Scarlett O'Hara's parents were French and Irish. Identically, Miss Leigh's parents are French and Irish." [[CITE|undefined|http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/web/gwtw/scarlett/sullivan.html]]

Of original screenplay writer Sidney Howard, film historian Joanne Yeck writes, "reducing the intricacies of Gone with the Wind' s epic dimensions was a herculean task... and Howard's first submission was far too long, and would have required at least six hours of film;... [producer] Selznick wanted Howard to remain on the set to make revisions... but Howard refused to leave New England [and] as a result, revisions were handled by a host of local writers". Selznick dismissed director George Cukor three weeks into filming and sought out Victor Fleming, who was directing The Wizard of Oz at the time. Fleming was dissatisfied with the script, so Selznick brought in famed writer Ben Hecht to rewrite the entire screenplay within five days. Hecht returned to Howard's original draft and by the end of the week had succeeded in revising the entire first half of the script. Selznick undertook rewriting the second half himself but fell behind schedule, so Howard returned to work on the script for one week, reworking several key scenes in part two. [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=DJUYAcJN3jgC&pg=PA172]]

"By the time of the film's release in 1939, there was some question as to who should receive screen credit," writes Yeck.

According to Hecht biographer, William MacAdams, "At dawn on Sunday, February 20, 1939, David Selznick... and director Victor Fleming shook Hecht awake to inform him he was on loan from MGM and must come with them immediately and go to work on Gone with the Wind, which Selznick had begun shooting five weeks before.

MacAdams writes, "It is impossible to determine exactly how much Hecht scripted...

Principal photography began January 26, 1939, and ended on July 1, with post-production work continuing until November 11, 1939. Director George Cukor, with whom Selznick had a long working relationship, and who had spent almost two years in pre-production on Gone with the Wind, was replaced after less than three weeks of shooting. [[CITE|undefined|http://tcm.com/tcmdb/title/414427/Gone-With-the-Wind/notes.html]] Selznick and Cukor had already disagreed over the pace of filming and the script, [[CITE|undefined|http://tcm.com/tcmdb/title/414427/Gone-With-the-Wind/notes.html]] [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=ctFm2Hetkh0C&pg=PA126#v=twopage]] but other explanations put Cukor's departure down to Gable's discomfort at working with him. Emanuel Levy, Cukor's biographer, claimed that Clark Gable had worked Hollywood's gay circuit as a hustler and that Cukor knew of his past, so Gable used his influence to have him discharged. [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=uMdRckjUDvAC&pg=PA59]] Vivien Leigh and Olivia de Havilland learned of Cukor's firing on the day the Atlanta bazaar scene was filmed, and the pair went to Selznick's office in full costume and implored him to change his mind. Victor Fleming, who was directing The Wizard of Oz, was called in from MGM to complete the picture, although Cukor continued privately to coach Leigh and De Havilland. [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=DJUYAcJN3jgC&pg=PA172]] Another MGM director, Sam Wood, worked for two weeks in May when Fleming temporarily left the production due to exhaustion. Although some of Cukor's scenes were later reshot, Selznick estimated that "three solid reels" of his work remained in the picture. As of the end of principal photography, Cukor had undertaken eighteen days of filming, Fleming ninety-three, and Wood twenty-four. [[CITE|undefined|http://tcm.com/tcmdb/title/414427/Gone-With-the-Wind/notes.html]]

Cinematographer Lee Garmes began the production, but on March 11, 1939—after a month of shooting footage that Selznick and his associates regarded as "too dark"—was replaced with Ernest Haller, working with Technicolor cinematographer Ray Rennahan. Garmes completed the first third of the film—mostly everything prior to Melanie having the baby—but did not receive a credit. Most of the filming was done on "the back forty" of Selznick International with all the location scenes being photographed in California, mostly in Los Angeles County or neighboring Ventura County. Tara, the fictional Southern plantation house, existed only as a plywood and papier-mâché facade built on the Selznick studio lot. [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=ekvkZo0mAXcC&pg=PT4]] For the burning of Atlanta, new false facades were built in front of the Selznick backlot's many old abandoned sets, and Selznick himself operated the controls for the explosives that burned them down. [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=0x8AFchW4JsC&pg=PA17]] Sources at the time put the estimated production costs at $3.85 million, making it the second most expensive film made up to that point, with only Ben-Hur

Although legend persists that the Hays Office fined Selznick $5,000 for using the word "damn" in Butler's exit line, in fact the Motion Picture Association board passed an amendment to the Production Code on November 1, 1939, that forbade use of the words "hell" or "damn" except when their use "shall be essential and required for portrayal, in proper historical context, of any scene or dialogue based upon historical fact or folklore... or a quotation from a literary work, provided that no such use shall be permitted which is intrinsically objectionable or offends good taste." With that amendment, the Production Code Administration had no further objection to Rhett's closing line. [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=bkU7CKBubgMC&pg=PA108]]

To compose the score, Selznick chose Max Steiner, with whom he had worked at RKO Pictures in the early 1930s. Warner Bros.—who had contracted Steiner in 1936—agreed to lend him to Selznick. Steiner spent twelve weeks working on the score, the longest period that he had ever spent writing one, and at two hours and thirty-six minutes long it was also the longest that he had ever written. Five orchestrators were hired, including Hugo Friedhofer, Maurice de Packh, Bernard Kaun, Adolph Deutsch and Reginald Bassett. The score is characterized by two love themes, one for Ashley's and Melanie's sweet love and another that evokes Scarlett's passion for Ashley, though notably there is no Scarlett and Rhett love theme. Steiner drew considerably on folk and patriotic music, which included Stephen Foster tunes such as "Louisiana Belle," "Dolly Day," "Ringo De Banjo," "Beautiful Dreamer ," "Old Folks at Home ," and "Katie Belle," which formed the basis of Scarlett's theme; other tunes that feature prominently are: "Marching through Georgia" by Henry Clay Work, "Dixie ," "Garryowen" and "The Bonnie Blue Flag." The theme that is most associated with the film today is the melody that accompanies Tara, the O'Hara plantation; in the early 1940s, "Tara's Theme" formed the musical basis of the song "My Own True Love" by Mack David. In all, there are ninety-nine separate pieces of music featured in the score. Due to the pressure of completing on time, Steiner received some assistance in composing from Friedhofer, Deutsch and Heinz Roemheld, and in addition, two short cues—by Franz Waxman and William Axt —were taken from scores in the MGM library. [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=bQGbUd83MhYC&pg=PT69]]

Release


On September 9, 1939, Selznick, his wife, Irene, investor John "Jock" Whitney and film editor Hal Kern drove out to Riverside, California to preview it at the Fox Theatre. The film was still a rough cut at this stage, missing completed titles and lacking special optical effects. It ran for four hours and twenty-five minutes, but would later be cut down to under four hours for its proper release. A double bill of Hawaiian Nights and Beau Geste was playing, and after the first feature it was announced that the theater would be screening a preview; the audience were informed they could leave but would not be readmitted once the film had begun, nor would phone calls be allowed once the theater had been sealed. When the title appeared on the screen the audience cheered, and after it had finished it received a standing ovation. [[CITE|undefined|http://tcm.com/tcmdb/title/414427/Gone-With-the-Wind/notes.html]] [[CITE|undefined|http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jun/25/local/la-me-then-20100625]] In his biography of Selznick, David Thomson wrote that the audience's response before the film had even started "was the greatest moment of [Selznick's] life, the greatest victory and redemption of all his failings", with Selznick describing the preview cards as "probably the most amazing any picture has ever had." When Selznick was asked by the press in early September how he felt about the film, he said: "At noon I think it's divine, at midnight I think it's lousy. Sometimes I think it's the greatest picture ever made. But if it's only a great picture, I'll still be satisfied."

About 300,000 people came out in Atlanta for the film's premiere at the Loew's Grand Theatre on December 15, 1939. It was the climax of three days of festivities hosted by Mayor William B. Hartsfield, which included a parade of limousines featuring stars from the film, receptions, thousands of Confederate flags and a costume ball. Eurith D. Rivers, the governor of Georgia, declared December 15 a state holiday. An estimated three hundred thousand residents and visitors to Atlanta lined the streets for up to seven miles to watch a procession of limousines bring the stars from the airport. Only Leslie Howard and Victor Fleming chose not to attend: Howard had returned to England due to the outbreak of World War II, and Fleming had fallen out with Selznick and declined to attend any of the premieres. Hattie McDaniel was also absent, as she and the other black cast members were prevented from attending the premiere due to Georgia's Jim Crow laws, which would have kept them from sitting with their white colleagues. Upon learning that McDaniel had been barred from the premiere, Clark Gable threatened to boycott the event, but McDaniel convinced him to attend. President Jimmy Carter would later recall it as "the biggest event to happen in the South in my lifetime." [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=0gblKwLBrrQC&pg=PA221]] Premieres in New York and Los Angeles followed, the latter attended by some of the actresses that had been considered for the part of Scarlett, among them Paulette Goddard, Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford.

From December 1939 to July 1940, the film played only advance-ticket road show engagements at a limited number of theaters at prices upwards of $1—more than double the price of a regular first-run feature—with MGM collecting an unprecedented 70 percent of the box office receipts (as opposed to the typical 30–35 percent of the period). After reaching saturation as a roadshow, MGM revised its terms to a 50 percent cut and halved the prices, before it finally entered general release in 1941 at "popular" prices. Along with its distribution and advertising costs, total expenditure on the film was as high as $7 million.

In 1942, Selznick liquidated his company for tax reasons, and sold his share in Gone with the Wind to his business partner, John Whitney, for $500,000.

The film received its world television premiere on the HBO cable network on June 11, 1976, and played on the channel for a total of fourteen times throughout the rest of the month. It made its network television debut in November later that year: NBC paid $5 million for a one-off airing, and it was broadcast in two parts on successive evenings. It became at that time the highest-rated television program ever presented on a single network, watched by 47.5 percent of the households sampled in America, and 65 percent of television viewers, still the record for the highest rated film to ever air on television. In 1978, CBS signed a deal worth $35 million to broadcast the film twenty times over as many years. [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=DJUYAcJN3jgC&pg=PA172]] [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=B5PjuAbEPooC&pg=PA46]] Turner Entertainment acquired the MGM film library in 1986, but the deal did not include the television rights to Gone with the Wind, which were still held by CBS. A deal was struck in which the rights were returned to Turner Entertainment and CBS's broadcast rights to The Wizard of Oz were extended. [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=DJUYAcJN3jgC&pg=PA172]] It was used to launch two cable channels owned by Turner Broadcasting System : Turner Network Television (1988) and Turner Classic Movies (1994). [[CITE|undefined|http://latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-mary-anderson-20140408-story.html]] [[CITE|undefined|http://latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-mary-anderson-20140408-story.html]] It debuted on videocassette in March 1985, where it placed second in the sales charts, [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=DJUYAcJN3jgC&pg=PA172]] and has since been released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc formats. [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=Jb6kAdtMHCQC&pg=PA322]]

Reception


Upon its release, consumer magazines and newspapers generally gave Gone with the Wind excellent reviews.

While the film was praised for its fidelity to the novel, this aspect was also singled out as the main factor in contributing to the lengthy running time.

Much of the praise was reserved for the casting, with Vivien Leigh in particular being singled out for her performance as Scarlett.

At the 12th Academy Awards, Gone with the Wind set a record for Academy Award wins and nominations, winning in eight of the competitive categories it was nominated in, from a total of thirteen nominations. It won for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, and Best Editing, and received two further honorary awards for its use of equipment and color (it also became the first color film to win Best Picture). [[CITE|undefined|http://awardsdatabase.oscars.org/ampas_awards/BasicSearch?BSFromYear=12&action=searchLink&displayType=1]] Its record of eight competitive wins stood until Gigi (1958) won nine, and its overall record of ten was broken by Ben-Hur (1959) which won eleven. Gone with the Wind also held the record for most nominations until All About Eve (1950) secured fourteen. [[CITE|undefined|http://tcm.com/tcmdb/title/414427/Gone-With-the-Wind/articles.html]] It was the longest American sound film made up to that point, and may still hold the record of the longest Best Picture winner depending on how it is interpreted. [[CITE|undefined|http://oscars.org/events-exhibitions/features/read-the-book/part1_beyond.html]] The running time for Gone with the Wind is just under 221 minutes, while Lawrence of Arabia (1962) runs for just over 222 minutes; however, including the overture, intermission, entr'acte, and exit music, Gone with the Wind lasts for 234 minutes (although some sources put its full length at 238 minutes) while Lawrence of Arabia comes in slightly shorter at 232 minutes with its additional components. [[CITE|undefined|http://filmsite.org/bestpics1.html]] [[CITE|undefined|http://entertainment.time.com/2013/02/22/17-unusual-oscar-records/slide/war-and-peace]]

Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American to win an Academy Award—beating out her co-star Olivia de Havilland who was also nominated in the same category—but was racially segregated from her co-stars at the awards ceremony at the Coconut Grove; she and her escort were made to sit at a separate table at the back of the room. [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=V-g1USyUYIwC&pg=PA214]] Meanwhile, screenwriter Sidney Howard became the first posthumous Oscar winner and Selznick personally received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award for his career achievements. [[CITE|undefined|http://tcm.com/tcmdb/title/414427/Gone-With-the-Wind/articles.html]] [[CITE|undefined|http://awardsdatabase.oscars.org/ampas_awards/BasicSearch?BSFromYear=12&action=searchLink&displayType=1]]

Black commentators criticised the film for its depiction of black people and as a glorification of slavery.

Opinion in the black community was generally divided upon release, with the film being called by some a "weapon of terror against black America" and an insult to black audiences, and demonstrations were held in various cities.

Upon its release, Gone with the Wind broke attendance records everywhere.

Even though it earned its investors roughly twice as much as the previous record-holder, The Birth of a Nation, [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=rvVhEJmbfrsC&pg=PA356]] the box-office performances of the two films were likely much closer. The bulk of the earnings from Gone with the Wind came from its roadshow and first-run engagements, which represented 70 percent and 50 percent of the box-office gross respectively, before entering general release (which at the time typically saw the distributor's share set at 30–35 percent of the gross). In the case of The Birth of a Nation, its distributor, Epoch, sold off many of its distribution territories on a "states rights" basis—which typically amounted to 10 percent of the box-office gross—and Epoch's accounts are only indicative of its own profits from the film, and not the local distributors. Carl E. Milliken, secretary of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association, estimated that The Birth of a Nation had been seen by fifty million people by 1930. [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=fGJFpiTjbKwC&pg=PA287]] [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=ZzKR3O7C-wAC&pg=PA308]]

When it was re-released in 1947, it earned an impressive $5 million rental in the United States and Canada, and was one of the top ten releases of the year.

Across all releases, it is estimated that Gone with the Wind has sold over 200 million tickets in the United States and Canada, [[CITE|undefined|http://ew.com/article/2010/02/05/avatar-vs-gone-wind]] generating more theater admissions in that territory than any other film. [[CITE|undefined|http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/web/gwtw/book]] The film was phenomenally successful in Western Europe too, generating approximately 35 million tickets in the United Kingdom and over 16 million in France, respectively becoming the biggest and sixth-biggest ticket-sellers in those markets. [[CITE|undefined|http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/web/gwtw/book]] [[CITE|undefined|http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/web/gwtw/book]] [[CITE|undefined|http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/web/gwtw/book]] In total, Gone with the Wind has grossed over $390 million globally at the box office; [[CITE|undefined|http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/web/gwtw/scarlett]] in 2007 Turner Entertainment estimated the gross to be equivalent to approximately $3.3 billion when adjusted for inflation to current prices, [[CITE|undefined|http://tcm.com/tcmdb/title/414427/Gone-With-the-Wind/articles.html]] while Guinness World Records arrived at a figure of $3.44 billion in 2014, making it the most successful film in cinema history. [[CITE|undefined|http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/web/gwtw/scarlett]]

The film remains immensely popular with audiences into the 21st century, having been voted the most popular film in two nationwide polls of Americans undertaken by Harris Interactive in 2008, and again in 2014. The market research firm surveyed over two thousand U.S. adults, with the results weighted by age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income so their proportions matched the composition of the adult population. [[CITE|undefined|http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/web/gwtw/scarlett]] [[CITE|undefined|http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/web/gwtw/scarlett]]

In revisiting the film in the 1970s, Arthur Schlesinger noted that Hollywood films generally age well, revealing an unexpected depth or integrity, but in the case of Gone with the Wind time has not treated it kindly. Richard Schickel posits that one measure of a film's quality is to ask what you can remember of it, and the film falls down in this regard: unforgettable imagery and dialogue are simply not present. Stanley Kauffmann, likewise, also found the film to be a largely forgettable experience, claiming he could only remember two scenes vividly. Both Schickel and Schlesinger put this down to it being "badly written", in turn describing the dialogue as "flowery" and possessing a "picture postcard" sensibility. Schickel also believes the film fails as popular art, in that it has limited rewatch value—a sentiment that Kauffmann also concurs with, stating that having watched it twice he hopes "never to see it again: twice is twice as much as any lifetime needs". Both Schickel and Andrew Sarris identify the film's main failing is in possessing a producer's sensibility rather than an artistic one: having gone through so many directors and writers the film does not carry a sense of being "created" or "directed", but rather having emerged "steaming from the crowded kitchen", where the main creative force was a producer's obsession in making the film as literally faithful to the novel as possible.

Sarris concedes that despite its artistic failings, the film does hold a mandate around the world as the "single most beloved entertainment ever produced".

The critical perception of the film has shifted in the intervening years, which resulted in it being ranked 235th in Sight & Sound ' s prestigious decennial critics poll in 2012, [[CITE|undefined|http://explore.bfi.org.uk/sightandsoundpolls/2012/film/4ce2b6ab5808b]] and in 2015 sixty-two international film critics polled by the BBC voted it the 97th best American film. [[CITE|undefined|http://bbc.com/culture/story/20150720-the-100-greatest-american-films]]

The film has featured in several high-profile industry polls: in 1977 it was voted the most popular film by the American Film Institute (AFI), in a poll of the organization's membership; [[CITE|undefined|http://tcm.com/tcmdb/title/414427/Gone-With-the-Wind/notes.html]] the AFI also ranked the film fourth on its "100 Greatest Movies" list in 1998, [[CITE|undefined|http://afi.com/100Years/movies.aspx]] with it slipping down to sixth place in the tenth anniversary edition in 2007. [[CITE|undefined|http://afi.com/100Years/movies10.aspx]] Film directors ranked it 322nd in the 2012 edition of the decennial Sight & Sound poll, [[CITE|undefined|http://explore.bfi.org.uk/sightandsoundpolls/2012/film/4ce2b6ab5808b]] and in 2016 it was selected as the ninth best "directorial achievement" in a Directors Guild of America members poll. [[CITE|undefined|http://dga.org/Craft/DGAQ/All-Articles/1602-Spring-2016/80th-Film-Poll.aspx]] In 2014, it placed fifteenth in an extensive poll undertaken by The Hollywood Reporter , which ballotted every studio, agency, publicity firm and production house in the Hollywood region. [[CITE|undefined|http://hollywoodreporter.com/lists/best-hollywood-movies-all-time-818512]] Gone with the Wind was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry in 1989. [[CITE|undefined|http://tcm.com/tcmdb/title/414427/Gone-With-the-Wind/articles.html]]

Analysis


Gone with the Wind has been criticized as having perpetuated Civil War myths and black stereotypes.

W. Bryan Rommel Ruiz has argued that despite factual inaccuracies in its depiction of the Reconstruction period, Gone with the Wind nevertheless reflects contemporary interpretations that were common in the early 20th century.

Thomas Cripps reasons that the film in some respects undercuts racial stereotypes; [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=R5_n4834AgYC&pg=PA164]] in particular, the film created greater engagement between Hollywood and black audiences, [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=R5_n4834AgYC&pg=PA164]] with dozens of movies making small gestures in recognition of the emerging trend. [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=hjO7_Ju7lWUC&lpg=PA209&pg=PA209]] Only a few weeks after its initial run, a story editor at Warner wrote a memorandum to Walter Wanger about Mississippi Belle, a script that contained the worst excesses of plantation films, suggesting that Gone with the Wind had made the film "unproducible". More than any film since The Birth of a Nation, it unleashed a variety of social forces that foreshadowed an alliance of white liberals and blacks who encouraged the expectation that blacks would one day achieve equality. According to Cripps, the film eventually became a template for measuring social change. [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=hjO7_Ju7lWUC&lpg=PA209&pg=PA209]]

In 2017, Gone with the Wind was pulled from the schedule at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, Tennessee after a 34-year run of annual showings due to its perceived racially insensitive content. [[CITE|undefined|http://foxnews.com/entertainment/2017/08/28/gone-with-wind-screenings-pulled-from-memphis-theater-for-racially-insensitive-content.html]] [[CITE|undefined|https://theguardian.com/film/2017/aug/29/theatre-in-memphis-pulls-racially-insensitive-gone-with-the-wind]]

One of the most notorious and widely condemned scenes in Gone with the Wind depicts what is now legally defined as "marital rape". [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=u7gZRtn44AAC&pg=PA59]] [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=Eik_eoTn6KEC&pg=PA103]] The scene begins with Scarlett and Rhett at the bottom of the staircase, where he begins to kiss her, refusing to be told 'no' by the struggling and frightened Scarlett; [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=BtK9MKx8QBQC&pg=PR26]] [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=GI0BXXNQJ-QC&pg=PA90]] Rhett overcomes her resistance and carries her up the stairs to the bedroom, [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=BtK9MKx8QBQC&pg=PR26]] [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=GI0BXXNQJ-QC&pg=PA90]] where the audience is left in no doubt that she will "get what's coming to her". [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=VPPapvrJsTcC&pg=PA420]] The next scene, the following morning, shows Scarlett glowing with barely suppressed sexual satisfaction; [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=BtK9MKx8QBQC&pg=PR26]] [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=GI0BXXNQJ-QC&pg=PA90]] [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=VPPapvrJsTcC&pg=PA420]] Rhett apologizes for his behavior, blaming it on his drinking. [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=BtK9MKx8QBQC&pg=PR26]] The scene has been accused of combining romance and rape by making them indistinguishable from each other, [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=BtK9MKx8QBQC&pg=PR26]] and of reinforcing a notion about forced sex : that women secretly enjoy it, and it is an acceptable way for a man to treat his wife. [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=VPPapvrJsTcC&pg=PA420]]

Molly Haskell has argued that nevertheless, women are mostly uncritical of the scene, and that by and large it is consistent with what women have in mind if they fantasize about being raped. Their fantasies revolve around love and romance rather than forced sex; they will assume that Scarlett was not an unwilling sexual partner and wanted Rhett to take the initiative and insist on having sexual intercourse. [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=3bIYD6uo3jQC&pg=RA1-PA231]]

Legacy


Gone with the Wind and its production have been explicitly referenced, satirized, dramatized and analyzed on numerous occasions across a range of media, from contemporaneous works such as Second Fiddle —a 1939 film spoofing the "search for Scarlett"—to current television shows, such as The Simpsons . [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=6ZAPD2YdBXYC&pg=PA102]] The Scarlett O'Hara War (a 1980 television dramatization of the casting of Scarlett), [[CITE|undefined|http://allmovie.com/movie/the-scarlett-ohara-war-v128737]] Moonlight and Magnolias (a 2007 play by Ron Hutchinson that dramatizes Ben Hecht's five-day re-write of the script), [[CITE|undefined|http://telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/drama/3668405/Moonlight-and-Magnolias-Comedy-captures-the-birth-of-a-movie-classic.html]] and "Went with the Wind!" (a sketch on The Carol Burnett Show that parodied the film in the aftermath of its television debut in 1976) are among the more noteworthy examples of its enduring presence in popular culture. [[CITE|undefined|https://books.google.com/books?id=DJUYAcJN3jgC&pg=PA172]] It was also the subject of a 1988 documentary, The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind , detailing the film's difficult production history. [[CITE|undefined|http://tcm.com/tcmdb/title/304578/The-Making-Of-A-Legend-Gone-With-The-Wind/articles.html]] In 1990, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp depicting Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh embracing in a scene from the film. [[CITE|undefined|https://news.google.com/newspapers?dat=19900303&id=V3UhAAAAIBAJ&nid=1957&pg=5191%2C1080306&sjid=AokFAAAAIBAJ]]

Following publication of her novel, Margaret Mitchell was inundated with requests for a sequel but claimed to not have a notion of what happened to Scarlett and Rhett, and that she had "left them to their ultimate fate".

The idea was revived in the 1990s, when a sequel was finally produced in 1994, in the form of a television miniseries. Scarlett was based upon the novel by Alexandra Ripley, itself a sequel to Mitchell's book. British actors Joanne Whalley and Timothy Dalton were cast as Scarlett and Rhett, and the series follows Scarlett's relocation to Ireland after again becoming pregnant by Rhett. [[CITE|undefined|http://allmovie.com/movie/scarlett-v135447]]

See also


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