“Gone With the Wind”


Gone with the Wind (the movie) premiered in Atlanta, Georgia this date in 1939. Production was difficult from the start. Filming was delayed for two years due to Selznick’s determination to secure Clark Gable for the role of Rhett Butler, and the “search for Scarlett” led to 1,400 women being interviewed for the part, which was won by Vivien Leigh. Also featured were Olivia de Havilland as Melanie and Leslie Howard. At the 12th Academy Awards, the film received ten awards from thirteen nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress (Leigh) and Best Supporting Actress (Hattie McDaniel, becoming the first African-American to win an Academy Award). The film retained the record of the highest-earning movie for over a quarter of a century; when adjusted for monetary inflation, it is still the most successful film in box office history.

The film was based on the book, Gone with the Wind, written by Margaret Mitchell. Published in 1936, it was a bestseller that year and the next.  Mitchell received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the book in 1937. A poll found it to be the second favorite book of American readers, and more than 30 million copies have been printed worldwide

 The story is set in Georgia during the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era. It depicts the struggles of young Scarlett O’Hara, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner, who must use every means at her disposal to claw her way out of poverty following the destructive Sherman’s March to the Sea. This historical novel features a coming-of-age story, with the title taken from a poem written by Ernest Dowson.  (photo on left below shows Union soldiers tearing up railroad tracks in Georgia) 

Margaret Mitchell began writing Gone with the Wind in 1926 to pass the time while recovering from a slow-healing auto-accident injury. In April 1935, Harold Latham of Macmillan, an editor looking for new fiction, read her manuscript and saw that it could be a best-seller. After Latham had agreed to publish the book, Mitchell worked for another six months checking the historical references and rewriting the opening chapter several times. Mitchell and her husband John Marsh, a copy editor by trade, edited the final version of the novel. Mitchell wrote the book’s final moments first and then wrote the events that led up to it.  (from Wikipedia and www.cute-calendar.com)


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