But this isn’t new information. Well, at least it’s not new to you if you’ve read our article about GWTW facts. That’s not to say, of course, we’ve said all there is to say about the historical film. In fact, we had so much more to say we wrote a second article about the topic. The very one you’re about to read right now.
That Sound Sounds Familiar
Back in the day, reusing and repurposing sounds from one scene to another was a common thing. If you listen carefully, you'll be able to catch such an occurrence in "Gone With the Wind."
In the Atlanta ballroom scene, you can hear some women screaming. Later on, when Scarlett joins Main Street in Atlanta you can hear the same sound. Of course, in the first scene it was used to show excitement, while in the second, it was fear.
The first-ever Academy Award was given in 1929. This means movies created in the following decade had a great chance of breaking records.
Some of the movie's most notable firsts are: It was the first film ever to be nominated for more than ten Oscars. It was also the first-ever movie to win more than five Academy Awards.
War Couldn't Stop Gone With the Wind
GWTW hit theaters in the United Kingdom in 1940. Astonishingly, nothing could knock the wind out of the movie's sails. "Gone With the Wind" kept on playing in the UK for 216 weeks, despite and in spite of everything that was happening outside of the theater.
This includes both the Blitz and World War II. After over four years, the film had its final screening in June of 1994.
Immortalized by the Postal Service
Nothing proves a cultural phenomenon like a stamp! While today they are mostly irrelevant, up until a few decades ago special edition stamps were all the rage. The United States Postal Service issued a special "Gone With the Wind" stamp in 1990.
The stamp featured a picture of one scene from the film, in it, you could see Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh hugging each other.
Getting the Accent Just Right
The film's producers knew that a lot was laying on the actors' ability to speak with the right southern accent. During screen tests, Selznick was worried when he saw how most of Hollywood's actors and actresses failed to speak in the correct manner.
In order to fix the problem, he hired two accents coaches. One of them, Susan Myrick, was considered a southern expect and she knew everything about southern accents and manners.
Fitzgerald Was Fired
It seems like almost any big name that was alive and working at the time was somehow involved with GWTW's production. It is rumored that before shooting ever began, famous author F. Scott Fitzgerald was asked to come in and help with the ever-growing script.
Fitzgerlad didn't stay for long. In fact, he was let go in no time. Why? This is a secret he and many others who worked on the production took with them to the grave.
Mother Knows Worst
Casting directors for GWTW noticed 17-year-old Adele Longmire in the Vieux Carré theater and asked her to audition for the role of Scarlett. Longmire really wanted to audition for the film's main role. There was just one problem, she was underage, and her parents refused to let her go to New York for the audition, which cost the poor girl her only chance at being Scarlett.
What was their reasoning? Well, they went over the contract she would have to sign if she got the part, and they didn't like it.
Nobody Wanted a Yankee Scarlett
Famous actress Paulette Goddard was incredibly close to landing the desirable role of Scarlett, but her roots and accent got in her way. David O. Selznick felt that Americans in general and southerners specifically would not approve of their dear Scarlett being played by a New Yorker.
Turns out his hunch was right. The public preferred the heroine to be played by an English woman and not a Yankee.
Charlie Chaplin's Girlfriend Was Almost Cast as Scarlett
Selznick was very keen on one thing: he wanted an anonymous actress to play Scarlett O'Hara. After a lengthy audition process, there were only two actresses still standing: Paulette Goddard and Vivien Leigh. What tipped the scale?
Well, Paulette Goddard was already known in America at the time. In fact, she was living with Charlie Chaplin out of wedlock, which was considered scandalous at the time. Selznick didn't want the affair to cost the film bad publicity, so he opted for the unknown English actor Leigh.
A Publicity Penalty
Back in the day, Hollywood was incredibly strict about which topics and which words could be included in films. The word "damn" for example, was actually not fine to use, which is why Selznick was fined for the film's final scene.
Rumor has it that he had to pay a fine of $5,000 for the violation of the Production Code. Whether the rumors were right or wrong, they helped with the movie's publicity.
An Overpriced One Time Deal
If you need any more proof of just how influential and important this movie was, and still is, we got it for you. NBC was willing to pay MGM a whopping $5 million for the rights to play the film no TV. But wait, it gets crazier.
They paid this sum of money for the right to play it just one single time. They ended up screening it in 1976. We hope it was worth it.
So Many Musicals
The original source material, the "Gone with the Wind" novel inspired several different adaptations. Weirdly enough, despite the fact it doesn't seem like these characters have a lot to sing about, many of the non-American adaptions were actually musicals.
This includes a Japanese-British one from the 70s named "Scarlett," a Japanese all-female musical in 1997, and a French musical in 2003. If you thought the list is over — you're wrong. Even more musical versions of the novel were created in the UK and Canada in 2008 and 2013.
Looking back at the incredible cast of "Gone With the Wind", you'll discover it includes not one or two, but six Oscar-winning actors. Two of them received their Oscars for their role in the film — Vivien Leigh for Scarlett and Hattie McDaniel for Mammy.
Clark Gable got his for 1934's "It Happened One Night." Olivia de Havilland got two Academy Awards, one for "To Each His Own" and another for "The Heiress." Finally, both Thomas Mitchell and Jane Darwell were Oscar winners as well.
The scope of the search for Scarlett was substantial. In fact, so many actresses auditioned for the main role, that just watching all the Scarlett auditions back to back without taking any bathroom or snack breaks would take you a full 24 hours of your life.
Now imagine the poor casting director who had to sit there during auditions and also had to rewatch all of them in order to find the perfect star.
Longer and Longer
We could go on and on about the film's length, about how it could have been longer, but still ended up a bit too long. Still, if you thought that the fault only lies with the author of the long source material, the novel, think again. It turns out the original script called for a five-and-a-half-hour film.
After George Cukor, Howard and David O. Selznick started working on it, they finalized a second draft. The draft ended up being 15 pages longer than the original one, which is exactly the opposite of what they were trying to achieve.
Gone With the Wind Across the Pond
The film was a famous phenomenon, not just in America, but in the entire world. Many countries didn't want to make do with just one American film telling Scarlett's story. This is why many different "sequels" were created across the globe.
Of course, none of them were official. For example, there are several different Hungarian and Russian sequels written by varied authors. If you manage to get your hands on one and can read Hungarian or Russian, let us know what happens.
What About a Sequel?
Such a successful film only demands a sequel. Today, it's rare to find a box office hit that doesn't get a few other installments added to it. Still, an official film sequel never materialized.
However, the 90s saw a GWTW TV sequel. 1994's "Scarlett" was a miniseries that was based on the novel's sequel. In this lesser-known version, Timothy Dalton played Rhett, while Joanne Whalley was the titular character, Scarlett.
Most Quoted Film Ever?
It shouldn't be a surprise that a film so popular and influential is also one of the most quoted movies ever. In the list of best movie quotes in history, only one movie had more quotes than "Gone With the Wind." It was another American classic, 1942's "Casablanca".
Still, GWTW managed to score the 1st, 31st, and 59th places on the list. In the 59th st place, "As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again!" In the 31st, the film's final line, "After all, tomorrow is another day!" and in the first place, of course, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."
The epic film 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.
Half-Time Easter Egg
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.
One Minute, Three Husbands
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.
In Living Color
"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.
Hepburn as Scarlett?
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.
The Oscar Changed Everything
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.
Leslie Howard Skipped the Premiere
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.
Martin Luther King Attended the Premiere
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, his community insisted that he shouldn't go to an event that excludes the black actor who participated in the film.
But, he ended up going, and he brought his son, Martin Luther King Jr. with him.
Vivien Leigh Couldn't Dance
Actors today know they have to know how to do it all: act, dance, sing, play the guitar, etc. Many even take lessons months ahead to prepare for one scene.
Vivien Leigh, on the other hand, really knew her own limitations: she just could not dance. This is why she had a dance double in "Gone With the Wind." When you see Scarlett dancing, it's actually dancer Sally De Marco.
Nowadays, actors do a lot of weird things on film. They seem to be proud of their ability to commit to the role. Back in the windy days of "Gone With the Wind" that wasn't the case.
Actress Vivien Leigh could not bring herself to make the fake vomiting sounds necessary for one scene. She did not want to appear unladylike. Olivia de Havilland, who apparently didn't care about being ladylike, had to make the noises for her.
When filming, director George Cukor instructed Vivien Leigh to slap her scene partner, Butterfly McQueen, for real. After one take too many, McQueen cried real tears, claiming that Leigh was hitting too hard.
When later interviewed about the scene, McQueen disclosed that she had a deal with the others — she wouldn't scream if Leigh struck her, but if she could provide a proper slap illusion without actually touching her, she would scream her heart out. Funnily enough, McQueen thought Prissy was "horrid" and should have been slapped more often.
Dress for the Job You Want
This title is a proper cliche by now, but the thing about cliches is that there is a grain of truth in them. That's why they become cliches eventually. One example to demonstrate the truth held in this piece of advice is Hattie McDaniel.
When meeting with producer David O. Selznick, the actress donned the full costume of the character she was interested to play. Her tactic worked and Selznick ended up casting her over her close-second Louise Beavers.
Doing Her Research
Olivia de Havilland was known for doing her homework when it came to acting. When learning she was about to play a character that will go through childbirth at some point, the actress realized that since she had no personal experience to draw from, she will have to do some research.
That research included her visiting a maternity ward where she got to witness women in labor. Surprisingly, the experience didn't dissuade the actress from having two children of her own.
If the horse you saw Thomas Mitchell on looks familiar to you, there is a chance it's because you've seen it in the 1939 movie "The Lone Ranger Rides Again."
In "The Lone Ranger Rides Again" he was named Silver, which is actually very close to the name he actually went by (or trotted by, if you will) — Silver Chief. Apparently, horses can also have impressive Hollywood careers!
Smoking used to be a cool-people thing, right? If that's the case, then it looks like you couldn't get cooler than Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable. (Ashtray smell and health issues aside, of course.)
During the shoot, these two collectively smoked seven packets of cigarettes A DAY, with Leigh handling four packets and Gable sporting three. These two must have taken so many smoke breaks it's surprising they managed to squeeze some camera time in there.
Vivien Leigh enjoyed her actress-director relationship with initial director George Cukor. After being carefully nurtured by him, it was hard for her to try to make do with his successor Victor Fleming, who had a much harsher style. When playing Scarlett, it was important for Leigh to make the character more relatable than the spoiled selfish person described in the book.
Fleming's vision was quite the opposite. One example of his approach was telling Leigh to "Ham it up" when asking for directions. Not something you should say if you want to keep your lead happy.
It's Not Personal, It's Business
Being a black woman playing the role of a maid in those troublesome times did not come without controversy to Hattie McDaniel.
The actress faced backlash from her community for taking part in the film, but McDaniel was unphased by it. According to her, she saw a lucrative opportunity and she took it. In her words, she preferred to "make seven hundred dollars a week playing a maid than seven dollars being one."
Olivia de Havilland Liked to Mess Around
In stark contrast with her sweet and innocent character, Olivia de Havilland liked practical jokes and often pulled pranks on her castmates.
One such prank almost had Clark Gable throwing his back out — during the scene when Rhett Butler had to carry her out during the siege, the actress had fastened herself to the set, making it impossible for Gable to lift her.
George Cukor, the man who was originally tasked with directing the film, didn't get to spend many days on set. However, actresses Olivia de Havilland and Vivien Leigh felt like they still had a lot to learn from him and so they requested that he keeps coaching them.
The ex-director obliged and met with them on weekends. Interestingly, the other directors who worked on the film weren't told of these sessions.
It Could Have Been Longer
The four-hour-long epic could have kept people in their seats for even longer had the first rough cut of it been the final one. That first version was 48 minutes longer than what we know today as "Gone With the Wind".
Narrowing things down to a run-time of about 4 hours was even harder than you think when you learn it involved editing 88 hours of raw footage.
The movie's run time of nearly four hours naturally features a lot of Scarlett, its main character. In fact, Vivien Leigh is seen on screen for a collective time of nearly 2.5 hours. (2:23:32 if you're into specifics.)
This performance is the longest ever to be done by a single actor to win an Oscar. Seeing as films today are much, much shorter than "Gone With the Wind", it looks like nobody is going to break Leigh's record anytime soon.
GWTW's original score comes down to nearly three hours of music, which, at the time, was Max Steiner's longest work, as well as the longest score composed for a film. The production of the music for the film included no less than five different orchestrators.
If you listen closely, you'll notice there are two main themes to the score. One is a theme for Ashley's and Melanie's love. The other is for the lust that Scarlett feels towards Ashley.
Setting the Score
The person in charge of composing the music heard throughout the film was Max Steiner. He completed the task in groundbreaking three months. This achievement becomes even more impressive when you learn that he wrote the score for no less than twelve movies that year!
In order to keep up with the intense schedule, Steiner would occasionally use chemicals to help him stay awake for up to 20 hours at a time.
Nobody Really Liked Their Characters
Actors today are usually incredibly grateful to just book a job and be working. But GWTW actors had an array of complaints. Rand Brooks (Charles Hamilton, Scarlett's first husband) thought his character was too soft and wimpy. Butterfly McQueen didn't appreciate her character's stereotypical nature.
Leslie Howard had a myriad of reasons to dislike his character (Ashley Wilkes), one of which was how he thought he looked like a hotel doorman in his costumes.
A Dirty Deal
Many of the actors involved in the film didn't like the characters they were hired to play. Clark Gable, for one, was so against playing Rhett, that he had to be heavily persuaded into playing him. What made him agree?
A promise to help him take care of some personal business. Simply, the studio offered to help him with the legal arrangements required to help him divorce his current wife and marry the woman he was having an affair with, Carole Lombard.
Mitchell's Stamp of Approval
When working on the film, David O. Selznick asked Margaret Mitchell to weigh in on pretty much anything about the making of the movie, namely the way Vivien Leigh interpreted the character of Scarlett.
The only piece of criticism she had was about the design of the front of the main home in the Tara mansion. Surprisingly, the note was ignored, which resulted in the reclusive Mitchell refusing to comment on anything else about the production.
Age Is But a Number
Ellen O'Hara, Scarlett's mother was played by Barbara O'Neil. Only 28 at the time, O'Neil was cast to play the mother of a character who starts the movie as a 16-year-old.
Vivien Leigh, when cast to play Scarlett (who, again, first appears as a 16-year-old girl), was 25 years old and had to play alongside a mother who was essentially only three years older than her. Thomas Mitchell, who played Scarlett's father, was 47 at the time.
Stronger Than Wind
Olivia de Havilland outlived all of her "Gone With the Wind" co-stars. The veteran actress passed away in the summer of 2020 at the age of 104. As the oldest surviving cast member, de Havilland got to attend the film's 70th anniversary (2009) as well as its 80th (2019).
The future anniversaries, should they be celebrated in the same way, would have to make do with some high-quality holograms if they wish to have any members of the cast present.
When looking for an actor to perfectly embody the charismatic Rhett Butler, Clark Gable was the one to win the prestigious role, but there were a few other big names that were also considered. Ronald Colman, Errol Flynn, and Gary Cooper were a few of the potential Rhetts.
Cooper, apparently, wasn't so keen on booking the desirable gig. He was quoted saying that he believes the movie will flop epically and that he's happy that the person flopping with it was Gable rather than himself. Well, who's flopping now, Gary?
What's in a Name?
When writing her novel, Margaret Mitchell had several title options for it. This means that if things were a little different, we could have ended up with a movie titled “Ba! Ba! Black Sheep,” “Tomorrow Is Another Day,” “Tote the Weary Load,” “Not in Our Stars,” or “Bugles Sang True.” Can you imagine? These sound so weird in retrospect.
Oh, and it gets better — the initial name choice for Scarlett was Pansy, which, if you ask us, doesn't carry even half the gravitas the decided upon name does.
The Offical Collector
Each and every film has that one fan that goes too far. For "Gone With the Wind" it is a guy named James Tumblin who could be tagged as the overly-eager fan. Tumblin actually worked at Universal Studios in the 60s, a fact that gave him access to buying some GWTW memorabilia for cheap.
Today his collection includes over 300,000 "Gone With the Wind" items. Some of them were featured in a 2012 exhibition at the North Carolina Museum of History.
Dressed to the Nines
Scarlett O'Hara is quite a style icon. The beautiful outfits Leigh is seen in while playing the character made for some fabulous frames throughout the movie and were later sought after by collectors and aficionados.
An American costume collector was somehow able to buy one of Scarlett's dresses for mere 20 dollars about 20 years after the film was released. That same dress was auctioned in 2015 and bought for a whopping $137, 000. Another item to fetch some serious bucks is a straw hat Leigh wore, which was sold for $52,500.
See a Man About a Horse
For the street scenes, production had to use about 1,100 horses. As you can imagine, 1,100 horses are hard to come by, and so, mules were used as well.
But, some horses used in the film had bigger roles than others. Thomas Mitchell rode a white horse named Silver Chief and Cammie King had a black one named Mister Butler.
The Math Behind the Film
You'd think that a screenwriter's work would be much easier when they have a book to base their work on. However, that was not the case with "Gone With the Wind".
If the screenplay had used all the dialogue from the novel, the result would have been a 168 hours long movie. That's a full week! Raw footage of the lines that did make the cut was ultimately shot on 500,00 ft of film.
Record-Breaking in Every Way
It has been decades since "Gone With the Wind" was first seen in theaters, but it has broken records no other modern piece of cinema has been able to beat so far. For starters, it won eight Academy Awards out of incredible thirteen nominations.
The 234 minutes required to watch the movie make it the longest sound film produced in America to win an Oscar for Best Picture.
The Mother of All Blockbusters
"Gone With the Wind" made history in lots of different ways. One of them was how much it grossed at the box office. Nearly any person with access to a movie theater watched it. Adjusted to inflation, the movie grossed around 4 billion dollars!
Breaking a Guinness world record, it is the world's highest-grossing film in history. A close second, in case you're looking for anything else to add to your watch list, is 2009's "Avatar".
You Have the Right to Remain Cheap
When Margaret Mitchell released it in 1936, "Gone With the Wind" quickly became a worldwide sensation with many millions of copies sold pretty much everywhere. Seeing the immeasurable success, producer David O. Selznick didn't even read the book before he approached Mitchell and offered to buy the movie rights from her.
It is reported that the rights were purchased for a mere $50,000. In 1942, however, after dissolving his production company, Selznick realized that the rights were actually worth a lot more and gave her a $50,000 bonus.
Delivering Baby Wilkes
The sweet Melanie Hamilton's character, played by Olivia de Havilland, is especially memorable thanks to the scene in which she gives birth to her child with Ashley Wilkes.
The display of pain exhibited in the scene is a little more than great acting. In order for the actress to deliver a believable performance, Director Victor Fleming sat at her feet (out of the frame, of course) and literally pinched her toes.
Just a Casual Best Seller
When author Margaret Mitchell wrote "Gone With the Wind" it started as a nice project to help her pass the time after she was involved in a car accident and needed to recover. Ten years later, this little passion project was complete, and to Mitchell's surprise, gained popularity beyond her wildest dreams.
It was crowned the second-most popular book in America. The first, in case you're wondering, was the Bible.
Take a Hike, Hitchcock
Adapting a book into a screenplay is tough. Even producer David Selznick had to reach out for help to do it... except he didn't really use that help he asked for. When asking film legend Alfred Hitchcock to help with the adaptation, he happily obliged and sent back an input so detailed it even included camera angles.
Selznick, however, accepted absolutely none of the renowned director's suggestions and opted for the joint work of sixteen writers collaborating over several long months.
The Secret Screening
When the film was first screen-tested for an audience, it was all very hush-hush. Just how hush-hush? Even the people watching it didn't know what was going to be screened!
Not only were the people left in the dark about the film about to roll, but the doors to the theater were actually locked during the screening so no spoilers could be leaked by accident. We wonder how well this secret could have been kept if any producer tried doing such a thing nowadays.
Where's the Oscar?
Michael Jackson’s passing was accompanied by intense media attention, a big part of which was less than sympathetic. However, one piece of media cover sparked a different kind of media interest. Since the late Jackson had producer David O. Selznick's Oscar in his possession, it was supposed to be logged into the inventory of his assets. The thing is, it was never found.
Jackson's lawyers expressed their hope that the statuette would turn up eventually and will be placed in the hands of the singer's children.
Michael Was a Fan
For an iconic classic such as it is, there is no surprise that "Gone With the Wind" has its fair share of high-profile fans. After all, it must have made its mark on loads of people in the industry. One showbiz personality known to have taken a deep liking to the movie is none other than Michael Jackson.
The King of Pop was such a big fan of the film that he actually purchased the Best Picture Oscar figurine that used to belong to producer David O. Selznick. The tiny golden man was bought for $1,542,500.
A Literal State Holiday
In England, everybody got a day off in honor of Kate and William's wedding. Apparently, "Gone With the Wind" had a similar power. The cinematic piece was released in December of 1939 and since there was such anticipation in the air, especially in Atlanta, the local government declared the day a holiday!
Jimmy Carter in his pre-presidential days recalls the event as being the biggest one to happen in the South in his lifetime.
A Popping Premiere
When the movie premiered in 1939, it was done in an extravagant event. With the high anticipation buzzing around its release, the streets around the Atlanta premiere venue were flooded with as many as 300,000 people!
And what a sight they had to see — 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
These days, the wage gap is an issue everyone is a lot more aware of and is working hard to diminish. Back when the film was in production, however, things were grossly different.
A shocking piece of evidence of that is the unbelievable discrepancy between the paychecks of the two main stars: Clark Gable had 70 days of shooting on set and Vivien Leigh had 125 of them. The pay, however, didn't reflect that one bit, with Gable cashing $120,000 and Leigh making a measly $25,000.
Leslie Howard Was Having a Hard Time
Ashley Wilkes, the character who ends up marrying Melanie Hamilton, was played by Leslie Howard, much to his dismay. Apparently, he didn't think he was the right fit for the role, mostly due to him being 40 at the time.
The character he was assigned to play was supposed to be 21, and although his performance was highly praised, he hated it. He said he wasn't young enough or attractive enough to play him. Add that to the fact that his on-screen wife was played by the 23-year-old Olivia de Havilland, and you get one disgruntled (although professional) actor.
1930s Hollywood could only dream of modern-day filming technology, which would have made one of the first scenes a lot simpler to shoot. Scarlett watching the sunset with her father with the family plantation in the background was only made possible thanks to UCLA mathematicians.
After trying to unsuccessfully bring his vision for this scene to life, producer David Selznick reached out and asked for help. The mathematicians, through the power of numbers and formulas, helped design a realistic backdrop for the actors to be filmed against.
Hattie McDaniel and Clark Gable developed a great friendship while working together on the set. They had a similar sense of humor and loved pulling pranks on each other.
Unfortunately, this sweet relationship between a white man and a black woman wasn't made public due to the social/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 a married man. His then-wife was Texan socialite Maria Langham, but it seems like the marriage wasn't on the best terms as he was secretly seeing actress Carole Lombard. With the studio's help, Gable divorced Langham and eloped with Lombard.
Apparently, Vivien Leigh has a similar story. While being married to Herbert Leigh Holman, she became involved with Laurence Olivier. The two married after she divorced Herbert.
Got a SAG Card? You're Hired
Over nearly 4 hours of cinematic creation, "Gone With the Wind" deals with many issues, one of which is the horrors of war. The scene right after the battle, the one that shows the suffering wounded soldiers, was planned to be filmed with the help of 2,500 extras.
The thing is, the Screen Actors Guild only had around 1,500 registered extras. The 1,000 missing people had their places filled with high-quality dummies.
Starting With Destruction
The very first scene shot for the film was Atlanta burning to a crisp. The fuel for this fire was actually 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. Nobody had time or means to burn another such pile of flammable matter. Fun fact: the burning mess contained pieces from the set of "King Kong" (1933).
Kiss and Tell
Clark Gable as Rhett Butler was the man in everyone's dream at the time. Kissing him was the fantasy of anyone who prefers male company. Vivien Leigh, who got to do it in real life, however, says the experience was incredibly anti-climactic.
Apparently, the actor wore dentures that smelled pretty bad. As an added prank, Gable ate some garlic before the duo's famous scene. Sounds like Leigh was a real trooper to put up with it.
Frankly, My Dear, I Don't Give a... Hoot?
Cardi B music videos are the new normal nowadays. Back when "Gone With the Wind" was being made, however, things were a lot more demure. So demure, in fact, that the film's most iconic line almost didn't make it.
That's right, the word "damn" had to be negotiated for several months with the people at the Motion Picture Association. Viewers were stunned to hear such strong language. Don't worry, though, they all lived to tell the tale.
Hattie McDaniel Making History
Hattie McDaniel, known for her unforgettable role as Mammy, was the first black woman to win an Academy Award! In the Best Supporting Actress category, she was honored with an Oscar, beating her costar Olivia de Havilland and other nominees such as Geraldine Fitzgerald ("Wuthering Heights") and Edna May Oliver ("Drums Along the Mohawk").
Ironically and unfortunately, she wasn't able to attend the premiere due to the discriminative laws of that time.
Big Boys Cry on Cue
A drama-queen move on Gable's part is said to be his refusal to cry. When told that his character might need to shed a few tears on camera, he threatened to leave.
Apparently, he was worried that it would make him look weak. He eventually agreed that his teary scene (after learning about the unfortunate results of Scarlett's fall down the stairs) was powerful and just the right kind of emotional.
Clashing With Clark
A rumor circulating the film's production says that Gorge Cukor, the original director, was fired because of Clark Gable.
As the rumor goes, Gable said the man was a "women's director" and felt like he wasn't giving him all the focus he was due. He thought that Cukor was focusing too much on Vivien Leigh and not enough on him, and he wasn't about to let anyone steal his spotlight.
Searching for Scarlett
Scarlett O'Hara's role was much-coveted among young actresses at the time. You can even find some of their screen tests on YouTube! Still, it seemed that none of them was the right match.
It took so long to find a proper Scarlett that shooting had already begun with a body-double stand-in until Vivien Leigh came along. At first, fans of the story weren't fans of having an English woman play the part. Their opinion quickly changed after they watched the film, though.
Directors Were Dropping Like Flies
The periodic epoch has seen no less than three different directors. The first one was George Cukor, who was fired after only 18 days of filming. The person who stepped in and took over was Victor Flemming, who you might know as the director of "The Wizard of Oz".
Halfway through the production, the poor man had a mental breakdown and he took some time to heal. Sam Wood took his place as director until Flemming was back on his feet and able to complete the job.