The iconic motion picture experience Gone with the Wind will head to theaters once again in celebration of its 80th anniversary. The movie, which starred Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable, was originally released in 1939.
The movie will have a two-day limited release on Thursday, February 28 and Sunday, March 3. Warner Bros. and Fathom Events will present the exciting event.
For those who have only watched the film on television or on DVD, the cinematic experience of viewing the film the way it was intended, in its grandeur on the big screen, will likely cure any sense of winter blues for moviegoers. The masterpiece that is the sweeping story of Scarlett O’Hara and her lover, Rhett Butler, begs for a large popcorn, drink and sweets, and several hours of uninterrupted viewing.
The film is the recipient of 10 Academy Awards, including eight Oscars and two honorary awards. Gone with the Wind had an unheard-of $3.9 million budget in 1939, making it the second-most-expensive movie at that time. The film was adapted from Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 blockbuster book of the same name.
Using the backdrop of the struggles of the Civil War and the Reconstruction era, the film tells the story of the O’Hara clan, a family of Georgia plantation owners, and their strong-willed daughter Scarlett. Spoiled Scarlett’s desire to obtain what she wants at any cost set the stage for several ill-fated marriages, her complicated relationship with her beloved Ashley Wilkes’ wife Melanie Hamilton and her love/hate relationship with Rhett Butler.
Gone with the Wind was iconic not only for its sweeping story of a young woman’s coming-of-age in a time when women were submissive to the men around them, but it was also notable for the struggle the film had to make it to the silver screen.
Legend has it that filming was delayed for two years because of producer David O. Selznick’s determination to nab Hollywood leading man Clark Gable for the role of Rhett Butler. There was also the legendary search for an actress to play the role of Scarlett O’Hara, with over 1,400 women interviewed for the part, from known names to unknown women at colleges across the southern states.
Some of the legendary movie actresses who screen-tested for the role were Rita Hayworth, Tallulah Bankhead, Lana Turner, Bette Davis, Jean Harlow, Lucille Ball, Katherine Hepburn, Joan Crawford, Carole Lombard (who was dating Clark Gable at the time), and Paulette Goddard, the wife of silent-screen star Charlie Chaplin.
The Harry Ranson Center at the University of Texas at Austin reported that Selznick wanted an actress he could hire “inexpensively and place her under contract so that she would be committed to his studio when she became a star.” Thus, he hired Vivien Leigh, who only had a handful of screen credits to her part and was primarily a stage actress, to portray his heroine.