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14 Facts You May Not Have Known About Gone With The Wind

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website.

Quite possibly, along with The Wizard of Oz, it is the single most beloved film of all-time. This American classic is the first color film to win a Best Picture Academy Award (1939). Okay, let's take a look at a few lesser-known facts about the immortal film Gone With The Wind.

1. Despite the fantasies so many women have about getting kissed by Clark Gable, actress Vivien Leigh did not actually enjoy kissing Gable. She claimed his dentures smelled bad.

2. The smokingest leads in movie history? Vivien Leigh smoked four packs of cigarettes during the filming of GWTW. And Clark Gable was a lifelong three pack-a-day smoker. That's seven packs of smokes a day- that's a lot of nicotine (cough cough hack hack)!

3. In one of the biggest "cattle calls" in Hollywood history, over 1,400 actresses were considered for the female lead role of Scarlett O’Hara. Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Jean Arthur, Lana Turner, Barbara Stanwyck, Claudette Colbert, Susan Hayward, Katharine Hepburn, and Lucille Ball (!!!) were all in the running. Another candidate was Carole Lombard, the real-life great love of Clark Gable's life. Tallulah Bankhead, a real-life southern belle, was actually a major front-runner, but her unsavory personal life made producers reluctant to cast her as Scarlett.

4. Although 1,400 actresses were considered for the role, only 400 were given actual readings. Of the screen tests, only Vivien Leigh and Paulette Goddard were given their tests in color.

(YouTube link)

5. Although finding the right Scarlett was a big cattle call, producer David O. Selznick only seriously considered four actors for Rhett Butler, the male lead: Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Errol Flynn, and Ronald Coleman.

6. Poor George Cukor. Incredibly, he was the original choice as director for both GWTW and The Wizard of Oz. Both times, Victor Fleming took over for Cukor and got the actual credit for direction.

7. Clark Gable was reluctant to play Rhett Butler. He didn't want to do a period piece and was worried that he couldn't live up to the public's high anticipation of the character. Also, he had recently done another costume drama called Parnell in 1937. It was a huge flop and Gable regretted doing the role. But he was convinced to take the role by a $50,000 bonus, which enabled him to divorce his second wife Maria “Ria" and marry his great love, Carole Lombard.

8. Gable was very distressed by having to cry on film (in the scene where he grieves over Scarlett's miscarriage). He was so upset he almost quit the film, but Olivia de Havilland convinced him to stay.

9. Clark Gable was paid over $120,000 for 71 days work. Vivien Leigh received about $25,000 for 125 days  work.

10. Margaret Mitchell was asked who she wanted to play Rhett in the film and she replied “Groucho Marx.” This remark has been taken literally by some, but Mitchell was an intensely private person and she made the Groucho crack to indicate that she wanted nothing to do with critiquing or advising about the film.

11. The female costumes were made "historically complete" with petticoats, although they would not have been missed if they were not there.

12. Judy Garland was the first choice to play Scarlett's kid sister Careen, but she was already committed to doing The Wizard of Oz at the time.

13. Leslie Howard didn't think he was right to play Ashley Wilkes, feeling he was "too old" for the role of Scarlett's suitor. He also felt his costumes made him "look like a fairy doorman at a hotel.”

14. The controversial word "damn" in Gable's final line “Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn,” had actually been used in several silent films and talkies before its use in GWTW. Nonetheless, other versions  of the classic line were attempted by Clark Gable, including “I just don't care,” “It makes my gorge rise,” “My indifference is boundless,” “I don't give a hoot,” and “Nothing could interest me less.”


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Gary Cooper might have been good as Rhett however this is one of those films where any changes to the cast and it may not have been as good..I.e. The Wizard of Oz or The Godfather.
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I personally think that the best thing to come from this movie was the Gone With the Wind parody on the Carol Burnett show ("Went With the Wind"). It was one of the funniest comedy sketches in television history. "I saw it in a window and I just had to have it"... Her curtain rod outfit is on display at the Smithsonian. When she came down the stairs in that outfit it was the longest sustained laugh in the 10-year history of the show.
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