Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Gone with the Wind



Gone with the Wind (Two-Disc 70th Anniversary Edition)

#4 (1998) and #6 (2007) on the AFI Top 100 Movies List

Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American historical epic film adapted from Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel of the same name. It was produced by David O. Selznick and directed by Victor Fleming from a screenplay by Sidney Howard. Set in the 19th century American South, the film stars Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard, Olivia de Havilland, and Hattie McDaniel, among others, and tells a story of the American Civil War and Reconstruction era from a white Southern point of view.

The film received 10 Academy Awards (8 competitive, 2 honorary), a record that stood for 20 years until Ben-Hur surpassed it in 1960. In the American Film Institute's inaugural Top 100 Best American Films of All Time list of 1998, it was ranked fourth, and in 1989 was selected to be preserved by the National Film Registry.The film was the longest American sound film made up to that time – 3 hours 44 minutes, plus a 15 minute intermission, and was among the first of the major films shot in color (Technicolor), winning the first Academy Award for Best Cinematography in the category for color films. It became the highest-grossing film of all-time shortly after its release, holding the position until 1966; after adjusting for inflation, it has still earned more than any other film in box office revenue. As of 2012, there are five surviving cast members from the film.

* Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara
* Clark Gable as Rhett Butler
* Leslie Howard as Ashley Wilkes
* Olivia de Havilland as Melanie Hamilton
* Thomas Mitchell as Gerald O'Hara
* Barbara O'Neil as Ellen O'Hara
* Evelyn Keyes as Suellen O'Hara
* Ann Rutherford as Carreen O'Hara
* George Reeves as Stuart Tarleton
* Fred Crane as Brent Tarleton
* Hattie McDaniel as Mammy
* Oscar Polk as Pork
* Butterfly McQueen as Prissy
* Victor Jory as Jonas Wilkerson
* Everett Brown as Big Sam
* Howard Hickman as John Wilkes
* Alicia Rhett as India Wilkes
* Rand Brooks as Charles Hamilton
* Carroll Nye as Frank Kennedy
* Laura Hope Crews as Aunt Pittypat
* Eddie Anderson as Uncle Peter
* Harry Davenport as Dr. Meade
* Leona Roberts as Mrs. Meade
* Jane Darwell as Mrs. Merriwether
* Mary Anderson as Maybelle Merriweather
* Ona Munson as Belle Watling
* Ward Bond as Tom, Yankee Captain
* Cliff Edwards as voice of unseen Reminiscent Soldier
* Cammie King as Bonnie Blue Butler
* Mickey Kuhn as Beau Wilkes
* Patrick Curtis as Beau Wilkes (as a baby)
* Greg Giese as newborn Beau Wilkes/newborn Bonnie Blue Butler
* Emily Eby as Grandma Moses
* Paul Hurst as Yankee deserter
* Isabel Jewell as Emmie Slattery
* Yakima Canutt as Shantytown renegade

(The credits in the film contain an error: George Reeves and Fred Crane appear as the Tarleton brothers. Reeves plays Stuart, but is listed as Brent, while Crane, playing Brent, is listed as Stuart.)

As of January 2012, Alicia Rhett (born February 1, 1915), who played India Wilkes, is the oldest surviving cast member. Also surviving are Olivia de Havilland (born July 1, 1916), who played Melanie Wilkes; Mary Anderson (born April 3, 1920), who played Maybelle Meriweather; Ann Rutherford (born November 2, 1920), who played Scarlett O'Hara's younger sister, Carreen O'Hara; and Mickey Kuhn (born September 21, 1932), who played Beau Wilkes.

In an attempt to draw upon his company's profits, but to pay capital gain tax rather than a much higher personal income tax, David O. Selznick and his business partners liquidated Selznick International Pictures over a three-year period in the early 1940s. As part of the liquidation, Selznick sold his rights in Gone with the Wind to Jock Whitney and his sister, who in turn sold it to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1944. Today it is owned by Turner Entertainment, whose parent company Turner Broadcasting acquired MGM's film library in 1986. Turner itself is currently a subsidiary of Time Warner, which is the current parent company of Warner Bros. Entertainment. The film is the favorite movie of TBS founder Ted Turner, himself a resident of Atlanta.

In 1989, Gone with the Wind was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". In 1998, the American Film Institute ranked it #4 on its "100 Greatest Movies" list.

Rhett Butler's famous farewell line to Scarlett O'Hara, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn", was voted in a poll by the American Film Institute in 2005 as the most memorable line in cinema history.

Leslie Howard's association to the screen character he most disliked, the winsome Ashley, later obscured his solid contribution to the British film industry and his fight to break the silence about the Holocaust.

In 2005, the AFI ranked Max Steiner's score for the film the second greatest of all time. The AFI also ranked the film #2 in their list of the greatest romances of all time (100 Years... 100 Passions).

After filming concluded, the set of Tara sat on the back lot of the former Selznick Studios as the Forty Acres back lot reverted to RKO Pictures and then was sold to Desilu Productions. In 1959, Southern Attractions, Inc. purchased the façade of Tara, which was dismantled and shipped to Georgia with plans to relocate it to the Atlanta area as a tourist attraction. David O. Selznick commented at the time,

Nothing in Hollywood is permanent. Once photographed, life here is ended. It is almost symbolic of Hollywood. Tara had no rooms inside. It was just a façade. So much of Hollywood is a façade.

However, the Margaret Mitchell estate refused to license the novel's commercial use in connection with the façade, citing Mitchell's dismay at how little it resembled her description. In 1979 the dismantled plywood and papier-mâché set, reportedly in "terrible" condition, was purchased for $5,000 by Betty Talmadge, the ex-wife of former Georgia governor and U.S. senator Herman Talmadge. She lent the front door of Tara's set to the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum in downtown Atlanta, Georgia where it is on permanent display, featured in the Gone with the Wind film museum. Other items from the movie, such as from the set of Scarlett and Rhett's Atlanta mansion, are still stored at The Culver Studios (formerly Selznick International) including the stained glass window from the top of the staircase which was actually a painting. The famous painting of Scarlett in her blue dress, which hung in Rhett's bedroom, hung for years at the Margaret Mitchell Elementary School in Atlanta, but is now on permanent loan to the Margaret Mitchell Museum, complete with stains from the glass of sherry that Clark Gable, as Rhett Butler, threw at it in anger.

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