Vintage Icons • Movies

“Gone with the Wind”

13 November, 2013

Year: 1939

  • Director/s: Victor Fleming and (although they don’t appear in the credits) George Cukor and Sam Wood.
  • Producer: David O. Selznick. In this case the producer is very important, as Selznick is the creator,  the “alma mater” of this film. Only he had enough faith to fight the battle to get this film out in public.


  • Vivien Leigh (Scarlett O´Hara)
  • Clark Gable (Rett Butler)
  • Olivia de Havilland (Melanie Hamilton)
  • Leslie Howard (Ashley)

Sitting down on a November afternoon to watch Gone with the Wind, converted a regular day into an unforgettable one. I spent nearly five hours together with my daughter, who I had managed to convince to watch the film with me, hiding the fact that it was nearly five hours long, and who, consequently, didn’t take her eyes off the screen for a split second. It is clear that Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh continue to capture women of all ages and generations.

Gone with the Wind could be classified as “The FILM”, in capital letters. Adventure, love, conflict, suspense, comedy… It has it all. Although David O. Selznick made many other great films, he will always be remembered for this masterpiece.

It contains infinite memorable scenes in nearly five hours of film, which is an awfully long time. My preferred scene is when Scarlett is dressing with Mami, who is tightening her corset. For me, the black maid’s interpretation is one of the columns of success for the film. Not in vain was she the first colored woman to receive an Oscar from the Hollywood Academy, which she highly deserved.


Vivien Leigh’s interpretation is superb; her superior, jealous, greedy, hurt, desperate and mischievous expressions are masterly.

The scene when she enters the party when wearing the eye-catching scarlet dress is captivating, and where all the guests are dressed much more modestly, and more caste would be a shameless wink at “Jezebel”.

The meetings between Scarlett, totally distanced from the desperate love and charms of Rett Butler are mixed with love and hate. Clark Gable is impressive and one can never tire of watching him.

The unending, enormous stairs throughout the entire film are marvellous. The almost “Hitchcock-like” scenes (in fact, Selznick asked the suspense master’s advice on a few occasions), are slow with a ticking sound of a clock, where the women impatiently and desperately wait, immersed in an absurd and useless entertainment, for their husbands to gracefully leave the bandit’s assault.

Gone with the Wind will always be one of the most famous films in the history of cinema. Within this film the Golden Era of Hollywood amalgamates, by pure accident, surely. It is a simply unrepeatable film, and an icon for all lovers of classic cinema.



  • Plaque of Honor for William Cameron Menzies for the use of color, reinforcing the film’s dramatism.
  • Oscar to Vivien Leigh for Best Actress; for Best Supporting Actress Hattie MacDaniel (Mami), being the first black woman to be nominated, and to receive an Oscar; for the Best Artistic Direction by Lyle R. Wheeler; for the best color cinematography; for the Best Director (Victor Fleming); for the Best Editing; for the Best Film; for the Best Adapted Script and a special award for the Best Technical Innovation.
  • Nomination for Best Actor (Clark Gable), for Best Supporting Actress (Olivia de Havilland), for the Best Special Effects, for the Best Soundtrack and for the Best Sound.

Vivien Leigh4

Curious Facts:

  • 1400 actresses were interviewed to play the role of Scarlett.
  • Very few of the actors actually liked the roles that they were given to play. Amongst others, Clark Gable only accepted the role upon an extra pay that he received in order to settle his divorce with Carole Lombard. Leslie Howard thought that he was too old to play the role of Ashley.
  • Gary Cooper rejected the role, convinced that it would be a complete failure (“I’m glad it’ll be Clark Gable falling flat on his nose, not me” said Cooper)
  • The phrase “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” is placed in the top 100 of best cinema quotes.
  • It was the first color film to win an Oscar.


  • The four main characters only appear together in one scene (following the attack on Shantytown).
  • Judy Garland was going to play the role of one of Scarlett’s sisters, however, she opted to do another film: The Wizard of Oz.
  • At the beginning, due to its length (nearly five hours) the film was going to be done in two parts.


  • All the existing Technicolor cameras were used for the fire in Atlanta scene. The firemen were ready to take action in the case of it getting out of control, and there was a 5000 gallon reserve (nearly 20,000 litres) of water for the eventuality (after the filming, the fire had to be put out).
  • Clark Gable was enormously reluctant to film a scene in which he had to cry. Olivia De Havilland was the one who finally convinced him.
  • If the film’s takings were to be adjusted to the current inflation, Gone with the Wind would continue to be the biggest box office success in history (in 2005 it had earned more than 3,700 million dollars and 200 million cinema tickets), with Star Wars being the second.
  • None of the interior scenes were filmed with a roof.
  • The actress who played Scarlett’s mother was 28 years old, whilst Vivien Leigh, at 25 years, played the role of a girl of 16 years.
  • It is the longest film to have won an Oscar.


  • In popular surveys to choose who would play the role of Scarlett, Vivien Leigh received only one vote.
  • Olivia de Havilland went to a maternity hospital to see what giving birth was really like, in order to make the scene of her daughter’s birth as real as possible.
  • Clark Gable never liked the film, categorizing it as a “Woman’s film”.


I leave you with the film’s trailer and a few memorable scenes:

Images: y Wikipedia.

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