The Making of Gone with the Wind Hardcover – 1 Sep 2014
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About the Author
Steve Wilson is the curator of the film collection at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. He has curated several exhibitions at the Ransom Center, including Shooting Stars, a display of Hollywood glamour photography, and Making Movies, a major exhibition on film production.
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Top Customer Reviews
I have many GWTW books, but this is the best.
Using the David.O. Selznick archive, it gives a day by day account of the filming and all the preparation for the film and it's premiere in Atlanta.
Lots of photographs that I had not seen before, many covering the whole page, so you can see all the detail.
A big book, both in size and depth, on good quality paper.
An absolute treasure, it really brings the film to life.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
But the movie "Gone With The Wind" frustrated me when I first saw it in 1967 and continues to bother me to this day. I sat in that huge theater in downtown Chicago and kept muttering to myself, "Where is that character?", "where is the scene between "so and so" and "so and so", and, of course, "uh, Scarlett had THREE children. Where are Wade Hampton and Ella Lorena?" I was proud that as a true "GWTW Book fan", I was not seduced by the film version of "my" book. As the years passed, I thought that had GWTW been made in the 1970's or 1980's, it would have - very properly - been made as a TV mini-series. Ten hours of GWTW would have gotten things right!
But "Gone With The Wind" was NOT made in the '70's, it was made as a movie in 1938 and 1939. All the time constraints, as well as production problems that come with making a movie almost four hours long, of a nation's favorite book are documented in Steve Wilson's enthralling book, "The Making of 'Gone With The Wind'". This is a huge book and for the GWTW film fan it is a must read. I was not a film fan, and I still enjoyed the book. I don't think there was a memo or a drawing of an article of clothing or a screen test that wasn't included in the book.
The movie "Gone With The Wind" got its start right before the book's publication. Producer David O Selznick ("DOS" in the memos) was advised by his staffer to buy the rights to the book, and he authorised her to spend up to $50,000. Upon winning the rights, he put into action the preparation to film this colossal best seller. Immediately he ran into problems. While Clark Gable was everyone's first choice as Rhett Butler, DOS was unable to find "his" Scarlett. Hollywood actress after actress tested for the part and Selznick International Pictures sent representatives to southern cities to "find" Scarlett among the local belles. Filming had already begun when English actress Vivian Leigh was signed to play the pivotal role in December, 1938.
One of the most interesting things in Steve Wilson's book are the complaints made by various groups and individuals during the filming. From the KKK to the NAACP to the "United Daughters of the Confederacy" to groups representing the Union side, everyone had a beef. It would take the soul of tact to deal with all these complaints but DOS and his staff did an admirable job. But in addition to these groups, Selznick had the "Hays Code" to deal with. Steve Wilson includes in the book pages of dialog ruled on by the group, slashing words and phrases that deal with childbirth, battle injuries, and other matters that were deemed to be too delicate for movie goers of the times. Everyone knows the battle about Rhett muttering that unforgettable line, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn", but there were many other clashes between producer and Hays Code enforcers before then.
As I wrote above, Steve Wilson's book is a great book for movie fans and GWTW fans, in particular. Even though it wasn't my favorite movie, I've enjoyed watching it and am always amazed at the gasps in the theater when the camera shows Rhett Butler/Clark Gable at the bottom of the stairs at Twelve Oaks. Gable didn't want to attempt a southern accent and the book alludes to that. That was one of the many details DOS and his crew fretted about. And only one of the many details in the book.