The ever-popular novel was published in 1936 and the movie came out in 1939. What novel and movie am I referring to? “Gone With the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell. This is the kind of love story that could appeal to both women and men. Men get to see the war scenes from the Civil War and women can sigh over the romance between the two main characters Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler.
It was 1926 and Margaret Mitchell wound up having to quit her job as a reporter at the Atlanta Journal in Atlanta, Georgia so that she could recover from physical injuries. There she was in a small apartment with nothing to do and suddenly her attention was drawn to a Remington typewriter she had received as a gift. She started writing a story about an Atlanta bell whose name was Pansy O’Hara. She took her character through a turbulent life from the antebellum South through the Civil War and on into the Reconstruction Era.
Mitchell got inspiration from stories she has heard from her parents and other relatives including from Confederate war veterans she had met as a young girl. She kept the story under wraps finally giving the manuscript to Harold Lathan, an editor from MacMillan Publishing in New York. He was quite interested and encouraged Mitchell to finish her novel with one small change. She had to change the name of the main heroine and Mitchell agreed to change the name to Scarlett. The name not only became popular and well-known but there were also little girls who wound up growing up with this name.
Scarlett at Tara
The Novel is Published
“Gone With the Wind” was published in 1936 and immediately caused a sensation in Atlanta and soon went on to sell millions of copies in the U.S. and all around the globe. All the readers just couldn’t put the book down. Mitchell won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1937 at which time a movie project was already in the works. The movie was ready to be produced by Hollywood giant David O. Selznick. The author was paid $50,000 for the film rights to her book which was a huge amount at that time.
Hollywood had quite a time to find just the right actors and actresses to make the memorable characters come to life. The two main characters were the hardest to cast and finally, Vivien Leigh was signed on to play Scarlett and Clark Gable to portray Rhett Butler. Actually after reading the novel twice and seeing the movie once I came to realize that this had been an ingenious decision because the images that you imagine as you read were perfectly depicted by both actors and they actually made Scarlett and Rhett come to life.
Highest Grossing Movie
“Gone With the Wind” became one of the highest-grossing movies of all time. It broke box office records and won nine Academy Awards out of 13 nominations. It won the coveted Best Picture Award and Vivien Leigh won for Best Actress. Unfortunately, Mitchell wasn’t able to attend the movie premiere in Atlanta in December 1939. She died tragically ten years later struck by a speeding car while crossing Atlanta’s Peachtree Street where, in the novel Scarlett’s Aunt Pittypat lived. Many years later Alexandra Ripley wrote a sequel to “Gone With the Wind” titled “Scarlett” which was published in 1992. The sequel returned us to the South and made these beloved and memorable characters come to life once more.
Many memorable quotes came from this movie. As much as Rhett insisted to Scarlett that, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” and Scarlett was left to say, “Tara I’ll go home and think of a way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day” in the sequel Rhett did love Scarlett again.