Behind the Scenes of Gone With the Wind Part 3

About the movie Gone With the Wind, the story behind the scenes of how the movie was made by David O. Selznik.



With nothing but an occasional personal satisfaction and a monumental amount of free publicity coming from his great talent hunt, Selznick started filming without having cast his female lead. The picture was behind schedule (having gone through a dozen script treatments by everyone from Sidney Howard, whose original was finally used, to F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ben Hecht), and Selznick, deciding he couldn't afford to waste any more time, started to shoot the burning of Atlanta sequence with stand-ins for Rhett and the still uncast Scarlett.

Using repainted props that were already scheduled for destruction. Selznick personally acted as overseer for one of the picture's most dramatic moments. Equally dramatic, legend has it, was the moments. Equally dramatic, legend has it, was the moment when Selznick turned from the burning of Atlanta to find Vivien Leigh standing behind him and to hear his brother Myron's voice say. "Here, Genius, I want you to meet Scarlett O'Hara."

Selznick's search was over, but new troubles were just beginning. Gable didn't like director George Cukor, who was occasionally known to throw a picture in the direction of its female lead. Cukor was fired and replaced by Victor Fleming, a Hemingway type who suited Gable fine but who enraged Leigh and co-star Olivia de Havilland. Driven to distraction by Selznick, who didn't believe in giving directors a free hand, Fleming dropped out for a few weeks to be replaced by Sam Wood. Fleming came back to complete the picture, but by then Leigh and De Havilland had taken to getting secret coaching from Cukor, who, although fired, inspired their performances for the remainder of the production.

Premiered in Atlanta with a dazzling display of hoopla, the picture was an instant success. Selznick, who had watched his baby grow, patting its seat frequently along the way, made film history, and Academy Awards went to Leigh, Sidney Howard, the film itself, and five others in the production.

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