The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDbs Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Gone with the Wind can be found at here.
No, far from it. The first color movies were shown in 1908, and Hollywood made its first color feature in 1922 in The Toll of the Sea. Even Selznick International Pictures, which produced GWTW, had made four previous features in Technicolor, including A Star Is Born (1937). Other Technicolor features released before GWTW include Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), and The Wizard of Oz (1939).
No. "Damn" was surprisingly common in intertitles of silent movies, and John Gilbert even shouts "Goddamn you!" to the enemy during battle in The Big Parade (1925), and cries, "Christ! He's dead!" in The Show (1927). Talkies that used "damn" include Glorifying the American Girl (1929), Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929), Hell's Angels (1930), The Big Trail (1930), The Dawn Patrol (1930), The Green Goddess (1930), Dirigible (1931), Blessed Event (1932), The 39 Steps (1935), The Man Without a Country (1937), and Holiday (1938). GWTW wasn't even the first Best Picture Oscar winner to use "damn": Clive Brook says it in Cavalcade (1933).
Many of the costumes by Walter Plunkett were donated by the Selznick family, as part of the David O. Selznick Collection, to the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin. Because the original costumes were in somewhat fragile condition, exact replicas were created of some of the more famous ones. You can see an online exhibit here. These costumes were extensively restored in 2012 by renowned costume restorer Cara Varnell, and two will be displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 2012-2013. The "Bengaline Gown", worn by Scarlett in the New Orleans hotel room while Scarlett and Rhett are on their honeymoon and Scarlett has gone on a shopping spree, is on display at the Marietta (Georgia) Gone With the Wind Museum, called "Scarlett On the Square." The gown is made of an ecru woven silk, with elaborate embroidered leaf-motif sleeves overlying elaborate black pleated Chinese silk. The green sprig muslin dress Scarlett wears to the barbecue at Twelve Oaks was restored by Plunkett in 1976 and then donated to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art where it is "the most visited item" in the Costume Department. The green muslin, organdy, and satin dress Scarlett wears on her post-honeymoon visit to Tara with Rhett is on display at the Cinémathèque Française in Paris.
Of the many differences between the novel and the movie, the biggest is that, in the novel, Scarlett has a child by each of her husbands: Wade by Charles Hamilton, Ella by Frank Kennedy, and Bonnie by Rhett Butler. Some supporting characters dropped from the novel are Will Benteen, a poor Confederate veteran who loves Carreen but marries Suellen; the colorful Mrs Tarleton, mother of Brent and Stuart; Ashley's other sister Honey Wilkes, whose character is combined with India Wilkes in the movie; Ellen O'Hara's sisters Pauline and Eulalie; Melanie and Charles' Uncle Henry Hamilton; Mrs Elsing and Mrs Whiting, two of the pillars of Atlanta society; and the servant Dilcey, former head woman at Twelve Oaks and the wife of Pork. In the book, they reverse some of the order of events with Melanie and Scarlett. After Scarlett and Charles Hamilton were engaged, Scarlett went about planning her wedding specifically so it would be the day before Melanie's. (A very rude thing to do considering Melanie and Ashley were engaged first.) In the movie Melanie mentions her wedding was the day before. Another difference is when they donate their wedding bands to "the Cause". In the book Scarlett throws her ring in the basket first. Melanie misreads the action, follows suit and later admiringly tells Scarlett she wanted to do it all along, but never would have had the guts if Scarlett hadn't done it first.
No, it depicts a smaller event that happened two and a half months earlier. On the night of September 1, 1864, the day before the city surrendered, the Confederate rearguard under General Hood deliberately set fire to a trainload of munitions and matériel, a nearby steel rolling mill, and some warehouses to prevent them from falling into the hands of Sherman's Army, which was advancing on the city from three sides. In the novel, when Scarlett first hears of the Burning of Atlanta from Frank Kennedy at Tara, she confuses it with the fire at the Atlanta Depot she saw as she fled the city, but Frank carefully distinguishes the two events for her.
Vivien Leigh had been a contender for the role since February 1938, when she asked her American agent, who worked for the Myron Selznick Agency, to submit her name to Selznick International Pictures. (Myron was David Selznick's brother, and a major stockholder in the studio.) Producer David O. Selznick watched her two latest pictures, Fire Over England (1937) and A Yank at Oxford (1938), that month, and between then and August 1938 he rented copies of all her English pictures. By summer the Selznicks were negotiating with producer Alexander Korda, who had Leigh under contract, for her services later that year. David Selznick wrote in a confidential memo in October, "I am still hoping against hope for that new girl." By December, when Leigh followed her lover Laurence Olivier to Hollywood, where he was filming Wuthering Heights (1939), she was one of four finalists for the role of Scarlett, with Paulette Goddard, Jean Arthur, and Joan Bennett. Myron Selznick arranged to bring Leigh to the studio on December 10, the night the burning of the Atlanta Depot was filmed, and introduced her to David. After a series of readings and screen tests, Leigh was told on December 25 that she had won the role. Her casting was announced on January 13, 1939, less than two weeks before filming began.
Not really. The scenes behind the title credits were filmed in the South, as well as the shot of a riverboat at dusk during Scarlett and Rhett's honeymoon. Otherwise, all location shooting with the principal actors was done in Los Angeles County and neighboring Ventura County, with some additional scenes, using stand-ins and stunt doubles, done in Chico in Northern California and Big Bear Valley in Southern California. Tara was built on the backlot at Selznick International Studios in Culver City, California. See the filming locations page here for details of where specific scenes were filmed.
The Tara set remained standing on the studio backlot as it changed hands from Selznick to RKO to Desilu. By the 1950s, Tara was quite dilapidated from exposure to the weather and from the fact that like most sets it was only a facade, with no rear enclosure. See here. It was used as the decaying family mansion on the television series Yancy Derringer in 1958-1959. In 1959 the set was sold, dismantled, and shipped to Atlanta, Georgia, where it was going to be the centerpiece of a theme park. That never came about, but the front doorway of Tara is now part of Atlanta's Margaret Mitchell House & Museum, which also has the large oil painting of Scarlett seen in the movie. The remainder of the plywood and papier-maché facade was said to have been in "terrible" condition after having been stored in a barn for twenty years. The only part of the exterior of Twelve Oaks that was actually built was the front porch, seen when John and India Wilkes greet the O'Hara family. The far shot of Twelve Oaks, showing the house and the tree-lined driveway, was mostly a matte painting. The Twelve Oaks gardens where the barbecue is held were actually Busch Gardens, in Pasadena, California.
As of June 2012, there are only four members of the credited cast who are still alive: Olivia de Havilland (Melanie Hamilton-Wilkes), age 95, Alicia Rhett (India Wilkes), age 96, Mary Anderson (Maybelle Merriweather), age 91, and Mickey Kuhn (Beau Wilkes), age 79. The rest of the main credit cast is deceased Leslie Howard (Ashley Wilkes) died at the age of 50 in 1943, killed in a plane crash over the Bay of Biscay when the Germans shot down the plane he was traveling in. Hattie McDaniel (Mammy) died in 1952 from breast cancer at the age of 60. Clark Gable (Rhett Butler) died in 1960 after suffering from coronary thrombosis at the age of 59. Vivien Leigh (Scarlett) died in 1967 from chronic tuberculosis at the age of 54. Butterfly McQueen (Prissy) died in 1995 at the age of 84 after being severely burned in a fire that broke out in her home. Nearly 70% of her body was burned. Ann Rutherford (Carreen O'Hara) died of heart failure in 2012 at age 91.
The first rough cut of GWTW ran four and a half hours, about 48 minutes longer than the final release. Most of the editing was done by eliminating minor scenes, or making trims to the remaining scenes (e.g., entrances and exits). Much excess Atlanta Bazaar and fire footage was cut this way. One of the few complete sequences to be cut was a montage of testimony by Belle Watling's girls before a Provost Marshal, following Frank Kennedy's death. Other deleted scenes were the O'Hara family's ride to Twelve Oaks for the barbecue, and Scarlett's final return to Tara (except for the silhouette pull-back shot). Reportedly, some of that deleted material exists today. Also, black and white screen tests by several actresses for the role of Scarlett, and some Technicolor costume tests, are included in a documentary about the making of the movie.
All of the scenes directed by George Cukor are in the first half of the movie, and total about 17 minutes. They are, in order: (1) Ellen O'Hara returns home (except shots of Jonas Wilkerson, and Gerald and Ellen in the study); (2) Evening prayer services at Tara; (3) Mammy and Scarlett prepare for the barbecue; (4) the Widow Hamilton tries on a bonnet in her room (single shot); (5) Individual shots at the Atlanta Bazaar: Scarlett taps her feet to the music, Melanie and Scarlett listen to an announcement, Captain Butler's entrance, Scarlett's reaction to his entrance, Rhett smiles at Scarlett's acceptance, Scarlett walks across the floor to Rhett, far shots of Rhett and Scarlett waltzing; (6) Scarlett gives Ashley a sash and begs an admission of his love; (7) All scenes set in and about Aunt Pittypat's house on the day of the birth of Melanie's baby (except Scarlett stops a dispatch rider).
No. It was filmed in a screen aspect ratio of 1.37:1, as all other Hollywood movies of its time were up until 1953. In 1954, to accommodate the introduction of widescreen films, the picture was screened in an aspect ratio of 1.75:1 by simply matting the top and bottom of the picture in the projector gate. Unfortunately, during this re-issue, five shots were optically re-framed to fit this process, forever altered from the film's original state. These include the first and last pull-back shots, the shot of Scarlett running down the driveway of Tara at the end of the first scene, and the shot of Melanie running over a hillock to greet Ashley returning after the war. For its 1967 reissue, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer decided to create "widescreen" 70mm prints by cropping almost 40 percent of the top and bottom of the original image, making a 2.21:1 image. An illustration of what this looked like can be seen here. Fortunately, all television showings and all home video releases since then have used the original screen aspect ratio of 1.37:1, or only slightly cropped for television's 1.33:1 image.
He'd gone mad because of the destruction of his estate (aside from the mansion) and the death of his wife from typhoid fever. As a proud and successful southern plantation owner, Gerald was overcome with grief when the Northern Army came along & stole all his crops, livestock and food & used his home for their headquarters & his property for their campground. Mrs O'Hara dying was probably the final incident which pushed him over the edge. It's a condition he never fully recovers from, as we see as the story progresses.
Also, there's a part in the book where the author states that most of his bluster and brawling voice were for his wife, and now that she was gone, he was like an actor on a stage whose audience has suddenly disappeared.
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