On December 15, 1939, Gone With the Wind premiered on the big screen in Atlanta for the very first time. This now beloved and classic film was truly the first of its kind and is widely regarded as one of the best movies of all time.
But before it became so popular, the producers, director, and cast actually had quite a challenging experience attempting to make the film.
The first problem was that the producer, David O. Selznick, wouldn’t cast anyone other than Clark Gable for the role of Rhett, and the actor wasn’t available immediately. They also had a tough time casting Scarlett O’Hara as they couldn’t find the perfect fit.
The screenplay itself had to be revised several times as it was constantly too long for a feature film. And along the way, the producers fired the original director and hired Victor Fleming (who proved to be a great choice.)
However, the film was finally completed just one month before its scheduled release date, and the entire cast who worked tirelessly to make the movie was soon to be seriously rewarded.
When Gone With the Wind premiered in Atlanta on December 15, 1939, it was immediately regarded as a complete success. Audiences were wildly impressed, and it quickly became the country’s favorite movie.
People from all walks of life were flocking to the cinemas to watch Gone With the Wind, which became the highest-grossing film of all time. And considering inflation, it still holds the title of the highest-grossing movie ever!
And it wasn’t just the audience who was enthralled; critics were also amazed, and the film was nominated for 13 Academy Awards just a few months later.
From these nominations, the movie won 10, setting the record for both nominations and awards won at the time.
What people loved (and still love) about Gone With the Wind is that it was a love story during the time of war but portrayed in an incredibly entertaining Hollywood way.
The costumes were vibrant, the makeup was perfect, and the cinematography was genuinely unmatched, and as one of the first popular technicolor films, everyone could enjoy this spectacular extravagant film.
It’s important to note that while Gone With the Wind certainly has remained an all-time American classic, many modern viewers find several issues in the storyline and actions of the characters, such as the treatment of the African-American characters, as well as the marital rape between Rhett and Scarlett.
Today, much of the culture of the time is considered outdated and even inappropriate. However, if you can understand that the screenplay came from a different time in history, you can still enjoy the magic of the film.