Trivia about "Gone With the Wind"
The four principal stars were billed in this order: Clark Gable, followed by Leslie Howard (as Scarlett's obsessive love, the glum Ashley Wilkes) and Olivia de Havilland (as sweet Melanie Wilkes, Ashley's cousin), and then Vivien Leigh last with "...and presenting" -- that is, until she won the Oscar and it was changed to "starring."
The film (originally rough-cut at 6 hours in length) was challenging in its making, due to its controversial subject matter (including rape, drunkenness, moral dissipation and adultery) and its epic qualities, with more than 50 speaking roles and 2,400 extras.
Adjusted for inflation, no movie can match the $3.7 billion haul that Gone with the Wind's $390 million box-office receipts since its 1939 release would be worth in today's dollars. The film currently remains the box-office (Champ). Yes More Than #2. 1. Avengers: Endgame (2019). Box office: $2.796 billion.
A nationwide casting search for an actress to play the Southern belle Scarlett resulted in the hiring of young British actress Vivien Leigh, although over 30 other well-known actresses had been tested or considered including: Katharine Hepburn, Miriam Hopkins, Susan Hayward, Loretta Young, Carole Lombard, Paulette Goddard, Margaret Sullavan, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Lana Turner, Joan Bennett, Mae West, Tallulah Bankhead, Jean Arthur, and Lucille Ball. In all, 1,400 actresses were interviewed for the part of Scarlett O'Hara, and 400 performed audition-readings. Although MGM star Clark Gable was expected to play the role of the dashing Charlestonian war profiteer Rhett Butler, Errol Flynn, Ronald Colman, and Gary Cooper were also considered for the part.
The landmark film received tremendous accolades, more than any previous films to date: thirteen nominations and eight (competitive) Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Victor Fleming - the only credited director), Best Actress (Vivien Leigh), a posthumous Best Screenplay (Sidney Howard, along with collaborative assistance from Edwin Justin Mayer, John Van Druten, Ben Hecht, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Jo Swerling) - the first post-humous winner of its kind, Best Color Cinematography, Best Interior Decoration, Best Film Editing, and Best Supporting Actress (Hattie McDaniel - the first time an African-American had been nominated and honored) and two honorary plaques, one for production designer William Cameron Menzies for the "use of color for the enhancement of dramatic mood," and the other a technical production award for Don Musgrave for "pioneering in the use of coordinated equipment."
Many of the five nominations that lost were unexpected: Best Actor (Clark Gable who lost to Robert Donat for Goodbye, Mr. Chips), Best Supporting Actress (Olivia de Havilland who was competing against co-star Hattie McDaniel), Best Sound Recording, Best Original Score (Max Steiner), and Best Special Effects. Its record of a total of ten Academy Awards wins held firm until 1959, when Ben-Hur (1959) won eleven Oscars. It was phenomenal that Gone With the Wind did so well, given that 1939 boasted some of the greatest American films ever made, including Ninotchka, The Wizard of Oz, Wuthering Heights, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, and Stagecoach.