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From left: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh and producer David O. Selznick on the set of Gone with the Wind in 1939.
From left: Clark Gable, as Rhett Butler, Vivien Leigh, as Scarlett O'Hara, and and original director George Cukor on the set of Gone with the Wind in 1939.Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
From left: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh and producer David O. Selznick on the set of Gone with the Wind in 1939.
Hattie McDaniel, right, as Mammy, on the set of Gone with the Wind in 1939.
Vivien Leigh and Thomas Mitchell on the set of Gone with the Wind in 1939.
Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh on the set of Gone with the Wind in 1939.
Leslie Howard, who portrayed Ashley Wilkes, on the set of Gone with the Wind in 1939.
Victor Fleming directs a scene on the set of Gone with the Wind in 1939.
Olivia de Havilland as Melanie Hamilton on the set of Gone with the Wind in 1939.
The set of Gone with the Wind in 1939.
Production Designer William Cameron Menzies in 1939.
Technical Advisor Susan Myrick and Evelyn Keyes, Suellen O'Hara, on the set of Gone with the Wind in 1939.
Film Editor Hal C. Kern, third from left, and others, edit Gone with the Wind in 1939.
The set of Gone with the Wind in 1939.
Vivien Leigh on the set of Gone with the Wind in 1939.
Victor Fleming, second from right, and Olivia de Havilland, right, on the set of Gone with the Wind in 1939.
From left: Susan Myrick, Clark Gable, and Victor Fleming on the set of Gone with the Wind in 1939.
From left: Clark Gable, as Rhett Butler, Vivien Leigh, as Scarlett O'Hara, and and original director George Cukor on the
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Rare Behind-the-Scenes Photos From the Making of Gone With the Wind

Jun 29, 2016

Correction appended, June 30, 2016

When Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind was published 80 years ago—on June 30, 1936—it was a quick bestseller. The only novel that was published by Mitchell during her lifetime, the story of Scarlett O'Hara earned the author the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1937. But, though it is perhaps best known today for the film it inspired, that movie almost didn't get made.

Producer David O. Selznick has initially decided against turning the novel into a film, on the idea that Civil War stories didn't do well at the box office. He only bought the film rights after his company's board chairman offered to cover the money—and even then Selznick hadn't yet read the book.

Despite his initial reluctance to make the film, Selznick ended up closely involved in its production. These images from this gallery were part of his personal collection of items from his career. Selznick's children cared for the material after his death in 1965, but the costs of commercial storage eventually became too burdensome. In 1980, they donated much of the collection—more than 5,000 boxes of material, including continuity photos and production stills from Gone With the Wind—to the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Tex. Today, rare images like those from the Selznick archive serve as a document of filmmaking in the 1930s, and show just how much work it took to make Gone with the Wind.

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It turned out to worth the effort. Gone With the Wind—the third most expensive film ever made at the time, with a budget of $3.85 million, trailing behind Ben Hur and Hell's Angels, respectively—turned out to be one of the biggest films of the 20th century, starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, directed by Victor Fleming. When film premiered on Dec. 15, 1939, in Atlanta, an estimated 300,000 people came out for the surrounding festivities over three days, with Georgia Governor Eurith D. Rivers declaring a state holiday.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0IkxV6b_V8

Gone with the Wind landed on the cover of TIME at the end of that year.

The blockbuster film "proved as much a burden for its authors as a joy," noted TIME. Though it brought her financial success, Margaret Mitchell became increasingly upset by the film's overwhelming attention, and became more private person, often refusing potential biographers and autograph-seekers.

On Aug. 16, 1949, Mitchell died, five days after being hit by a drunk driver in Atlanta. After her death, most of the original manuscript for Gone with the Wind was burned, but in recent years, the last four chapters resurfaced at the Pequot Library in Southport, Conn.—proving the point made by Scarlett O'Hara towards the end of Mitchell's novel: "'tomorrow is another day.'"

Correction: The original version of this gallery misidentified a man pictured in the first slide. He is George Cukor.

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