The film has never left us.
It is embedded in our consciousness---most wonderfully, though some still dislike the stereotype of African-American characterizations
It is a chronicle of an era, the way things once were. And Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American star winning an Oscar. Really, now, doesn't mean something for what we call "a movement."
So how do we celebrate the 75th of one of the most popular films ever created? The Harry Ramson Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, has the perfect answer: The exhibition “The Making of ‘Gone With The Wind" commemorates the anniversary by exploring its history and legacy. The exhibition runs from September 9 to January 4, 2015, at the Harry Ransom Center.
Featuring more than 300 items, the exhibition is drawn entirely from the Ransom Center’s collections and includes on-set photographs, storyboards, makeup stills, costume sketches, concept art, correspondence and fan mail, production records, audition footage and producer David O. Selznick’s own extensive memos. Three original gowns worn by Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara, including the iconic green curtain dress, will be exhibited together for the first time in more than 25 years. In 2010 donors from around the world contributed more than $30,000 to support conservation work for these costumes. Replicas of two gowns will also be on view.
From the time Selznick purchased the rights to the book, it took more than three years to bring the film to the screen. The materials in the exhibition document the challenges of turning Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book into a manageable screenplay and producing it at a reasonable cost. Before a single frame was shot, Gone With The Wind was embroiled in controversy. There were serious concerns about how the film would depict race and violence in the South during the Civil War and Reconstruction. While Clark Gable was a popular choice to play Rhett Butler, there was no clear favorite for Scarlett O’Hara, and there was a nationwide search before British actress Leigh was cast in the role. (Check out Paulette Goddard's screen test!)
"‘The Making of ‘Gone With The Wind” is the largest and most comprehensive exhibition on this film,” says Steve Wilson, exhibition curator and the Ransom Center’s curator of film. “The Selznick archive, which is the Center’s largest collection, forms the backbone of the exhibition, placing the Ransom Center in a unique position to tell the story of the making of this epic film.”
The chronologically organized exhibition will reveal the challenges involved in the making of this quintessential film from Hollywood's Golden Age and illustrate why it remains influential and controversial 75 years after it was released. Visitors will get an insider’s perspective on the search for an actress to play Scarlett, the film’s iconic scenes, the influence of the African-American press on filmmakers’ decisions and the enthusiastic reception of the film by fans.
A fully illustrated exhibition catalog of the same title, a truly stunning tome can can double as a murder weapon, will be co-published by the Harry Ransom Center and University of Texas Press in September with a foreword written by Turner Classic Movies host and film historian Robert Osborne. Generous support for the exhibition has been provided by TCM.
The David O. Selznick holdings comprise the core of the Ransom Center’s film collection, which also includes the archives of silent film star Gloria Swanson, screenwriters Ernest Lehman and Paul Schrader, director Nicholas Ray and actor, director and producer Robert DeNiro.
“The Making of ‘Gone With The Wind” can be seen starting September 9 in the Ransom Center Galleries on Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended Thursday hours until 7 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays the galleries are open from noon to 5 p.m. Member-only hours are offered on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon. Public tours are offered every day at noon, as well as Thursdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. Gone With The Wind screen tests will be shown in the Ransom Center’s first-floor theater at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on weekends, immediately following the public tour.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the Ransom Center will host the 2014 Flair Symposium, Cultural Life During Wartime, 1861-1865, from Sept. 18 to 20. The symposium will look back to the 19th century to examine the cultural world of Union and Confederate painters, photographers, musicians, theater companies and writers. The songs, images, poems, books and plays that appeared between 1861 and 1865 offer a nuanced perspective on the Civil War that challenges later narratives, both fictional and historical.
Complementing the physical exhibition is the web exhibition Producing Gone With The Wind, which explores producing the film, including rarely seen fan mail from individuals who sought auditions, solicited employment and protested the production. Visitors can also see teletypes from Selznick’s production company that detail the casting of Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara and explore the costumes, hair and makeup that contributed to the film’s vibrant imagery. The web exhibition launches September 9 and runs through January 4, 2015 at the Harry Ransom Center, 21st and Guadalupe Streets at the University of Texas Austin. Need directions, more information and/or ticket information. Call 512.471.8944 or visit hrc.utexas.edu/webgwtw.
We strongly urge you pay several visits.
Be honest: You do give a damn!
The film has never left us.