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On this Day in Movie History, May 17, 1975: NBC Pays to Show “Gone With the Wind

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On this day, May 17, 1975, NBC-TV paid to show “Gone with the Wind” the top price paid for a single opportunity to show a film on television. For this privilege it paid a whopping $5 million.

A 1939 American historical epic film adapted from Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel of the same name, Gone with the Wind was produced by David O. Selznick and directed by Victor Fleming from a screenplay by Sidney Howard.

Set in the 19th-century American South, the film stars Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard, Olivia de Havilland, and Hattie McDaniel, among others. It tells a story of the American Civil War and Reconstruction era from a white Southern point of view.

The film received ten Academy Awards (eight competitive, two honorary), a record that stood for 20 years until Ben-Hur surpassed it in 1960.

In the American Film Institute’s inaugural Top 100 Best American Films of All Time list of 1998, it was ranked fourth, and in 1989 was selected to be preserved by the National Film Registry.

The film was the longest American sound film made up to that time – 3 hours 44 minutes, plus a 15-minute intermission – and was among the first of the major films shot in color (Technicolor), winning the first Academy Award for Best Cinematography in the category for color films.

It became the highest-grossing film of all-time shortly after its release, holding the position until 1966; after adjusting for inflation, it has still earned more than any other film in box office revenue.

Birthdays
1911 – Maureen (Paul) O’Sullivan (actress: Tarzan films: Jane; Hannah and Her Sisters, Peggy Sue Got Married, The River Pirates; died June 23, 1998)

1936 – Dennis Hopper (actor: Easy Rider, Apocalypse Now, Rebel Without a Cause, Giant, Hoosiers, Flashback, Blue Velvet, Super Mario Brothers, True Romance, Speed, Waterworld, Space Truckers; director: Easy Rider, Colors, Chasers; died May 29, 2010)

1955 – Bill Paxton (actor: Twister, True Lies, Aliens, Apollo 13, Future Shock, The Terminator)

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