Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gone With the Wind

Vivien Leigh (Scarlett O'Hara) was British. From the moment she read GWTW she was convinced she was meant to play Scarlett O'Hara. The movie's producer, David O. Selznick conducted a country wide talent search to find the perfect Scarlett. Filming had already begun when Leigh came to the set with her lover, Laurence Olivier and their U.S. film agent...who just happend to be Selznick's brother...David O. took one look at Vivien and, as they say, the rest is history.

Clark Gable (Rhett Butler) did NOT want the part. He had done another period drama which had been a dismal failure. He came off looking like a fop. He also felt that the book was so popular, that everyone would have a preconceived idea of what Rhett should be. He didn't think he could live up to everyone's expectations. In the end, the money sealed the deal. Gable was trying to obtain a divorce from his second wife so he could marry Carole Lombard. The money went to pay off his wife.

Olivia de Havilland (Melanie Hamilton) was under contract to Warner Brothers studios. GWTW was to be released by MGM, a competitor. Olivia wanted the part of Melanie but her studio boss, Jack Warner, refused to lend her to Selznick. Warner told her that the part of Melanie was beneath her and that she should try for Scarlett. Olivia made a lunch appointment with Jack Warner's wife and the two of them double teamed him until he relented.

Leslie Howard (Ashley Wilkes) was also British. He didn't want to play Ashley. He felt he was too old. At the beginning of filming he was 45 and Ashley was supposed to be in his early twenties. Selznick bribed him by offering him a part in a film that he was interested in.

This picture was taken on set during the filming of GWTW. David O. Selznick had a copy sent to Margaret Mitchell. When her husband, John Marsh, saw the photo he quipped that Olivia de Havilland looked like his wife did while she was writing the book.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

In like a Lion...

One thing about living in the intermountain west...Mother Nature kind of jerks you around this time of year. The grey gloom of January and February is broken in March by tantalizing previews of springtime splendor. Even the crocus (which my dad always called "hopeful" flowers) are fooled into creeping tenatively out of their hibernation to explore the open air. But current weather conditions are enough to send anyone back into a dormant state. We got more snow yesterday and temperatures have dropped. You come to expect this kind of yo-yoing around here. I'm sure it won't be the last snowfall before Mother Nature makes the switch in seasons. But that's ok with me because before you know it...I'll be complaining about the heat!

Guess the trampoline set-up was a bit premature