One could not do a film about Clark Gable without mentioning Gone With The Wind.
The cast included:
Clark Gable .... Rhett Butler
Vivien Leigh .... Scarlett O'Hara
Leslie Howard .... Ashley Wilkes
Olivia de Havilland .... Melanie Hamilton
Thomas Mitchell .... Gerald O'Hara
Barbara O'Neil .... Ellen O'Hara (as Barbara O'Neill)
Evelyn Keyes .... Suellen O'Hara
Ann Rutherford .... Carreen O'Hara
George Reeves .... Stuart Tarleton
Fred Crane .... Brent Tarleton
Hattie McDaniel .... Mammy
Oscar Polk .... Pork
Butterfly McQueen .... Prissy
Victor Jory .... Jonas Wilkerson (the overseer)
Everett Brown .... Big Sam
Some think this film is the best ever made. I'm not sure I'd agree, but it certainly has been the most popular and is truly a great American film. Filmed by David O. Selznick and starring the best that Hollywood could offer this film is probably the best known American film. Selznick was required to give MGM the distribution rights in exchange for the use of Clark Gable and $1,250,000 in financing.
Before casting had actually started, Margaret Mitchell was asked (during an interview) who, she felt, should play Rhett Butler. She replied (in all seriousness), "Groucho Marx." Well the public certainly thought differently because it was considered by most that Gable was the only one who could play Rhett Butler.
Clark Gable was reluctant to play the part, he felt that he wasn't up to meeting everyone's idea of Rhett Butler and his past experience with playing historical figures, like the doomed Parnell wasn't good. He agreed to do it so that he could have time off to marry his love, Carole Lombard.
In 2004 the movie was completely restored from the original three Technicolor negatives. The resulting digital master is of higher quality than any prints available so far, including the original prints from 1939. David O. Selznick devoted his whole life to the making of the film and he had three directors, George Cukor being the first. Cukor is reported to have had "artistic differences" with Clark Gable and was fired. Victor Fleming, who had just finished The Wizard of Oz (1939), was Gable's favorite director and brought in but several weeks later. Unfortunately, he was temporarily replaced by Sam Wood while he recovered from exhaustion.
The Final Sceen In 1939, the Hollywood Production Code dictated what could and could not be shown or said on screen, and Rhett Butler's memorable last line raised red flags. A few of the suggested alternatives were "Frankly my dear... I just don't care," "...it makes my gorge rise," "...my indifference is boundless," "...I don't give a hoot," and "...nothing could interest me less." Fortunately, producer Selznick elected to pay a $5,000 fine and keep the original, "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." The production code also didn't allow Rhett to say, on film, "Maybe you'll have a miscarriage" right before Scarlett falls down the stairs; the line is changed to "Maybe you'll have an accident."
During the scene where Melanie is comforting Rhett after Scarlett's miscarriage (see photos below) Gable almost quit the film. He was very distressed over the requirement that he cry on film which he felt was unmasculine and not appropriate for his image. Lucky for us, Olivia de Havilland convinced him to stay and the work he did produced Gable's favorite scene and he later felt it was his best acting on film.
Click here to see more GWTW photos.
Gable got along really well with Hattie McDaniel. In the scene where Rhett and Mammy were celebrating the birth of Bonnie Blue, they were actually drinking water. Hattie McDaniel complained that she was getting sick of it, so for the next take Clark Gable switched the water with actual booze, which she did not realize until she had chugged it down. The next day on his way to the set Gable called out to Hattie, "Hey Mammy, how's the hangover?"
For those of you who have not seen the film, here's a synopsis at The Movie Vault.
Click here to go to GWTW photos page.