Film buffs are positive to provide a rattling about this revelatory piece of film memorabilia.
An unearthed capturing script for “Gone With The Wind” has uncovered how a “conflict” over the depiction of slavery rocked the manufacturing of the beloved however controversial 1939 flick.
The big-budget blockbuster — set towards the backdrop of the Civil War and Reconstruction — has lengthy been criticized for sanitizing slavery, with HBO Max noting in a brand new disclaimer it “denies the horrors of slavery, in addition to its legacies of racial inequality.”
However, historian David Vincent Kimel is now revealing that a number of writers pushed for a extra real looking depiction of race relations — just for their darkish, disturbing and violent scenes to be minimize from the completed product.
The Oscar-winning movie is tailored from Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel, which follows the strong-willed Georgia belle Scarlett O’Hara. Though it has offered greater than 28 million copies, the tome has come underneath fireplace as “evil” for “perverting our nationwide imaginative and prescient of slavery.”
In 2020, Kimel paid $15,000 for an extremely uncommon capturing script initially belonging to the film’s casting director, Fred Schuessler. Poring over its 301 pages, the Yale University PhD scholar found a number of scenes that didn’t make the movie’s last minimize. Through notes and revisions, he additionally uncovered the fierce debate between writers about how you can painting race relations on display.
“I found that Schuessler’s Rainbow Script was a mosaic that really represented the views of quite a few screenwriters,” Kimel wrote in an essay printed by The Ankler on Tuesday.
“Much of the excised materials was a harsh portrayal of the mistreatment of the enslaved employees on [character] Scarlett’s plantation, together with references to beatings, threats to throw [the black maid] ‘Mammy’ out of the plantation for not working onerous sufficient, and different depictions of bodily and emotional violence.”
According to Kimel, powerhouse producer David O. Selznick ordered all capturing scripts from “Gone With The Wind” to be destroyed after the movie’s manufacturing. He estimates that fewer than half a dozen of the paperwork are nonetheless in existence, making the one he procured all of the extra compelling.
Selznick wished to make “Gone With The Wind” a box-office sensation, hiring greater than a dozen screenwriters to work on the script, together with F. Scott Fitzgerald.
After analyzing the unique capturing script, and skimming different “Gone With The Wind” artifacts held in archives, Kimel found that “rival teams of screenwriters on the script emerged: ‘Romantics’ and ‘Realists’ who amped up scenes of mistreatment to spotlight the brutality of Scarlett’s character and even condemn the establishment of slavery itself.”
Fitzgerald — who was finally fired from the manufacturing — belonged to the “Romantic” camp. In a letter to Selznick, Fitzgerald wrote that he wished to push the “romance of the outdated South.”
“I’d prefer to see a two or three-minute montage of essentially the most stunning pre-war photographs possible… I’d prefer to see… negroes singing,” he penned. “Then we may go into the story of dissatisfied love, betraying overseers, toiling negroes and quarreling ladies.”
Meanwhile, screenwriters Sidney Howard and Oliver H.P. Garrett belonged to the “Realists” camp, and “their materials depicting race relations was so usually so gritty and uncompromising that a few of it was minimize in drafts even earlier than the creation of the script in my possession,” Kimel claimed.
However, another less-than-flattering scenes did stay within the capturing script bought by the historian.
In one scene from the script, Scarlett (performed by Vivien Leigh) hits home slave Prissy (Butterfly McQueen) with a rod.
“Scarlett intentionally raises her swap and brings it down upon Prissy’s again,” as she yells, “Sit up, you idiot, earlier than I put on this out on you!” the script reads.
Meanwhile, within the capturing script, Scarlett is way crueler to maid Mammy (Hattie McDaniel) than she is within the movie’s last minimize. In one nixed scene, she curses the maid out when she “expresses remorse over having to have interaction in onerous labor within the tough days after the Civil War.”
In one other minimize scene, Scarlett says, “I don’t know and I don’t care!” in response to the query of the place previously enslaved employees ought to go.
Kimel additionally uncovered correspondence between Selznick and publicist Val Lewton, with the producer saying he hoped to make use of the n-word within the film — so long as it was uttered by black forged members. Lewton responded by saying that black folks “resent” the phrase.
The slur didn’t make it into the film, however its romanticized view of the outdated South and its sanitized view of slavery means the film is “a traditional with an asterisk,” in response to Kimel.
It wasn’t simply darkish and violent scenes about race relations that made the chopping room flooring.
The capturing script additionally features a scene the place Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) contemplates suicide earlier than being interrupted by one other character.
Kimel’s essay comes simply months after the final surviving star from “Gone With The Wind” handed away.
Mickey Kuhn — a baby actor of the Thirties and ’40s Golden Age of Hollywood — died in November on the age of 90. Kuhn famously made an look within the movie when he was simply six years outdated.
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