Movie Maniac

‘Gone With the Wind’ made history in more ways than one

Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) embraces Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) during a scene from “Gone With the Wind.”
Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) embraces Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) during a scene from “Gone With the Wind.” Tribune

It’s the 75th anniversary of “Gone With the Wind,” and to celebrate, the Orpheum’s Film Series is presenting a screening at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Orpheum, 200 N. Broadway. It will be projected in 35mm.

The Civil War epic starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh won 10 Academy Awards, including best picture, in a banner year that also included such classics as “The Wizard of Oz,” “Goodbye, Mr. Chips,” “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” “Of Mice and Men” and “Wuthering Heights.”

But “Gone With the Wind” is one of our most beloved films, and made history in more ways than one.

Perhaps most notable is its famous line delivered by Rhett Butler to Scarlett O’Hara after she asked him: “Rhett, if you go, where shall I go? What shall I do?”

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

The line was scandalous at the time, but by today’s standards is tamer than tame. We probably wouldn’t even bat an eye if it showed up on the Disney channel.

But the line wasn’t taken lightly, and script notes in an exhibition of GWTW artifacts at the University of Texas at Austin shows these as some possible alternatives that were considered:

“Frankly, my dear, nothing could interest me less.

… I don’t care.

… it has become of no concern to me.

… I don’t give a Continental.

… I don’t give a hoot!

… I don’t give a whoop!

… I am completely indifferent.

… you can go to the devil for all I care.

… I’m not even indifferent — I just don’t care.

… I’ve come to the end.

… my indifference is boundless.

… the devil may care — I don’t!

… I’ve withdrawn from the battle.

… the whole thing is a stench in my nostrils.

… it makes my gorge rise.”

Suffice it to say, none of these had the same wallop as the line that made it into the film. It was voted as the No. 1 movie line of all time by the American Film Institute in 2005.

But did you know it’s actually the second use of the word “damn” in the film? The line “damn Yankees” can be overheard in the parlor scene at Twelve Oaks. Obscenities galore!

Some other GWTW trivia bits:

▪ Hattie McDaniel became the first black actor to be nominated for and win an Academy Award (she won for best supporting actress). She would be the only one until 24 years later, when Sidney Poitier won best actor for “Lilies of the Field” in 1963.

▪  At nearly four hours long, this is longest running of all movies to win the best picture Oscar. It’s also the first color film to win best picture.

▪  Its record of 10 Academy Award wins was unbroken until 1959, when “Ben-Hur” won 11. Since then, “Titanic” won 11 in 1997 and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” won 11 in 2003.

▪  About 1,400 actresses were interviewed for the part of Scarlett. Leigh eventually won out but was given billing on the film’s original poster below Clark Gable, Leslie Howard and Olivia de Havilland, as “Presenting Vivien Leigh.” That changed after she won the best actress Oscar.

▪  At 98, De Havilland is the lone survivor of the four principal leads, although she was the victim of a recent death hoax that spread across the Internet.

▪  Director George Cukor was replaced by Victor Fleming, who would go on to win the Oscar for best director.

▪  Margaret Mitchell wrote the novel the film is based on between 1926 and 1929. In her early drafts, the main character was named Pansy O’Hara, and the O’Hara home was called Fountenoy Hall. Early drafts are early drafts for a reason.

▪  Sidney Howard’s Oscar for best screenplay was the Academy’s first posthumous award. Howard died in an accident in August 1939 while GWTW was still being filmed.

If you go

‘Gone With the Wind’

What: Screening to celebrate the film’s 75th anniversary

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: Orpheum Theatre, 200 N. Broadway

How much: $5; $4 for seniors, military and students