On Wednesday, May 24, 1939, Victor Fleming directed Vivien Leigh and Leslie Howard in the pivotal paddock scene.
Needing $300 to pay the taxes on Tara, Scarlett seeks advice from Ashley, whom she finds splitting rails in the paddock area. He has no help to give and admits to Scarlett that he is a coward, fearing life’s realities and wishing to escape from them. Scarlett admits she wants to escape, too, and begs Ashley to run away with her to Mexico. The scene draws to a close with Ashley speaking of honor and “something you love better than me, though you may not know it.”
Leslie Howard had been called back to Gone With the Wind for this scene from the set of Intermezzo, where he had been rehearsing with co-star Ingrid Bergman and director William Wyler.
Evidently, Howard was not in Ashley Wilkes mode for this scene. He blew his lines or forgot them completely, enraging the exhausted Leigh. She berated Howard with the most unladylike language. Following the clash, Fleming decided to re-schedule the shoot for the next day.
Happy 75th Anniversary, Gone With the Wind!
Blog Bio: Pauline Bartel is the author of The Complete GONE WITH THE WIND Trivia Book (2nd edition), which will be published in spring 2014, and an expert on the film and its history. Visit the website (www.paulinebartel.com/resources/books/books-available) for further information. Follow her on Twitter @PaulineBartel and “like” her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/TheCompleteGWTWTriviaBook).