Working through the steamy days of July 1939, producer David O. Selznick and film editor Hal Kern had compiled a five-hour rough-cut version of Gone With the Wind that was shown to cast and crew.
Selznick presented to each of his stars a leather-bound copy of the script. But this script was not the multicolored mess that had been used for shooting. Selznick had continuity coordinator Lydia Schiller create the “official” script from the edited version of the film.
Selznick went back to the cutting room and eliminated more time from the film. He showed a four-hour-and-twenty-five minute version to MGM studio chief Louis B. Mayer and other executives. Although Mayer had to excuse himself several times for visits to the men’s room, he was enthusiastic about the film. Al Lichtman, an MGM executive and Loews, Inc. vice president, estimated that Gone With the Wind would gross $30 million.
On July 16, 1939, Selznick showed the rough-cut version to Nicholas Schenck, president of MGM and Loew’s, Inc., who viewed the film without an intermission. At the end of the screening, Schenck declared that Gone With the Wind was “the greatest picture ever made” and predicted that its gross earnings were unlimited.
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) 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).