Selznick Worries About Time and Money

A book to celebrate GWTW's 75th Anniversary!

A book to celebrate GWTW’s 75th Anniversary!

On May 19, 1939, producer David O. Selznick wrote a memo to Henry Ginsberg, vice president and general manager of Selznick International Pictures, informing him about a conversation with director Victor Fleming about “speeding up on the rest of the picture.”

Selznick asked Ginsberg to have an immediate talk with Fleming about the ideas the producer and director exchanged and to work with Hal Kern, supervising film editor, and William Cameron Menzies, production designer, to implement shortcuts that would accelerate filming yet not compromise what audiences would eventually see on the screen.

Some ideas that Selznick suggested were substituting simpler camera set ups for the more elaborate, time consuming boom shots; eliminating close-up shots that likely would not be used; extending the work day beyond six o’clock for all players, except for Clark Gable, who work day contractually ended at that hour.

“I seriously think that unless you and I personally both drive on through the remaining weeks with daily pressure, we are going to run into serious trouble,” Selznick wrote. “I think it is going to take the combined efforts of yourself and myself to accomplish a difference in cost that could well amount to $100,000…Quite apart from the cost factor, everybody’s nerves are getting on the ragged edge, and God only knows what will happen if we don’t get this damn thing finished.”

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).

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