At 2 a.m. on Tuesday, May 23, 1939, Victor Fleming, Vivien Leigh and crew traveled from the Selznick studio to the Lasky Mesa in the San Fernando Valley to film the stirring scene of Scarlett vowing to “never be hungry again.”
According to the script, an exhausted Scarlett trudges into Tara’s backyard and views the Yankee devastation. Seized by hunger, she falls to her knees, and her hand plucks a radish from the garden. She eats the pungent vegetable, but her stomach quickly rejects it.
Slowly, Scarlett rises and, with her fist clenched toward heaven, she vows: “As God is my witness…As God is my witness…They’re not going to lick me. I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over I’ll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folks! If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill, as God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.”
Cut and print it. Sounds easy enough, but it wasn’t.
Producer David O. Selznick envisioned the scene ending with Scarlett silhouetted against a clear dawn sky. To achieve this the crew laid down a track on which the camera could pull back to capture the long shot of Scarlett, that is, if Mother Nature cooperated. The scene needed to be filmed on a mistless morning in an area of the valley famous for mists rolling in from the Pacific.
Cast and crew trekked to the filming location five different times between late May and early June before the shot Selznick wanted finally materialized.
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).