To replace George Cukor, David O. Selznick approached Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer contract director Victor Fleming.
Fleming was not interested in taking over the directorial reins of the troubled Gone With the Wind. At the time, he was manic with Munchkins on the set of The Wizard of Oz and didn’t want to take on another exhausting project.
Clark Gable was all for Fleming. Fleming had a reputation of being a “man’s director” and had directed Gable in Red Dust, The White Sister and Test Pilot. The two were also old friends and enjoyed motorcycling, carousing and drinking together. Gable appealed to Fleming to accept the job on the basis of their friendship. MGM was applying pressure as well, and Fleming reluctantly agreed to take on the project.
Fleming met with Selznick to view the film footage of Gone With the Wind that had been shot so far. Fleming was never a man to pull any punches. As soon as the lights came up in the projection room, he turned to Selznick and said, “David, your f—ing script is no f—ing good.”
To be continued…
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