When Vivien Leigh arrived at the studio on Thursday, June 15, 1939, she learned that producer David O. Selznick had written a new ending for Gone With the Wind, one that would provide more hope that Scarlett would get Rhett back.
With the addition of that new scene, Leigh lost all hope of leaving for a planned trip to New York City to see Laurence Olivier. Indeed, Selznick insisted that she delay her trip until June 30. A distraught Leigh cried bitter tears at the news as she made her way to the set for the day’s filming.
There Victor Fleming was preparing to shoot the film’s original ending: A bereft Scarlett has just lost Rhett. In despair, she collapses on the stairs of their Atlanta home and sobs, “What is there to do? What is there that matters?”
Leigh’s exhaustion, her emotional fragility and her personal frustration fed this scene and had Fleming pulling his hair in disbelief at the authenticity of her performance.
On Saturday, June 17, 1939, Victor Fleming directed Vivien Leigh in the new ending to Gone With the Wind, “Scarlett’s Walk to Tara.” With Tara in the background, Scarlett strolls the land she loves wearing a look of determination that she will win Rhett’s love again.
After comparing the new with the original, Selznick had no doubt about which ending would conclude his picture.
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).