On Thursday, June 8, 1939, Victor Fleming directed Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable in the scene of Rhett’s farewell. A tearful Scarlett wails, “If you go, where shall I go, what shall I do?” And Rhett exits with “My dear, I don’t care.”
Hold on one cotton pickin’ minute! In the novel, Margaret Mitchell wrote the line as “My dear, I don’t give a damn.” What gives?
Producer David O. Selznick knew he would have problems with that damn word “damn.”
The Motion Picture Production Code developed in 1930 by the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association of America barred from the screen, among other things, the use of profanity. Specifically, it forbade the use of the word “damn.”
Gone With the Wind‘s scriptwriter, Sidney Howard — aware of the industry’s censorship code — changed the line to “My dear, I don’t care.” But Selznick knew how much the American public would expect the line to be left intact.
In this situation, what’s a producer to do? (To be continued…)
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 on June 9, 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).