Following the Riverside Theater sneak peek, producer David O. Selznick had a fistful of preview cards that audience members had completed. He was thrilled with overall comments that were written on more than two-thirds of the cards: “Greatest picture ever made,” “Greatest picture since The Birth of a Nation” and “Screen’s greatest achievement of all times!”
Most of the commenters responded that they did not wish to see additional battle scenes inserted into Gone With the Wind. That was a relief to Selznick, who cancelled plans to film further scenes of Civil War conflict.
Another relief to the producer was the audience’s reaction to the ending that he had “cooked up” himself. He stated later: “Apparently there is no thought in the minds of anyone that this is not exactly faithful to the book, in spirit at least, even though it isn’t one hundred per cent book material.”
Many audience members expressed disappointment at hearing the filmed-for-the-censors line “Frankly, my dear, I don’t care” as Rhett’s farewell to Scarlett.
None of the preview cards indicated a desire to see Scarlett and Rhett reconcile. Selznick concluded that audience members remained hopeful “that they will get together, but it leaves them something to discuss, just as the end of the book did.”
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).