On August 14, 1939, producer David O. Selznick sent an inter-office memo to Henry Ginsberg, vice president and general manager of Selznick International Pictures, informing him that “Max Steiner should go on our payroll immediately and should start composing all his themes…for Gone With the Wind.” Selznick emphasized that, given the length of the film, scoring the music for Gone With the Wind would be an enormous undertaking.
Vienna-born Steiner was a Warner Bros. composer whose long-term contract with the studio allowed him to work on projects for Selznick International Pictures. In fact, Steiner had composed scores for the first three films Selznick made as an independent producer: Garden of Allah (1936), Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936) and A Star is Born (1937).
But the man who would become known as “the father of film music” was unable to comply with Selznick’s request to get on the “payroll immediately.” Steiner was up to his neck in musical notes for other motion pictures. 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) 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).