In late July 1939, producer David O. Selznick and film editor Hal Kern were feverishly editing Gone With the Wind, cutting scenes, adding different takes of scenes and pruning the existing footage. So from day to day the running time of Gone With the Wind went up and down like the proverbial yo-yo. But that wasn’t the only problem.
The slicing and dicing taking place in the cutting room soon compromised the film’s continuity. Selznick and Kern couldn’t remember what had been edited and didn’t know if they were presenting the elements of Scarlett and Rhett’s story in the right sequence.
To the rescue came Lydia Schiller who was in charge of production continuity. She viewed the rough cut on a Movieola, a film editing device, and created a shot-by-shot record of each scene’s action, dialogue and effects.
This exhausting task took Schiller about two weeks to complete. “I can’t remember exactly,” she recalled later, “it was all such a blur.” Her hard work provided Selznick and Kern with a document that guided the ongoing editing of Gone With the Wind, as the sweltering days of July rolled on.
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).