Gone with the wind (film)

Gone with the Wind ( Gone with the Wind ) is an American film of Victor Fleming made in 1939 1 , adapted from the homonymous novel by Margaret Mitchell published in 1936 2 . With lead actors Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh , the film tells the story of the young Scarlett O’Hara and the cynical Rhett Butler against the backdrop of the American Civil War . It also features Leslie Howard and Olivia de Havilland .

Written by screenwriter Sidney Howard and rewritten, in a hurry, including by Ben Hecht , the film has received eight Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director .

In 1998, Gone with the Wind is considered by the American Film Institute as the fourth best American film in the history of cinema 3 in the category “epic films”. Considered one of the best movies of all time , it was voted America’s favorite film in a survey of 2,279 adults undertaken by Harris Interactive in 2008 4 , and again in another of 2,276 adults in 2014 5 .

In January 2014, after adjusting for the inflation , it is considered the highest grossing film history with 3.44 billion of dollars 6 recipes. In 2017, it ranks sixth in the list of the most watched films in France .


Georgia , 1861 . Scarlett O’Hara is a young girl from Southern upper class society . His family owns a large cotton plantation called “Tara”. At the age of 16, she is courted by all the good parties in the country, but only has eyes for Ashley Wilkes . Scarlett has a strong character, stubborn, cunning and capricious that will make his strength and weakness, and give Gone with the wind a particular dynamism. Ashley, however, is promised to her cousin, the righteous Melanie Hamilton . Scarlett seeks at all costs to seduce him, but at the reception of the Twelve Oaks, it’s cynical and controversial Rhett Butlerthat it holds the attention. He surprised her as she confessed his love to Ashley. Fascinated by the energy and strength of character of the heroine, he will only have eyes for her, despite her independence of spirit.

Meanwhile, the American Civil Warbursts out, Ashley advances her marriage with Melanie, and Scarlett, to make him jealous, marries Charles Hamilton, Melanie’s brother. Following the death of her husband in the war, she went to Atlanta with Melanie and her aunt. She made history by waltzing, dressed in black, with Rhett Butler at a charity ball. The war is raging, the Southerners back, the wounded flock to Atlanta. Melanie gives birth with the help of Scarlett and Rhett Butler helps them flee the city threatened by Northerners. Rhett leaves them on the way, Scarlett drives their car alone to Tara. Scarlett’s mother is dead, her father has lost his mind, his two younger sisters are weakened, the slaves have fled. She then takes the role of head of the family at 19, knowing misery, fear, work in the fields for several years. When a northerly soldier comes to steal and advances towards her with a vicious air, she takes her courage in both hands and shoots it with a revolver.

The Civil War ends, Ashley returns from captivity and settles in Tara between two women in love. Tara’s taxes are increased and Scarlett is not able to cope with them. She is looking for who could help her. She thinks about Rhett Butler. She returns to Atlanta, and finds him in prison (accused of the murder of a black man that he did indeed). She offers him against the 300 dollars (tax) to become his mistress, but, hurt, he refuses. She leaves him furious, then meets the fiance of his sister Suellen, Franck Kennedy, and learns that he managed to build some savings. Making him believe that his sister is going to marry another, she marries him and manages to pay taxes Tara. Once in Atlanta, she began trading in the woods (a flourishing activity related to the reconstruction), and even brought back to Atlanta Melanie and Ashley Wilkes whom she associated with her business. His business thrives. Assaulted by going alone to one of her sawmills, she is saved by her former slave Big Sam. Her husband and former southerners, tied toKu Klux Klan , kill several people; her husband dies during this incident, while other Southerners like Wilkes and Dr. Meade owe Butler the salute, who is known to the soldiers who came to arrest them, and gives them an alibi.

The day after her husband’s funeral, Butler asks Scarlett to marry her. She accepts. The result will be a union full of misunderstanding, with the birth of a girl that Rhett will cherish more than anything, and a miscarriage in which Scarlett will lose her life. The couple go away, the little girl dies in a pony accident, wanting to jump the barrier, leaving Rhett inconsolable. He senses that Scarlett’s love for Ashley will not falter. Melanie Hamilton tries, despite the doctors’ recommendations, to give birth to a second child. She will not resist, and dies. This is Ashley Wilkes free, but the truth is emerging in the spirit of Scarlett: it’s Rhett she loves and has always been. But too late, when she tells him that she understood that she loved him, he replies that his love for her is dead. Scarlett asks him then:” What will I become ? ” And Rhett replied: ” Frankly, my dear, I do not give a damn ” was (in the French version: ” Frankly, my dear, I do not give a damn ” ).

The film ends on Scarlett O’Hara, determined to reclaim Rhett. She decides to return to Tara to find the strength to carry out this reconquest. Throughout the film everyone loves each other at the wrong time, and everyone is mistaken about himself and the true nature of his feelings.

Technical sheet

Unless otherwise stated or supplemented, the information mentioned in this section can be confirmed by the IMDb database .

  • Original title: Gone with the Wind
  • French title: Gone with the wind
  • Director: Victor Fleming ; ( Sam Wood and George Cukor uncredited)
  • Scenario: Sidney Howard , based on the work of Margaret Mitchell
  • Artistic direction: William Cameron Menzies
  • Sets: Lyle Wheeler
    • Home Decor: Edward G. Boyle
    • Set Designer: Howard Bristol (en)
  • Costumes: Walter Plunkett , John Frederics
  • Makeup and hair: Monty Westmore (en)
  • Photography: Ernest Haller , Ray Rennahan ; Wilfred M. Cline (Associate, Technicolor), Lee Garmes (uncredited)
    • Second Team Photography: Paul Ivano (uncredited)
    • Supervision for Technicolor : Natalie Kalmus
    • Special photographic effects Jack Cosgrove (in) , Lee Zavitz (pyrotechnics)
  • Sound: Frank Maher
  • Editing: Hal C. Kern , James Newcom
  • Music: Max Steiner , Lou Forbes
  • Choreography of dances: Frank Lloyd , Eddie Prinz
  • Historical Advisor: Wilbur G. Kurtz
  • Production: David O. Selznick
  • Production Companies 7 : Selznick International Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
  • Distribution Companies: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Home Box Office (HBO), New Line Cinema , MGM / UA Home Entertainment, Warner Home Video
  • Production budget: $ 3,977,000
  • Country of origin: United States
  • Original language: English
  • Format 8 : 35 mm – Technicolor colors (tri-chromium process) – ratio : 1.37: 1 – Mono –
  • Genre: drama , war , romance
  • Duration: 238 minutes
  • Release dates in theaters 9 :
    • United States :(world premiere in Atlanta );(first in New York );(first in Los Angeles ); (national release)
    • United Kingdom :(first in London )
    • Belgium :(first in Brussels ); (national release)
    • France :(premiere at the cinema Le Berlitz in Paris in original version subtitled);(premiere at the cinema Le Rex in Paris in French version)
  • Box office:
    • World: $ 198,000,000 (estimated value in 2014 at $ 3.44 billion including inflation)
    • France : 16,719,236 entries from 1950 to 1999


  • Vivien Leigh ( VF : Claire Guibert ) : Scarlett O’Hara
  • Clark Gable ( VF : Robert Dalban ) : Rhett Butler
  • Leslie Howard ( VF : Pierre Asso ) : Ashley Wilkes
  • Olivia de Havilland ( VF : Nelly Benedetti ) : Melanie Hamilton
  • Hattie McDaniel ( VF : Mona Dol ) : Mamma
  • Thomas Mitchell ( VF : Serge Nadaud ) : Gerald O’Hara
  • Barbara O’Neil ( VF : Jacqueline Morane ) : Ellen O’Hara
  • Evelyn Keyes ( VF : Rolande Forest ) : Suellen O’Hara
  • Ann Rutherford ( VF : Nicole Rich ) : Carreen O’Hara
  • Oscar Polk : Pork
  • Butterfly McQueen ( VF : Liane Daydé ) : Prissy
  • Everett Brown ( VF : Lud Germain ) : Grand Sam, the Foreman
  • Victor Jory ( VF : Jacques Erwin ) : Jonas Wilkerson, the director
  • George Reeves ( VF : Michel André ) : Stuart Tarleton
  • Fred Crane ( VF : Yves Furet ) : Brent Tarleton
  • Howard C. Hickman ( VF : Paul City ) : John Wilkes
  • Alicia Rhett ( VF : Sylvie Deniau ) : India Wilkes
  • Rand Brooks ( VF : Hubert Noël ) : Charles Hamilton
  • Carroll Nye ( VF : René Blancard ) : Frank Kennedy
  • Laura Hope Crews : Aunt ‘Pittypat’ Hamilton
  • Eddie Anderson ( VF : Harry-Max ) : Uncle Peter, Aunt Pittypat’s coachman
  • Harry Davenport ( VF : Jacques de Féraudy )r . Harry Meade
  • Leona Roberts ( VF : Cécile Didier )me Caroline Meade
  • Jane Darwell ( VF : Germaine Michel )me Dolly Merriwether
  • Ona Munson ( VF : Lita Recio ) : Beautiful Watling
  • Isabel Jewell : Emmy Slattery
  • Ward Bond ( VF : Pierre Morin ) : Tom, Captain Yankee
  • Cammie King ( VF : Francette Vernillat ) : Bonnie Blue Butler
  • Mickey Kuhn : Beautiful Wilkes
  • JM Kerrigan ( VF : Paul Bonifas ) : Johnny Gallegher
  • Marcella Martin : Cathleen Calvert
  • Mary Anderson : Maybelle Merriwether
  • Jackie Moran : Phil Meade
  • Robert Elliott ( VF : Emile Duard ) : Yankee commander playing poker with Rhett
  • Irving Bacon : a corporal
  • Olin Howland : a war profiteer
  • Cliff Edwards : the soldier who remembers
  • Eric Linden : the amputated lying soldier
  • Louis Jean Heydt : the hungry soldier with Beau Wilkes
  • William Bakewell : the mounted soldier
  • Lillian Kemble-Cooper ( VF : Héléna Manson ) : The English nurse
  • Yakima Canutt : the renegade that attacked Scarlett
  • Paul Hurst ( VF : Antoine Balpêtré ) : The Yankee deserter shot down the stairs by Scarlett
Uncredited Actors
  • Horace B. Carpenter : a citizen of Atlanta
  • Shirley Chambers : a daughter of Belle Watling
  • Wallis Clark : a poker player captain
  • Yola d’Avril : a daughter of Belle Watling
  • George Hackathorne : a wounded soldier suffering
  • Emmett King : a party guest
  • George Meeker : a poker player captain
  • Alberto Morin : Rene Picard
  • Tom Seidel : Tony Fontaine
  • Terry Shero : Fanny Elsing
  • E. Alyn Warren : an employee of Frank Kennedy
  • Ernest Whitman : the partner of the profiteer
  • Zack Williams : Elijah
  • John Wray : a prison supervisor

Awards and Distinctions

At the 1939 Academy Awards , awarded onWith 13 nominations to win 10 trophies 10 , Gone With The Wind won the following awards:

  • Oscar for the best film ;
  • Oscar for Best Director for Victor Fleming ;
  • Oscar for best screenplay adapted for Sidney Howard (posthumous award);
  • Oscar for best actress for Vivien Leigh ;
  • Oscar for best supporting actress for Hattie McDaniel (first Oscar attributed to black actor or actress);
  • Oscar for best photography for a color film for Ernest Haller and Ray Rennahan (Oscar split into two categories, color and black and white , from 1939 until 1967);
  • Oscar for best editing for Hal C. Kern and James E. Newcom ;
  • Oscar for best artistic direction for Lyle Wheeler .

The film was also nominated in the categories Best Actor for Clark Gable , Best Film Music , Best Sound and Best Special Effects .

He also won two special prizes:

  • Special technical award for decorator William Cameron Menzies ;
  • Collective scientific or technical award for important contributions to the development of new lighting equipment and processes.



Producer David O. Selznick bought the rights to the novel Gone with the Wind of Margaret Mitchell for 50,000 dollars and hired a screenwriter Sidney Howard 11 .

David O. Selznick, himself a Jew , refused any racialist allusion to Blacks to the extent possible, giving as a reason the anti-Jewish laws that prevailed in Europe at that time ref.  desired] .

In order to capture the first impressions of the public, David O. Selznick organized a preview that took place in a small cinema following the screening of the film Beau Geste , session in total secrecy, even before the music was composed. The film made a triumph.

Choice of actors

The characters Rhett, Melanie and Ashley were distributed quickly, including that of Rhett, for which Clark Gable was very quickly claimed by the public. On the other hand, that of Scarlett was a problem for a very long time, so that the shooting of the film began without heroin. All the big names of the time auditioned for the role, but it is finally a relative unknown, Vivien Leigh , who carries the bet at the last moment. The public is initially resistant to the idea that a Briton embodies the southern Scarlett, but the people of the South eventually accept this choice because, say some, “better a British than a Yankee ! ” 12 , 13 .

In order to preserve the prude girl’s image of the heroine, the production forbids the actress Vivien Leigh to meet her companion Laurence Olivier during the shooting until the premiere. They had to use various ploys to see themselves ref.  desired] .

The actress playing Scarlett’s mother had at the time of shooting 28 years old, two years older than her “daughter” Vivien Leigh ref.  desired] .


Time-stricken, David O. Selznick began filming the film when the lead actress to play Scarlett was not yet chosen: as a result, a superstar was hired to shoot the scene of the Atlanta takeover. General Sherman’s army. Indeed, Scarlett’s face does not appear in these scenes of the film. ref.  desired]

On the other hand, the director used the sets of DW Griffith’s film , Intolérance , including the ramparts of Babylone , to set it on fire, which made it easier for the insurers, who did not want to risk the life of the actress at one time. dangerous. ref.  desired]


A great love story

This film is considered by many moviegoers as the greatest love story in the history of cinema . However, we must not neglect the place given to the passing of time and nostalgia for a lost time, often evoked by Ashley and Scarlett herself. The title also justifies its importance: Gone with the wind ( wind- blown) means a glorious time for the Southerners, bright, optimistic … “a civilization blown away by the wind” ( A civilization gone with the wind ) 14 . The ages have a primordial place, from which the division of the four hours of film into four parts. [ref. necessary]

A predominantly green part evokes the fertility of a civilization at its peak. The second part is red; it is full of blood, rage and anger, Scarlett’s jealousy and destructive fire. The third period is made of dull color: brown, brown, the colors of drought and post-war infertility. Finally, the last period is bathed in black, that of death. The Tara tree also evokes these changes of period: it is sometimes flowered, sometimes naked. The choice of the Technicolor process by David O. Selznick is decisive in order to return to the photo the flamboyance desired by the producer in order to translate the various epochs of the story and their atmospheres sometimes dull or dark, but mostly saturated.[Ref. necessary]

Evolution of the protagonists

Scarlett through these times and remains stubborn, manipulative, ruthless, blinded and driven by his two passions: Tara and her adolescent love for Ashley 14 . His character is opposed to that of Ashley, right, lucid, attracted by the sensuality of Scarlett but weary of all, motionless and uncertain. However, he presents two interests in the film: his poetry and his nostalgia, which evoke the happy days of the planters of the South before the civil war.

The character of Scarlett is opposed to that of Melanie, but not as much as some critics would have us believe: Melanie is a little low-blue , certainly, but she knows how to brave the taboos. Courageous, she is upright and benevolent, she is the guardian of all the elegant dignity of an era and an aristocracy of men of honor. If they are rivals in their love for Ashley, the two sisters-in-law end up esteeming themselves. Melanie is forever grateful to Scarlett for saving her and her baby at the Atlanta headquarters.

The queen of common sense, however, is Mama, Scarlett’s nanny, the only one who knows Scarlett better than anyone (with Rhett), she understands her, sometimes judges her, but supports her in the trials.

Rhett is the character who says he looks most like Scarlett, he also makes him notice ( “we are not gentlemen, Scarlett” ). He understands very early that Scarlett is the woman of his life. The tragedy of this one is going to be to discover too late his love for Rhett, the only one which understands it and has revealed to him the sexual pleasure (quite daring, this scene for the Hollywood of 1939) 14 .

Steiner’s music is in perfect accord with both South’s nostalgia and Scarlett’s strength of character, hope, energy, the will to survive, the desire, the rage to conquer.

Differences with the novel

Many characters not essential to the plot have been removed in the film: the family Fontaine, Cade Calvert, grandfather Merriwether, all Tarleton except Brent and Stuart, etc. .

However, some relatively important characters did not get their Hollywood ticket either:

  • In the novel, Scarlett O’Hara gives birth to three children, one with each of her husbands, while only Bonnie, the girl she has with Rhett, appears in the film. Of the other two children, only Wade Hampton Hamilton, his eldest son, holds an important place in the novel. Ella Lorena, daughter of Frank Kennedy, is little mentioned in the book, if only to say that she is not very pretty. However, the name of Wade Hampton appears in the film: it is the lieutenant who announces by letter to Scarlett that his first husband, Charles Hamilton, is dead.
  • The characters of India and Honey Wilkes, sisters of Ashley, are merged into one, that of India, in the film.
  • The old and repulsive Archie, who accompanies India Wilkes as they discover Scarlett and Ashley entwined, does not appear in the film either. On the screen, it’s me Meade who is with India at this crucial time of the plot.
  • Dilcey, wife of Butler Pork and mother of Prissy, very attached to the O’Hara and valuable help in planting for Scarlett during the years of scarcity, disappears on screen.
  • Old Uncle Henry Hamilton, a picturesque character, does not appear in the credits of the film.
  • The most important character of the novel not to appear on the screen, however, is that of Will Benteen, ex-soldier collected at Tara after the war and who finally settled there by marrying Suellen.
  • Gerald O’Hara dies as a result of a horse fall during a chase with the Slattery car. Yet, in the book, he died much later, during a crisis of madness.

Other differences:

  • The personal drama of Carreen, the youngest of the O’Hara sisters, is also overlooked.
  • In the scene of the meeting in Atlanta, when the soldier asks the two young women to give him their jewels it is not Melanie who gives his alliance first but well Scarlett who according to the book threw his alliance “d ‘ a gesture of defiance.

Around the film

The racial laws of the time prevailing in the United States prevented the actress Hattie McDaniel , interpreter of the role of Mama , to attend the premiere in Atlanta , Georgia , December 15, 1939. Not wanting to put his producer in the she told him that she was not available to go there. Clark Gable initially refused to go to the premiere of the film if Hattie was excluded, but the latter convinced him to participate. However, the segregationist spirit of the time did not prevent Hattie McDaniel from receiving the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.. She was also the first black artist to receive this award.

Rhett’s answer – ” Frankly, my dear, it’s the least of my worries ” ( Frankly, my dear, I do not give a damn ) – in response to Scarlett’s question “But what about Rhett? to become ? Hasbecome a cult replica . She was officially elected America’s greatest replica of American cinema in 2005 . She had however risked being censored at the time of filming because the code Hays advised against the use of the word damn , considered at the time as rude.

In 2017, following the Charlottesville event , a movie Memphis has suspended its annual screening of Victor Fleming, believing that this work, which dips into the Civil War , was insensitive to the African-American audience 15 .

In popular culture

  • In the film Jean-Pierre Melville’s L’Armée des ombres (1969) , actors Paul Meurisse and Lino Ventura emerge from a London cinema after seeing Gone with the Wind and Meurisse says: “For the French, the war will be finished when they can read The Duck Chained and see this wonderful movie. “
  • The manga author Osamu Tezuka made a pastiche of Gone with the wind in his manga Astro, the little robot (1952). In one of the stories, Astro finds herself stuck in Japan in 1969 with Scara, an immature and superficial alien woman, who fled her husband Ohara and rival Butler.
  • In The Outsiders (1983), there are many references to the film and the novel, which both fugitives read on the run.
  • In the film The Mask (1994), Jim Carrey winks at the film after he has shot himself at Coco Bongo: “Tell Scarlett that this is not the least of my worries. “
  • In the series Dead Like Me (2003), Daisy was supposedly an actress of this film.
  • There is also a reference in Tim Burton’s movie The Bridal Deaths (2005) with the skeleton Butler character who sings the final reply to his wife, whom he finds in the world of the living.
  • Many references also appear in various episodes of the Simpsons , especially around the end of the film 16 .

Notes and references


  1. ↑ “Frankly, my dear, I do not care” (literal translation).


  1. ↑ (in) “Gone with the Wind”  [ archive ] , on IMDb
  2. ↑ Salome De Vera, ” Gone with the wind: a copy at auction ”  [ archive ] , on Le Figaro ,
  3. ↑ (in) AFI’S 100 Years … 100 Movies ”  [ archive ] on American Film Institute
  4. ↑ (in) Regina A. Corso , ” Frankly My Dear, The Force is With Them as Gone With the Wind and Star Wars are the Top Two All Time Favorite Movies ” [ archive] [PDF] , Harris Interactive , (accessedJuly 13, 2014 )
  5. ↑ (in) Larry Shannon-Missal , ” Gone but Not Forgotten: Gone with the Wind is Still America’s Favorite Movie ” [ archive] , Harris Interactive , (accessed February 13, 2015 )
  6. ↑ (in) Highest box office gross movie – inflation adjusted  [ archive ] – Guinness , accessed January 21, 2016.
  7. ↑ (in) Company Credits ”  [ archive ] , on IMDb
  8. ↑ (in) Technical ”  [ archive ] , on IMDb
  9. ↑ (in) Release dates ”  [ archive ] , on IMDb
  10. ↑ (in) Awards ”  [ archive ] , on IMDb
  11. ↑ (in) Steve Wilson, The Making of Gone With The Wind , University of Texas Press,p.  281
  12. ↑ (in) The Instant Expert: Vivien Leigh  [ Archive ] – Kevin McIndoe, The National , November 5, 2011
  13. ↑ (in) Chrystopher J. Spicer, Clark Gable: Biography, Filmography, Bibliography , McFarland, 2002 ( ISBN  978-0-7864-1124-5 ) , p.  172 [ read online  [ archive ] ]
  14. ↑ a , b and c Gone with the old world  [ Archive ] – Alexander Devecchio, Le Figaro , st September 2017.
  15. ↑ Accused of racism, Gone with the wind in the turmoil in the United States  [ archive ] – Alexis Feertchak, Le Figaro , August 30, 2017.
  16. ↑ ” References> Movies> Gone With The Wind ”  [ archive ] , on The Simpsons Park , (accessed June 9, 2009 )

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