Gone With The Wind
Credit: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images
Yes, it’s Oscar time again. The big day is less than two weeks away and Hollywood is abuzz.
One of the most iconic Hollywood films is that wonderful Civil War opus, “Gone With The Wind”. Clearly one of the most profitable films of all time, at the 12th Academy Awards ceremony it was nominated for 13 Oscars and received 8. Bob Hope was the presenter and this was his first time in that role. He would go on to host 18 more Oscar ceremonies.
There were a couple of “firsts” in these Awards: Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American to receive this prestigious award, winning it in the Best Supporting Actress category and Sidney Howard became the first posthumous winner for his screenplay for Gone with the Wind.
It was a different era, for sure. The producers were told by Hollywood censors to soften the language….it is amazing that they got permission for the famous line, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” but they did and that line is now recognized the world over. Apparently, “producer David O. Selznick fought tooth and nail to keep the salty language in the film, arguing that the censors should permit the use of a “dramatic word in its rightfully dramatic place.” The censors’ office eventually granted “Gone With the Wind” a special dispensation to use the word “damn,” but not before Selznick and his story editor had drafted an emergency list of alternate lines. Among the many absurd variations were “I don’t give a straw” and “The devil may care—I don’t!” The producers were also told that they were to soften the “giving birth” scene. Oh, how things have changed! But, after all, that was 78 years ago and a lot has happened in that 78 years!
Hollywood, we salute you and we thank you for all of the wonderful moving pictures you have presented us with.
PS I cannot hear the words “Gone With The Wind” without thinking of my darling mother. She absolutely loved this movie and watched it (along with its not-so-wonderful- sequel, “Scarlet”) every afternoon, alternating the acts, for the last 3 or 4 years that she was with us. Wonderful memories!