It’s hard to believe that 75 years have passed since the historical romance adaptation film Gone with the Wind was released. To celebrate this milestone, the University of Texas, Austin is launching a new exhibit.
Starting next week, hundreds of props, gowns and other items used in the filming of Gone with the Wind will go on display at the University of Texas, Austin in the Harry Ransom Center. The exhibit, rightfully known as “The Making of Gone With the Wind,” is intended to celebrate the film’s 75th anniversary. It will run through January 4, 2015, taking visitors on a trip to the past in which they experience one of America’s most notable films of all time.
So, where did UT find all of these historic movie items to use in its exhibit? According to a press release issued by the University, the items were once owned by David O. Selznick, producer of the Gone with the Wind. Selznick donated the items to the UT’s Ransom Center.
Upon receiving the items, staff members launched an extensive fundraising campaign to earn revenue so they could better preserve these precious items, many of which were already in a state of decay. The fundraising campaign was a success, with over $30,000 in donations coming in from all parts of the world.
Wilson, one of the exhibit’s curator’s, shared his thoughts on the original casting for Scarlett. During the initial stages of production, thousands of women – young and old – send letters to producer David O. Selznick, requesting to play the role of Scarlett. Wilson believes many women at the time experienced similar relationship problems, so it was a part to which they could relate.
“There’s something in this character that really grabbed people. A lot of women feel they are right to play the part because they’ve had the same kind of romantic problems Scarlett had. More often it seems they’ve had the hardships Scarlett survived,” said Wilson, the exhibit’s curator. “The curtain dress is the star of the show. She looks just terrific,” he added.
A large portion of the exhibit is dedicated to the film’s casting of Scarlett, including rumors that Batte Davis and/or Katherine Hapburn would play the role. In the end, however, Selznick chose Leigh to play the role of Scarlett. The Making of Gone With the Wind exhibit will also cover sensitive topics, such as the decision to remove mentions of the Klan, which was a key element in the original novel written by Margaret Mitchell.
For more information about this exhibit please visit http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/visit/gwtw/.
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