8 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Gone With The Wind’

GONE WITH THE WIND, Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, 1939
Everett Collection

“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Sure, everyone knows that classic line from Gone With the Wind, a 1939 film that won eight Academy Awards and was one of the biggest blockbusters of its time, but did you know the following tidbits?

1Clark Gable Had Really Bad Breath

GONE WITH THE WIND, Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, 1939

Everett Collection

While he was one of the most dashingly handsome and famous actors of his era, Clark Gable had some issues, one of them being halitosis. His bad breath was due to a medical condition where he had a gum infection and then later (in his mid 30s) had to have his teeth removed. It was rumored that Vivien Leigh hated kissing him because of this.

2Hattie McDaniel Was the First Black Person to Win an Academy Award

Hattie McDaniel, left, accepting her Best Supporting Actress Oscar (for GONE WITH THE WIND) from Fay Bainter, February 29, 1940

Everett Collection

Hattie McDaniel was the first Black actor ever to win an Academy Award when she won Best Supporting Actress for her role as the bossy, eye-rolling Mammy, who was an enslaved servant to Scarlett O’Hara (Leigh). McDaniel, however, was not allowed to sit with the film’s other nominees at the 12th Academy Awards ceremony in 1940. Criticized by members of the Black community at the time for her role, she said, “I’d rather play a maid and make $700 a week than be a maid and make $7.”

3That Famous Cotton-Picking Scene With the O’Hara Sisters Was Terrible

GONE WITH THE WIND, from left: Ann Rutherford, Evelyn Keyes, 1939

Everett Collection

Ann Rutherford, who played Scarlett’s younger sister Carreen, shared her memory: “It was terrible. We had to take off all our nail polish and trim our nails really short, and Evelyn [Keyes, who played Suellen] and I put on these raggedy clothes, and I thought, ‘I’ll just sit in my little chair until it’s time to shoot.’ Forget it. Hissing and spitting, our hands all torn up, we had to fill our skirts with cotton.”

4Olivia De Havilland Didn’t Care for Clark Gable

GONE WITH THE WIND, Olivia DeHavilland, Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, 1939

Everett Collection

Olivia De Havilland played the angelic Melanie Wilkes. In an interview with the star in 2000, when she was 84 (and the only surviving member of the principal cast), she shared her thoughts on Gable. “I never knew him well, but he was the kind of man who didn’t interest me, as Gable or as Rhett Butler. Neither of them had a lot of sensitivity.” De Havilland passed away at age 104 in 2020.

5$50 a Week Was an Amazing Paycheck for Some of the Cast

GONE WITH THE WIND, from left: Fred Crane, Vivien Leigh, George Reeves, 1939

Everett Collection

“That was so much money back then,” said Fred Crane (pictured left), who played Brent Tarleton, a small role that was one of the very first scenes in the movie with Scarlett. “A man could raise a family on $19 a week back in New Orleans. I was actually ashamed to go in each week and collect it.”

6The Lost Oscar Reissued

In 2023, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences reissued McDaniel’s Oscar, which went missing 50-plus years ago after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. The Oscar was presented to Howard University, one of the nation’s most renowned Black colleges and universities. McDaniel had left the Oscar to the university in her will.

7Vivien Leigh Showed No Signs of Her Future Bipolar Disorder

GONE WITH THE WIND, Vivien Leigh, 1939.

Everett Collection

While later in life Leigh battled what is now known as bipolar disorder, she showed no signs of any chemical imbalances back then, shared Rutherford. “She was the hardest-working person. Vivien looked 16 when she started, with those little plump cheeks, and as it went on you could literally see her age from 16 to 24 — she was working so hard.”

8WarnerMedia Removed the Movie From Its Library


Everett Collection

In June of 2020, Max, owned by WarnerMedia, removed Gone With the Wind from its streaming library so it could add historical context for those viewing it today through a modern lens. “It is a film that glorifies the antebellum South,” said John Ridley, who won an Oscar for his 12 Years a Slave screenplay. “It is a film that, when it is not ignoring the horrors of slavery, pauses only to perpetuate some of the most painful stereotypes of people of color.” Max came to a solution and returned the film to the library, issuing the following statement: “These racist depictions were wrong then and are wrong today, and we felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible.”

Gone With the Wind will air on Turner Classic Movies on April 14 and is available on Max.


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