Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘gone with the wind’

Discussion topic for January 2010:

What film hooked you to Vivien Leigh? If not GWTW what  was it? What did you think when you saw her in another film?

Vivien as Scarlett

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I just received in the mail today an early Christmas gift (to myself) –and it’s simply adorable. It’s a miniature book titled Two Letters, by Vivien Leigh. Apparently it was privately published in 1985 and only 300 copies were printed. The book contains the content of two letters written by Vivien Leigh- one to George Cukor and one to Clark Gable’s wife– followed by an Appreciation by Charles H. Williamson. I’d love to know the story behind this little book… it seems rather peculiar. If you’d like to snag this collector’s piece, check out Abebooks.com. They have 3 available for purchase. I’d like to share with you this latest addition to my collection.

truly a mini book

title page

The first letter, to George Cukor, reads:

Dear Mr. Cukor,

I, in fact all of us, found your wonderful direction such a great help in our work; & we have found ourselves unable to give our full attention, as it was in your case, to any director since.

Yours

Vivien Leigh

The second letter is written to Kay Williams, Gable’s 5th wife.

the 2nd letter

The Appreciation by Charles H. Williamson reads:

Vivien Leigh was born Vivian Mary Hartley in Darjeeling, India on November 5, 1913, the daughter of Gertrude and Earnest Hartley. Shortly before her seventh birthday she was taken to England and enrolled in Roehampton’s Convent of the Sacred Heart. Later, she entered the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, but her marriage at the age of eighteen to Leigh Holman, a lawyer, and the birth of their daughter, Suzanne, in 1935, caused her to drop out of that famed school.

In 1934, however, she began to act professionally and within a year had delighted London with a display of her beauty and talent in Ashley Duke’s costume drama, “The Mask of Virtue.” Signed to a five year contract by Alexander Korda, she made several films in England–among them, “Fire Over England”, in which she played opposite Laurence Olivier, who was also married. They fell in love, and in 1938 she visited him in Hollywood where he was making “Wuthering Heights.” At that time the much publicized search for an actress to play Scarlett O’Hara in Margaret Mitchell’s best selling novel, “Gone with the Wind”, had been going on for over a year. The film’s producer, David O. Selznick, has yielded to the public demand that Clark Gable play Rhett Butler. To obtain Gable, Selznick was forced to give Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which had him under contract, exclusive distribution rights and half-share of the film’s profits.

In December, with Scarlett still uncast, production commenced on the film under George Cukor’s direction. It was on the night that the burning of Atlanta was being shot that Myron Selznick, Olivier’s agent and David’s brother, brought his client and the visiting Vivien to the Selznick studios in Culver City to witness the spectacular event. During a break Selznick and Cukor came over to the three visitors and Myron Selznick said, half-jokingly, “David, I’d like you to meet Scarlett O’Hara.” Selznick, taken by the young girl’s beauty, suggested that Cukor test her. The race had narrowed down to three actresses–Jean Arthur, Paulette Goddard, and Joan Bennett, but once Selznick and Cukor saw Leigh in two test scenes, there was no doubt in their minds that she was their Scarlett.

There was an immediate rapport between Leigh and Cukor, a mutual admiration and affection that deepened and lasted until the actress’ death on July 7, 1967. When the director was removed from the film and replaced by one of Gable’s favorites, Victor Fleming, Leigh was bereft. She pleaded with Selznick to keep Cukor but he refused. She always maintained that the inital confidence Cukor gave her helped her throughout the shooting of the entire picture. Also, unknown to Selznick and Fleming, she visited Cukor’s home every Sunday during shooting and he coached her for the forthcoming week’s work.

“Gone with the Wind” was the only film Vivien Leigh made with Clark Gable. Although they had a satisfactory working relationship, she never became a close friend, preferring instead, along with Olivier, the company of George Cukor and the distinguished group with which he always surrounded himself.

When “Gone with the Wind” opened in Atlanta on December 15, 1939, and soon thereafter in New York, the relatively unknown English girl united the North and the South in approval of her performance. For her portrayal of Scarlett, Hollywood awarded her the first Academy Award of her career, while Gable, although nominated for best actor, lost to Englishman Robert Donat for his performance in “Goodbye, Mr. Chips.”

Although Leigh never met Kay Gable, it is interesting to note that it was her old friend and mentor, George Cukor, who gave the future Mrs. Gable, then known as Kay Williams, her first important film role- Hazel Dawn in the screen adaptation of Ruth Gordon’s play, “Years Ago”, released by Metro in 1953 as “The Actress.” Although in a small part, the beautiful young woman made a striking impression.

Read Full Post »

cover of The Secret of the Belles

Vivien-Leigh.com is announcing a Enter for Your Chance to Win Contest! Together with Kathy Witt, V-L.com will be giving away 1 autographed copy of The Secret of the Belles. Written by Kentucky based freelance writer Kathryn Witt, this children’s book is based on Gone with the Wind, Ona Munson who played “Belle Watling,” and the 3-day film premiere in Atlanta, GA (GWTW author Margaret Mitchell’s hometown). Mrs. Witt attended the November Gone with the Wind Re-Premiere weekend, and I had the pleasure of meeting her.  I read this fictional story and absolutely loved it! To read my Interview with the author, click HERE. The book is available for purchase in the E-Store for $12.95.

To enter the contest, please answer the question below. One winner will be chosen at random from the correct submissions. This contest is open to  everyone! To enter for your chance to win, click on the email link below and send your answer in the email. Please put “Belles Contest” in the subject line.  The contest ends December 31! Good Luck, everyone!

QUESTION: The Marietta Gone with the Wind Museum is one of the settings in The Secret of the Belles. What original dress from the film is on display at the Museum?  Hint: Answer can be found on Vivien-Leigh.com.

ANSWER: Send your answer to webmaster @ vivien-leigh.com or CLICK HERE.

Additional Information:

Ms. Witt’s website, www.KathyWitt.com, provides a teaser for this new book: “Lanie Sullivan and Belle Blakely never meet, but they share a fascination for all things Gone With the Wind—especially Belle Watling, a character in the book, and Ona Munson, the actress who portrays Belle in the movie. Lanie meets Ona in 1939, during the three-day movie premiere. When Lanie thwarts a thief in Ona’s hotel room, Ona rewards Lanie with a gift—a gift originally given to Ona by Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell. More than sixty years later, as she helps prepare a museum dedicated to Gone With the Wind for its Grand Opening, Belle reads Lanie’s letters to Ona and is intrigued by Lanie’s references to the gift. Margaret Mitchell died in 1949; Ona Munson in 1955. What about Lanie? Belle begins a quest to discover what the gift was that connects the three women, where it is now—and what happened to Lanie Sullivan. . .”

Read Full Post »

On Friday morning I check out of the Georgian Terrace, braved Atlanta traffic and headed north to Marietta, GA. The festivities for “70 Years of Gone with the Wind: A Re-Premiere” began at 9:30am at the newly-restored Earl Smith Strand theater. As soon as I walked into the theater, I immediately recognized people from my 2007 trip to Atlanta for the Rhett Butler’s People book launch. I was quickly introduced to others that I’ve met online through my website and The Golden Age of Hollywood forums. Carolyn of DearMrGable.com, Kendra of VivandLarry.com, and Kendra’s friends from Poland were also in the lobby. It was wonderful to meet so many Vivien Leigh fans in one place at one time!

The Q&A was held at the newly restored Strand Theater

the castmates at the Q&A

First up was a Q&A session with visiting authors Herb Bridges (The Filming of ‘Gone with the Wind‘), Molly Haskell (Frankly, My Dear: ‘Gone with the Wind’ Revisited), Sally Rains (The Making of a Masterpiece: The True Story of Margaret Mitchell’s Classic Novel ‘Gone with the Wind’), Michael Scragow (Victor Fleming: An American Movie Master), Kathy Witt (The Secret of the Belles) and Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne (80 Years of the Oscar). Then the castmates were brought out on stage: Greg Geise (baby Bonnie, baby Beau), Patrick Curtis (Toddler Beau), Mickey Kuhn (Beau), Geneva Miller Roberts (an extra during the BBQ scene), and Ann Rutherford (Carreen O’Hara). Cammie King Conlon (Bonnie) and Mary Anderson (Maybelle Meriwether) canceled at the last minute due to illness.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

I’M BACK! I had an amazing time at the Re-Premiere weekend in Marietta, GA. I saw amazing things, met new friends, and came home with a suitcase full of memories. There was little time to ‘relax’ because each day was packed with events and activities. Now that I’m home, I will relive the weekend here on my website for you to enjoy. Hope you will enjoy reading, seeing, and listening to my experience at the 70th Anniversary of Gone with the Wind celebration.

~ Leigh Mills

Atlanta History Museum

(more…)

Read Full Post »

conlonfrontcover-web1

If Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler had a daughter together, what would she look like? Cammie King! Or at least that’s what producer David Selznick thought. At 4 years of age, Ms. King landed the role of a lifetime – Bonnie Blue Butler in Gone with the Wind. If you check out Ms. King’s IMDB page, you’ll see her career in film was quite short. In fact, GWTW is her only credited film role! After ‘retiring’ from her film career, Ms. King went on to have a normal childhood and adulthood. She successfully worked in public relations for many decades and is now known as Cammie King Conlon. She often participates in GWTW celebrations (she’ll be in attendance at the Marietta Re-Premiere weekend) and travels the country talking about her experience on the set of her only film gig. Earlier this year, she published Bonnie Blue Butler A Gone With The Wind Memoir in which she “tried to describe what happened both on and off the set” of Gone with the Wind.  Visit her website for more information!

V-L.COM:  Thank you for participating in my GWTW Interview Series! Let’s begin. What memories do you have about working on the set of Gone with the Wind in 1939?

Cammie King Conlon: I always say I have about 1012 snapshots in my memory, and others filled in the scenarios.

GONE_WITH_THE_WIND-2233

photo credit: screencapheaven.com

(more…)

Read Full Post »

kwitt-210-Tsotb_cover_smKathryn Witt, a free-lance writer based in Kentucky, published her first novel, The Secret of the Belles, earlier this month. The 124 page fictional book is based on Gone with the Wind, Ona Munson who played “Belle Watling,” and the 3-day film premiere in Atlanta, GA (GWTW author Margaret Mitchell’s hometown).

Ms. Witt’s website, www.KathyWitt.com, provides a teaser for this new book: “Lanie Sullivan and Belle Blakely never meet, but they share a fascination for all things Gone With the Wind—especially Belle Watling, a character in the book, and Ona Munson, the actress who portrays Belle in the movie. Lanie meets Ona in 1939, during the three-day movie premiere. When Lanie thwarts a thief in Ona’s hotel room, Ona rewards Lanie with a gift—a gift originally given to Ona by Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell. More than sixty years later, as she helps prepare a museum dedicated to Gone With the Wind for its Grand Opening, Belle reads Lanie’s letters to Ona and is intrigued by Lanie’s references to the gift. Margaret Mitchell died in 1949; Ona Munson in 1955. What about Lanie? Belle begins a quest to discover what the gift was that connects the three women, where it is now—and what happened to Lanie Sullivan. . .”

I just finished reading this delightful little book–wow! It’s a page turner! Despite its ‘children’s book’ label, this 30 year old adult absolutely loved every page of Ms. Witt’s novel. It’s a charming book and a must read for Gone with the Wind fans of all ages. I first watched GWTW in the 7th grade when I was nearly the same age as the 2 main characters so I instantly identified with them and their passion. The film hooked me and I’ve been a huge fan of all things Gone with the Wind ever since. I hope this book sparks the curiosity of those young individuals who have not seen the film or perhaps have not read the 1000+ page book.

Ms. Witt is participating in the GWTW Re-Premiere weekend next month in Marietta, GA. You can see her at the Gone With the Wind Authors Q&A and the Author Book Signing event. Her book will be available for purchase at the Marietta GWTW Museum. Or you can buy the book at the Vivien-Leigh.com E-Store for $12.95, Borders.com, BarnesandNoble.com, or from your preferred bookstore.

V-L.COM: What inspired you to write The Secret of the Belles?

Kathy Witt: The Secret of the Belles actually began as a time travel concept based on one of my favorite paintings at the Cincinnati Art Museum. That was three years ago and I was on deadline to produce several chapters to share with my online children’s writing critique group, the Storyboard. I wasn’t getting anywhere with this project, so I put it aside and refocused.

There is an old writer’s adage . . . write what you know . . . and, feeling very frustrated at the time, I actually asked myself that question out loud, “What do you know?” I knew a lot about Gone With the Wind – and it was a topic I loved.

In my freelance work at that time, I’d been writing (a lot!) about the Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum-Scarlett on the Square. Not only did I have all this research about the collection, I also had a ton of anecdotal information from the collection owner, Chris Sullivan, because I had talked to him so often for the various articles I was writing about the museum. It helped that I’ve always been a huge fan of the book and the movie, as well as of Margaret Mitchell and her husband, John Marsh – also a Kentuckian – and that I’d been to MM sites in Atlanta and to the Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum and had toured around the town of Marietta.

Marietta GWTW Museum (photo credit: kariudo of flickr.com)

Continue Reading the Interview

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »