Tuesday, June 14, 2016


One of my all-time favorite stories, both in print and in the movies, is Gone With the Wind. It was one of the first written-for-adults books I read, and I devoured it. The movie too, maybe even more so- the beautiful costumes, Vivien Leigh at her loveliest, Clark Gable as that irrepressible scamp Rhett Butler, that rat Ashley and Melanie the saint.

When I was a kid my mother had a copy of GWTW: The Making of Gone With the Wind, by Gavin Lambert (Little Brown, 1973), a smallish hardcover lavishly illustrated (in black and white) with iconic stills: Mammy lacing up Scarlett, the burning of Atlanta, acres of wounded men, Scarlett and Rhett falling in love at the ball. I loved paging through the pictures and reliving my favorite moments from the book and the movie.

I don't know if my mom still owns the book but it's one I always wanted to add to my collection. And the other day I did! I found an old copy, albeit in excellent condition, at the Strand as I was on my way out after selling some paperbacks.

In the old days I used to just look at the pictures but I've started actually reading it too, and it's a fascinating story about old Hollywood, the studio system and the travails of cast and crew alike. I never knew how hard it was for Gable to film the scene where he learns of Scarlett's miscarriage, or all the gossip back and forth between the cast members and their families about the on-set shenanigans, or how the filmmakers kept tinkering with dialogue only to go back to Margaret Mitchell's in the end, because it really was the best. So much fun.

If you're a fan of the book or movie GWTW: The Making of Gone With the Wind is really worth ferreting out.

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