Moviola: The Scarlett O'Hara War (1980)

It was the most famous publicity stunt of Hollywood’s golden years. Having secured the screen rights to Gone with the Wind, producer David O. Selznick embarked on a nation-wide search to find the perfect actress to portray the story’s Southern heroine, Scarlett O’Hara. While actresses such as Katherine Hepburn, Joan Crawford and Paulette Goddard jostled for the role, Selznick sent talent scouts all over the United States of America. As it turned out, he should have set his sights a little farther afield.

 

The best remembered movie of the Moviola trilogy, The Scarlett O’Hara War is also the most entertaining. Though peppered with occasional look-alikes whose inclusion contribute little more than decoration, the roles of other stars are pitch perfect. Edward Winter portrays Clark Gable as a not-so-bright lovable rogue, Barrie Youngfellow almost manages to make one forget Faye Dunaway’s Joan Crawford, and Carrie Nye’s Tallulah Bankhead provides many of the film’s best laughs.

 

Anchoring this parade of filmdom’s yesteryear is Tony Curtis as Selznick. His rat-a-tat-tat delivery of lines, especially when sparring with Harold Gould as Louis B. Mayer, adds some old-time sparkle to proceedings. 

 

As filming for Gone with the Wind nears its start, and the biopic nears its end, Selznick laments that despite spending twice as much on the search than he did on the book’s rights, he still hasn’t found his Scarlett. Fortunately for the producer, tomorrow is another day.

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Edward Winter
Edward Winter

as Clark Gable

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Sharon Gless
Sharon Gless

as Carole Lombard

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Barrie Youngfellow
Barrie Youngfellow

as Joan Crawford

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Carrie Nye
Carrie Nye

as Tallulah Bankhead

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“There are legends and there are stories. There is the real truth if you want to dig for it. And there are always several authenticated versions of one incident”

Stan Margulies (producer)

 

Myron Selznick was Carole Lombard's agent, not Clark Gable's.

 

Louis B. Mayer states that he never loaned out Clark Gable in the history of MGM. Though Selznick corrects his father-in-law by reminding him of It Happened One Night, MGM also loaned Gable out to 20th Century Pictures for The Call of the Wild.

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Biopic ends with a scene recreation of Gone With The Wind’s burning of Atlanta.

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