Celebrating the Publishing Anniversary Of Gone With the Wind

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On June 30, 1936, Margaret Mitchell’s timeless masterpiece, Gone With the Wind, was released to the American public for the first time. Originally a reporter for the Atlanta Journal, Mitchell temporarily quit her position when she was plagued by a series of injuries, and decided to begin a manuscript out of boredom. Her Pulitzer Prize-winning epic novel details the hardships of Tara, a Georgian plantation ravaged by the American Civil War, through the eyes of a young Southern belle. After rapidly gaining popularity in Mitchell’s hometown of Atlanta, Gone With the Wind became a bestseller, with millions of copies circulating on an international scale.

Shortly after the book’s publication, Hollywood began a massive search campaign for an actress to portray Scarlett O’Hara, Tara’s spirited and stunning heroine. The London-based actress Vivien Leigh convinced her agent to nab her a screen test, and after competing with multiple other actresses, she secured the role. In her casting, she was joined by the ever-dapper Clark Gable in the role of Rhett Butler. Together, the duo made both cinematic and romantic history. Gone With the Wind won eight Academy Awards, and is still the longest Best Picture winner to date, running at nearly four hours long.

83 years after its debut, CR looks back on some of the iconic imagery associated with both the book and film.

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