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In 1939, one of the most popular films of all time – Gone With The Wind – was made, and of course as we all know now, it was a roaring success.  Although Clark Gable was cast pretty quickly (and somewhat reluctantly) as Rhett Butler, the casting of Scarlett O’Hara was a real problem for the producer David O Selznick.  Almost every star in Hollywood wanted the part, and – possibly to drum up publicity for the film – a nationwide search was launched to find the woman who would play Scarlett.  This film, which is adapted from Garson Kanin’s book, Moviola, is a dramatisation of the search for Scarlett, and features actors playing many famous stars of the time.

It’s a very entertaining film.  I cannot be certain how much of it is fictionalised (did Joan Crawford, who was already a star by the time of Gone With The Wind, really need to sleep with David Selznick in an attempt to secure a role?!  If so, she must have been REALLY angry when she didn’t even get the role.)

Apart from Tony Curtis, who headed the cast as Selznick, and Harold Gould, who was suitably sleazy and manipulative as Louis B Mayer, head of MGM and father-in-law of Selznick, the stand-put member of the cast was Edward Winter as Clark Gable.  Winter looked the part, and also captured Gable’s speech patterns perfectly.  There were a few amusing nods to other films being made at the time – Mayer mentions that he is making The Wizard of Oz, but doesn’t like one of the songs in it (Somewhere Over The Rainbow), beccause it’s basically not happy enough!  It is also mentioned that Charlie Chaplin is making a film about Hitler, which of course became The Great Dictator.

(I actually find it quite amusing that in the end, despite all the searching and all the huge stars in Hollywood wanting the role of Scarlett, it eventually went to a young British actress, who played the part to perfection!)

Being completely unable to find a trailer or a clip from this film online, I chose instead to use this picture of Sharon Gless and Edward Winter as Carole Lombard and Clark Gable.   It seems that The Scarlett O’Hara War is a little known film, which is a shame. I would definitely recommend it, both as a nod to the 1930s, when the film was being made, and especially to fans of Gone With The Wind.  There is lots of drama, plenty of laughs, and a peek inside the sordidness that could inhabit the movie industry.  Very enjoyable.

Year of release: 1980

Director: John Erman

Producers: David L. Wolper, Stan Margulies

Writers: Garson Kanin (book), William Hanley

Main cast: Tony Curtis, Bill Macy, Harold Gould, George Furth, Edward Winter, Sharon Gless, Barrie Youngfellow, Carrie Nye

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Click here for my review of Gone With The Wind (film)

Click here for my review of Gone With The Wind (novel)

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