According to legend, more than 1,400 actresses were considered for the part of Scarlett O'Hara. Nineteen were given screen tests; the losers included Tallulah Bankhead, Jean Arthur, Susan Hayward, and Lana Turner. Uploaded by theyoungandhungry.com.
(Originally posted April 29, 2009)
Did you know that Gary Cooper turned down the role of Rhett Butler? Oh, yeah. He even said, “Gone with the Wind is going to be the biggest flop in Hollywood
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history. I’m just glad it’ll be Clark Gable who’s falling on his face and not Gary Cooper.”
Clearly, Gary was no psychic. Just how big was GWTW? In 2007 the American Film Institute voted it the #6 Greatest Movie of All Time. For the premiere in Atlanta, the Governor declared a state holiday. It won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture. And if total box office receipts were adjusted for inflation, it would be the number one grossing movie of all time. The projected total: $3.78 billion.
Yes, this is the first movie added to the list of Great American Things. You may think another film should have had the honor.
The Wizard of Oz is universally regarded as one of the best movies of all time - yet you could argue that there were at least a half dozen better in 1939. Uploaded by jreynoldsart321.wordpress.com.
For unknown reasons, some years just happened to feature more great movies than others. From time to time, we’ll feature the films of a particularly outstanding year as a Great American Thing. We’re starting with 1939, which some consider the best year ever in movies. Once you look at the films released that year, you may find yourself in agreement. Some of the best, in alphabetical order:
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Beau Geste – Gary Cooper in the French Foreign Legion. With Ray Milland, Robert Preston, and Susan Hayward.
Destry Rides Again – A Western, directed by George Marshall and starring Jimmy Stewart and Marlene Dietrich.
Gone With the Wind – Winner of the Academy Award, from amongst all these films, for Best Picture. See Great American Things, April 28, 2009.
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Goodbye, Mr. Chips – A British film, directed by Sam Wood and starring Greer Garson and Robert Donat as Mr. Chips.
Gunga Din – Cary Grant fighting for the Empire in Colonial British India. With Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Joan Fontaine, and Sam Jaffee as the title character.
Hound of the Baskervilles – One of two films in 1939 (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was the other) pairing Basil Rathbone as Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson.
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Hunchback of Notre Dame – The best of many versions of this story. With Charles Laughton as Quasimodo and Maureen O’Hara as Esmerelda.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – One of Frank Capra’s common man rises to heroic status films, starring Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur. Nominated for eleven Academy Awards.
Ninotchka – Greta Garbo laughs! A great comedy, co-written by a young Billy Wilder and directed by Ernest Lubitsch.
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Of Mice and Men – The Steinbeck classic brought to life by William Wyler. Aaron Copland composed the score. Nominated for four Academy Awards.
Stagecoach – Another John Ford western, featuring Claire Trevor and starring John Wayne in his breakout role.
Wizard of Oz – Judy Garland takes us down the yellow brick road, and ultimately somewhere over the rainbow. Only a modest hit upon its release, you can understand why when you see its competition here. Won three Academy Awards.
Wuthering Heights – Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon in the Emily Bronte classic. Earned eight Academy Award nominations.
Young Mr. Lincoln – Directed by John Ford, starring Henry Fonda as Abraham Lincoln.
Copyright 2009-2011, Robin G. Chalkley. All material on these pages, and the listing of items as Great American Things, is copyrighted. The exceptions are the photographs and videos, which remain the property of their respective owners.
Header photo used courtesy of Flickr photographer too melo.