Gone With The Wind (film) - Production - Screenplay

Screenplay

Of original screenplay writer Sidney Howard, film historian Joanne Yeck writes, "reducing the intricacies of Gone with the Wind's epic dimensions was a herculean task ... and Howard's first submission was far too long, and would have required at least six hours of film; ... Selznick wanted Howard to remain on the set to make revisions...but Howard refused to leave New England as a result, revisions were handled by a host of local writers, including Ben Hecht..."

Selznick replaced the director George Cukor three weeks into filming and then had the script rewritten. He sought out Victor Fleming, who, at the time, was directing The Wizard of Oz. Fleming was dissatisfied with the script, so Selznick brought in famed writer Ben Hecht to rewrite the entire screenplay within five days." The popular play Moonlight and Magnolias by playwright Ron Hutchinson, is about this dramatic episode when "Selznick literally locked himself, Fleming and screenwriter Ben Hecht in a room for five days to completely redo the script."

By the time of the film's release in 1939, there was some question as to who should receive screen credit," writes Yeck. "But despite the number of writers and changes, the final script was remarkably close to Howard's version. The fact that Howard's name alone appears on the credits may have been as much a gesture to his memory as to his writing, for in 1939 Sidney Howard died tragically at age forty-eight in a farm-tractor accident, and before the movie's premiere."

Selznick, in a memo written in October 1939, discussed the film's writing credits:

ou can say frankly that of the comparatively small amount of material in the picture which is not from the book, most is my own personally, and the only original lines of dialog which are not my own are a few from Sidney Howard and a few from Ben Hecht and a couple more from John Van Druten. Offhand I doubt that there are ten original words of Garrett's in the whole script. As to construction, this is about eighty per cent my own, and the rest divided between Jo Swerling and Sidney Howard, with Hecht having contributed materially to the construction of one sequence.

According to Hecht biographer, William MacAdams, "At dawn on Sunday, February 20, 1939, David Selznick ... and director Victor Fleming shook Hecht awake to inform him he was on loan from MGM and must come with them immediately and go to work on Gone with the Wind, which Selznick had begun shooting five weeks before. It was costing Selznick $50,000 each day the film was on hold waiting for a final screenplay rewrite and time was of the essence.

Hecht was in the middle of working on the film At the Circus for the Marx brothers." Recalling the episode in a letter to screenwriter friend Gene Fowler, he said he hadn't read the novel but Selznick and director Fleming could not wait for him to read it. They would act out scenes based on Sidney Howard's original script which needed to be rewritten in a hurry. Hecht wrote, "After each scene had been performed and discussed, I sat down at the typewriter and wrote it out. Selznick and Fleming, eager to continue with their acting, kept hurrying me. We worked in this fashion for seven days, putting in eighteen to twenty hours a day. Selznick refused to let us eat lunch, arguing that food would slow us up. He provided bananas and salted peanuts....thus on the seventh day I had completed, unscathed, the first nine reels of the Civil War epic."

MacAdams writes, "It is impossible to determine exactly how much Hecht scripted...In the official credits filed with the Screen Writers' Guild, Sidney Howard was of course awarded the sole screen credit, but four other writers were appended ... Jo Swerling for contributing to the treatment, Oliver H. P. Garrett and Barbara Keon to screenplay construction, and Hecht, to dialogue, so it would appear Hecht's influence was not insubstantial."

Read more about this topic:  Gone With The Wind (film), Production

Other articles related to "screenplay, screenplays":

Screenplay - Screenwriting Software
... Detailed computer programs are designed specifically to format screenplays, teleplays and stage plays ...
Fay Kanin - Filmography
... Sunday Punch (1942, screenplay, story) Blondie for Victory (1942, story) Goodbye, My Fancy (1951, play) My Pal Gus (1952, original screenplay) Rhapsody (1954, screenplay) The Opposite Sex (1956 ...
Nathanael West Bibliography - Film Writing
... unless noted otherwise) Title year Studio Format Notes Beauty Parlor Written 1933 Columbia Screenplay Never produced Return to the Soil Written 1933 Columbia Screenplay Never ...
Eddie Romero - Filmography - Writer - Filmography
... Camelia (1949) Batalyon trece (1949) Buhay alamang (1952) (screenplay) The Scavengers (1959) Lost Battalion (1961) Cavalry Command (1963).. ... Tagalog title) Moro Witch Doctor (1964) The Passionate Strangers (1966) (screenplay) Manila, Open City (1968) Beast of the Yellow Night (1971) Beast of Blood (1971).. ... Twilight People Ganito kami noon, paano kayo ngayon (1976) (screenplay) Sinong kapiling? Sinong kasiping? (1977) Banta ng kahapon (1977) Durugin si ...