Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Great On Screen Couples: Vivien Leigh and Birthday Boy Clark Gable.

Vivian Leigh and Clark Gable, are possibly the best known classic movie couples and their performance in the film, Gone with the Wind(1939), is one of the most romantic stories of all time.

Rhett and Scarlett, first meet at the Wilkes Twelve Oaks Plantation barbecue. Rhett is "a visitor from Charleston" who was expelled from West Point and is not received by any family not even his own. Rhett's attraction with Scarlett begins when he overhears her telling Ashley how much she loves him.

They meet again after the death of Scarlett's first husband, Charles Hamilton, while she is staying with Charles' sister Melanie and their Aunt Pittypat in Atlanta during the war. Rhett, now a blockade runner, creates a scandal when he bids on Scarlett at a fund raiser dance.

As the Yankees are approaching Atlanta, Scarlett stays behind to help deliver Melanie's baby and begs Rhett to get them out of the city. Once they have escaped Atlanta, Rhett, having a change of heart, joins the withdrawing Confederate soldiers for their last stand against General Sherman. Before he leaves, Rhett wants a kiss from Scarlett, but she refuses.. he steals a kiss from her and she slaps him and tells him that she hopes he is killed. He leaves Scarlett behind to find her way home.

Several months later, Scarlett returns to Atlanta, hoping to receive money from Rhett to pay Tara's taxes, only to learn that he is in military jail. Scarlett pretends to be concerned about Rhett's life being in danger, when Rhett realizes that she is lying, he tells her that he has no money to give to her and she storms out.

She then meets Frank Kennedy(her sister Suellen's boyfriend) she sees that he has done very well for himself and then lies when she tells him that Suellen is married to someone else. After, they are quickly married and Frank, pays the owed taxes on Tara.

Later, Scarlett is shocked when she sees Rhett free from the Yankees and he is shocked that she has rushed into yet another marriage to a man she does not love.

Frank Kennedy, is killed during a raid on the shanty town after Scarlett is attacked and Rhett saves Ashley Wilkes and his group by making up a alibi for them.

While Scarlett is mourning Frank's death, Rhett comes with a marriage proposal and he tells her that he will win her love one day because they are both the same. Rhett secretly hopes that Scarlett will love him as much as he loves her..

After a honeymoon in New Orleans, Rhett promises to restore Tara to the way it used to be, while Scarlett builds the biggest mansion in Atlanta. They have a daughter named Bonnie Blue Butler.

Scarlett, still pining away for Ashley and now upset about gaining weight after having the baby, lets Rhett know that she does not want anymore children. In anger, he kicks open the door that separates their bedrooms to show her that a locked door will keep him out.

When visiting the mill one day, Scarlett comforts Ashley and Ashley's sister India, who hates Scarlett, walks in on them. She spreads a rumor about what she claims to have seen. Later that night, Rhett, having heard the rumors, forces Scarlett to attend a birthday party for Ashley dressed in a red dress. Melanie stands by Scarlett's side so everyone knows that she does not believe the rumors.

At home later that night, Scarlett finds Rhett downstairs drunk, where he tells Scarlett that he could kill her if he thought it would make her forget Ashley. He carries her up the stairs in his arms, telling her, "This is one night you're not turning me out." In the morning she wakes up happy but Rhett returns to apologize for his behavior and says that he will give her a divorce. Rhett decides to take Bonnie on an long trip to London only to find out, that Bonnie wants her mother. Rhett returns and Scarlett is happy to see him, but he continues to be distant. She tells him that she is pregnant again. They get into an argument and Scarlett, lunges at Rhett and falls down the stairs and has a miscarriage, Rhett is over come with with guilt. As Scarlett is recovering, their daughter, Bonnie, falls off a pony and dies.

When Scarlett's realizes that she is really in love with her husband, it is too late and he leaves her with his famous line: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

I can not imagine any one else playing Scarlett O'Hara, but the beautiful Vivien Leigh, who was at the peak of her career. Scarlett's love for Ashley foolishly takes over her life and keeps her away from Rhett, who truly loves her. I feel the same way about Clark Gable's performance as Rhett Butler. Even though he did the right thing in the end. I wished that he would have stayed with Scarlett.


  1. Dawn, I agree about Vivien Leigh's performance as Scarlett. I've seen audition tapes for other famous actresses, and nobody was like her. Of course Gable was Rhett to the bone as well. Despite her being such a scheming pain in the you know what, I always feel sorry for Scarlett that she is too dense to realize what she has and is throwing away with regard to Rhett's real love for her. I remember reading that Margaret Mitchell said about her character "My poor Scarlett." I didn't understand that as a kid, reading the book especially, but I do now. Nice post, Dawn!

  2. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this movie!! Definitley one of my all-time faves!!

    Both Rhett and Scarlett were perfectly cast. I cannot imagine anyone else in those roles!

    While Scarlett is rather an unlikeable person, there are alot of great qualities in her as well...determination, hardworking, strong. Vivien Leigh brought Scarlett to life so amazingly.

    And as for Rhett...well, I just love him. A bit rough around the edges, but I truly love that characer. He was Gable at his absolute best!!

    Have a great day,

  3. GWTW is awesome. I could watch it over and over again. I have to admit, though, that I sometimes try to picture Bette Davis playing Scarlett (although Vivien is super stellar)--she just wanted it so bad!

  4. Dawn - totally agree - Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable had tremendous chemistry. A very hot couple and a terrific post!

  5. Becky, Scarlett, was very smart solving life's problems, but dumb in love.

    Patti, I also love this movie. Rhett, was such a handsome man.
    I could never figure out why Scarlett, could not forget Ashley.

    FlickChick, Thank you..

  6. Kim, I'm trying to imagine Bette Davis as Scarlett. Would Clark Gable, still play Rhett?


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.