News Release — October 15, 1997
Gone With the Wind online exhibition is launched by UT's Ransom Center
The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin announces the launch of a Gone With The Wind online exhibit. The web site features QuickTime video of screen tests, transcriptions of actual memos and letters, dozens of photographs, and other material from the Ransom Center's massive David O. Selznick Archive. The Selznick Archive is comprised of over 5,000 document cases of materials that span the career of the Hollywood producer who brought to the screen such films as Gone With The Wind, Rebecca, Spellbound, and The Third Man.
The online exhibition was conceived, designed, and produced by Steve Wilson, a staff member of the Film Collection at the Ransom Center.
The exhibition is divided into the three sections: "The Search For Scarlett," "Costumes and Makeup," "The Book Purchase."
The Search For Scarlett section shows how producer David O. Selznick and his staff cast the most coveted role in the history of film. This section includes many verbatim transcriptions of actual memos and letters, photographs of many of the top contenders for the role, and QuickTime video clips from the screen-tests of actresses as Tallulah Bankhead, Lana Turner, Joan Bennett, Jean Arthur, Paullette Goddard and Vivien Leigh.
The Wardrobe and Makeup portion includes biographies of costume designer Walter Plunkett and makeup supervisor Monty Westmore, more than 30 makeup photographs used in the production, and sections on each of the five dresses from the film. Of particular interest is a QuickTimeVR Object Movie of the famous Curtain Dress, the outfit Scarlett, in desperate straits after the war, made from the green velvet curtains of her beloved plantation, Tara.
The Book Purchase portion of the exhibition features verbatim transcriptions of actual memos, telegrams, teletypes and letters which tell the complex and exciting story of how Selznick and Katherine Brown, his New York story editor, acquired the film rights to Margaret Mitchell's novel.
The Ransom Center's film collections includes, in addition to the Selznick Archive, the collection of film actress Gloria Swanson which details her career as a pioneer in the motion picture industry from silent films such as Male and Female (1919) to later hits such as Sunset Boulevard (1950). Also included in the film collection are the papers of screenwriter Ernest Lehman which contain materials relating to his work on such films as The King and I, West Side Story, The Sound of Music, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and North by Northwest.
And the archive of screenwriter Warren Skaaren includes texts for his four hit films that collectively grossed over one billion dollars: Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop II, Beetlejuice, and Batman.
Established in 1957, the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center is one of the world's preeminent institutions for literary and cultural research. The principal rare books and manuscripts library of The University of Texas at Austin, the Center is noted for its collections of late 19th- and early 20th-century British, American, and French literary materials, with major additional strengths in photography, music, film, and theater arts. The Center's collections contain approximately 30 million manuscripts, one million books, over 5 million photographs, and over 100,000 works of art.