When Margaret Mitchell published Gone With the Wind in 1936, she jokingly said if all her friends and family bought it, it might sell a few hundred copies. After the novel made publishing history by selling a million copies in six months during the Great Depression, Mitchell was stunned. “I’m flabbergasted.”
Seventy-five years later, the world still “gives a damn” about Gone With the Wind. The novel, now published in 40 languages, sells 250,000 copies each year; the movie is the highest grossing film ever; and Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler are household names.
Georgia Public Broadcasting decided to take a fresh look at the novel’s author in a new documentary, Margaret Mitchell: American Rebel. The videos included are either outgrowths from stories told in the program or brand new stories that we didn’t have time to tell, but definitely need telling.
The premiere of the blockbuster movie Gone With the Wind took place in Atlanta on December 15, 1939. But this was no ordinary movie-going event. With crowds swelling to the hundreds of thousands, it was apparent the South had been waiting a long time for this moment. For many, Margaret Mitchell’s story of survival helped to redeem the South from decades of pain and suffering experienced after the Civil War and Reconstruction.