clark gable gone with the wind

Here is another article featured in the archive about Gone with the Wind: Here’s Rhett–You Asked For Him! from Modern Screen magazine, March 1940.

It has some interesting quotes from Clark Gable about playing Rhett Butler:

“One critic’s going to cause me trouble. I feel it in my bones. He said I ought to retire because I could never top my performance as Rhett. I like to be patted on the back as well as the next guy, but, boy, that pat has the makings of a knockout blow. I don’t want people getting the idea that, from here on, I’ll be slipping. God forbid. And I don’t want people going to see Gable in Gone with the Wind and coming way disappointed because they expected to see a super-Gable. There just ain’t no such animal.”

“I tried to duck that Rhett assignment, you know. I didn’t want any part of it. I had my neck out far enough; acting characters that only script writers had ideas about in advance, without sticking it out where everybody could take a swipe at it. Everybody this side of Tibet had read the book, and everybody had different ideas about Rhett, and it was a cinch I couldn’t please everybody.”

“They tried to tell me I was ‘everybody’s choice for the role.’ They showed me carloads of letters to ‘prove’ it. The only way that made me feel good was that, in case I did play the role and there were any complaints”—he grinned again—“I could always say, ‘Folks, you asked for it!’”

“Then they tried to make out that Margaret Mitchell had had me in mind when she created the character. That didn’t go down with me. The book came out in 1936. She had been writing it for three solid years before that, and planning it for years before that. According to my figuring, she thought of Rhett Butler long before anybody, anywhere, thought of me twice.”

“I had an answer for all their arguments except one. That one floored me. It was: if I played Rhett, Selznick would release the picture through MGM, which would mean a lot to the home team.

“…But once I got into the spirit of the thing, I played my fool head off. And had a good time doing it—with Victor Fleming coaching and with running mates like Leigh and Howard and de Havilland. The only thing that bothers me is: I still don’t know what kind of showing I made.

“I like the picture; I think it’s a good one; but that doesn’t mean a thing. I got paid for making it. Besides, any ham likes any picture that gives him a meaty role. And what critics say doesn’t mean much, either. They see shows on passes. The opinion I’m waiting for is the opinion of the fellow who plunks down thirty-five cents of his own hard-earned dough to see it. Meanwhile, I’m not retiring.”

You can read the article in its entirety in the Article Archive.