Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Katie Scarlett O'Hara

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about the fictional character. For the cocktail, see Southern Comfort#In cocktails. For band, see Scarlett O' Hara (band).

Target has an essie nail color Scarlett O'Hara.

born Katie Scarlett O'Hara; credited as Scarlett O' Hara – Hamilton – Kennedy – Butler) is the protagonist in Margaret Mitchell's 1936 novel Gone with the Wind and in the later film of the same name. She also is the main character in the 1970 musical Scarlett and the 1991 book Scarlett, a sequel to Gone with the Wind that was written by Alexandra Ripley and adapted for a television mini-series in 1994. During early drafts of the original novel, Mitchell referred to her heroine as "Pansy", and did not decide on the name "Scarlett" until just before the novel went to print.[1]
Personality of the Character

Katie Scarlett, or Scarlett as everyone but her father calls her (she is named for his mother, chapter 2, Gone With the Wind) has dark hair, and a slim face and frame. She is an atypical protagonist, especially as a female romantic lead in fiction. When the novel opens, Scarlett is sixteen. She is vain, self-centered, somewhat spoiled, can be insecure, and has an intelligent, bright mind. She stands out in that she is smarter than and very much unlike the typical party-going belles around her. She can be a high-strung busybody, but for someone so smart, with men she loves, she can go into a mode where she is both babyish and overthinks little things. On the outside she seems charming, busy, good, and smart; but on the inside she is insecure and just wants the affection of her neighbor, Ashley Wilkes. She makes surface efforts to live up to the expectations her culture demands, but fears discovery by society of her true self. Scarlett has deep affection for Ashley, and wishes to marry him, despite a tradition in his family to marry cousins. Scarlett's motivation in the early part of the novel center around her desire to win the affection of Ashley, despite the fact that both of them marry others. Rhett Butler, an older bachelor, overhears Scarlett expressing her true feelings to Ashley, during a barbecue at Ashley's home. Rhett admires and is interested in the willful Scarlett, and pursues her through a romantic friendship when she becomes widowed, helping her to ignore Southern conventions and become active in society again. The Civil War is ultimately blamed by disapproving society, and Scarlett finds friendship with Rhett liberating.

After the War, Scarlett's character hardens, when she is burdened by her family, servants, the Wilkes family, and the fear of homelessness and starvation. This causes her to become extremely money-conscious and materialistic. Her motivation is to assure that no one close to her faces the threat of starvation or being a burden to others outside the family. As such, she engages in controversial business practices and exploits convict labor in order to make her lumber business, bought and run in defiance of her seconds husband's wishes, have a higher profit margin. After she becomes widowed again, she marries her long-term friend, Rhett Butler, for "fun," and because he is very wealthy.

Unfortunately, Scarlett is too simultaneously insecure and vain to realize her pursuit of Ashley was misdirected until the climax of the novel. With the death of Melanie Wilkes, she realizes she should not have been pursuing Ashley, who didn't return her affection but also never understood her, and that she loves Rhett Butler. She pursues Rhett from Melanie's deathbed to their home in the neighborhood, only to discover he has given up on receiving a return of affection from Scarlett and is preparing to leave her. In a reminder of how important her homeland is to her, Scarlett decides to return to the family plantation, Tara, to rest and set her plans to attract Rhett anew. This echoes two interactions in the novel with Gerald O'Hara, where Scarlett was told how important land is to the Irish.

[edit] Searching for Scarlett
While the studio and the public agreed that the part of Rhett Butler should go to Clark Gable (except for Clark Gable himself), casting for the role of Scarlett was a little harder. The search for an actress to play Scarlett in the film version of the novel famously drew the biggest names in the history of cinema, such as Bette Davis (whose casting as a Southern belle in Jezebel in 1938 took her out of contention), and Katharine Hepburn, who went so far as demanding an appointment with producer David O. Selznick and saying, "I am Scarlett O'Hara! The role is practically written for me." David replied rather bluntly, "I can't imagine Rhett Butler chasing you for twelve years."[citation needed]Jean Arthur and Lucille Ball were also considered, as well as relatively unknown actress Doris Davenport. Susan Hayward was "discovered" when she tested for the part, and the career of Lana Turner developed quickly after her screen test. Tallulah Bankhead and Joan Bennett were widely considered to be the most likely choices until they were supplanted by Paulette Goddard.

The young English actress Vivien Leigh, virtually unknown in America, saw that several English actors, including Ronald Colman and Leslie Howard, were in consideration for the male leads in Gone with the Wind. Her agent happened to be the London representative of the Myron Selznick talent agency, headed by David Selznick's brother, Myron. Leigh asked Myron to put her name into consideration as Scarlett on the eve of the American release of her picture Fire Over England in February 1938. David Selznick watched both Fire Over England and her most recent picture, A Yank at Oxford, that month, and thought she was excellent but in no way a possible Scarlett, as she was "too British." But Myron Selznick arranged for David to first meet Leigh on the night in December 1938 when the burning of the Atlanta Depot was being filmed on the Forty Acres backlot that Selznick International and RKO shared. Leigh and her then lover Laurence Olivier (later to be her husband) were visiting as guests of Myron Selznick, who was also Olivier's agent, while Leigh was in Hollywood hoping for a part in Olivier's current movie, Wuthering Heights. In a letter to his wife two days later, David Selznick admitted that Leigh was "the Scarlett dark horse," and after a series of screen tests, her casting was announced on January 13, 1939. Just before the shooting of the film, Selznick informed Ed Sullivan: "Scarlett O'Hara's parents were French and Irish. Identically, Miss Leigh's parents are French and Irish."[2]

In any case, Leigh was cast—despite public protest that the role was too "American" for an English actress—and eventually won an Academy Award for her performance.

[edit] Other actresses considered for Scarlett
A great number of actresses were considered for the role of Scarlett. In fact, there were approximately 32 women who were considered and or tested for the role. The search for Scarlett began in 1936 (the year of the book's publication) and ended in December 1938.[3]

Between 1936 and 1938, the following actresses were considered:

Lucille Ball
Constance Bennett
Clara Bow
Mary Brian
Ruth Chatterton
Claudette Colbert
Joan Crawford
Frances Dee
Irene Dunne
Madge Evans
Glenda Farrell
Alice Faye
Joan Fontaine
Kay Francis
Janet Gaynor
Jean Harlow
Katharine Hepburn
Miriam Hopkins
Rochelle Hudson
Dorothy Lamour
Andrea Leeds[4]
Carole Lombard
Anita Louise
Myrna Loy
Maureen O'Sullivan
Merle Oberon
Ginger Rogers
Norma Shearer
Ann Sheridan
Gale Sondergaard
Barbara Stanwyck
Gloria Stuart
Margaret Sullavan
Linda Watkins
Mae West
Jane Wyman
Loretta Young

Between late 1937 and mid-1938, approximately 128 actresses were nominated for the role of Scarlett through letters of suggestion sent to Selznick International Pictures from the public.[5]

[edit] Adaptations

In 1980 a film about the search for Scarlett O'Hara was made entitled Moviola: The Scarlett O'Hara War with actress Morgan Brittany in the role of Vivien Leigh.

In the 1994 TV mini-series based on the sequel Scarlett, the character was played by English actress Joanne Whalley.

In the Margaret Martin musical Gone With The Wind, the role of Scarlett O'Hara was originated by Jill Paice

Historical sources for the character

While Margaret Mitchell used to say that her Gone with The Wind characters were not based on real people, modern researchers have found similarities to some of the people in Mitchell's own life as well as individuals she heard of. Rhett Butler is thought to be based on Mitchell's first husband, Red Upshaw, who reportedly raped her during their brief marriage. Scarlett's upbringing resembled that of Mitchell's maternal grandmother, Annie Fitzgerald Stephens (1845–1934), who was raised on a plantation in Clayton County, Georgia (where the fictional Tara was placed), and whose father was an Irish immigrant. Another source for Scarlett might have been Martha Bulloch Roosevelt, the mother of US president Theodore Roosevelt. Martha grew up in a beautiful southern mansion, Bulloch Hall, in Roswell, just north of Atlanta, Georgia. Her physical appearance, beauty, grace and intelligence were well known to Mitchell and the personality similarities (the positive ones) between Martha, who was also called Mittie, and Scarlett were striking. Some say that some of Scarlett's plotting and scheming aspects might have been drawn from Martha Bulloch Roosevelt's beautiful and vivacious, independently wealthy and grandparent-spoiled, rebellious and attention-seeking granddaughter, Alice Roosevelt Longworth.

[edit] References
1.^ "Shrewd, Selfish Scarlett: A Complicated Heroine". NPR. Retrieved 2010-09-26.
2.^ "Letter from David O. Selznick to Ed Sullivan". Harry Ransom Center - The University Of Texas At Austin. Jan. 7, 1939.
3.^ Thompson, David. "Hollywood", 1930s pgs. 178 - 182
4.^ "The Making of Gone With The Wind" Part 2, Documentary circa 1990s.
5.^ "The Making of Gone With The Wind" Part 2, Documentary circa 1990s.

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