BOSTON – A Gone With the Wind shooting script presented to Leslie Howard by David O. Selznick sold for $22,688 at RR Auction on December 16.
The front cover and spine of the presentation copy of the screenplay are beautifully gilt-stamped, “Gone With the Wind, Screen Play,” with the recipient’s name stamped at the bottom right of the front cover, “Leslie Howard.” Perfectly signed and inscribed on the first free end page in fountain pen, “For Leslie — with the fond (but probably futile) hope that he’ll finally read it! David S., Xmas, 1939.”
When Gone With the Wind finished filming, and each person finished their respective employment as production progressed, David O. Selznick collected and destroyed the shooting scripts for reasons of secrecy.
Following the film’s Atlanta premiere on December 15, 1939 — just in time for Christmas — Selznick personally inscribed and signed specially bound copies of the final GWTW shooting script and presented them to a certain number of cast, crew, and associates.
“His pithy and perfectly in-context inscriptions in these prized scripts add an exceptional dimension,” said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction, “in this instance he refers to the fact that Leslie Howard apparently never read Margaret Mitchell’s book or the full script, learning only the lines necessary for his portrayal of the weak-willed Ashley Wilkes.”
Howard did not want the role, but was persuaded by Selznick to take it when he was also offered the Associate Producer position on Intermezzo in which he starred with Ingrid Bergman, shooting some of that film at the same time as GWTW. Howard also received the highest rate of any of the GWTW stars at $7,500 per week. It was Howard’s last American film, and he was the only actor not to attend the Atlanta premiere (director Victor Fleming did not either, due to a falling out with Selznick). Howard instead returned to Britain to help with the effort in World War II, and he was killed when his plane was shot down during a diplomatic mission in 1943.
The Hollywood auction from RR Auction began on November 2 and concluded on December 16. For more information, go to www.rrauction.com.
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