Today’s selection for 12 Days of Oscar is the 1939 classic Gone with the Wind. Gone with the Wind cleaned up at the 1940 Academy Awards, winning 8 Oscars: Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Art Direction, Best Color Cinematography, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Writing, and Best Picture. It also received an honorary award, the William Cameron Memzies Award for achievement in the use of color to enhance the dramatic mood, and a technical achievement award as well. It was the first color film to win Best Picture, and Hattie McDaniel was the first black actress to win an Academy Award (for Best Supporting Actress).
Based on Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel, Gone with the Wind follows Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) as she grows from young adulthood into a woman in the South preceding, during, and following the Civil War. She wants to be like her mother, regarded as a great lady in the community, but she makes poor decisions that routinely cause a scandal instead. Scarlett meets the rogue Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) at the home of her love interest, Ashleigh Wilkes (Leslie Howard). She spends a great deal of time with her sister-in-law, Ashleigh’s wife, Melanie (Olivia DeHaviland) and is scornful of her. Rhett finds that no matter where he travels, or how many times Scarlett marries another man, he can’t get her out of his head. Meanwhile, Scarlett frequently plots to remain close to Ashleigh. It’s a great love story, set against the backdrop of the Civil War and Atlanta during Reconstruction. Even if Clark Gable did denounce it as being a “woman’s film,” it’s worth a viewing.
There is plenty of food in Gone with the Wind. In the beginning of the film as Scarlett dresses to go to a barbecue, Mammy (Hattie McDaniel), implores her to eat before she goes, because ladies don’t stuff themselves in public. There’s a scene involving Christmas dinner during the war where the butler is chasing a chicken around the yard in a rainstorm, and Aunt Pittypat advises her guests to enjoy the wine slowly, because “it is the last.” Rhett and Scarlett honeymoon in New Orleans, and Scarlett is shown at a restaurant there, stuffing in food as though she’ll never eat again. This is because during the war, she and her family almost did starve, until the night Scarlett went out to the garden, dug up a root vegetable and announce, “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.”
Of course, there are drinks abound in Gone with the Wind as well. The first time we meet Rhett Butler, he’s holding a drink at the bottom of a staircase. Scarlett is seen drinking after her second husband’s funeral and attempts to hide it from Rhett by gargling with perfume before seeing him. Rhett enjoys a drink with Mammy when Scarlett gives birth to their daughter, and later throws a drink at a huge portrait of Scarlett in anger. So it only seems fitting that each character has their own drink named for them.
The Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler drinks both start out with Southern Comfort. Scarlett’s drink is sweeter, with the addition of cranberry juice, than Rhett’s which has a more bitter, citrus flavor to it. In 1939, Southern Comfort created the recipe for some promotional material for the release of Gone with the Wind. The Scarlett O’Hara isn’t very popular by that name, even Southern Comfort is now advertising it as “SoCo and cranberry.”
Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler Cocktails
for the Scarlett O’Hara:
2 oz. Southern Comfort
6 oz. cranberry juice
squeeze of lime juice
for the Rhett Butler:
To make either cocktail, put its ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
Shake several times and then strain into a glass.
For the Scarlett O’Hara, the suggested garnish is a lime wedge. For the Rhett Butler, suggested garnish is a lemon wedge or a twist of lemon peel.
Source: Mix That Drink