Margaret Mitchell was no ordinary writer. The one book she published in her lifetime – Gone With the Wind – sold millions of copies at the height of the Great Depression in America and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937. Currently, with over 30 million copies sold, it is one of the world’s best-selling novels. Equally impressive, the film adaptation of Gone With the Wind broke all box office records when it premiered in 1939, and received 10 Academy Awards.
But who was the creator behind two of the world’s greatest lovers – Scarlett and Rhett – and the tumultuous romance that left book readers and film viewers wondering about their final fate together in one of storytelling’s most talked about cliffhangers?
In June 2011, on the 75th anniversary of her landmark book, Gone With the Wind, GPB will present Margaret Mitchell: American Rebel, an original film that proves that along with being no ordinary writer, Margaret Mitchell was no ordinary woman.
Born in Atlanta in 1900, Margaret Mitchell was a force to be reckoned with until a tragic accident lead to her untimely death in 1949 – a debutante who challenged society with a brazen dance; a reporter who roamed town when tradition called for women to stay at home; and a philanthropist who risked her life in the name of generosity.
As a debutante from Atlanta’s upper crust, Mitchell challenged the stifling social restrictions placed on women at the time. She was one of Georgia’s first women newspaper reporters and used the money she made from Gone With the Wind to fund many causes, including the education of the South’s first African American medical doctors.
She had a charismatic personality and a great sense of humor, but she also suffered from lifelong bouts of depression and illness. Mitchell lost her mother and her fiancée before she was eighteen. She dropped out of college and suffered an abusive first marriage. But she found her soulmate in her second husband, John Marsh, and with Marsh’s support she wrote Gone With the Wind.
These are the facts, but Margaret Mitchell: American Rebel engages leading historians, biographers and people with personal connections to Mitchell to reveal a complex and mysterious woman who experienced profound identity shifts in her life and who struggled with the two great issues of her day – the changing role of women and the liberation of African Americans.
Margaret Mitchell: American Rebel also looks at reasons behind the amazing endurance of Gone With the Wind across cultures and over time. The seminal events of Mitchell’s life are revealed through dramatic re-enactments based on her letters, and scenes from the movie will connect Mitchell’s life to her work.