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Two classic Hollywood movies were rescued by the exact same alteration in the identical year

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In 1939, the classic Hollywood movies The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind were both saved by the exact same behind-the-scenes change. Despite their vastly different storylines, both films faced troubled productions with a range of issues. The Wizard of Oz was plagued by a series of on-set accidents, costume and effects problems, and crew changes, while Gone with the Wind suffered from cast and crew contention, long delays, and similar crew changes.

However, both films were ultimately saved by a single change that helped them overcome their production woes and become the iconic movies they are today. This change remains unknown, but its impact on both films is undeniable. Thanks to this saving grace, The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind were able to overcome their troubled productions and cement their place in Hollywood history.

George Cukor was replaced by Victor Fleming as the director of The Wizard of Oz

The production of The Wizard of Oz faced a major challenge in finding a director who could effectively bring the whimsical script to life. Richard Thorpe was initially hired for the role but was dismissed from the set by producer Mervyn LeRoy due to his inability to capture the desired tone. George Cukor was brought in as a temporary replacement, but he left the project shortly after to focus on his work for Gone with the Wind.

It is worth noting that Cukor’s tenure as director for The Wizard of Oz was brief, lasting less than a week. As a result, his impact on the final product was minimal. Victor Fleming, who took over from Cukor, is widely regarded as the director who made the most significant contributions to the film. He is the only director credited with the role.

However, even Fleming was replaced during the final weeks of production by King Vidor. Despite this change, Vidor worked closely with Fleming’s storyboards and the two collaborated to bring the film to completion during the editing stage.

Victor Fleming was brought in to replace George Cukor on the production of Gone With The Wind

Cukor was initially chosen as the director for Gone with the Wind, but frequent disagreements with the cast and crew led to his eventual dismissal from the project. The exact circumstances surrounding his departure are unclear, but it is widely speculated that Cukor had a difficult relationship with producer David O. Selznick and actor Clarke Gable. The Guardian suggests that Selznick felt the film lacked energy under Cukor’s direction, while Gable believed that Cukor gave too much attention to co-stars Olivia De Havilland and Vivien Leigh.

Other sources suggest that Selznick fired Cukor due to the lengthy production schedule (according to Britannica) or after disagreements over the film’s script (as reported by Entertainment Weekly). Despite the reasons for his departure, Fleming was quickly brought on board to complete the film. By the end of 1939, he had successfully directed two of Hollywood’s most enduring classics from the Golden Age, thanks to his swift and effective mid-film directorial changes.

Gone With The Wind achieved greater success than The Wizard of Oz

Gone with the Wind outshone The Wizard of Oz in terms of success, as it became a much bigger hit and a timeless classic that has left an indelible mark on the film industry. Both movies were highly successful, garnering critical acclaim and capturing the hearts of audiences worldwide. However, Gone with the Wind emerged as the clear winner, surpassing The Wizard of Oz in terms of box office earnings and cultural significance. Even today, these two films are often compared and debated as to which one is the superior masterpiece.

In terms of box office competition, Gone with the Wind emerged as the clear winner over The Wizard of Oz, garnering higher worldwide gross totals and inflation-adjusted estimates, and proving to be the more popular choice among audiences. Moreover, critics of the time favored Gone with the Wind, awarding it 8 Oscars compared to The Wizard of Oz’s 2. While opinions remain divided among audiences and critics today as to which film is superior, history has established Gone with the Wind as the more triumphant of the two.

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