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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words…or Vice Versa

How do you make a compelling exhibition about one of the greatest movies of all times based primarily on printed material? This was the dilemma facing our client, The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, whose holdings include the David O. Selznick archive. Selznick was the movie mogul who produced Gone With the Wind. The story of the film’s creation turns out, at least for me, to be as compelling as the film itself. The Ransom Center has taken more that 600 rarely seen items — including on-set photographs, storyboards, correspondence and fan mail, production records, audition footage, restored costumes, and Selznick’s infamous memos, like the one to Tallulah Bankhead gently suggesting she is not going to be cast in the role of Scarlett.

The exhibition offers fans and film historians a behind-the-camera view of the production of this classic movie on its seventy-fifth anniversary. Of particular interest is the ability of the exhibition to raise important historical questions, controversies, and issues including racism, sexism, and censorship, among others. The exhibition has smashed all previous Ransom Center attendance records proving that sometimes you don’t need to watch a great movie to enjoy it.

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