Warner Home Video and Turner Classic Movies selected Marietta for the exclusive 70th anniversary re-premiere of the movie, which will be released in coming weeks in high definition on Blu-Ray.
"There hasn't been an anniversary celebrated in a big way since the 50th in 1989. This re-premiere is significant for Marietta because it's garnering national attention," said Connie Sutherland, director of the Gone with the Wind museum. "Most of us weren't around in 1939 or able to go to the movie's premiere. This is a special time for fans to come out, dress up and take part in something that is special to them."
Beginning Friday, several events will be conduct in the city - all leading up to the re-premiere Saturday night. At least 50 couples have signed up to dance the Virginia Reel at Glover Park at noon Friday. The couples will be dressed in period costume and attempting to set a world record for the largest such dance. Representatives from Guinness will be documenting the effort.
Also on Friday, the Strand is hosting a question/answer session with original cast members and authors who have written about "Gone With the Wind." The Marietta Hilton Conference Center is celebrating the re-premiere by hosting a "Belles and Beaus" Costume Ball on Friday night.
Saturday's events include a formal introduction of the movie's surviving cast members, a salute to Turner Classic Movies and Warner Brothers, and a car parade to the Strand. "Gone With the Wind" will be screened at the Strand at 7:45 p.m. Tickets for the full weekend package are $325 per person, though other ticket options are available. Tickets to the pre-show program and movie screening only are $35. Sutherland said they have sold at least 265 full-package tickets.
"'Gone With the Wind' was a movie way before its time," said Earl Reece, executive director of the Strand Theatre. "If it came out now, it would still have the same impact."
The movie "Gone With the Wind" premiered in Atlanta in 1939. The leading roles of Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler were played by actors Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable. The movie follows the life of Scarlett O'Hara, the daughter of an Irish immigrant plantation owner, during the Civil War and Reconstruction.
"Gone With the Wind" won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actress in 1939. The movie was adapted from the 1936 Margaret Mitchell novel, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937.
Sutherland said the movie's theme of survival is universal, and especially resonates today.
"Margaret Mitchell said she wrote about people with gumption who were able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and keep going in the face of adversity. I think the underlying message is strength and being able to make it through hard times," she said. "People see that, and it gives them hope. It makes them feel as if they, too, can keep going no matter what."
For more information and tickets, call the Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum at (770) 794-5145 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.