Alexandra Ripley (Novel)
John W. Wheeler
November 13, 1994
No. of episodes
Scarlett is a 1994 six hour miniseries loosely based on the sequel to Margaret Mitchell's novel, Gone with the Wind, written by Alexandra Ripley. The series was filmed at 53 locations in the United States and abroad, and stars Joanne Whalley as Scarlett O'Hara, Timothy Dalton as Rhett Butler, and Sean Bean as Lord Richard Fenton as well as many other notable British and American actors.
The series begins with Scarlett attending the funeral of Melanie Wilkes, her ex-sister-in-law and rival for Ashley Wilkes' affection, at which her estranged husband, Rhett Butler, is not present. She, heartbroken that he left her, sets out for Tara and is saddened when she learns that Mammy, her mainstay since birth, is dying. When she arrives there, she sends a telegram to notify Rhett about Mammy under the name of Will Benteen (her sister, Suellen's, husband), because she knows that he won't come if he suspects she is there. Before Mammy passes away, she makes him swear to look after "her lamb", Miss Scarlett. He agrees, although he has no intention of honoring the request. After she dies, he and Scarlett have another snipe-filled encounter, which culminates in him leaving and her returning to the Atlanta house, determined to win him back.
Return to Tara
This section is practically identical to that of the book regarding Scarlett's actions at the funeral and Mammy's death bed.
Going to Charleston
The major differences in Charleston are that of the attitude and demeanors of the characters, but most notably Scarlett and Anne. Scarlett is not shown struggling with her unease in society but rather is criticized when Anne sees her and Ashley go into his hotel room together, resulting in a steamy kiss. Anne is completely different from her counterpart in the novel; while she is supposed to be a clone of Melanie, she shyly, yet coyly, flirts with Rhett and does other things that neither her character in the book nor Melanie ever would have done. The series continues to follow the relationship created between them after the book ceases doing so.
Scarlett continues to distance herself from the same character in the novel as her relationship with her kin is not discovering and assimilating her Irish heritage and family, as much as escaping from her grandfather's household and passing the time. Her decision to go to Ireland is also preceded by cutting off all ties to America as well as the details concerning buying her sister Carreen's share of Tara, which had been donated to the convent as a dowry when she became a nun.
Once in Ireland, Scarlett is faced with two main conflicts that differ from what her struggles were in the novel. She is pursued by Lord Richard Fenton, of whom her kin disapprove. She also faces quandaries and mixed emotions over the physical force the Irish rebels use against British rule, and it is contrasted to the way the English treated the Irish to how the South was treated by the North.
Katie Colm O'Hara
Scarlett keeps her daughter's birth a secret from Rhett to spite him, thinking that if Katie grows up not knowing her father she will, unlike Bonnie, not love him. The day that Rhett finally does meet his daughter, he will realize that she does not love him or even know him, thus giving Scarlett her revenge. Katie is barely talked about beyond this - her role in the book as the possible manifestation of a demon is entirely deleted. Anne Hampton-Butler also travels to Ireland with Rhett, which never occurred in the novel, and she even has a lengthy conversation with Scarlett. Her death from yellow fever is also detailed.
Lord Fenton's character is much more evil than in the novel. He forces a servant girl named Mary to have sex with him, and he also rapes Scarlett. Mary kills him in retaliation, but Scarlett is accused. The plot completely veers from the novel at this point; when Scarlett is put on trial, Rhett comes to her defense, after having learned about Katie. It is also discovered that Colm was killed by Lord Fenton when Colm wanted Fenton to support Mary who was pregnant with Fenton's child. Mary attempts suicide by drowning herself in the river, but is saved by Rhett. At the trial, Mary is still reluctant to confess that she killed Fenton, but does so after Scarlett is found guilty of murder. Later, Rhett and Scarlett make up with one another and decide to travel the world with Katie.