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JAPANESE TO SELL WINES NAMED FOR CLASSIC MOVIE

JAPANESE TO SELL WINES NAMED FOR CLASSIC MOVIE

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In a sequel even Hollywood couldn't concoct, Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler are together again, reunited by a Japanese company bent on selling wine to a nation in love with American popular culture.

Fujisankei Communications International Inc., a Japanese media conglomerate, has secured licensing rights to ``Gone With the Wind' and plans to market a line of wines in Japan named after the Old South epic.The line of California wines will be available only in Japan, but is to be introduced today at a reception at New York's 21 Club. The wine label features the familiar ``Gone With the Wind' movie poster, with stars Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh embracing against a backdrop of Atlanta burning.

Cookbooks, key rings, jewelry boxes, T-shirts and other souvenir shop items have abounded for years as testaments to the enduring popularity of ``Gone With the Wind.'

But an attempt to cash in on the classic Civil War era tale with bottles of wine burns some in Atlanta, the birthplace and setting of the story.

``Don't you think it cheapens the book and the movie?' asked Hal Clarke, the lawyer for author Margaret Mitchell's estate.

Mitchell opposed commercialization of her story, which was published in 1936 and made into a movie in 1939. And after her death in 1949, her heirs fought most marketing attempts.

But the rights to the film version of ``Gone With the Wind' now belong to Atlanta media tycoon Ted Turner, who shows his beloved movie daily at a theater in his CNN Center.

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