‘Gone with the Wind’ should go the way of the Confederate flag

New York Post – by Lou Lumenick

If the Confederate flag is finally going to be consigned to museums as an ugly symbol of racism, what about the beloved film offering the most iconic glimpse of that flag in American culture?

I’m talking, of course, about “Gone with the Wind,’’ which won a then-record eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture of 1939, and still ranks as the all-time North American box-office champ with $1.6 billion worth of tickets sold here when adjusted for inflation.

True, “Gone with the Wind’’ isn’t as blatantly and virulently racist as D.W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation,’’ which was considered one of the greatest American movies as late as the early 1960s, but is now rarely screened, even in museums.

The more subtle racism of “Gone with the Wind’’ is in some ways more insidious, going to great lengths to enshrine the myth that the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery — an institution the film unabashedly romanticizes.

When I reviewed the graphically honest “12 Years a Slave’’ in 2013, I noted, “It will be impossible to ever look at ‘Gone with the Wind’ the same way.’’

Apparently someone at the motion picture academy — possibly president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who is African-American — agrees. “The Wizard of Oz’’ got a special 75th anniversary tribute at the same Oscar ceremony where “12 Years’’ won Best Picture. “Gone with the Wind,’’ which beat “The Wizard of Oz’’ for Best Picture, barely rated a mention during an Oscar segment on 1939 movies.

Based on a best seller by die-hard Southerner Margaret Mitchell, “Gone with the Wind’’ buys heavily into the idea that the Civil War was a noble lost cause and casts Yankees and Yankee sympathizers as the villains, both during the war and during Reconstruction.

Producer David O. Selznick, a liberal Jew, did temper Mitchell’s vision somewhat, banning the N-word but allowing a lot of references to “darkies.’’ There is no direct reference in the film to the Ku Klux Klan, but it’s still pretty clear that the unseen “political meeting’’ that Rhett and Ashley attend after the attack on Scarlett involves the activities of vigilantes in white sheets.

Warner Bros., which has owned “GWTW’’ since 1996, resisted any analysis of the film’s problematic racial politics until a 26-minute featurette was included with last year’s Blu-ray set. In it, black and white scholars discuss the film’s embrace of the view propagated by (mostly Southern) post-Civil War historians that slavery wasn’t such a bad thing.

We now know better, even if there are many other great things about “GWTW’’ — among them its sweep, its gorgeous Technicolor photography and its unforgettable performances by Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable and the film’s emotional center, Hattie McDaniel, the first black performer to win an Oscar as the subversive Mammy.

But what does it say about us as a nation if we continue to embrace a movie that, in the final analysis, stands for many of the same things as the Confederate flag that flutters so dramatically over the dead and wounded soldiers at the Atlanta train station just before the “GWTW’’ intermission?

Warner Bros. just stopped licensing another of pop culture’s most visible uses of the Confederate flag — toy replicas of the General Lee, an orange Dodge Charger from “The Dukes of Hazzard’’ — as retailers like Amazon and Walmart have finally backed away from selling merchandise with that racist symbol.

That studio sent “Gone with the Wind’’ back into theaters for its 75th anniversary in partnership with its sister company Turner Classic Movies in 2014, but I have a feeling the movie’s days as a cash cow are numbered. It’s showing on July 4 at the Museum of Modern Art as part of the museum’s salute to the 100th anniversary of Technicolor — and maybe that’s where this much-loved but undeniably racist artifact really belongs.


6 thoughts on “‘Gone with the Wind’ should go the way of the Confederate flag

  1. I don’t “give a damn” what these scumsucking joo bastards want to do with their “greatest movie of all time.” I will admit, it’s quite the spectacle but still made by joos trying to re-write our history. Gone With the Flatulence, Saving Private Bull$hit, and all these flag waving moron movies are from joo-boy Hollyweird, and all the actors have been ‘compromised’. So just when you think Rock Hudson is a manly man, you find out he was disgusted having to “make out” with his leading ladies. Now, it’s legal for Larry to marry Gary. Marriage? They have besmirched the sanctity of Marriage with it’s mockery. All of these joo boys need to go on George Carlin’s list of “People that need to be killed.”

  2. That battle of Atlanta injuries scene looks like a gathering of some of the worlds first crisis actors. Leave it to the jews to try to blend fiction with reality when it comes to faking injuries and then tell everyone it’s real just to make a profit and further an agenda.

  3. “… going to great lengths to enshrine the myth that the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery…”


    As far as I go with this one.

  4. “Great” students of history seem to forget that the war for Southern independence was fought largely over tariffs imposed on imports which favored wealthy industrialists in the North at the expense of the Southern states who exported cotton. They forget that slavery was legal in the North and that slavery was being abolished globally without war. The “civil war” was not a civil war for the same reason that the” revolutionary war” was not a revolutionary war. They were both wars of secession started by the government to force unwilling populations to submit to their rule. Most Southerners hated slavery because it cost them jobs they might have had themselves were it not for slave labor. One shouldn’t need to be reminded that factory work in the North wasn’t a cakewalk, one difference being that if you lost a slave you lost an investment. But if you lost a factory slave you weren’t out anything as boatloads of new factory slaves showed up daily to fill the ranks of the impoverished. What about blacks today being singled out in the war on drugs who spend years in private prisons producing goods for major corporations for pennies an hour? Mewonders how many of these same corporations own stock in mainstream media companies that decry the rebel flag or anything else that might stir the ignorant masses to war against each other while the real racists and criminals (who are almost exclusively white and male) steal what wealth they haven’t stolen already and laugh at us fools whom they have once again deceived into hating and killing one another at our own expense for the enrichment and entertainment of the of their modern day overseers.

  5. The ONLY place I saw this story was Rupert Murdoch’s NYPost. He’s trying to inflame people on the right. No one’s trying to ban Gone With The Wind, that’s ridiculous.

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