Movie Title: Gone With The Wind
First Watch / Repeat Viewing
Running Time: 3 hr. 58 min.
Who did I watch with?: Stephie
Where did I watch it?: Home
Gone With The Wind is a well made movie about an idealized south that is not only nauseating, but never existed. It embraces every sickening view that white southerners developed about a genteel south following the war right down to “the lost cause” attitude that the south allegedly knew they were fighting. This is symbolized in the form of a ragged flag during the siege of Atlanta and espoused from the mouths of many of its characters not the least of which would be leading man Clark Gable. The movie lacks any of the brutality associated with slavery. The most violent it gets is a slap across the face of a feeble minded female slave. Slavery is presented as being so gentle that the slaves should have been happy with their lot. The only people that seem to suffer from any ill effects from the war are the white characters who are put below their dignity by having to do field work and losing their money. Slavery is barely discussed at all.
This nonsense gets more disgusting after the war is over as the Union soldiers are referred to as The Great Invader (didn’t hear that when they fired at Fort Sumter or marched into the north) while the returning confederate soldiers are referred to as glorious cavaliers. The downfall of southern society is shown as white people being forced to pick cotton and do manual labor. You know, the things slaves used to do. Yankee prisons are referred to as if they could be the worst place on Earth while union prisoners rotted in Andersonville. All of these false narratives developed after the war in order to justify racism, keeping black people out of society, and to perpetuate the idea of a benevolent south.
All these historical atrocities are juxtaposed against a beautifully made movie. The costumes are beautifully crafted. The set pieces, scenery, and matte painting are beautiful. The characters of Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara are terrific. They are both scoundrels that do not fit into their genteel society. They chew the scenery and banter with each other beautifully. Their on screen chemistry is unmatched. Many of the other performances are well done as well. The story is decent despite its flaws though the two core performances along with that of love interest Ashley (Leslie Howard) and Mammy (Hattie McDaniel) carry the narrative. The movie becomes extremely tedious down the stretch, but Gable’s walk off ending is a terrific way to wrap up the movie.
The movie is simultaneously a great epic and a historical atrocity. It is a must see movie as one of the two American masterpieces that glorified racism and the south along with D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation. See it, but don’t believe it.
Tomorrow’s Movie: Krampus (2015)