Gone With The Wind (1939) can be seen as a good movie. But, at the same time, it presents an image of the South which was never true in the first place and which presents slavery in almost passing reference ways. There is this time before the Civil War where, we are to believe, that the South had an ideal existence. Seeing the movie from the present, makes one quite aware of what is left out and glossed over and makes one want to go "Wait! Stop! Go back!" How can we and should evaluate the movie today?
It is important as always to remember the framework of literature, that it is a fiction and GWTW was always framed as a historical romance that drew on some elements of the civil war, but largely was about the journey of Scarlet O'Hara through a changing period. It is a story about the dangers of unrequited love and unrealistic ideals, but also about strength and resolution. In many ways the representation of slavery in the film/book needs to be balanced against the fact it is told from the perspective of a woman in that period, most of which had the same rights of slaves in the time. Scarlet is also an unreliable narrator as she perceives the events around her from a very self-centered lens.
However, all in all it is still an interesting text to discuss. – SaraiMW4 years ago
The same can be asked about many films of this era, particularly with regard to their portrayal of African Americans. However, this film won Hattie McDaniel an Oscar for her portrayal of Mammy. Did she accomplish something extraordinary as the first African American woman to win an Academy Award or was she being rewarded to cementing stereotypes? An article on the topic would take these and other questions into consideration when finding a place for this film in today’s world.
In all fairness, it should be praised for it's beautiful production quality and cinematography, the hurdles it went through to get made (having gone through four directors), and the accomplishments it made with regards to getting Hattie McDaniel said first Oscar for an African American actor/actress. However, it should also obviously be understood and recognized for it's stereotypical and unfair portrayal of African Americans, both in the context of the time period the film was presenting to us, and in the context of when the film was actually produced. – Jonathan Leiter7 years ago
The portrayal of African Americans, especially those considered domestic slaves in the film was different from other movies of the time. The film was still criticized by African Americans during the 40s and 50s as an image of glorifying slavery. One of the reasons may have been the somewhat "good" relations between the O'Hara's and the slaves, which was very much contrary to what was expected and known of the history of slavery in the south. This is an intriguing topic and would be interesting to see what has been written on this by others.
– aferozan7 years ago
To jump on the bandwagon -- would be interesting to examine how this film differs from other films of that period and how they portray black Americans. Was the subject broached at all in critical reviews when the film was released? Is there any significance to there being any black characters at all? – sophiacatherine7 years ago