Despite being the highest-grossing films of all time, Gone With the Wind has left a scar on our hearts that time can never heal. It is one of the most celebrated films in history but still the most tone-deaf and stereotypical in its context.
The films won 10 Oscars including the award for best-supporting actress won by Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American woman to win in this category.
The movie is adapted from the novel of the same title and is based around the time of civil war. It has depicted African Americans in an exasperatingly stereotypical manner. Whether you take the character of Hattie McDaniel or the staircase scene, this movie raises many eyebrows when it is watched today. It is clearly obvious that the most successful film of all time has not aged well.
Although the debates surrounding this movie have somehow been one and the same, HBO Max’s latest decision to temporarily remove it with a bunch of black American documentaries has clearly reignited them.
The service’s spokesperson has confirmed that the movie will return, but it will be reviewed first in light of “its historical context.”
Source: The Blast
Filmmaker John Ridley opened up about the film and noted that that movie not only “glorifies the antebellum south” but also plays it’s part well in perpetuating “some of the most painful stereotypes of people of color.”
Recently, Disney+ had a similar experience when it was supposed to rotate the 1946 film “Song of the South” and after much contemplation, it decided to pull it down. Additionally, “Dumbo” opens up with a disclaimer: “This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions.”
Coming back to Gone With The Wind, Alyssa Rosenberg of the Washington Post notes that even McDaniel’s phenomenal performance “couldn’t wholly transcend the trope of a loyal slave who rejects freedom and prefers to serve her former owners.”
Back in 2017, the discussion began again when a theatre in Memphis, Tennessee discouraged the screening of the movie after the protest in Charlottesville.
“You can’t sweep history under the rug. But it’s important to have context whenever you’re viewing material of this kind. Otherwise, people can embrace and celebrate it without dealing with the whole truth.” – Said USC professor of media and cinema studies Todd Boyd while speaking to the Los Angeles Times.
Thus, it can be concluded that even Hollywood cringes at its own history and the amount of neglect it has shown to the very people who’ve given their whole lives to the business. It's about time we stop turning a blind eye to the merciless treatment.