Gone with the Wind

Bomb Rating: 

This film probably single-handedly set back Civil Rights a full ten years.

For quite some time I had been hearing the words "Scarlett O'Hara"and was unaware of their impact upon film history. Well, I finally managed to find four spare hours in my weekend to sit down and watch the 1939 epic. Now I have two equally important words for those overbearing cinema books: "skanky bitch."

Never has there been a cinematic character who so richly deserved a plenitude of tragedy as Scarlett (Vivian Leigh). Were audiences so desperate and absent-minded at the end of the 1930s that they were willing to root for Scarlett and the glory of the Old South? If you're one of the last people on Earth who hasn't seen this movie, then you may not know it's set in Georgia during and after the Civil War. You may also not realize that this film probably single-handedly set back Civil Rights a full ten years. I imagine a majority of Congress was unwilling to support a civil rights bill in 1954 because they knew it would ruin their constituents' admiration for "Gone with the Wind."

Scarlett starts off as a prissy wench and ends as one, ever smitten with girlie-man Ashley (Leslie Howard). That she lives in the South and is actually shocked when Ashley decides to marry his cousin, Melanie (Olivia de Havilland), makes one wonder whether Scarlett also shrieked in surprise each morning when the sun rose in the east. As the war carries on, Scarlett encounters Rhett Butler (Clark Gable), but doesn't think much of him.

When the war is over, Ashley returns, along with the reviled carpetbaggers (in the movie's language "carpetbagger" means "black man in a suit") from the North. However, despite his protestations, Scarlett still tries desperately to get Ashley to bag her carpet. In the end, she never learns, and even though "tomorrow is another day" anybody with a reasonable sense of justice leaves this movie hoping that Scarlett's "tomorrow" involves some wronged African American striking her upside the head with a crowbar.

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