Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Gone With the Wind


I expect I’ve seen this five or six times now, maybe even more, and every time I’m surprised that I’ve forgotten just how vile Scarlett O’Hara is. There is only one point at which I have any sympathy for her at all, and that is at the end of the first act. Brought low, to the point of eating a filthy carrot she has just pulled from the ground, she falls down, and slowly rises: “As God is my witness they’re not going to lick me. I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.” I think this is the emotional high point of the movie, since at the end, I couldn’t give less of a damn what happens to her. Yeah, tomorrow is another day, and she will still be as narcissistic as she was all previous days.

Also disturbing is just how solidly the narrative is on the side of the Glorious South, of the Cause, of the glorification of those useless, contemptible twits and twats of the slave-owning aristocracy, of keeping the darkies in their place. Why, just look how Tara’s slaves remain devoted to the horrible O’Haras after they are freed. They was happy singin’ and pickin’ and dancin’! Why, havin’ niggers in Congress just don’t seem fittin’, Miz Scarlett!

GWTW is a great film, no question, but it’s great in the same way that a much more awful film, The Birth of a Nation, is great. It is a hell of a good, sprawling story and a cinema landmark. But there is evil at its core. There is a movement afoot to destroy this movie, no more downloads, no more showings at all. I could not possibly be more opposed to this insanity, this Soviet-style 1984-style re-writing of history. But I wouldn’t mind seeing some sort of warning before it is shown.