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The fate of the film Gone With The Wind against today’s backdrop



The 1939 movie gets pulled from cable, then returns

1939, film, racism
Photo above: Vivian Leigh and Clark Gable (left). Hattie McDaniel (right)

It recently was announced by all the major entertainment networks and newspapers that "Gone with the Wind" would be pulled from the HBO Max line-up because the death of George Floyd in police custody prompted national social unrest, and also because the film has long been criticized for romanticizing depictions of slavery and the Civil War-era southThen, in a reversal to that decision, HBO announced that it would return, but with a newly added introduction by Black scholar, Jacqueline Stewart, who is also a professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago, and a Turner Classic Movie network host.

In a statement released by Stewart, she says, "I will provide an introduction placing the film in its multiple historical contexts. For me, this is an opportunity to think about what classic films can teach us."  Common Sense Media agrees and invites those who watch the movie to use it as a way to create teachable moments. 

A family dialog could discuss themes like:

  • How Black characters are depicted in the movie?
  • Why are their representations problematic?
  • How do you think the portrayal of slavery would be different if this movie were remade today?
Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American historical romance film adapted from the 1936 novel by Margaret Mitchell. Set in the American South against the backdrop of the American Civil War, the film tells the story of Scarlett O'Hara, the strong-willed daughter of a Georgia plantation owner. It follows her romantic pursuit of Ashley Wilkes, who marries his cousin, Melanie Hamilton, and Scarlett's subsequent marriage to Rhett Butler. The leading roles are played by Vivien Leigh, Clarke Gable, Leslie Howard, and Olivia de Haviland.



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