I see in the news today, in an attempt to be politically correct, a corporate giant, known for it’s long history and many levels of accurate information dissemination, has enforced censorship on its subscribers rather than letting each of its world wide respected universe of subscribers decide for themselves. This clearly reveals a corporate superiority complex, contempt and lack of respect for us all, by its action of removing the Hollywood icon of 1939, Gone With the Wind (GWTW), from its offerings today. In so doing, the entire country’s First Amendment Rights of Free Speech under the U.S. Constitution are violated.
This was called censorship the last time I looked. GWTW is one of Hollywood’s all time great masterpieces on many levels and deserves to be seen for many reasons, but especially from being entertaining, beautiful to watch, to being historically accurate and thereby edifying.
GWTW was a brutally realistic depiction of the South’s punishment or destruction for its slavery based economy by losing the Civil War. It accurately captures the South in decay and then being destroyed, with burned out fields devoid of crops. In addition, all the main characters suffered enormously for their southern, slave based economy. There are no winners here. The loss of the Southern way of life based on slave labor is clearly and unequivocally depicted.
Moreover, tragedy, symbols of moral punishment, follow the southern main characters to the film’s long end:
Scarlet and Rhet’s young daughter dies in a horrible riding accident,
Scarlet suffers a miscarriage,
Scarlet and Rhet, husbands and wife, hate one another and are both alcoholics,
Melanie dies horrifically in childbirth leaving a small son and a grieving husband behind,
Scarlet then realizes that her long time and illicit love for Melanie’s husband, Ashley Wilkes, has always been unrequited, and
At long last, Rhet leaves Scarlet when she wants him to stay with her with his most famous line of all:
“Frankly, My Dear, I don’t give a damn” , racy words for 1939.
There is no victory lap here for the South and many lessons to be learned for getting it wrong. Yet to this day, while handling perhaps our county’s most sensitive period in our history, I do not believe a film as beautiful to watch as it gracefully depicts terminal punishment on the loser has ever been created again in Hollywood.
A stunningly beautiful young, English actress and a newcomer, Vivien Leigh, won a Best Actress Oscar her first time out playing Scarlet O’Hara with her heart and soul on constant view. Hattie McDaniel, an American of color, won Best Supporting Actress. This was the first time a person of color won an Oscar. The film also won a Best Picture Oscar and several others. GWTW stands up as well today as it did when it was released, and it is as respected and revered today as it was when it was made, as is the novel by Margaret Mitchell, a Southern woman, upon which it is based, when it was published. The film is a huge Hollywood icon of excellence that subsequent films tried to emulate but failed.
So sad and sorry to see this happen. This is a loss for HBO that I hope other services do not emulate.
Tears for America.
Lorene Connolly, M.L.S.
Yvonne McGehee, Charlotte Wyda and 9 others
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