TORONTO — Classic movie Gone with the Wind should go the way of the Confederate flag, movie writer Lou Lumenick suggested Wednesday.
“If the Confederate flag is finally going to be consigned to museums as an ugly symbol of racism,” he wrote in the New York Post, “what about the beloved film offering the most iconic glimpse of that flag in American culture?”
Lumenick wondered: “What does it say about us as a nation if we continue to embrace a movie that, in the final analysis, stands for many of the same things as the Confederate flag that flutters so dramatically over the dead and wounded soldiers at the Atlanta train station just before the GWTW intermission?”
Released in 1939, Gone with the Wind won Best Picture and seven other Oscars — including one for supporting actress Hattie McDaniel, the first black person to win.
In 1989, the movie was chosen for preservation by the U.S. National Film Registry and it was voted the fourth best American movie of all time by the American Film Institute in 1998.
Based on Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel, the movie was directed by Victor Fleming and starred Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh.
Although it was a critical and commercial success, Gone with the Wind has long been criticized for glorifying slavery and the Civil War.
Lumenick said although the N-word is not used in the movie, there are references to “darkies.”
He added: “There is no direct reference in the film to the Ku Klux Klan, but it’s still pretty clear that the unseen ‘political meeting’ that Rhett and Ashley attend after the attack on Scarlett involves the activities of vigilantes in white sheets.”
Gone with the Wind is scheduled to be screened July 4 at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and, Lumenick opined, “maybe that’s where this much-loved but undeniably racist artifact really belongs.”
He didn’t get much support in the comments section.
“You are an idiot for even suggesting it,” one reader wrote. Another declared: “No one who cares about film would ever suggest anything like this.”
Tommy Ivey opined: “This film is not pure history of course, but it is not supposed to be. It is a fictional account. But it addresses both the mythical chivalry of the southern upper class culture and the dark side of Master and Slave…hell it even says so in its intro.”