Gone With The Wind Gone With The Wind
August 28, 2017 4:11 AM   Subscribe

‘Gone With The Wind’ Pulled From Memphis Theatre After Being Considered “Insensitive” - - winner of eight Academy Awards including Best Supporting Actress to Hattie McDaniel, the first black actor to win an Oscar - - Gone With The Wind has been dropped from the Orpheum Theatre's schedule following numerous complaints.
posted by fairmettle (104 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't actually have a problem with this.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:17 AM on August 28 [20 favorites]


So, you don't give a damn?
posted by yhbc at 4:21 AM on August 28 [106 favorites]


No idea about the movie, but one of the striking aspects of the book was its presentation of the KKK as a morally good thing.
posted by oheso at 4:33 AM on August 28 [15 favorites]


Yeah, if "Song of the South" and all of the old racist Warner cartoons can be permanently put in the "yeah, we sucked back then" vault, why not this?
posted by Mr. Big Business at 4:34 AM on August 28 [29 favorites]


So, you don't give a damn?

Ugh, why didn't I think of that.

Yeah, nobody is being censored, they're just going to show different movies. Not every movie can be shown, and this one in particular hasn't aged well. So buh-bye Scarlett O'Hara and her pouffy dress, if people are desperate to see romanticised life on the Old Plantation I suppose they'll have to catch it on cable.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:35 AM on August 28 [13 favorites]


So I have this book. Past Imperfect is a collection of essay/reviews, each one about a different "history" film, and each one by a different historian. Nearly all of them compare the account of the events which is depicted in the film with the actual account of history and what "really happened"; some films get things right, some get them really, really wrong. The essays sometimes try to explain why there may have been such changes, as well.

However, some essays also introduce a bit of information about the events which were taking place at the time the film was actually made, because that can have a profound impact on the decisions the director makes and how the public receives a movie. The different productions of Henry V, for instance - Laurence Olivier's Henry came towards the end of World War II, and is all stirringly inspirational, with Henry's bravery and nobility emphasized. Whereas Kenneth Branagh's Henry came in the last 80's, when the idea of British exceptionalism was on the wane; his Henry is more flawed, battles are grimmer.

Time matters. And so too does the time in which a film is screened. Gone With The Wind is notable for its achievements - especially the historic win of Hattie McDaniel - but right now, at this moment, at a time when there is such a heightened state of controversy over How To Remember The South, all of those achievements would pale beside the problems a screening would create. The whole idea behind pulling down the monuments is that the public seniment is turning against the romanticized "lost cause" story of the South - and that is the very same image that Gone With The Wind is trying to depict. The same sentiment that caused all the United Daughters of the Confederacy to put up all those statues is the same sentiment that caused Margaret Mitchell to write the book, and the film to get made. At this point in time, this film is akin to one of those cheap knockoff Robert E. Lee statues.

This is not to say that we can't screen the film anywhere, or that people shouldn't rent it or something. People will still watch it on DVD and such. And a public screening with a preceding lecture or a conversation with a historian taking questions from the audience could be profoundly interesting. But just putting it up in theaters and expecting nothing to happen would be a little naive.

This is also not to say that we can't ever watch it again. On some day in the future, with enough distance from the rawness of today, maybe.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:36 AM on August 28 [142 favorites]


but one of the striking aspects of the book was its presentation of the KKK as a morally good thing

yeah, thanks to that book 14-yo thirdworlder me really did thought for a while that what those men were doing were good things, even if I had read/watched other sources abt the US civil war, slavery and the KKK. I think the fact it wasn't spelled out as KKK (in my recollection) went a loooong way.

I can point to this book for a set of pernicious beliefs that took more (online) interactions with black American spaces to truly get rid of.
posted by cendawanita at 5:15 AM on August 28 [20 favorites]


Have you ever hated a book that you couldn't put down? That's how it was with me and Gone With the Wind. I'd been told it was a Southern woman's favorite book, and I was old enough to know that was bullshit but young enough to give it a chance. Dear God! If there is a type of person I hate, it's a woman who hates other women and hates books, and that is exactly what you learn Scarlett is, right away. It was horrible and meretricious and I couldn't stop until I found out the end of the story. Ayn Rand had the same power, and her books had a similar aim, in service of slightly different but still repulsive ideals.

It's embarrassing to fool with this work today. It's even embarrassing that someone made an authorized sequel as recently as the '90s. Now is not the time. Despite what some people want, it will never be the time again.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:19 AM on August 28 [24 favorites]


First time Memphis is back in the AV Club news headlines since #buttholegate. Not sure if I'm more proud, or a little less.

The Orpheum is the swanky theater downtown, who mostly has live shows and plays and stuff, and a handful of times a summer shows an old movie as a special event. There's a time and place for Gone With The Wind, I guess, but this sure isn't it.

(Doesn't Fred, or whatever Husband #2's name is, get himself killed doing KKK stuff?)
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:23 AM on August 28


How long before for some bag of dicks decides to respond by organizing a double feature of Gone With the Wind and Birth of a Nation?
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:26 AM on August 28 [7 favorites]


I've been watching a lot of old films over the last few years while I try to get through Ebert's Great Movies and the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and I've been amazed at how many landmark films have serious problems with race. I sat through Griffith's Birth of a Nation because it's an important step forward in narrative construction and editing but hell is it a difficult watch and I never want to see it again.

I've always been a little curious why Gone with the Wind has always gotten a pass when while it's not as bad as Birth of a Nation, it's still glorifying southern slave-holders. At least they cast real black actors and still weren't using blackface by then.
posted by octothorpe at 5:27 AM on August 28 [7 favorites]


I've always been a little curious why Gone with the Wind has always gotten a pass when while it's not as bad as Birth of a Nation, it's still glorifying southern slave-holders.

See: confederate flags on public display. Or in statehouses, etc. A lot of this shit has been getting a pass forever.

Also, because Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, and it's in color and a talkie (heh) so it doesn't feel like a suspicious relic in the same way.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:37 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


In a world with video-on-demand and 800 billion different ways to consume content, if you still want to watch Gone With the Wind, or, heck, Birth of a Nation or Triumph of the Will, whether for scholarship or because you're a white supremacist, you most definitely can.

So, yeah, I for sure give zero damns.
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:10 AM on August 28 [14 favorites]


I am glad that this movie is starting to make the slow and contested shift from something to be uncomplicatedly celebrated and enjoyed to one of those movies that we acknowledge as important while foregrounding the ways it is problematic.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:27 AM on August 28 [20 favorites]


> I've always been a little curious why Gone with the Wind has always gotten a pass when while it's not as bad as Birth of a Nation, it's still glorifying southern slave-holders.

[...] because Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, and it's in color and a talkie (heh) so it doesn't feel like a suspicious relic in the same way.


Also, I'd wager that the racism is more....subtle. I watched Birth Of A Nation recently too, like octothorpe (I'm actually blogging about watching through the 1001 films-before-you-die in order); and in Nation, there are a lot of scenes of Former Slaves Behaving Badly - pushing little old ladies, stuffing ballot boxes, drinking and carousing in the town hall, etc. In Gone With The Wind, meanwhile, the slaves are just background, basically; docile, dutiful, just toiling away in the background while Scarlett and Rhett's great romance plays out. The racism in Birth Of A Nation is simply easier to see.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:27 AM on August 28 [11 favorites]


I've always preferred the Carol Burnett version myself...
posted by jim in austin at 6:28 AM on August 28 [39 favorites]


I worked at my local movie theater as a projectionist when the 60th anniversary theatrical re-release of GWTW happened, ca. 1999. This particular release was a big deal for us because it was the first time we'd gotten a Technicolor film print that had been made using the original Technicolor process, as opposed to more modern techniques, and so the film's color would theoretically look exactly the way it did in 1939.

After assembling and previewing the print the night before the premiere, I also discovered that old-school Technicolor prints, when sent through a running projector with a white-hot bulb, emit an odor that can only be described as pure brimstone. That movie stunk up my projection booth for a full three weeks before we got rid of it, and I choose to see the experience as a metaphor for neo-Confederatism in the 21st century.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:41 AM on August 28 [60 favorites]


How long before for some bag of dicks decides to respond by organizing a double feature of Gone With the Wind and Birth of a Nation?

Go for the trifecta and throw Triumph of the Will in there too.
posted by Quindar Beep at 6:44 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


I watched Triumph of the Will fairly recently too. It's actually pretty damn boring even for someone like me who likes movies that other people consider boring. There is some striking imagery but two hours of filmed parades is a lot to sit through.
posted by octothorpe at 6:49 AM on August 28 [9 favorites]


So much doomsaying in the comments (yes, I know...). According to my white people dictionary, "censorship" means "one private organization in one place in the world deciding not to show one movie at one time."
posted by J.K. Seazer at 6:52 AM on August 28 [19 favorites]


They're trying to erase our movie heritage! If they can delete Gone with the Wind, what's to stop them from killing off Smokey and the Bandit? Or Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Or Varsity Blues? We could wake up tomorrow in a world without the Colonel Angus sketch!
posted by PlusDistance at 6:58 AM on August 28 [14 favorites]


This FPP deals with the ways in which the traditional cinematic analysis of Triumph of the Will fails by accepting the terms by which the Nazis wished to be viewed. Only by breaking analysis down to first principles do we see that Riefenstahl was not as groundbreaking as we remember, and the reputation of the film, like that of the Nazis, is misleading and pernicious.

To some degree, watching Gone with the Wind presents a similar trap. It's hard to take the romance seriously when the film needs us to overlook what horrible people they are, and infinitely more so when you acknowledge that you're being asked to give your sympathy to slave-owning traitors. All the glorious production values are at the service of making us feel that sympathy, and analyzing that as a wicked act is, probably, more fruitful than enjoying the story. Which is a hard sell for a revival theater audience.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:59 AM on August 28 [17 favorites]


The comments on the Deadline article are exactly as dumb and reactionary as I'd expect.
posted by octothorpe at 7:10 AM on August 28


Also Clark Gable was a rapey asshole. Fuck him and his racist film.
posted by evilDoug at 7:11 AM on August 28 [13 favorites]


I'm actually blogging about watching through the 1001 films-before-you-die in order

Ohh, nice. Subscribed in NewsBlur. I try to put up reviews on Letterboxd as I watch them but I'm not a very good writer and don't often have much new to say about films that have already be analyzed to death by half a century of critics by the time I see them.
posted by octothorpe at 7:18 AM on August 28


My ex was friends with some liberal professors in Illinois who used to throw a taffy pulling party every year when Gone With the Wind would make its annual appearance on TV. They'd have the TV playing in a separate room from the taffy pulling, only to stop with the taffy and festivities when it was announced "Atlanta's burning!" Then they'd all go into the TV room and cheer until the fire was out. Then they'd turn off the TV and go back to the taffy.

I will say this about the movie, William Cameron Menzies was freaking amazing. Menzies was the connecting visual sensibility behind the named directors who worked on the film, Cukor and Fleming, and is responsible for most of its visual style. Menzies started work in the silent era and became the first to be titled a production designer, for Gone With the Wind, for all the work he did making other directors films look good. He often did more actual directing than the directors and even when he didn't direct himself, his visual sensibility was so strong that the films he worked on stand out as much "his" as those who were in charge of the production. For anyone interested in early films, Menzies is someone worth looking into.
posted by gusottertrout at 7:39 AM on August 28 [23 favorites]


the Orpheum Board deemed the film as “insensitive” to its local population, which is 64 percent black.
posted by doctornemo at 8:04 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


It's awfully unsettling for many people to be reminded that Great-Great-Granddaddy lived in extremely racist times and an extremely racist region and lived his life there as if all of that was perfectly normal. Especially when Great-Granddaddy and Grandpa and Dad very often followed the same path. #notallsouthernersandnotjustsoutherners, of course; as I am fond of noting, every state had and has good people in it whom we will make an effort to airlift out when the revolution comes.

Yes, it is a piece of history, but that's also much of the overall problem; too many people view the era and climate that it depicts _positively_, something to remember fondly and hold up as heritage, rather than as a ghastly mistake to improve upon and not to be repeated or emulated. The response to HERITAGE NOT HATE re: Confederate whitewashing is YOU CLEARLY DON'T UNDERSTAND YOUR OWN HERITAGE EITHER.
posted by delfin at 8:04 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


I tried watching Birth of a Nation once, and it wasn't the racism that got me it was just that I couldn't handle the antique cinematography I'd loaded it up to see.

I remember exactly when I quit watching. It was sometime in the first six or eight minutes of the film, the brothers had just gotten a letter from someone and were using exaggerated body language to show that they had opened it and were reading it, and it cut back and forth several times between the image of the letter to them reading it.

I got that part, I didn't object. Audiences back then presumably couldn't be counted on to simply know that if you show an actor opening a letter, then a letter, that it's the one the actor just opened. It was the kind of thing I was watching the movie to see.

But then he cut in this utterly weird bit that was first funny, then boring, and then so boring and bizarre I just had to give up. While they were reading the letter it cut to some white woman taking a step forward, then a step back over, and over, and over. It was like she was doing the Hokey Pokey, putting her right foot in and out for what seemed like fifteen minutes but in reality was probably no more than a decade or two.

And that's when I decided my devotion to learning the history of cinema just really wasn't all that great and closed the video.

As for Gone With the Wind, I think if nothing else it's more insidious and poisonous than Birth of a Nation precisely because the racism is more buried and less obvious. By depicting the antebellum South as a paradise of clearly inferior but very happy slaves cheerfully serving their white superiors it helps embed the Lost Cause BS in its viewers.

Slavery is the unquestioned background to the movie, it is simply assumed to be good and presented as such in a quiet, low key, way that worms its way into the viewer's brain.
posted by sotonohito at 8:18 AM on August 28 [14 favorites]


I already posted this in one of the election threads and here again is an excellent explainer for Song of the South.
posted by chrchr at 8:31 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


[Couple deleted; a single private movie theater opting not to show GWTW is not the same as ISIS.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:36 AM on August 28 [46 favorites]


How many of the people who claim we're erasing history even know our real history? Did they learn about our history of genocide and Jim Crow in their public schools, and are they doing everything in their power to ensure their kids are taught that too? Are they commemorating the anniversary of Emmett Till's murder today?

Because that's today, although I'm sure these history buffs already knew that.
posted by ernielundquist at 8:38 AM on August 28 [35 favorites]


Did I miss the part about where they also torched all the prints?

I've always been a little curious why Gone with the Wind has always gotten a pass when while it's not as bad as Birth of a Nation, it's still glorifying southern slave-holders.

So, historical romances almost inevitably engage with oppressive and exploitative power structures in troubling ways, because, for many of their readers, it's about the fantasy of achieving the apotheosis of white womanhood, and you get that by marrying a duke or a Gilded Age millionaire, not by scratching out a subsistence farming existence all your life. If the viewer mentally classes the plantation system with other such historical backgrounds, it becomes more of a stock element of the film, there to provide atmosphere and the endorsement of Our Heroine's special status, and less what it actually was. Then the movie really just becomes about two people fucked up by having lived through a war and lost everything.

It's hardly the only or best reading possible for the film (though it's not a perverse one), but I think that's the guise in which it has often eluded closer analysis in later years. And critics have tended not to take romances seriously as a political matter generally, of course.
posted by praemunire at 8:40 AM on August 28 [21 favorites]


I've always been a little curious why Gone with the Wind has always gotten a pass when while it's not as bad as Birth of a Nation, it's still glorifying southern slave-holders.

Probably for the same reason people aren't complaining about the violent misogyny of Murnau's Sunrise. Because most people haven't seen it.

People actually watch Gone with the Wind as a romance rather than as a historical time capsule, but only film nerds bother with silents.
posted by ernielundquist at 8:46 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Dangit. I just posted prematurely.

...And GWWW normalizes the racist environment, not addressing it as directly, so people feel they can gloss over it in a way that they can't with a polemic like Birth of a Nation.

And because most people don't watch silents for entertainment, almost nobody has a personal guilt around enjoying Birth of a Nation. Most people haven't seen it, and those who have probably watched it for educational or completist purposes, and if they admire it, it's probably for the craftsmanship, rather than the explicit message of the story.
posted by ernielundquist at 8:51 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


Context: Memphis is experiencing some controversy around the proposed removal of statues of Nathan Bedford Forrest (atop his grave in Health Sciences Park, formerly NBF park) and Jefferson Davis (on the waterfront, in former JD Park, and erected in 1964 (&@"&&&&$@"!!!!)). The city council and mayor have already voted to remove both statues, but it requires a waiver of 2/3 (formerly a majority) of the Tennessee Historical Commission to do so. The city attorney has stated that it's easier to put somebody to death by lethal injection than it is to get a waiver.

The controversy is over whether the legal processes should continue to be pursued for the next year or so, and possibly beyond (as the (white) mayor and apparently most of the city council have proposed so far), or whether (someone) should take 'em down like right now, as local activists have pushed hard for.

Oh, and next year is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King in downtown Memphis, 6 blocks south of the Orpheum Theatre.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 9:04 AM on August 28 [12 favorites]


I'm a filmmaker and film writer from Memphis, and I'm glad The Orpheum is taking Gone With The Wind out of its regular summer movie program rotation. I think I'm like a lot of people in the South who grew up watching GWTW on TV every year. I loved the spectacle of it—even now, with my grown-up filmmaker eyes, it's still an exceptionally well produced project, an example of what the old studio system could do at the height of its power and artistry. It's at its best when it's a story about people getting swept up in the currents of history and doing the best they can.

But as I got older, I liked it less every time I watched it. For one thing, Vivian Leigh gives a tremendous performance in the film, but Scarlett O'Hara the character is a sociopath. She codified the Southern Belle archetype for at least two generations of Southern women, and as a lifelong Southerner, I can say that very little of that influence was good. Yes, it teaches women determination and grit, but much of Scarlett's determination is directed towards doing selfish and bad stuff. Rhett Butler fares slightly better, because he's initially cynical about the whole secession thing, but eventually gets on board with the lost cause. Rhett and Scarlett deserve each other, because they're both insufferable, self-centered jerks. In fact, aside from Hattie McDaniel's Mammy, there are no sympathetic characters in Gone With The Wind. The rich, slave-owning planter class—which is everybody that matters in GWTW—were not the good guys in the South of the 1850s and 60s. They just had pretty houses.

The Orpheum Summer Movie Series is an institution in Memphis. There's nothing like seeing old films in a vintage movie palace. It's the only exposure a lot of people around here get to classic cinema. Gone With The Wind had a long run, but it's time to put it out to pasture. Just after Prince died, the Orpheum had a memorial screening of Purple Rain that was one of the greatest theater experiences of my life. People were dancing in the aisles. The Summer Movie Series will continue just fine without GWTW. After all, tomorrow is another day.
posted by vibrotronica at 9:14 AM on August 28 [50 favorites]


I've seen it two or three times in my life, the last time 20 years ago. I never need to see it again. The slaves are treated as simpletons who simply want to please. Compare that with the recent TV show "Underground" which portrays the slaves as saavy people doing everything they can to stay alive and unpunished even if it means pretending to be madly in love with the Plantation owners.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:19 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


In fact, aside from Hattie McDaniel's Mammy, there are no sympathetic characters in Gone With The Wind. The rich, slave-owning planter class—which is everybody that matters in GWTW—were not the good guys in the South of the 1850s and 60s.

It's kind of like Fight Club, in that the movie is made worse by its fandom's insistence that it's not the movie it really is. The people who love GWTW, for the most part, do not want it to be a movie about terrible people who do terrible things and largely wreck their own lives in doing so. It cannot be salvaged to make those people happy. Any place that GWTW has in film canon needs to admit that it's the movie it is, and that includes providing context when it's viewed so that the audience knows about things like the KKK decision when evaluating it.

Fight Club is not actually about how it's a great idea to punch other guys in the face recreationally, and this is not actually about a beautiful tragic Southern romance, but god knows it's impossible to convince some people that the movie they think they saw is not the movie that actually exists when they really, really want to believe.
posted by Sequence at 9:33 AM on August 28 [15 favorites]


For one thing, Vivian Leigh gives a tremendous performance in the film, but Scarlett O'Hara the character is a sociopath.

Yeah, I grew up in Europe and when I saw GWtW as a teenager I thought the story was about how being an entitled slave owner made you into an awful person. Scarlett was so horrible. I also never understood why Mammy stuck around and helped her out instead of bonking her on the head with that iron and taking off. My dad tried to explain that she'd raised her and felt like her mother in a way, so stuck with her (he also grew up with nannies, although not ones like this, just normal nannies). But I read that movie as a cautionary tale about a society gone rotten from within. Interesting and a bit scary to know people looked up to Scarlett O'Hara who was an unforgivable awful person.
posted by fshgrl at 9:42 AM on August 28 [19 favorites]


(Doesn't Fred, or whatever Husband #2's name is, get himself killed doing KKK stuff?)

I don't know if it takes place in the movie, but the book has a very long sequence of bizarre shit about that. Scarlett O'Hara is assaulted by a black freedman, who as I recall tries to rape her because of his newfound equality, and she is saved by one of her former slaves, showcasing the "good black" stereotype, having loyalty to his old owners.

Then she comes home and complains to her husband, about how this happened, and where were the man, so her husband and Ashley Wilkes and all the men, who are secretly KKK, go out to terrify the black population into being good (all this is presented positively) but the dastardly Northern army tries to stop them, wounding I believe Ashley Wilkes, and they are saved because Rhett Butler claims they were all drunk with prostitutes at the time, and then Rhett Butler scolds Scarlett for walking out alone after dark and asking for it.

Like, it is horrible in literally every way it could be, and I assumed that was the problem with the movie rather than the Mammy character, but I don't recall if it made it into the movie or not.
posted by corb at 10:22 AM on August 28 [16 favorites]


I've been watching a lot of old films over the last few years while I try to get through Ebert's Great Movies and the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and I've been amazed at how many landmark films have serious problems with race.

I just got set up with Kanopy through my public library, and the first film I watched (or tried to) was Safety Last. I've been meaning to watch some silents for a while, and I thought it was great, right up until the scene at the jewelry store. The portrayal of the jeweler is just such a nasty stereotype that I couldn't finish. I made it a few minutes further, but the film was ruined for me. Instead of laughing at Harold Lloyd's ridiculous slapstick, I was sitting there thinking, "Fucking racists: what can't they ruin?"
posted by god hates math at 10:23 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


Like, it is horrible in literally every way it could be, and I assumed that was the problem with the movie rather than the Mammy character, but I don't recall if it made it into the movie or not.

As I recall, it was a group of white brigands who assault her, and the husband and the rest go to kill them (not as KKK, but as Honorable Southern Gentlemen), but otherwise it's as you described in the film version.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 10:28 AM on August 28 [2 favorites]


As someone who shut off "Breakfast at Tiffany's" as soon as Mr. Yunioshi appeared, I have no problem with this.
posted by steamynachos at 10:35 AM on August 28 [12 favorites]


steamynachos: "As someone who shut off "Breakfast at Tiffany's" as soon as Mr. Yunioshi appeared, I have no problem with this."

Hollywood stopped having actors in blackface in the thirties but somehow casting anglos as asians has lasted much longer.
posted by octothorpe at 10:57 AM on August 28 [6 favorites]


I came at this from the historical perspective earlier, from that book I have; I also have the perspective of having worked with a theater company that did a lot of early American plays (think like from 1920 and earlier). And there's often detail in those plays that can be...problematic - things some characters say, characters who are more caricatures, etc. And that can be a real challenge for today.

But what I kind of dig is that only half the time did they deal with things by cutting certain lines or words entirely. Sometimes they put a notice up in the lobby warning audiences about some of the language or themes, with a few paragraphs about the play and the time it was written, so people have a sort of warning and some context. Sometimes, if it was just one character who had a problematic thing they said and they were generally cranky anyway, we left it, but had the rest of the cast react with eyerolls, passing it off like that one character was like racist Uncle Bob and no one else liked it, but.... (Interestingly, I went to see the production of MERCHANT OF VENICE that Dustin Hoffman did on Broadway, and I remember that that is kind of how they handled the anti-Semtic lines in that play as well - giving them all to one guy, and the rest of the cast would sort of shift nervously from foot to foot when he was saying them and wait for him to finish.)

And once or twice they just got super-meta about it. One play they did, Fashion, was an 1850's comedy meant to poke fun at the high-society-wannabes in the United States who were trying to copy European manners to be "fashionable" instead of embracing the good, solid, no-nonsense all-american virtues of plainness and decency (a lot of plays from this period were like this). There's an upper-class family, visiting nobility, and a local farmer who comes in and lectures everyone about what jerks they're all being. The company decided to just completely turn the casting descriptions totally haywire - the matriarch of the family, our main character, was played by a guy in obvious drag. The "colored servant" was played by the whitest guy in the cast. They did have an African-american man in the cast - he got the part of "Adam Trueman", the noble and upright farmer. Everyone was very obviously pretending they were someone they weren't, which ended up not only getting to the heart of what the play was about, it also underscored the "this is not real life" element of it all.

They went even more meta with Metamora, an 1829 play about "King Phillips's War", a clash between the Massachusetts pilgrims and Pequots of the 1600s. That had a lot of seriously over-the-top "noble savage" twaddle all through it, and was so melodramatic that they decided to stage it as if you had somehow gone back in time and were watching it in 1829. We worked out of a little black box theater, but built a stage with a grand proscenium on it, so we could light the show with fake "footlights". The scenery was all obviously painted flat wood. Our "metamora" was very obviously a guy in a ton of red body paint. The "sound effects" and "music" were done by a visible foley artist extreme stage right, using antique foley techniques. It was a total hoot, but it also really firmly underscored the "this is from a very different era and time when things were different" angle.

Problematic works can be screened or performed, if you're really, really careful. sometimes you may need to cut things, but sometimes there are other ways to handle it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:57 AM on August 28 [33 favorites]


I read the book back in the 1950s, hated it. Then I saw the movie, hated it. As far as I can tell, those who approve of GWTW belong to the category I classify as Professional Southerners. I love being a southerner but, lordy lordy, some of us are just nuts.
posted by MovableBookLady at 12:12 PM on August 28 [11 favorites]


Plus damn thing's like 4 hours long, I can watch Another Thin Man & Laughton's Hunchback in that time.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:14 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


It's hard to take the romance seriously when the film needs us to overlook what horrible people they are, and infinitely more so when you acknowledge that you're being asked to give your sympathy to slave-owning traitors. All the glorious production values are at the service of making us feel that sympathy, and analyzing that as a wicked act is, probably, more fruitful than enjoying the story. Which is a hard sell for a revival theater audience.

I read and watched Gone with the Wind as a teenager, and years later when I watched The Sopranos and Breaking Bad, I thought “Huh, just like Gone With the Wind.” I thought that the cognitive dissonance caused by being led to sort of sympathize with a character and then being reminded that they’re really reprehensible sociopaths was kind of the point. I think it’s a good idea to take the film off the roster right now because I can see how it glamorizes pre-Civil War plantation life and the Confederacy, and the depictions of the loyal slaves are gag-inducing. But are there really people out there who don’t think that the main characters are basically horrible human beings?
posted by Kriesa at 12:33 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


But are there really people out there who don’t think that the main characters are basically horrible human beings?

Yes.

I mean, there are people who sent death threats to Anna Gunn. Of course there are people who still think Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara are super keen role models.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:43 PM on August 28 [9 favorites]


"But are there really people out there who don’t think that the main characters are basically horrible human beings?"

In my experience, the same teenaged people who think Wuthering Heights is an aspirational relationship model. Passionate melodramatic romance turns off their ability to see sociopathy.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:45 PM on August 28 [11 favorites]


Yeah, I think it can't be overstated the degree to which huge swathes of the audience for a movie or TV show (or book) just do not really comprehend even ham-fisted levels of moral ambiguity or failings in the main characters. Not for nothing were there a ton of people who were "Team Walter" at the end of Breaking Bad -- not like, "I know he's awful but I love seeing him be awful", but like, "Walter White is a hero and a role model".

In the case of GwtW it's even more confused because I don't think the writer of the book or the producers of the movie themselves believed the protagonists to be bad people (because shitty persistent racism across the culture), but even when writers/directors/producers are trying to subtly make the "hero" turn out to be bad, it's almost always too subtle to be noticed by a lot of people.
posted by tocts at 1:18 PM on August 28 [10 favorites]


Remember, there are a ton of people who thought that Michael Corleone was the hero of The Godfather.
posted by praemunire at 1:37 PM on August 28 [6 favorites]


In general we have a hard time distinguishing between "protagonist" and "hero".

Even in something as, you'd hope, unambiguous as Lolita a lot of people don't see the narrator as a villain because they're the narrator, they're the protagonist therefore, by definition, they must be the hero.

When you get into stuff like Blade Runner, where you've got a famous and well liked actor playing the protagonist villain in a sympathetic way it gets so muddled almost no one recognizes them as being the villain.

And when dealing with Gone with the Wind which tries to portray itself as a grand sweeping romance against the backdrop of an unjust and oppressive war, where the people who wrote it and acted it genuinely thought the major characters they were depicting were heroic and good, despite all evidence indicating they were horrible people, well, it isn't surprising that people of the more intellectually lazy type don't see the main characters as bad people.

When Scarlet declares that she'll never be hungry again we're supposed to see it as her braving adversity and being heroic and bold and strong, not as a woman who has directly and personally denied people food finally experiencing some tiny fraction of the pain she routinely subjected others to. It's a shown as a scene of dramatic heroism, not well deserved comeuppance.
posted by sotonohito at 1:53 PM on August 28 [12 favorites]


What I'm saying is, depressing as it is to consider, a huge number of people are never going to recognize the protagonists of Gone with the Wind as even flawed people, much less villains.
posted by sotonohito at 1:55 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


I don't think GWtW was any less problematic when it was first released than it is now -- in fact, I think it was far more dangerous back in 1939.

On June 19, 1939 Time published an issue with Charles A. Lindbergh on the cover in a military uniform, and on October 13, 1939 Lindbergh addressed the nation over the Mutual radio network and made a strong case for American neutrality in WWII, laying unashamedly brazen race cards on the table in the process:
Our bond with Europe is a bond of race and not of political ideology. We had to fight a European army to establish democracy in this country. It is the European race we must preserve; political progress will follow. Racial strength is vital; politics, a luxury. If the white race is ever seriously threatened, it may then be time for us to take our part in its protection, to fight side by side with the English, French, and Germans, but not with one against the other for our mutual destruction.
In a second address on August 4, 1940, Lindbergh took American neutrality as an established fact, and counseled against an antagonistic stance toward Germany after it won the war, as he clearly thought it inevitably must:
From 1936 to 1939, as I travelled through European countries, I saw the phenomomenal military strength of Germany growing like a giant at the side of an aged, and complacent England. France was awake to her danger, but far too occupied with personal ambitions, industrial troubles, and internal politics to make more than a feeble effort to rearm. In England there was organization without spirit. In France there was spirit without organization. In Germany there were both.

I realized that I was witnessing a clash between the heirs of another war. A generation had passed since the Treaty of Versailles. The sons of victory and the sons of defeat were about to meet on the battlefields of their fathers. As I travelled first among those who had won, and then among those who had lost, the words of a French philosopher kept running through my mind: "Man thrives on adversity."

The underlying issue was clear. It was not the support of "democracy," or the so-called democratic nations would have given more assistance to the struggling republic of post-war Germany. It was not a crusade for Christianity, or the Christian nations of the west would have carried their battle flags to the confiscated churches of Russia. It was not the preservation of small and helpless nations, or sanctions would have been followed by troops in Abyssinia, and England would not have refused to cooperate with the United States in Manchuria. The issue was one of the oldest and best known among men. It concerned the division of territory and wealth between nations. It has caused conflict in Europe since European history began.

The longer I lived in Europe, the more I felt that no outside influence could solve the problems of European nations, or bring them lasting peace. They must work out their destiny, as we must work out ours. I am convinced that the better acquainted we in America become with the background of European conflicts, the less we will desire to take part in them. But here I would like to make this point clear: while I advocate the non-interference by America in the internal affairs of Europe, I believe it is of the utmost importance for us to cooperate with Europe in our relationships with the other peoples of the earth. It is only by cooperation that we can maintain the supremacy of our western civilization and the right of our commerce to proceed unmolested throughout the world. Neither they nor we are strong enough to police the earth against the opposition of the other.

In the past, we have dealt with a Europe dominated by England and France. In the future we may have to deal with a Europe dominated by Germany. But whether England or Germany wins this war, Western civilization will still depend upon two great centers, one in each hemisphere. With all the aids of modern science, neither of these centers is in a position to attack the other successfully as long as the defenses of both are reasonably strong. A war between us could easily last for generations, and bring all civilization tumbling down, as has happened more than once before. An agreement between us could maintain civilization and peace throughout the world as far into the future as we can see.

But we are often told that if Germany wins this war, cooperation will be impossible, and treaties no more than scraps of paper. I reply that cooperation is never impossible when there is sufficient gain on both sides, and that treaties are seldom torn apart when they do not cover a weak nation. I would be among the last to advocate depending upon treaties for our national safety. I believe that we should rearm fully for the defense of America, and that we should never make the type of treaty that would lay us open to invasion if it were broken. But if we refuse to consider treaties with the dominant nation of Europe, regardless of who that may be, we remove all possiblity of peace.
And as we all know, America did not enter the war until the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 9, 1941.

I don't think America could have entered the war before then, precisely because the race-based and Nazi-sympathizing attitudes of Lindbergh and a vast number of American whites who were at least as racist as he was made it politically impossible.

GWtW was a manifestation of and a justification for those same racist politics -- politics which came very close to keeping America on the sidelines during WWII.
posted by jamjam at 2:07 PM on August 28 [15 favorites]


I was once asked to write a poem about Gone With The Wind, having neither read the book nor seen the movie (as I still have not.) After reading about it here, though, I must confess I think I prefer my version.
posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 3:01 PM on August 28 [20 favorites]


I watched it on TV every year growing up, read the book in Middle School, and really appreciate some of the technical achievements and a few of the performances. But as an adult, the movie just overall leaves a bad taste in my mouth and I don't enjoy watching it. I just feel cringey through a lot of it.Knowing that some of the stars weren't even allowed to attend the premiere because conditions hadn't changed in the 70 years since the events of the novel sucks the wind out of it.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:22 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


Heartily endorsing that people read slappy's poem because it's kind of awesome.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:42 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


I wish no one would see this film again, but...

I've always hoped that Butterfly McQueen's portrayal of Prissy had the undercurrent of resistance that I'm aware certain slaves took up; of playing stupid in that "the verdict was the blue-tail fly" sort of way. Ms. McQueen was a very intelligent woman. But even if it was how she was trying to play it, it was most likely too subtle to register.
posted by droplet at 5:20 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Yeah, nobody is being censored, they're just going to show different movies. Not every movie can be shown, and this one in particular hasn't aged well.

I actually think it's the case that the Orpheum has decided to censor the movie, and they have been clear about acknowledging that. The Oxford dictionary definition of censorship is The suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security.

I think it's fair to say that's what the Orpheum did. It wasn't merely a curatorial decision. It's not like they made a list of movies, and Gone With the Wind simply didn't make the cut. They actively decided not to show the film, rather than failing to select it. And they did it in a process that's outside their normal method of determining programming. “While title selections for the series are typically made in the spring of each year, the Orpheum has made this determination early in response to specific inquiries from patrons,” read a statement from The Orpheum Theatre Group.

That doesn't mean that the Orpheum's decision is wrong, but I do think it means that if you support the decision, you support censorship. Or perhaps have some definition of censorship which wouldn't include what happened in this case. If that's true, I'd be interested in hearing what that definition is. (If you limit censorship to government action, or believe it's not censorship unless a work is universally suppressed, than this wouldn't qualify, but I don't think either of those is a useful element in defining censorship.)
posted by layceepee at 6:38 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


I don't know that a film that's been out for 78 years is being "suppressed" because a theater in one city listened to some of their customers and made a business decision not to air it during this year's film revival schedule.

If that's censorship, then yeah, I guess I'm ok with censorship.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:46 PM on August 28 [21 favorites]


If you limit censorship to government action, or believe it's not censorship unless a work is universally suppressed, than this wouldn't qualify, but I don't think either of those is a useful element in defining censorship.

I hate to be the one to break it to you, then, but - those are literally the definitions for censorship. I don't think you can get much more "useful" than to use the actual, literal definition.

Removing this film from the roster at this specific point in time was the right thing to do. Whatever Noble Blow For Principle you're envisioning would come about from proceeding would be overshadowed by the controversy, unless there were a specific arrangement to have a professor or historian or a panel of historians give a presentation before and after, contextualizing the film; and even with that, there would probably be controversy to the point of distraction. Assuming that there wouldn't be is naive.

This is not censorship.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:09 PM on August 28 [16 favorites]


I agree that this is not censorship. This is a theatre recognizing that a film glorifying and romanticizing the Old South is not an appropriate film to screen right now, when the literal actual KKK and literal actual Nazis are obsessed with murdering people in the name of "heritage." We watch old film with modern eyes.

I don't even think a historical context lecture would help much, because GWTW is a deeply seductive film. I say this as a brown woman who identified with Scarlett so hard as a preteen that I actually wrote in my diary about how great she was and how the O'Hara family were so nice to their slaves. Ugh.
posted by basalganglia at 7:29 PM on August 28 [14 favorites]


I think sometimes we get caught up in whether or not a thing is a specific word that we have negative connotations with and get defensive about it when we don't need to. We see that sometimes with "is antifa violent" or things like that, where we have such a negative connotation with violence that we can't say "Yes, it is, but in this case it's justified."

So yeah, I think actually it probably is a form of censorship, just like when private schools choose not to have certain books because parents complain or whatever. But it's private censorship, and it's not necessarily bad just because we use that one word, you know?
posted by corb at 7:56 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


I watched the latest episode of Rick and Morty tonight while my spouse was on the treadmill downstairs. That wasn't me "censoring" it.
posted by Etrigan at 7:58 PM on August 28 [8 favorites]


I guess I'm censoring The Defenders by not watching it, too. Well, gosh dang me to heck. OH, SHIT, MINCED OATHS ARE CENSORSHIP.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:10 PM on August 28 [7 favorites]


Gone With the Wind has earned its place in the American film canon. This doesn't mean it must be shown at every theater, or that any one theater that has previously shown it must keep showing it forever. Films, like clothes and music and shoes and every other thing produced by humans, come in and out of fashion and all of them have particular historical and cultural contexts. The context in which "Everyone Loves This Movie, It's a Classic!" was never all that true to start with, and is much less true now. If one movie theater deciding to stop showing it is censorship, then my definition of censorship is very much not that.
posted by rtha at 8:17 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


Layceepee, your definition says that censorship involves "suppression or prohibition". Those words have meanings in this context: suppression means "to prevent publication of a document" and prohibition means "to forbid possession of a document". I don't say that these things can only be done by governments - for nearly a millennium the Catholic Church kept an index of works forbidden to the faithful - but it's not the sort of thing that a theatre can do, and it's clearly not the sort of thing this theatre did. It's a curatorial decision, nothing more, and people continue to be free to see the movie elsewhere.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:23 PM on August 28 [9 favorites]


Awhile ago I went through my bookshelves and weeded out the dozen or so books that were simply too racist for me to endure owning anymore, much as I might enjoy aspects of them. Gone With the Wind was one of them.

Also Clark Gable was a rapey asshole. Fuck him and his racist film.

He was also a murderer. He once killed a pedestrian while driving drunk. His studio hushed it up. He's one of those actors I have never been able to bear watching. Even when he's supposedly playing a nice guy, he makes my skin crawl. (See also: Tom Cruise, Richard Dreyfuss, Mel Gibson, and Johnny Depp.)
posted by orange swan at 8:26 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


I live in Memphis, but I'm not from there. I've lived all over, but never really lived in the real South before, and it was shocking to me how present the confederacy continues to be. The medical school that I work for has a park which houses a statue and the remains of William Bedford Forrest. The city says they want to remove it, but are unable to because of state laws prohibiting the removal of monuments.

I'm glad to see private businesses doing this work. I wish the city and the state would step up, but I don't see it happening in Tennessee. I say this even as someone who owns the movie and has enjoyed it for the artistry of the time. I watched this movie with my aunt, who grew up obsessing over it as a teenager, so there is a fair bit of nostalgia with the film itself. As an adult, I fully recognize the problems with it, and when I have children, they will see this movie when it is appropriate for them to do so - but there will be a lot of discussion accompanying it.
posted by honeybee413 at 8:28 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


I hate to be the one to break it to you, then, but - those are literally the definitions for censorship. I don't think you can get much more "useful" than to use the actual, literal definition.

I actually quoted a dictionary's definition for censorship, and it didn't include those elements (government action, universal suppression). I looked at several other online dictionaries and didn't find any definition for censorship that included them. Wikipedia actually gives examples of non-governmental bodies that can practice censorship: Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information that may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, politically incorrect or inconvenient as determined by governments, media outlets, authorities or other groups or institutions.

Also, if censorship is, by definition, government action, the phrase "government censorship" would be redundant, but there are 21,500,000 results in a Google search for the term. One of them is from the ACLU, a group that probably knows something about censorship, and it reads Censorship can be carried out by the government as well as private pressure groups.
posted by layceepee at 8:51 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Censorship is linked to free expression in the minds of most Americans. And the First Amendment analysis requires some form of government action. So, while it is censorship by the most basic definition, it's not an abridgment of free speech or expression. Indeed, by current precedent, the choice not to screen something is a form of free expression by the organization behind the Orpheum.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:03 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


The government already censors public screenings of the film if it isn't "licensed" from its "owners". So I'd be okay with calling this censorship if we acknowledge that, and acknowledge that such a definition means there's also censorship occurring when the "owners" of the film simply decline to license it, as is the case with Disney and Song of the South.

Evidently just a couple of months ago Whoopi Goldberg called for Disney to re-release Song of the South, per a Wikipedia citation.
posted by XMLicious at 9:17 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


> I looked at several other online dictionaries and didn't find any definition for censorship that included them.

Honestly, if you are going to call one theater's decision to stop showing one film for some undetermined amount of time (forever? a few years? until they do a Gable retrospective?) "censorship," or say that it could be considered censorship, I just... I guess I question what your actual working definition would be. Though you'd hardly be alone in holding a definition so broad and fuzzy as to be meaningless.
posted by rtha at 9:45 PM on August 28 [7 favorites]


I really liked GWtW as a teenage film buff because I never realised til I was older that you were supposed to like the characters. I mean Scarlett is a fucking sociopath. Ashley is a giant nothing, he's like an empty cypher Scarlett pours all her fantasies into. He's totally useless. Melanie is a complete fucking doormat. Rhett is a skeevy asshole. Almost everyone else is either painfully childlike and stupid (racist depiction of slaves) or in the fucking KKK (all the white people). I thought it was a great movie because it was like, look at all these horrible people living their horrible lives! It's Look At These Assholes: The Movie! I didn't get for ages that other views actually admired the characters D: I thought it was intended as a complex movie with complex shitty people. I think it's possible to view it that way, but it's giving the movie way too much credit to assume it was intentional.

(still love the dress made from curtains A+++ would have won Project Runway unconventional materials challenge)
posted by supercrayon at 10:32 PM on August 28 [12 favorites]


I actually quoted a dictionary's definition for censorship, and it didn't include those elements (government action, universal suppression). I looked at several other online dictionaries and didn't find any definition for censorship that included them. Wikipedia actually gives examples of non-governmental bodies that can practice censorship: Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information that may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, politically incorrect or inconvenient as determined by governments, media outlets, authorities or other groups or institutions.

But, it's not being suppressed or prohibited in any way. The theater isn't even telling people not to watch it. The Orpheum is a community-supported nonprofit organization that changed their film screening schedule after feedback from the community. Movie screening schedules change all the time, but it's a widely-available film that can be watched at home on your TV or computer or smartphone. It's broadcast on various network and cable channels regularly. It's available in every imaginable format from VHS to streaming video. It can be borrowed for free from the library. Absolutely no-one is censoring it.
posted by desuetude at 10:33 PM on August 28 [10 favorites]


Metafilter: Look At These Assholes: The Movie!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:40 PM on August 28 [8 favorites]


I really liked GWtW as a teenage film buff because I never realised til I was older that you were supposed to like the characters.

Yes, I always thought it was a movie about a period in time and how people were then. Nothing to admire, just that this is what raw ambition and greed can bring and this is how somewhat decent people (Melanie and Mammy and mayyybe Ashley) navigate that world they're born into. Which is interesting enough, and the movie obviously, to me, tried to tone down the racism and show how Scarlett's ideas about loyalty were met with eye-rolling by Mammy, who still loved her because she was her mother in many ways. Even as Scarlett turned into a ruthless asshole like her father. I mean that's interesting stuff, right there. Complex. I had no idea people thought it was an unabashed celebration of the antebellum. I mean, is it? Isn't Scarlett like the embodiment of the useless aristocracy fading away to irrelevance?

I'm so out of touch.
posted by fshgrl at 11:14 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


To quote the ACLU (emphasis added):
Censorship, the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are "offensive," happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others.
It’s not censorship because no-one is imposing it on them. I guess it's self-censorship, but that’s really not the same thing.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 12:13 AM on August 29 [4 favorites]


I had no idea people thought it was an unabashed celebration of the antebellum. I mean, is it? Isn't Scarlett like the embodiment of the useless aristocracy fading away to irrelevance?

Well, on a basic level, a movie is what you make of it, and different people definitely take very different things away from Gone With the Wind. As is the case with most popular Hollywood movies, some ambiguity of purpose is involved where audience members of opposing values can each find some elements to align themselves with. In a sense it's this general vagueness that is one of Hollywood's biggest strengths, making it difficult to completely pin down a single meaning to everything in a film.

In Gone With the Wind's case though, there are some unavoidably unsettling elements in how the movie relates to the reality of slavery and the Civil War. So too then there are inevitably some problematic relationships within the film that can't be wholly straightened out no matter which way you approach the characters. If Scarlett embodies something like the Id of the southern society of the time, unthinking in her blind acceptance of her place and wholly selfish in her motives until perhaps the very end, then Melanie and Ashley can hardly be considered "decent" because they're well aware of what is actually going on and are tied to it in their actions. Their "nobility" is that of allegiance to the south and its way of life.

Scarlett's own moral vacuity can't really be celebrated as a virtue, at best it can be offered as an excuse for her failure to account for her privileged place in society, but her failure to question that place once she is confronted by the scale of destruction after the burning of Atlanta renders changes in her attitude as blinkered as her earlier more blithe selfishness.

None of that is to say that one can't take away many interesting things from the movie, but that what you take away needs to be mediated by some larger sense of awareness of the interplay between competing possible readings if you want to get a better handle on the film's cultural and historical value as a whole. Of course it's also true any individual can be well satisfied by whatever their own feelings are without that as well.

In regards to the reception of the movie and how its racial politics, I'd suggest this Atlantic article as a good starting place. There was also an interesting observation made about the decision to tone down the language of the book, with the suggestion being that removing the worst racial epithets may have actually contributed to the movie being celebrated as long as it has been. This matched against the expressed desire of Selznick to keep the language in order for the film to be more authentic points a bit to the difficulties involved in Hollywood and popular culture's dealings with race.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:23 AM on August 29 [5 favorites]


You can call this censorship or not, as the distinction is ultimately semantic. But to portray it as just a curatorial decision seems to miss the point. No one is writing stories about all the other movies Orpheum failed to put on its schedule for next year.

But the theater specifically reported they made this decision in response to comments from the community. When you get comments that a work of art is offensive, there are a range of possible responses. One, which prioritizes the value of free expression, is to say "If this is offensive to you, don't watch it."

The Orpheum chose a different response. It seems to me what the theater is saying is that public reaction has signaled that the film's politics make it inappropriate for screening, and that the repudiation of its ahistorical treatment of slavery and the confederacy, tacit endorsement of white supremacism and stereotypical depictions of African-American characters is more important in this instance that support for free expression.

People can agree or disagree with that, but I think the Orpheum was clear about what it was doing. To suggest there was no issue of censorship or free expression here seems to me to trivialize what is interesting about removing Gone with the Wind from the theater's repertoire.
posted by layceepee at 5:53 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]


I remain disappointed that the Orpheum refuses to run a Watership Down/Secret of NIMH kids' night double feature. Censorship has gone too far!
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:09 AM on August 29 [4 favorites]


You can call this censorship or not, as the distinction is ultimately semantic.[...]People can agree or disagree with that, but I think the Orpheum was clear about what it was doing.

The question is why this need to rules-lawyer, downplay the multiple major contextual factors as much as possible, and generally engage in the already-tiresome discussion tactic of focusing on the abstract rather than concrete. The "whether you think this is good or bad is far less important than whether this is [insert convenient definition of] censorship and therefore a slippery slope" argument when it comes private enterprises and their choices is already played out.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:27 AM on August 29 [11 favorites]


The "whether you think this is good or bad is far less important than whether this is [insert convenient definition of] censorship and therefore a slippery slope" argument when it comes private enterprises and their choices is already played out.

I was trying to say that I don't think that's the argument that's interesting about this case. I said "the distinction is ulimately semantic" because I don't really care whether people call this censorship or not.

What I do think is interesting about this case is that I think it involves two things that many people might find valuable: free expression and anti-racism. And the theater's action suggests to me that--in this specific concrete case, rather than in the abstract--the value of anti-racism was more important.

That's what's interesting to me about what the theater has done. Absent any free expression elements, what does it matter whether the Orpheum shows the movie or not? I'm specifically not invoking a slippery slope argument or claiming that any instance of censorship is necessarily wrong. Instead I'm looking at a particular instance of what I see as censorship and trying to understand what motivated it, and evaluating it in that context.

I don't think I've said anything critical about the theater's action--I am merely pushing back the claims that it was merely a curatorial decision.
posted by layceepee at 6:47 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]


there are a range of possible responses....One, which prioritizes the value of free expression, is to say "If this is offensive to you, don't watch it." The Orpheum chose a different response. It seems to me what the theater is saying is that public reaction has signaled that the film's politics make it inappropriate for screening, and that the repudiation of its ahistorical treatment of slavery and the confederacy, tacit endorsement of white supremacism and stereotypical depictions of African-American characters is more important in this instance that support for free expression.

Prioritizes whose free expression? Apparently not the Orpheum's freedom to make that "response." The filmmaker's ghost? The "community" that in some significant part requested the change?

People can agree or disagree with that, but I think the Orpheum was clear about what it was doing. To suggest there was no issue of censorship or free expression here seems to me to trivialize what is interesting about removing Gone with the Wind from the theater's repertoire.

Somehow forcing the Orpheum to screen something that its curators have decided is no longer compatible with its values would be a rather more severe abridgment of free expression. In the service of....what? Coddling the 'heritage not hate' crowd?

Fuck that.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:49 AM on August 29 [12 favorites]


One particular venue choosing not to screen a particular, very old, film isn't censorship in any meaningful sense of the word.

By that definition I'm "censoring" every show on TV except the one I choose to watch.

Censorship would imply some effort to make Gone With the Wind unavailable in a significant and meaningful way. Removing copies from libraries, for example. As it stands anyone who wants to watch Gone With the Wind can do so with the expenditure of a reasonable amount of money, less in fact than going to watch it in any movie theater.

There are far too many movies for any theater to show them all, even if the theater stayed open 24/7. Some decision must be made as to which are shown, to classify that as censorship is absurd.

I'll also note that characterizing opposition to Gone with the Wind as mere offense is trivializing the people who object and strawmanning their objections. No one complained because Gone with the Wind was offensive to them. Let's not lie about motives, k?
posted by sotonohito at 7:04 AM on August 29 [9 favorites]


I've seen enough public doubling down on racism in the past year that I'm convinced if the Orpheum board really, truly wanted to screen this movie, a few objections from the community wouldn't stop them.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:14 AM on August 29 [6 favorites]


> What I do think is interesting about this case is that I think it involves two things that many people might find valuable: free expression and anti-racism. And the theater's action suggests to me that--in this specific concrete case, rather than in the abstract--the value of anti-racism was more important.

I imagine that there are vanishingly few radio stations in this country that play music by white power bands. Is the fact that they don't come out and say in so many words that they will not knowingly play music by white power bands because they're listeners (and advertisers!) would object make what they do somehow different from what the Orpheum has done?
posted by rtha at 7:31 AM on August 29 [4 favorites]


By that definition I'm "censoring" every show on TV except the one I choose to watch.

When school libraries remove, say, Harry Potter, from their libraries because parents have complained it glorifies witchcraft, we (I believe correctly) call it censorship, even though Harry Potter is one of the most popular books out there and it is ludicrous to believe that kids would not be able to get their hands on a copy of Harry Potter just because the school removed it from their libraries.

Censorship happens a lot in the US without newspaper articles devoted to it. Even everyday librarians are constantly in the process of censorship, when they restrict material named "adult" from being checked out by children, or they decide that the community is not served by having racist screeds available, even if they previously existed in the collection. Or if you really want to drill down, I am practicing censorship when I don't let my daughter watch Rick and Morty, or Game of Thrones, because I feel it has material that could be a negative influence on her developing brain. Censorship is not always wrong in its mere existence.

The process of censorship - as I (and several dictionaries) define it, is the process of examining media for objectionable moral or political material, and recommending for or against the material on those grounds. By those definitions, it would seem that the movie theater has engaged in censorship - after community outcry, they examined the movie for objectionable material, which it was found to contain, and subsequently removed it from their lineup. The question of how this is different from radio stations not playing unpopular music is specifically addressed by the Orpheum, when they said the movie was not good for their majority black community. Not "unpopular", but insensitive, or damaging. So they are making a decision that the content of the movie contains destructive elements that they do not want to expose the community to.

Just because someone is identifying this as censorship doesn't mean they are rallying the banners and saying Something Must Be Done. In fact, no one here disagrees with the theater's decision, which is probably why we're so deep into the weeds about the definition of censorship, because our only other option is talking about the details of GWTW itself, as we all fundamentally agree on the merits.
posted by corb at 8:20 AM on August 29


because our only other option is talking about the details of GWTW itself

Which is exactly what was happening, quite merrily on all sides, until somebody decided that this conversation really needed to be centered around their ridiculous misunderstanding of what censorship is.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:22 AM on August 29 [10 favorites]


Well definitions tend to get a little fuzzy around the edges. And a theater choosing not to show a movie is definitely around the edges. It's even further from censorship than a library removing a book from a collection, because holding a book is a passive act, and removing it from a collection is preventing someone from acting themselves to take out the material and read it. Whereas choosing to show a movie is more active. In projecting it on a screen at a time and place of their choosing, the theater is making a speech act by showing the media, in the way a library keeping a diverse collection of books for people to seek out and read at their leisure isn't.

Now, I'm not one to be too picky about semantics, as long as everyone is clear what people are using their words to mean, but I think the reason calling this "censorship" is getting a lot of pushback is that they suspect that using that word in this situation is a prelude to a whole boatload of false equivalency.
posted by Zalzidrax at 8:56 AM on August 29 [3 favorites]


I think there's a real difference - when we're talking about whether this is censorship, and whether it's a bad thing if it is - between deselecting something because it doesn't align with your values, and deselecting something because of public pressure or anticipated public pressure.

If I select a movie to show for a library program, then I have a number of different criteria that I want it to meet - artistic value, entertainment value, age appropriateness, inclusiveness - and if a colleague tells me, "Hey, remember how Dumbo is actually super racist? So maybe we don't show that one?" then I will agree and not show it - because it doesn't meet the criteria that I set out in advance for what movies to show. If a colleague tells me, "Hey, if you show this movie which in all other ways meets your criteria, people are going to get mad at you" - I don't think we need to split hairs over the definition of semantics to realize that there's a potential for a chilling effect, which is the reason why these kinds of decisions can be bad even if they aren't a first-amendment violation.

And I think when you exist to serve the public (whether that's in a capitalistic context or a less-capitalistic context like museums and libraries) it's hard to make that distinction between "We shouldn't do this if it makes people mad" and "We shouldn't do this if it interferes with our mission to serve the public" but I think it is an important distinction.
posted by Jeanne at 8:56 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]


People can agree or disagree with that, but I think the Orpheum was clear about what it was doing. To suggest there was no issue of censorship or free expression here seems to me to trivialize what is interesting about removing Gone with the Wind from the theater's repertoire.

If there's one thing being a struggling filmmaker for 15 years has taught me, it's that no one has a right to show their movie in a movie theater. You have the right to make any kind of movie you want to make without the government putting you in jail. You have the right to show that movie to whomever will sit still long enough to watch it, and the audience has a right to watch your movie or any other movie they want without the government putting them in jail. But showing your movie in a commercial theater for money is a privilege, not a right. It's the result of a business deal between two (or more) willing parties: The owner of the theater and the production company. Without the consent of both parties, you don't have a show, and The Orpheum just revoked their consent. If you want to show Gone With The Wind publicly in Memphis, you can pay the rights holders and rent out a theater and do it. I can put you in touch with someone. If you want to buy a DVD and watch it at home, you can do that. If you want to stream it from Amazon, you can do that. There's no free speech violation here. This is free speech in action.
posted by vibrotronica at 9:44 AM on August 29 [9 favorites]


If I select a movie to show for a library program, then I have a number of different criteria that I want it to meet - artistic value, entertainment value, age appropriateness, inclusiveness - and if a colleague tells me, "Hey, remember how Dumbo is actually super racist? So maybe we don't show that one?" then I will agree and not show it - because it doesn't meet the criteria that I set out in advance for what movies to show. If a colleague tells me, "Hey, if you show this movie which in all other ways meets your criteria, people are going to get mad at you" - I don't think we need to split hairs over the definition of semantics to realize that there's a potential for a chilling effect, which is the reason why these kinds of decisions can be bad even if they aren't a first-amendment violation.

I really don't understand this. It's okay not to show a film because it's racist if you realize the magnitude of its racism before you decide to show it, but not okay not to show it because it's racist if you realize the magnitude of its racism only when someone else tells you later? Or...it's okay to include amongst your selection criteria "not racist," but it's not acceptable to decide after the fact, when someone mentions it, that you should have included it amongst the criteria?

Framing this as the Orpheum being intimidated or pressured into not showing the film is a weird default. Far more likely that the programmers have, especially in light of current events, come to appreciate the harm done by uncritically screening a film as an iconic classic.
posted by praemunire at 11:10 AM on August 29 [5 favorites]


The thing is, no one has taken Gone with the Wind out of circulation. It's simply not being shown at one movie theater. It isn't comparable to removing a book from a library.

I think part of the problem here is that we've been raised to treat market based decisions as somehow natural, or neutral, or proper, and any deviation at all from 100% profit motivated decisions as bad or unnatural or in some other way suspect.

If they'd announced that Gone with the Wind had been pulling in very small crowds and just wasn't worth showing any longer no one would be crying censorship. Because the profit motive is culturally assumed to be perfect and pure in all ways.

Since, however, they invoked reasons other than the magic of the market for their decision suddenly we have people decrying as censorship.

But I'm still not seeing it.

When a library pulls a book, it reduces the availability of that book. Especially a school library which is often the only access children have to books.

But, libraries **DO** make decisions on what they'll stock all the time. No library can stock all books, so they pick and choose. Is it censorship if they choose not to stock book X? If so then we're defining literally all media selection as censorship and that would seem to make the word meaningless.

I'll agree that if a film festival chose to leave out all liberal movies I'd be grumpy. But I'd be expressing displeasure with their choice, not claiming it was censorship.

A movie theater has only X screens and times. Are you making the argument that somehow Gone with the Wind is entitled to some of that limited screen time or else the people are censoring it?

I'll guarantee you that your local movie theater, for market reasons because it's a four hour long snoozefest and no one wants to buy tickets to it, isn't showing Gone with the Wind either. Is that censorship too? If not why is that market decision in the not censorship category while the decision not to play pro-slavery propaganda at a film festival is?
posted by sotonohito at 11:44 AM on August 29 [7 favorites]


I don't think we need to split hairs over the definition of semantics to realize that there's a potential for a chilling effect, which is the reason why these kinds of decisions can be bad even if they aren't a first-amendment violation.

I don't mean to be glib about this, but you know what else has a chilling effect? Racism.

While I do agree that we seem to be coming towards a crossroads in how, we in the US, balance artistic rights and free speech versus the demands over recognition of the effects of those art works and that speech, it's important to consider where that growing conflict is coming from.

In speaking of censorship, one, largely invisible, force denying equal voice to many is the unequal effects of capitalism under a racially imbalanced system. There is no shortage of movies in US history coming from the white male perspective on, well, anything really, up to and including race relations. There isn't, however, anything remotely approaching that perspective from anyone other than white men. The reasons for that are tied both to racism and capitalism, where the US film production system, and most other avenues for disseminating speech, are controlled by a value system that is either racially biased itself and/or allows racial bias to dictate what is made/what can be said due to the pressures of capital. The argument over whether its the studios or the audiences that create the inequity is complex, with studios concerned over putting up money for films by minority artists under the belief audiences won't go see them while reinforcing that understanding by how they fund and advertise the films that do get made.

The effect though is one that is, in the end, not entirely different from the kind of censorship that goes on in repressive governments where only certain viewpoints are deemed acceptable to broadcast. In the US of course, there is no overarching ideologically driven board telling artists what they can and can't make. Indeed almost anything can, in theory, be transmitted and has been to some degree. That is the beauty of free speech. Yet at the same time by invisibly denying funding either create or transmit works that do not fit the values of the mass market there is still an overall effect of a kind of censorship that has a deeply detrimental effect on conversations about race and all that it intersects, which is pretty much everything. It's censorship without an overseer, censorship by neglect, where it is done by dint of existing prejudice under no single or group purview other than the bias of the system as a whole.

The challenge then is in addressing the inequity while maintaining longstanding values over freedom of expression. Currently there seems to be a trend pointing more towards condemning past and current speech which is found offensive and seeking its removal from places of public and community access. This doesn't, in itself, provide a balance of speech in the same form of exposure, but as that avenue is largely denied it instead demands an accounting of the speech/art and its listeners. If there can't be equality of exposure, then redress through opposition and denial may have to suffice as that is what's been enforced on minority voices for so long.

Depending on how one charts the mood of that opposition, or who or what one takes as an exemplar of that perspective, there may indeed be a growing belief in there being a value in censorship from the left in the desire to remove what is deemed hateful works or speech from mass exposure. There are obvious problems with that, as it echoes all to clearly previous demands for censorship from the right over "threatening" progressive ideas. Even for those far larger numbers of people not seeking the same level of denial or removal, there are still ample concerns over attempts to condemn works for their allegedly held values as one might have seen in links and discussions on the site in any number of instances recently, where claims and counter claims of meaning are traded, some without knowing much of anything about the work in question.

Who decides what is or isn't "of merit" or what something "means", as in the librarian example mentioned above, are not, I think, subjects best left open to group vote. There are too many questions that aren't and perhaps can't be adequately answered for that. Who is it exactly we are worried about seeing the perceived message in some given film, say Gone With the Wind? Are we worried we can't handle its perspective? Are we seeking to deny those who already find enjoyment in the film from seeing it again? Are we "protecting" those adults who haven't yet seen the film? The children? Who is it we are judging these films for and to what end? There is obviously a symbolic function involved, where a community may not want something they deem outside acceptable limits of representation, for good reason, in their neighborhood, but that is a desire easily abused and one which makes strong demands of group ideology over individual perspective as well.

There are many, many understandable concerns to be raised once we start making demands over what is and isn't acceptable art/speech and its an area that appears to need some careful examination again in the near future. But balanced against that is the at least as equally pressing need for examination of the deep roots of systemic racism in all its myriad forms and how to start lessening its grip on the American psyche. Gone With the Wind being withdrawn from one theater is nothing. It's not a violation of free speech or an act of censorship in any reasonable definition, but it is symptomatic of a larger struggle in seeking balance between representation and expression for all. It seems a problem that is entirely necessary to address, even if it isn't entirely clear on how to answer.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:58 AM on August 29 [5 favorites]


If the definition of "censorship" here is one that is located at the fuzzy edges, that means there's almost certainly a better, more accurate word (or words) to use.
posted by rhizome at 12:02 PM on August 29


For my spiel, I couldn't find a better word to describe the forces of effective market driven elimination of voices versus a purposeful authority driven one and felt the similarities on the effect to the public sphere needed highlighting as the process works in much the same way, even if not always by direct intent.

If film producers won't make movies starring minority actors or book publishers institute restrictive quotas on the amount of books by minority authors they'll put out at any one time, separate from that of white authors, or if a tv producer demands X amount of white actors or less minority actors and if there are behind the scenes deals that provide work for like minded men and keep out women and minorities, then there is an effective ban or limit on certain perspectives that will be seen in mass media.

That amplification of voice carries a lot more weight than individual speech. It's not unlike the push to drive big money out of politics in that sense. All voices are equal in theory, but not in practice and when there is a force able to deny some voices in favor of others, that works a lot like censorship, even if it isn't the traditional sense of the term. That's my perspective anyway, but I'm certainly willing to listen to alternative word choices if there is one that better fits the situation its import.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:33 PM on August 29


PlusDistance: "what's to stop them from killing off Smokey and the Bandit?"

Wait is this a racist film (besides the regular casting racism of a 99.9% white cast in a movie set in the south)? I mean sure Bufford is shown as an unabashed racist but he's made fun of for holding that view. And the one black character is another sheriff playing the straight man, and a remarkably level headed one at that in a goofy buddy chase movie.

vibrotronica: "Rhett and Scarlett deserve each other, because they're both insufferable, self-centered jerks."

I've undoubtedly got the movie and book (which I read first) mixed in my mind having only seen/read each once but holy hand grenade this. I remember after completing the book being in a funk for days with the realization that some women admired/fantasied about being Scarlett. I think Rhett may have been my knowing first exposure to an unrepentant anti-hero.

Honestly I have trouble watching most movies/TV of this type. EG: I made it only a couple episodes into Mad Men because there isn't a decent human being featured in the show. I get enough of this depressing bad people in real life to willing consume it in my escapist media.
posted by Mitheral at 12:34 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


I read and watched Gone with the Wind as a teenager, and years later when I watched The Sopranos and Breaking Bad, I thought “Huh, just like Gone With the Wind.”
In my Old South History class we actually had a long and protracted conversation about the complicity white women in the South and made the direct connection between Scarlett and Carmella Soprano. Both wanted to pretend their hands were clean and they were kind and good women, but when the shit comes down, they aren't shy about profiting directly from the violence and evil the men around them do.
posted by teleri025 at 12:52 PM on August 30 [5 favorites]


In my Old South History class we actually had a long and protracted conversation about the complicity white women in the South and made the direct connection between Scarlett and Carmella Soprano. Both wanted to pretend their hands were clean and they were kind and good women, but when the shit comes down, they aren't shy about profiting directly from the violence and evil the men around them do.

This kind of matches what the Past Imperfect book (the one I mentioned way upthread) says about GWTW. Being the wife of a plantation owner was a lot more hands-on, and wasn't the genteel and courtly thing the movie was depicting, they said; it was more like, just that one section when Scarlett gets back to Tara and is working in the fields because that's the only way they can stay on top of the crop and keep the place afloat, but all the time. More slaves let the owners take a break from the hands-on labor, but they still had the house management and financial headaches.

(It probably is not necessary to state, but I will say it anyway - this is NOT meant to be taken as a defense of the proliferation of slavery; it is only a comment on the realities of being the wife of a plantation owner, as a way of pointing out that GWTW had it all wrong and was therefore full of shit.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:37 AM on September 6


I remember after completing the book being in a funk for days with the realization that some women admired/fantasied about being Scarlett.

I've always seen the appeal of Scarlett as an unspoken rebellion against the societal requirements of being Melanie - the sacrificing wife, who knows her husband lusts after her friend and just keeps quietly mum about it, who never lashes out or throws a temper tantrum. And yes, everyone loves her, but she doesn't gain very much by it, does she? In the end, she dies, with less of a happy ending than Scarlett has.

I don't think it's easy to understand and empathize with Scarlett, these days. I think you can't understand Scarlett without the context of that myth of silently suffering womanhood, of genteel cages that won't let passionate things exist without stifling them. Yes, Scarlett wreaks a merry hell of destruction through other people's lives, but what has her choice ever really been? What has her education been? What healthy outlet has she ever been offered?

I first read the book when I was young, and I empathized with the heart of Scarlett a lot - as I dutifully made my visits to elderly family members, accepted their strictures, wore the clothes they suggested for me, dealt with the machismo of men who wanted their own way to prevail and had little interest in my internal life.

The heart of Gone With The Wind - the good parts, at least, though I may be mixing movie and book - is Scarlett and her red dress. Scarlett owns a beautiful red dress - a sexy red dress, a gorgeous red dress, a dress that is itself a violation of poverty and puritanical norms. A dress she can inhabit in pride and glory. And Rhett Butler - who supposedly loves her in the heart of her, forces her to wear it to humiliate her, when she doesn't want to. When she is feeling the need to retreat, to hide - to put on metaphorical armor - he pushes her into wearing it and shames her for the entire impulse. The only other man who has rejected the rules of society still internalizes them himself when the chips are down - and in the end, he goes off chasing the dream of the South rather than stay with the woman who loves him.

I don't think the author intended this construction - I think she intended the idea that Rhett Butler was essentially a better, "more true" man, and Scarlett needed to grow up and learn to love him better. But to me, it's about the trauma that comes not from war but from social expectations that come down harder on the gender that proves itself through suffering.
posted by corb at 12:29 PM on September 6 [4 favorites]


I've always seen the appeal of Scarlett as an unspoken rebellion against the societal requirements of being Melanie

That's a really good point and one on which there is some considerable feminist film theory written about in regards to oppositional readings of films. The idea being that in watching so many movies that show women as lesser, limited, fatales, or confined to certain acceptable roles often favored movies where the women were "bad" but did so in seeing the actions in the films as a sort of fantastic comparison commenting on the real social limitations. It's similar to favoring the gangster as the free individual acting outside social boundaries for some films and viewers.

With Scarlett, for example, one of the most notorious incidents in the film is the interplay between her playing hard to get and Rhett taking her against her will. It's a rape scene on its face, but the reading of it can allow it to be understood as Scarlett getting what she wanted by manipulating Rhett into acting as he does. This is one of the more blatant examples of a trope that has a long history in moderate form. The way it is understood shifts over time and by viewer, but in its time the idea of a woman being sexually demanding was itself unacceptable so having a heroine manipulate a man into acting could be seen as finding a way to meet her sexual needs while maintaining a guise of relative innocence or social acceptability.

Women viewing some films will sometimes have a different understanding of character motivations by their process of non-identification the with male dominant pov, so they read against the text and essentially create a subtext to reward their interests. The women's films of the first half of last century are sort of rife with these sorts of multi-layered possibilities.

One favorite of mine is Leave Her to Heaven, a fantastic movie where the text of the film is told in flashback from the perspective of the former husband of a dead woman who's life with him is the subject of the film. The story he tells makes her out to be a horrible villainess in its showing of her actions, but at the same time carries a secondary understanding of the her actions and leaves some open questions about the motivations of the husband in the story. (The story is told by a third party, but from the husband's point of view including many events no one could have witnessed.) The coherent subtext is one where the woman is denied sexual fulfillment in her marriage and is viewed as perverse simply for not following normative codes of female behavior. I won't go into it further than that, I just offer it as another example of a movie and character that can spark some complex responses from an audience.

I haven't read the book, but in the movie I think a case can be made that Melanie and Ashley represent the old south, Rhett the varying affections of the North and Scarlett represents the spirit of the south, frivolous and excessive before the war, reformed and serious after. That's a simplification of the notion and there are plenty of problems with that perspective of course, but its what I get the feeling Selznick was aiming at, and fits with some of his collaborators methods a bit.
posted by gusottertrout at 2:08 PM on September 6 [1 favorite]


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