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Why the USA demanded to ban the novel "Gone with the Wind" and the cult film with Vivien Leigh
Why the USA demanded to ban the novel "Gone with the Wind" and the cult film with Vivien Leigh

One of the most famous bestsellers in American literature was released 85 years ago. His success was overwhelming and brought the author truly worldwide recognition, and filmmakers three years later released the film of the same name. The film starring Vivien Leigh won the hearts of millions of viewers around the world and won eight Oscars out of fourteen for which it was nominated. Why was there a scandal around these two masterpieces, and the film was even removed from the public domain?

Forgotten chapters

Margaret Mitchell

Immediately after its publication, Gone With the Wind became a bestseller, with millions of copies published. Margaret Mitchell, who took ten years to write the book, instantly turned from a simple housewife to a world-class celebrity.

At one time, she was a successful reporter, but after breaking her ankle, she was forced to leave the profession and began to take care of her home and family. However, she could not stop writing and began work on the novel, which was destined to become a masterpiece, although, as Margaret Mitchell herself admitted, she wrote it "for herself."

"Gone With the Wind"

She worked on the book according to her own system: first the ending was born, and only then the previous chapters appeared. When the novel was over, Margaret still decided to send it to the publishing house. And soon she received consent from there to publish, however, the publisher complained that the first chapters were "lost somewhere." As it turned out, the writer simply forgot to send them, while there were several options for the beginning of the work, as well as its title. And the novel had, according to the author, a lot of shortcomings, so when it was released on June 30, 1936, the success came as a surprise to Margaret Michell herself.

Stumbling block

Still from the film "Gone with the Wind"

More than three years later, the film of the same name was released, which grossed more than four billion dollars over the years. The events of the novel, unfolding against the background of the civil war of the second half of the 19th century, between the Union of 20 states and 4 border slave states of the North, which remained in the Union, on the one hand, and the Confederation of 11 slave states of the South.

For the first time, calls to ban the film were made in 2015 by film critic Lou Lumenik, who considered it shameful for the United States to call "Gone With the Wind" a cult film precisely because slavery in it does not look as terrible as it really is.

Still from the film "Gone with the Wind"

In August 2017, "Gone with the Wind" was even removed from the screening in Memphis, Tennessee, America, due to complaints from local residents about the romanticization in the picture of the slave system. Then the ban was preceded by clashes in Charlottesville (Virginia) of the ultra-right and their supporters, as a result of which three people died. The clash was triggered by a protest by nationalists against the dismantling of the monument to Confederate General Robert Evard Lee, yet millions of viewers watched the iconic Oscar-winning film more than once over the course of more than eighty years, until a scandal erupted around it in 2020. The film was removed from the public domain due to "diminishing the horrors of slavery in America."

Still from the film "Gone with the Wind"

Studio WarnerMedia, which seized the film, said that racial and ethnic prejudices that were previously prevalent in American society were reflected in the tape. And the owners of the studio decided to remove the picture from the screenings until these moments are condemned, considering the demonstration of the film irresponsible without this.

At the time, Gone With the Wind was criticized in the midst of protests over the assassination of George Floyd, a black American who died after his arrest in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. Then the BLM movement was created - "Black Lives Matter". It was the activists of this movement who demanded to ban the film, in particular, because of the scene where the freed slaves ask their masters to take them back into service, and also because of the reaction of one of the heroes to mixed marriages, the very thought of which terrified him …

Still from the film "Gone with the Wind"

When WarnerMedia made its announcement and closed access to the film, the demand for the picture on Amazon skyrocketed, taking the picture to the top of sales. As a result, it was not possible to ban "Gone with the Wind". It was returned to the public domain with certain reservations about the realities of the time in which the events take place. True, it is possible that the film and the novel will try to ban more than once.

The name Margaret Mitchell was covered with legends during her lifetime, and the day after her tragic death all materials and early manuscripts of "Gone with the Wind" were burned. The wife of the writer, according to her will, left only those materials that made the authorship of his wife undeniable. John Marsh became the second husband of Margaret Mitchell, and for two years he had to put up with the fact that the wife did not part with the pistol even at night.

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