My own column about Rhett Butler is certainly not today’s only retrospective on the 70th anniversary of Gone With The Wind‘s cinematic premiere. Atlanta’s WSB Radio has an interview with actress Ann Rutherford, now 89, who played Scarlett O’Hara’s younger sister, Careen, and describes the scene at the Loew’s Grand Theater on Peachtree Street:
“It was absolutely electric,” Rutherford says. “And when they introduced Margaret Mitchell, the crowd just roared in appreciation.”
Writing for CNN, author Molly Haskell quotes Hattie McDaniel’s famous reply to the NAACP’s criticism of her role as Mammy: “I’d rather get paid $700 a week playing a maid than $7 a week being one.” CNN founder Ted Turner is a huge fan of the film — which Turner Classic Movies will show tonight at 8 p.m. ET — and Haskell’s essay is both respectful and insightful:
Crafted by the geniuses of the studio system, “Gone with the Wind” is a panoramic epic that never loses sight of its main characters, and — also startling to young viewers today — those characters endure vast quantities of pain and suffering in a world turned upside down.
Washington Times film critic Gary Arnold discusses the cinematic history of the movie. Meanwhile, the lifetime-achievement Oscar for most insufferably arrogant Gone With The Wind review goes to David Stratton of the Australian Broadcasting Company:
I think it is one of the most overinflated movies of that period. Still, I mean there are great things about it. I think both Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh are fine in the film but it is not one of my favourite films, I must say.
The same article also offers this quote from Australian film-studies professor Deb Verhoeven:
Some people see the film and see an independent woman’s struggle and her ultimate resilience and another person sitting next to them will see a terrible story about sexual subjugation.
Forgive my suspicion that no price on earth could compel Capt. Butler to attempt the “sexual subjugation” of Professor Verhoeven. But what “a terrible story” that would be!