Frankly My Dear, I Really Hate This F@#$ing Movie or I’m Not Really A Fan of “Gone With The Wind”
There are movies and there are MOVIES. The latter are those that are basically considered masterpieces, the type of films that get preserved by The Library of Congress along with a sample of Roger Ebert‘s semen of the projector reel just to let you know he gave it A Big Thumbs Up. The problem is that everyone has different tastes in film. My problem stems from being way to a selective film watcher. No wait that isn’t exactly right. I mean I sat through The Machine Girl, RoboGeisha and Zipperface. Hell I sat through and wrote actual articles about them. The issue really is, what does one do when one is confronted with a movie that is so beloved yet one cannot stand it at all?
The prime example of this for me is Gone With The Wind. Man do I hate Gone With The Wind. I really do not get why people adore a heroine that is so vain, conniving and manipulative. Hell the real unsung hero of that story is Rhett Butler for having to deal with that crazy bitch for 3 hours of film-time. allow me to make a further case for the esteemed Mr. Butler. Rhett Butler shows up in the early part of the movie, discusses politics of the day with the local landowners. These politics mainly deal with the talk seceding from United States of America. Butler is quick ot point out to these kind southern gentlemen that fighting a war with the Union is simply a war that Georgia and south as a whole, cannot win. Of course Butler tries to defend his point but these arrogant land-owning pricks pretty much laugh him at him and tell him he is ignorant. From these he fights in the Civil War for the Confederacy, mainly because it is his home. He really doesn’t seem buy into the idea of slavery as necessity for economic stability in the South. He is a very practical man that realizes change is coming and fighting the war is just putting off the inevitable oncoming onslaught of change.
Sadly Rhett Butler has this Southern albatross around his metaphorical neck called Scarlett O’Hara. Daughter of wealthy landowner, Scarlett is a conceited spoiled child who pines for her childhood love Ashley Wilkes. Sadly Ashley loves her but is betrothed to his cousin Melanie. Rhett Butler meets Scarlett and identifies her problem of unrequited love and basically tell her that she needs less of a milksop like Ashley and more of a man that will bend her over and show the good times she needs. Thus they play this cat and mouse game for nearly 2 and a half hours. Hell even after the burning of Atlanta, during which Rhett totally saves Scarlett’s ass, she still keeps Rhett at bay so much that he basically decides ot say fuck it and deal with what the new South has to offer him. Of course more shit happens, they get married, have a kid and then Scarlett takes a tumble down the stairs, miscarries and then Rhett decides he’s had enough of her never-ending psychodrama and leaves her crazy ass. She laments whatever shall she do, where ever shall she go and he says what he should have said years earlier “frankly my Dear, I don’t give a Damn”. That is pretty much the Post Civil War equivalent of “You are a psycho cunt, get the fuck away from me”
The tragedy of this travesty of a film is that it continually tries to paint Scarlett as some strong female archetype. She is anything but that. I have no reason to root for Scarlett O’Hara at all. No person in their right mind should sympathize with a member of the idle rich gentry of the South who are fighting to maintain their right to rule via slavery. Even worse is the portrayal of Union soldiers as pretty much a thuggish band of raping mad dog’s. Now I am not saying that the Union forces didn’t do this, but to portray the Union that way and glorify the South as this proud land of nobility and honor should offend just about anyone with a little ounce of brain power. If you area female and find yourself identifying with Scarlett O’Hara then you should find a good professional therapist or check yourself into a Psych Ward post haste. You have way to many issues for any sane marrying man to deal with. Chances are you are Upper Middle to Upper-Upper Class trust fund daughter thinking you deserve happiness with your Prince Charming but are probably denied because he is marrying someone that isn’t you. Even worse is that you have a line of suitors that are at your beckon call. At some point your cash will dry up and you’ll need some strapping young buck to support you and you’ll marry for money and not love. Most importantly, you’ll drive your new husband batshit insane to the point that he’ll either leave you or just plain kill himself.
I think my hatred from this movie is more about phoniness of its supposed heroine. Most of the other characters are pretty much upright decent people. Scarlett is a parasite, sucking up and devouring everything in her path just to maintain her status quo. She even tries to seduce Ashley several times, despite the fact he is married to Melanie. To make it worse, Melanie views Scarlett as her best friend. Oh if poor Melanie knew what traitorous little backstabbing bitch Scarlett really was. If she could actually hear the resentment that Scarlett has for her, then Rhett, Ashley and Melanie could strive to escape from her voracious clutches. That would mean hem leaving the South to strike out West or they could conspire to kill Scarlett. I opt for option 2 because that way the Psychodrama Queen of Tara can’t track them down. My God, I’d watch the hell out of that version of Gone With the Wind. Of course Scarlett is one of those women that just can’t be killed. She’s like a fucking Lich. Hell Mammy is probably her Phylactery!
In all honesty, it is my resentment of those that with an unearned sense of entitlement that leads me to despise the whole premise of Gone With The Wind. People who feel that just because they own land, that gives them dominion over those that do not. At its core it is a book and movie about woman who refuses to change with the times and preys, like a viper, on the weak and those around her. I guess that makes Rhett Butler the figurative Herpetologist, trying to tame this cold-blooded monster. But Scarlett O’Hara will wait to strike with poisoned fangs and even make you think that she loves you. This is not the case, Rhett Butler is just another meal ticket to her. Make no mistake, she is one of the most horrifying case studies in sociopathic behavior in popular fiction. Or maybe it is egomania? Either way the bitch is just plain crazy. Margaret Mitchell certainly gave us one hell of a headcase when she wrote the original novel starting back in 1926. I can’t even hold Michell to blame for what this character became, for that Vivian Leigh earns my full wrath. I can’t think of a more contemptible female lead character in film and it is mainly because Leigh played her so effectively and showing her with no remorse. I mean there is nothing to like about this character. She is devoid of any sense of decency or if she is then she uses her wiles as a Southern Belle to disguise the basic lack of morals she continually displays.
Already I can envision defenders of Scarlett O’Hara asking me to cite examples of what I’m claiming. My response is that there is a whole novel, that remains in print to this day, that serves as a document to this character’s misdeeds and vanity. There is a 3 Hour movie, that seems much longer, where you get to see Scarlett O’Hara scheme, plot and connive her way, in order to maintain her social standing and wealth. She takes from society and really gives nothing back in return. Rhett Butler is the real protagonist here. He fights for a lost cause throughout. He fights to be heard about the South having no real chance to win a war. he fights to remain relevant in society after the war and finally he fights to keep his sanity while married to the most conniving embodiment of evil that the South may have ever produced. Rhett Butler is your hero of Gone With The Wind. His labors throughout rival those of Herakles, his character is unimpeachable and most importantly his will to be free and desire for his soul to be intact remain unquenchable. He is a man to be reckoned with and while he seems to forget this at some point, by the end of Gone With The Wind he has reclaimed who he needs to be, so that we as the reader or moviegoer can respect him and he can respect himself. “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!” should be the battle-cry for emasculated men everywhere!
So no, I am not a fan of Gone With the Wind. I do not consider the movie to be one of he best ever made, the book to be that well written nor anything to do with Margaret Mitchell’s ode to vanity spoiled débutantes. I think that casting a morally devoid, old South character with no real character development as your heroine is one of the most reprehensible things ever done to any and every form of fiction. Do not applaud Vivian Leigh for bringing this character to life. Instead see the character for what she really is, contemptible and vile. Look, I know a Super-Villain when I see one. Scarlett O’Hara has a soul that is blacker than an imploded sun. She mine as well be he Patron Saint of Egomaniacs and Marrying For Money. So don’t waste your time with Gone With The Wind. Opt, instead to drive a hammer and nail through your hand. Your wound from this will heal, your memories of sitting through Gone With The Wind will not.