Sunday, January 18, 2009

Gone with the Wind: African Americans in Cinema

Gone with the wind (1939) one of the first novels to be recreated into a major motion picture, is a great example of the trials and tribulations faced by southern elitists during the United States’ Civil War and is the first film to be chronicled in the series of films which have awarded African Americans for their acting ability.

Though I have little sympathy for movie's heroine, Scarlett O’Hara (played by Vivien Leigh) it is a riveting story of love lost which I would be hard pressed to pass up saying that it is one of the world’s all time favorite films.

When the movie was released, the United States was steeped in the midst of the Great Depression where the price of gas was an astonishing 10 cents per gallon and the average person’s annual income was just under $2,000.

This true economic depression lead Americans to find inexpensive ways of passing the time which gave way to the influx of interest in attend movies.

This popular interest in the movies, coupled with the United States being just little more than a generation removed from Wind’s subject matter, may be an addition factor in the Academy Awards decision to thwart popular sentiment of the day of discrimination and racial debasement of African Americans to award Hattie McDaniel an Academy Award for Best Actress in a supporting role for her portrayal of “Mammy” in this iconic film.

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