My comment about Gone With The Wind's reputation being diminished is based primarily on the slew of articles, op-eds and film reviews which have emerged since the most recent Best Picture winner was released, 12 Years A Slave. I can assure you, if you google the names of both films together, you will find plenty of reading material comparing each film's "Story of the Old South." In fact, here are 2 quotes from Manohla Dargis, in her New York Times film review - the first quote is in fact the review's opening line!
“12 Years a Slave” isn’t the first movie about slavery in the United States — but it may be the one that finally makes it impossible for American cinema to continue to sell the ugly lies it’s been hawking for more than a century......"
"It’s at once a familiar, utterly strange and deeply American story in which the period trappings long beloved by Hollywood — the paternalistic gentry with their pretty plantations, their genteel manners and all the fiddle-dee-dee rest — are the backdrop for an outrage."
Perhaps it is unfair to compare them, each is a product of their time, but having seen "12 Years" again just last night, it is fresh in my mind.
Anyway, I also know the film has dropped a few places in various critic polls, including AFI's, though I do agree as was mentioned above, this was never a film for the Sight And Sound crowd.
So that being said, I do LOVE the film, it remains hugely entertaining and Vivien Leigh's performance and beauty have only improved with time, which is why I also mentioned I wish Warners would include all the available rare footage as bonus extras, rather than a handkerchief.
I agree about that storm of criticism being strong, but am not inclined to think that diminishes its overall public popularity.You are absolutely right that the release of "12 Years" certainly left GWTW to serve as a whipping post (just the best words I could find) for the idea that there was anything glamorous about the Old South for slaves.
But what intelligent person ever thought that GWTW told the whole story? The criticism of the viewpoint and its representation has been raging since it opened. Oddly, there were even Southerners who felt that Mammy was too familiar with Scarlett and wrote protests to the producers.
It is interesting to me that Dargis had to go back to 1939 for what she considers this perpetuation: " ... American cinema to continue to sell the ugly lies it’s been hawking for more than a century......" Continue? Even now? "trappings long-beloved by Hollywood"? Like after "In This Our Life," or "Pinky" or, to stretch and say even in the 60s, "To Kill A Mockingbird?"
I have trouble thinking of any films within the last 75 years that have touched the idea of sympathetically and glamorously dealing with the fall of the Old South--much less the idea of ante-bellum South like in, say, "Jezebel."
I think Dargis still has an admiration for GWTW that I remember from her review of "Titanic" (which she did NOT like.)
I think the difference in sensibilities depends on the emphasis one gives to GWTW. I think many see GWTW as primarily a story of dramatic loss, comeuppance (for both the South and the manipulative Scarlett) and hope with redemption.
I think there is a temptation for many to pick at GWTW, but they often get the notion of a Harlequin romance that is not really there. The girl doesn't get the guy.
And even as a sugar-coated South it fails.Scarlett beats her slaves (her lovers and her sister) and when she comes back to the plantation the slaves are all gone, but two.
The story does not, nor is it intended to tell the slaves' story and would be reprehensibly inadequate if it tried.
But I heard someone say "If you want to see black slaves get downtrodden and die, see "12 Years A Slave." If you want to see their masters get downtrodden and die, see "Gone With the Wind."