Vintage Pulp Sep 4 2012
A STUDY OF SCARLETT
Gone with the Wind may be a classic, but it’s not reality.

Above, a superb two-panel poster for Gone with the Wind with a great image of Vivien Leigh as the conniving Scarlett O’Hara. This film occupies a curious space in American culture, and a contentious one. Some people think it is an accurate portrayal of a genteel and elegant antebellum south in which slaves lived in more-or-less happy symbiosis with mostly kind masters; others think it’s a whitewash that glosses over the injustice, mass rape, and institutional savagery of a centuries-running crime against Africa.

Since the movie isn’t really about slavery, it probably shouldn’t be judged on its depiction of that terrible institution any more than Around the World in 80 Days should be judged on its depiction of ballooning. However, a swath of the American public does believe the film is broadly accurate, and it’s interesting how stubborn their notions are even after the appearance of more carefully researched depictions such as Stephen Spielberg’s Amistad and the ’70s miniseries RootsWhile a tiny subset of house slaves might have led lives like those depicted in Gone with the Wind, hard evidence and serious scholarship have proven that the vast majority—inside and outside the house—endured horrific lives.

So that's where we stand, and really, reasonable people who've bothered to read a book or three on the subject stand there too. Speaking of accurate depictions of slavery, you might try this underrated flick we talked about a few years ago. You can also check out some cool Gone with the Wind images here. The movie premiered in the U.S. in 1939 but did not play in Japan until years later—in fact, today, 1952.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
November 19
1916—Goldwyn Pictures Formed
In the U.S.A., Samuel Goldfish and Edgar Selwyn establish Goldwyn Pictures, which becomes one of the most successful independent film studios in Hollywood. Goldfish also takes the opportunity to legally change his last name to Goldwyn.
November 18
1916—First Battle of the Somme Ends
In France, British Expeditionary Force commander Douglas Haig calls off a battle against entrenched German troops which had begun on July 1, 1916. Known as the Battle of the Somme, this action resulted in one of the greatest losses of life in modern history—over three-hundred thousand dead for a net gain of about seven miles of land.
1978—Jonestown Cult Commits Mass Suicide
In the South American country of Guyana, Jim Jones leads his Peoples Temple cult in a mass suicide that claims 918 lives, including over 270 children. Congressman Leo J. Ryan, who had been visiting the makeshift cult complex known as Jonestown to investigate claims of abuse, is shot by members of the Peoples Temple as he tries to escape from a nearby airfield with several cult members who asked for his protection.
November 17
1973—Nixon Proclaims His Innocence
While in Orlando, Florida, U.S. President Richard Nixon tells four-hundred Associated Press managing editors, "I am not a crook." The false statement comes to symbolize Nixon's presidency when facts are uncovered that prove he is, indeed, a crook.
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