Should we completely throw away gone with the wind ? Everyone is agree to say that this film is the fruit of his era, one of America's segregated 1930s. At that time, slavery has been abolished for the past 70 years, but African-Americans still face discrimination in many areas such as employment, housing, education, not to mention the prohibition in some States to make it in the places frequented by the White...
The film will be a reflection of an America that tries to wash away its original sin in Technicolor : to show the collapse of the golden age of the south with the stereotypes and prejudices of the time, without a mauling by the public, where we see slaves crying almost the distress of their gentle masters... A film that has obviously aged in our next of the Twenty-first century, in the form as in the background, and which belongs more than ever to the relics of the cinema of grandpa.
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But we also forget that he has allowed the black cause to move forward by dedicating, for the first time an actress african-american in the hollywood industry : Hattie McDaniel, remained in all memories for the role of Mamma, the household with the iron fist of Scarlett O'hara. McDaniel was the descendant of freed slaves, his father had even participated in the war of Secession, that is to say, if his path is a symbol. It has multiplied the small jobs, maid, cook, all the while pursuing a career in radio and film before landing the role of his life in gone with the wind, as it obtains, it is said, on arriving at the casting directly dressed as a domestic.
At the time, the Los Angeles Times argues that it is distinguished by the Academy of the Oscars : in February 1940, Hattie became the first actress black honored by receiving the award for best supporting actress, a true revolution, the first step in the profession to equality...
Contempt and apartheid
On the other hand, she now caught between two fires, both traitor in the eyes of some activists-black and always despised by the Whites. When is the big premiere of the film in Atlanta, she is not even allowed in the room, in the name of segregation in force, to the chagrin of her boyfriend Clark Gable, which made hands and feet, in vain, to get him a free pass. As all of the Blacks in the film, it is also excluded from any promotion in the Southern States.
When it comes to the awarding of the prize, she should just stay at the back of the room, with his agent, on a poor table, away from the other : the club of the Ambassador hotel, where the ceremony, practiced a strict policy of "no black" at the entrance. So was the America of the 1940s... which does not stop the actress to thank Hollywood in a speech full of humility : "I sincerely hope that I will always honor my race and to the film industry, my heart is too full to tell you just how I feel..."
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I'd rather play a maid and make $ 700 a week than be a maid and earn $ 7.
It would, however, regularly criticised by his black brothers to be siding with the White just in stereotypes that are harmful to the cause – she has performed more than seventy times of the servants in his career. But is it his fault if the craft is not proposed to him more than the roles that corresponded to the label glitz that Hollywood had next ?
On the topic, it does not lack the franchise : "I'd rather play a maid and make $ 700 a week than be a maid and earn 7 dollars..." Hattie McDaniel will continue his career without ever finding a role as important as the one in Gone with the Wind, which had come in the history of cinema. But with its limits : when she died of cancer of the breast, in 1952, the famous cemetery, Hollywood Forever refuses to net him a place...