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A Memphis theater’s pulling of ‘Gone with the Wind’ viewed as ‘cultural cleansing’ by critics

A Memphis theater has ended its 34-year tradition of screening the 1939 Oscar-winning-film “Gone With the Wind” at least once a year. The Orpheum Theatre dropped the movie from its programming after several patrons complained about an Aug. 11 screening, saying the film was “racially insensitive,” USA Today reported.

“While title selections for the series are typically made in the spring of each year, the Orpheum has made this determination early in response to specific inquiries from patrons,” Brett Batterson, president of the Orpheum Theatre Group, said in a statement obtained by Entertainment Weekly.

“As an organization whose stated mission is to ‘entertain, educate and enlighten the communities it serves,’ the Orpheum cannot show a film that is insensitive to a large segment of its local population,” Batterson added.

Taking inflation into account, the Civil War epic “Gone With the Wind” is the highest grossing film of all time, according to Box Office Mojo. Even so, its treatment of black characters — referred to as “darkies” throughout the film — has been at the center of an increasingly heated debate.The movie follows the life of Southern belle Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh), who grows up on a plantation and eventually falls in love with former blockade runner for the South Rhett Butler (Clark Gable). To many, the film depicts the Confederacy in a nostalgic, loving way while drawing its black characters in broad and demeaning stereotypes.

Read more at the Washington Post. 

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