In Frankly, My Dear: Gone With the Wind Revisited, feminist film scholar Molly Haskell explores what's behind the enduring appeal of "the racially backward, historically revisionist and bodice-rippingly ripe Oscar champ from 1939." [USA Today]
I really like Gone with the Wind. It's not a perfect movie in terms of political correctness, but it was a) about the 1860s b) written in the 1930s.
I'm seeing a lot of "Scarlet was a hero" comments. I don't think one's love of her should be so profound! If you think Scarlet was a perfectly admirable character, you pretty much have to think Rhett was, too, and I'm guessing not many people think that.
Scarlet had no high minded ideals. Her only ideal was Scarlet and that which was Scarlet's (aka Tara). As a young woman she was the ultimate Mean Girl. During the war, she rose to the occasion to survive: but mean people often do.
Her getting the things she wanted wasn't feminist, it was selfish! Scarlet is a manipulative bitch. Her drive and determination are fierce, yes, and she had admirable qualities. But she's selfish, she doesn't mind hurting her loved ones to get what she wants, she used slave labor in her sawmill (prisoners from the local jail), did business with the very people who sought to destroy the land she supposedly loved so much, and she felt the need to control everyone around her. This came in handy when people NEEDED a dictator to save Tara, but after the war ended, she still held onto that control (specifically with Ashley; and don't get me STARTED on the girl on girl crime going on in the Ashley/Mellie situation).
I always thought Mellie was under-rated. Yeah, she's annoying because she's so damn saccharine, but she's JUST as strong as Scarlet. She held her family together, she DID have high-minded ideals, and she worked just as hard as anyone else. So she's dense when it comes to the faults of people she loves; who isn't? Her strength is quiet, and part of her strength is knowing when to follow and when to lead, but she is strong and she IS a leader. I always thought her graciousness and strength were more worthy of my admiration than Scarlet's immoral opportunism.