Posted on Thursday, February 15th, 2018 by Scott Beggs
(Welcome to Movie Mixtape, where we find cinematic relatives and seek out interesting connections between new releases and older movies that allow us to rethink and enjoy what’s in our theaters as well as the favorites on our shelf. In this edition: Black Panther.)
When Gone with the Wind premiered in 1939 in Atlanta, one of its stars wasn’t allowed to attend because Georgia law at the time prevented black people from entering whites-only movie theaters. Two months after being barred from seeing the launch of her own movie, Hattie McDaniel became the first black Oscar winner, accepting the award in a whites-only hotel in Los Angeles, allowed in the building only because David O. Selznick was powerful enough to ask a favor.
Gone with the Wind is the highest-grossing movie of all time adjusted for inflation. By every definition it is a blockbuster. Its depictions, its compromises of its own artists, and its legacy are all important background to consider now that, a little over 78 years later, Black Panther is about to roar onto screens.
No, Black Panther isn’t the first black superhero movie. No, it’s not the first blockbuster with a black director. But the sheer scope of its cast (including multiple Oscar winners who thankfully didn’t need favors to get into the room where they hoisted their statues) and the massive, mainstream cultural cache that comes with any Marvel movie make Black Panther an event on another level.
78 years between the two. Something to think about while we consider some other movies to double feature alongside T’Challa’s first solo adventure.