'Gone With the Wind' actor's widow blasts theater that banned film

The wife of late "Gone With the Wind" actor Fred Crane is outraged over a Memphis theater's decision to ban the film for its racially "insensitive" content.

Terry Lynn Crane told Fox News she was "very, very disturbed" when she heard the historic Orpheum Theatre decided to stop showing "Gone With the Wind" after hosting the classic 1939 film for 34 years.

"By making a statement, they are trying to make a problem," Crane told us. "They are inciting racial division and it's only escalating."

Crane, whose late husband Fred Crane played Brent Tarleton in the film, said her husband would be "saddened" by the theater's decision if he were alive today. Fred Crane died in 2008 and was once invited by the Orpheum to speak ahead of a "Gone With the Wind" screening in 1999.

"I think he would be very saddened by all of this," she said before adding with a laugh, "But I haven't talked to him the last few days."

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The Memphis native, who penned a book about the film in 2015, said it's important not to simply ban films about slavery. 

"We should keep our history, we should keep things that are historic so we can learn from them," she explained. "We're running down a slippery slope. What's going to be next? Total censorship?"

Crane also noted that Hattie McDaniel, who played "Mammy," was the first African-American actress to win an Academy Award.

"Hattie McDaniel's Mammy was such a milestone for black performers because she opened up the door right there for people to recognize black performers and all that they contribute to art."

Crane said she felt the need to speak out about the theater's decision after hearing from many fans of the film. 

"They love 'Gone With the Wind,'" she explained. "[To them] while sad, it's a love story...that happens to be set during the war between the states."

The Orpheum said in a statement, "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."

You can find Sasha Savitsky on Twitter @SashaFB.