Earlier this month, HBO Max removed the classic film Gone With The Wind from the streaming service because of the movie’s seemingly unphased portrayal of slavery in the Confederate South. Now the streamer has added the movie back into its library, but with an additional introduction to the film by Turner Classic Movies host Jacqueline Stewart.
Now if you select the title through the streaming service, the 4 1/2 minute introduction will automatically play before the film with the option to skip. Stewart addresses the racially demeaning portrayal of black slaves and how the film romanticizes the Antebellum South.
“Eighty years after its initial release, ‘Gone With the Wind’ is a film of undeniable cultural significance,” Stewart says. “It is not only a major document of Hollywood’s racist practices of the past but also an enduring work of popular culture that speaks directly to the racial inequalities that persist in media and society today.”
Stewart says the film depicts a “world of grace and beauty, without acknowledging the brutalities of the system of chattel slavery upon which this world is based.”
Though it was made 75 years after the Civil War ended, Gone With The Wind was filmed in a time when Hollywood and the world in general still didn’t acknowledge racial injustices or human rights. Hattie McDaniel who played the servant Mammy and became the first African-American to win an Academy Award wasn’t even allowed to sit with her cast members during the awards night because of segregation.
WarnerMedia initially removed the film from the streaming service and released a statement saying, “These racist depictions were wrong then and are wrong today, and we felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible.”
“Watching ‘Gone With the Wind’ can be uncomfortable, even painful,” says Stewart. “Still, it is important that classic Hollywood films are available to us in their original form for viewing and discussion. It is not only a document of Hollywood’s racist practices of the past, but also an enduring work of popular culture that speaks directly to the racial inequalities that persist in media and society today.”
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