'Gone With the Wind' Returns to Streaming on HBO Max, With a Disclaimer
After removing Gone With the Wind from its library earlier this month, HBO Max has now returned the classic film title, with an addition.
The film now includes a four-and-a-half minute introduction from Turner Classic Movie's Jacqueline Stewart. The professor of cinema and film studies at the University of Chicago provides context for the racially insensitive depictions in the 1939 Oscar-winning film in a candid disclaimer that broadcasts ahead of the lengthy picture.
Set during the reconstruction period of the South, Gone With the Wind has been criticized for romanticizing the problematic period in history, as well as for its approach to slavery and race relations. When HBO Max announced its decision to remove the film, the streaming network promised to make it available once more but "with a discussion of its historical context" along with a denouncement of "racist depictions" made in the movie.
The film, in its original form, follows Stewart's disclaimer, and she explains the reason for leaving the work unaltered by saying, "watching Gone With the Wind can be uncomfortable, even painful" but "it is important that classic Hollywood films are available to us in their original form for viewing and discussion."
Stewart offers a brief rundown of Gone With the Wind's impact on society, including the segregated premiere in Atlanta which didn't permit the film's Black stars to attend due to Jim Crow laws. She also talks about the Oscars at which nominee Hattie McDaniel wasn't allowed to sit with her costars. The disclaimer then notes that producers were aware of the backlash the film would receive from Black viewers as they claimed to be sensitive when it came to onscreen depictions.
"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," Stewart states.
See the disclaimer for yourself by tuning into Gone With the Wind on HBO Max.
Gone With the Wind, Streaming now, HBO Max