“Gone with the Wind” has made a return to HBO Max. It has come back in a very different way, though. There is now a five-minute introduction that is around five minutes. This introduction is by Jaqueline Stewart, who is a professor of cinema at the University of Chicago.
Stewart admitted, being an African-American herself, that the film holds “undeniable cultural significance” However, she also said that it does not cover “the horrors of slavery, as well as its legacies of racial inequality,”
Her introduction gives a much-needed historical context: “Gone With the Wind” presents “the Antebellum South as a world of grace and beauty without acknowledging the brutalities of the system of chattel slavery upon which this world is based.”
Hattie McDaniel won an Oscar for her incredible performance in Mammy. She is the first black actor to do this, but she was not permitted to sit with her fellow cast members during the ceremony in Los Angeles.
“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.”
Not only is there a new intro, but HBO Max added another new feature. This is an hour-long panel discussion. It was filmed at the TCM film festival in April of 2019. This was entitled “The complicated legacy of ‘Gone with the Wind.”
Taking down “Gone with the Wind” was a hard decision, and it only came a day after screenwriter John Riley (“12 Years a Slave” ) wrote a piece in the Los Angeles Times. WarnerMedia were asked to remove the film. John spoke about its racism and how the Confederacy was shown in the incorrect light.
(HBO Max and TCM are both owned by Warner Media.)