Two weeks after WarnerMedia pulled 'Gone With the Wind', the classic movie has returned to the HBO Max streaming platform on Wednesday, but with two extra features discussing its depiction of race in the Civil War era.
The Oscar-winning 1939 film was pulled two weeks ago as the United States began a mass reckoning with systemic racism triggered by nationwide protests over police brutality and #BlackLivesMatter protests started gathering momentum.
HBO Max, a unit of WarnerMedia, said at the time that it would return with a discussion of its historical context.
On Wednesday, the film set on a Georgia plantation was accompanied by a four-minute introduction and a recording of a panel discussion about the movie at the Turner Classic Movie (TCM) festival in 2019.
The film "presents the antebellum South as a world of grace and beauty without acknowledging the brutality of chattel slavery upon which this world was based," TCM host and film scholar Jacqueline Stewart says in the introduction.
"Eighty years after its initial release, 'Gone with the Wind' is a film of undeniable cultural significance. 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 added.
Stewart recalled that the film won eight Academy Awards, including best picture, and set a milestone when supporting actress Hattie McDaniel, who played a maid, became the first African-American actor to win an Oscar.
She also noted that at the Oscar ceremony McDaniel had to sit at a table far apart from her white cast members because of racial protocols at the time.
The removal of “Gone With the Wind” from the HBO Max platform had managed to irk many conservatives, including President Donald Trump, who used the decision to also gripe about the South Korean drama “Parasite” winning this year’s best picture Oscar.
Now that the movie is back to streaming again, the enthusiasm was seen on social media.
everybody rushing back onto HBO Max now that Gone With the Wind is available again pic.twitter.com/KWumx52ZyZ
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) June 24, 2020
GONE WITH THE WIND is back on HBO Max, leading with five minutes of context from TCM’s Jacqueline Stewart. “Classic films have been and continue to be a major influence on popular views of history.” pic.twitter.com/KwRNImoY92 — Kris Tapley (@kristapley) June 25, 2020
"Gone with the Wind" ('39) is back up on HBO Max, along with several welcome "contextual extras." I'll admit that they got it back online much faster than I anticipated, though I still feel that it shouldn't have been removed in the first place.
— Lauren Weinstein (@laurenweinstein) June 25, 2020
The introduction is getting appreciation too.
Snippet that plays before Gone With the Wind is really well done. Provides plenty of context for people who need it. Whoever wrote the copy for this nailed every single aspect that needs to be discussed, from erasure, to r*cist imagery, to HWood practices, moving forward & more — Nina (@Nina_R90) June 25, 2020
With inputs from Reuters