Gone With The Wind Returns To HBO Max With Context, Disclaimer
Streaming service inserts videos, panel discussion debating the film's "complicated legacy."
The 1939 historical romance epic Gone With The Wind has returned to HBO Max after being pulled from the new streaming service two weeks ago. The film's removal and hiatus was prompted by HBO's recognition that, according to a statement, watching the movie today requires "a discussion of its historical context" and also denouncing its racial missteps romanticizing the Civil War-era South.
"These racist depictions were wrong then and are wrong today," HBO said in a statement. "And we felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible.”
The Oscar-winning adaptation of author Margaret Mitchell's novel of the same name now includes a four-and-a-half minute video introduction putting the classic film's racist depictions into context.
In the video, African-American cinema expert and TCM host Jacqueline Stewart says the film 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… 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."
The film now is also accompanied by a 56-minute recording of a TCM panel discussion from April 2019 that dissects the film even further. There's also a four-minute documentary about Hattie McDaniel, who won an Academy Award for her role as Mammy in the film--and is the first Black performer to win an Oscar.
GameSpot's sister site CNET notes that HBO has a precedent for course-correcting and updating its programming, pointing to disclaimers amended to the beginning of certain Looney Tunes cartoons re-released on DVD or streaming services since 2005.
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