HBO Max will soon bring back the American historical drama ‘Gone With The Wind’ after it unceremoniously took it down last week. The film will now contain an introduction from Jacqueline Stewart, a TCM host and professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago.
Even though the date of return has not been disclosed yet, Stewart announced in an op-ed called “Why we can’t turn away from ‘Gone with the Wind”’ published by CNN that she will provide a special introduction for the film. “For me, this is an opportunity to think about what classic films can teach us. Right now, people are turning to movies for racial re-education, and the top-selling books on Amazon are about anti-racism and racial inequality.”
“If people are really doing their homework, we may be poised to have our most informed, honest, and productive national conversations yet about Black lives on screen and off,” she added.
The 1939 classic was temporarily pulled from HBO Max’s lineup in the wake of screenwriter-director-novelist John Ridley’s essay which called out the streaming service for continuing to air the movie despite its racial insinuations. The essay came following George Floyd’s tragic death and the ensuing BLM protests.
Greenblatt, chairman of WarnerMedia which owns HBO Max, said that removing the movie was “a no brainer” but affirmed that it would soon return with a disclaimer. “We failed to put the disclaimer in there which basically sets up the issues that this movie really brings up,” said Greenblatt. “We took it off and we’re going to bring it back with the proper context. It’s what we should have done. I don’t regret taking it down for a second. I only wish we had put it up in the first place with the disclaimer.”
The blockbuster movie was also set for a special screening at a top-class theatre in Paris on June 23, to commemorate the re-opening of theatres after a three-month corona imposed hiatus. However, WarnerBros shelved its distribution and the move was highly criticized by French Cultural Minister Franck Riester. “The pulling of ‘Gone with the Wind’ is incomprehensible and inadmissible,” Riester said. “France will always defend the freedom of creation and dissemination of works. Like equality, it is the heart of our values.”
‘Gone With The Wind’ broke many records and is still the highest grossing film of all time, adjusted for inflation. Winning 10 Oscars including Best Picture, it created history when Hattie Macdaniel won the Academy Award for the Best Supporting Actress and became the first-ever Black actress to get a nomination and receive the accolade. Despite its raging success, the film has always attracted a lot of controversy for its idealized depiction of the Civil War era and the glorification of slavery.