'Gone With the Wind' Returns to HBO Max, But With Added Context

After significant controversy, Gone with the Wind has returned to HBO Max. However, the Civil War-era drama now has some extra commentary to put the film in a better context for today's audiences, according to Variety. The film was temporarily pulled earlier in June amid global civil rights protests, calling for racial equality and an end to racist institutions that have taken root in the U.S.

The first video features TCM host and film scholar Jacqueline Stewart, who discusses "why this 1939 epic drama should be viewed in its original form, contextualized and discussed." Stewart calls the Oscar-winner "one of most enduringly popular films of all time." However, she goes on to say that "the film has been repeatedly protested, dating back the announcement of its production." As far as the film itself, she says it 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."

Stewart, a professor of film and media studies at the University of Chicago, also addresses the film's producer, David O. Selznick, saying he "was well aware that Black audiences were deeply concerned about the film's handling of the topic of slavery and its treatment of Black characters." Stewart also added that "the film's treatment of this world through a lens of nostalgia denies the horrors of slavery, as well as its legacies of racial inequality."

Along with her criticism of the film's portrayal of slavery, she also notes that the Black cast members were not allowed to attend the movie's premiere due to Georgia's Jim Crow segregation laws. She also speaks about Hattie McDaniel, who was the first African-American person to ever win an Academy Award for her portrayal of the servant Mammy in the film, was not allowed to sit with the other cast members at the Oscars the following year.


The second video is a one-hour video panel discussion titled The Complicated Legacy of Gone With the Wind. The panel itself was held at the TCM Classic Film Festival in April 2019, which was moderated by author and historian Donald Bogle.

Gone with the Wind isn't the only cultural institution that's being re-examined as the protests continue. Food mascots like Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben are going to be redesigned entirely, while several cop-oriented reality programs have been canceled. The procedurals that will remain on the air have stated that they will acknowledge the changing world around them.