‘Gone With the Wind’ to be re-released with new introduction

Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) embraces Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) in a famous scene from the 1939 film 'Gone with the Wind.'. Getty Images

Gone With the Wind will be returning to HBO with a new introduction by Black scholar and television host Jacqueline Stewart at an unknown date.

Last week the streaming service temporarily removed Gone With the Wind from its streaming library in order to add historical context to the 1939 film long criticized for romanticizing slavery and the Civil War-era American South.

Gone With The Wind is a product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society,” HBO Max said in a statement at the time. “These racist depictions were wrong then and are wrong today, and we felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible. These depictions are certainly counter to WarnerMedia’s values.”

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The company said that when Gone With the Wind returns to the recently launched streaming service, it will include “historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions, but will be presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.”

“If we are to create a more just, equitable and inclusive future, we must first acknowledge and understand our history,” the streaming service’s statement concluded.

In an interview with Jess Cagle on Sirius XM, WarnerMedia chairman Bob Greenblatt said, “we failed to put the disclaimer in there which basically sets up the issues that this movie really brings up.”

“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 disclaimers. And, you know, we just didn’t do that,” Greenblatt said.

Turner Classic Movies host Stewart explained in an op-ed for CNN that she will “provide an introduction placing the film in its multiple historical contexts.”

“For me, this is an opportunity to think about what classic films can teach us,” Stewart wrote. “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.”

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She said also said that it’s important for movies like Gone With the Wind to remain available for teaching moments.

“But it is precisely because of the ongoing, painful patterns of racial injustice and disregard for Black lives that Gone With the Wind should stay in circulation and remain available for viewing, analysis and discussion. Gone With the Wind is a prime text for examining expressions of white supremacy in popular culture,” Stewart wrote.

It’s unclear when Gone With the Wind will return to HBO Max. It is currently still available on Netflix in Canada.

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