And just like that, Rhett and Scarlett are back in action. On Wednesday, June 24, HBO Max returned Gone With the Wind to its streaming library, with a new introduction highlighting the film’s problematic depiction of the Antebellum South from film scholar Jacqueline Stewart. Stewart, who hosts Turner Classic Movie’s “Silent Sunday Nights” and is a professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago, now provides a four-and-a-half minute prologue unpacking the racism inherent in the film and its cultural legacy. In her introduction, Stewart states that Gone With the Wind “was not universally praised” when it debuted despite its many accolades, and that the film ultimately depicts 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.”
Earlier this month, HBO Max temporarily removed Gone With the Wind from its catalogue after facing intense criticism for its decision to include the film on the streaming platform, sparking a cultural debate as to how the entertainment industry should deal with its long history of producing problematic and racist content. In her Gone With The Wind introduction, Stewart makes a case for why the film should be available to modern viewers, admitting that watching Gone with The Wind may be “uncomfortable, even painful.” Ultimately, she states that “it is important that classic Hollywood films are available to us in their original form” in order to “invite viewers to reflect on their own beliefs when watching them now.” You can once again watch Hattie Mcdaniel’s Oscar winning performance, now with more context about the racism deeply embedded in said film.
Update, June 26: Turner Classic Movies, another WarnerMedia-owned cable network, uploaded the clip to YouTube today. You can watch the intro in its entirety below.