HBO brings back 'Gone With The Wind' featuring new disclaimer on slavery era south

·2-min read
American actor Clark Gable (1901 - 1960) in his role as Rhett Butler kissing the hand of a tearful Scarlett O'Hara, played by Vivien Leigh in 'Gone With The Wind'.   (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in Gone With The Wind (Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

HBO has returned Gone With The Wind to its streaming service HBO Max, including a preceding video explaining that the movie 'denies the horrors of slavery'.

The streaming platform removed the film earlier this month, issuing a statement which decried the film's 'racist depictions' of the American pre-civil war south.

The 1939 epic now comes streamed with two clips which put the movie into historical context.

Scholar and broadcaster Jacqueline Stewart presents one, saying that while movie continues to be 'one of most enduringly popular films of all time', it also 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'.

She goes on: “Producer David O Selznick 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.

A crowd gathers under the "Gone With the Wind" marquee outside the Astor Theater on Broadway during the movie's premiere in New York City on Dec. 19, 1939.  The movie also opened at the Capitol Theater a few blocks north.  (AP Photo)
A crowd gathers under the Gone With the Wind marquee outside the Astor Theater on Broadway during the movie's premiere in New York City on Dec. 19, 1939 (Credit: AP Photo)

“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.”

The second video is an hour-long panel discussion about the film's 'complicated legacy'.

The movie tells the story of cotton plantation owner's daughter Scarlett O'Hara, played by British actress Vivien Leigh, and her whirlwind romance with Clark Gable's Rhett Butler.

It was removed from HBO's streaming service after 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley argued for its removal in an article for The Los Angeles Times.

Though its legacy is troubling, it did lead to actress Hattie McDaniel, who plays the housemaid Mammy, to become the first African American woman to win an Oscar.

It also also remains the highest-grossing movie of all time, accounting for inflation.

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