Two weeks ago, HBO Max pulled one of its most famous titles — the long-contested 1939 classic Gone with the Wind, about a plantation-owning Southern family circa the Civil War — from their services, seemingly prompted by the Black Lives Matter protests that erupted all over the nation. They said it wasn’t a permanent ban, that they would bring it back, with a video introduction that shows its complicated history. And lo and behold, as per Variety, on Wednesday it was already back online.
There are actually three videos that now accompany the epic film. There’s the promised one, which features film scholar Jacqueline Stewart, who argues for “why this 1939 epic drama should be viewed in its original form, contextualized and discussed.” The second is an hour-long discussion entitled “The Complicated Legacy of ‘Gone With the Wind,’” which hails from the TCM Classic Film Festival in April 2019, and was moderated by noted historian Donald Bogle. The last is a five-minute profile of supporting player Hattie McDaniel, who, as Tara servant Mammy, became the first black person to win an Oscar.
When they first announced the film would be temporarily removed from their coffers, HBO Max said in a statement that the film was a “product of its time” that “depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society.” At the same time, they admitted that to permanently ban the film “would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.”
Gone with the Wind, which won ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture, as well as its three explanatory extras are now live.