About two weeks ago WarnerMedia attempted to quietly remove the Civil War drama Gone With the Wind from their HBO Max streaming service, but its absence was quickly noticed and resulted in an eruption of censorship claims. This was not the case however and Warners have been transparent since then of their intention to bring the title back to HBO Max, but with the right framework around the film so viewers have a proper context for what they're watching. Speaking at the Cannes virtual Marche, WarnerMedia Entertainment President of Business Operations and Productions Sandra Dewey confirmed the film will return "soon"
“We understand the value and historical place these films have,” Dewey said. “We think it’s important as people who are carrying messages to the public that we provide appropriate responsible messages.”
Dewey also confirmed that the film will feature an introduction by Professor of cinema studies at the University of Chicago and host of Turner Classic Movies, Jacqueline Stewart upon its return. Stewart penned an op-ed on CNN after the film was removed from HBO Max about why the film should be seen, but why it should be viewed in the proper historical context
"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."
She also added, "As the current debates about putting up, taking down, and contextualizing Gone with the Wind make clear, it is a film that continues to expose deep fissures in our interpretations of American history, film history and the relationship between the two. The film has loyal fans, and it has vocal critics who critique its version of Southern history with the same language Black activists used when they picketed the film 80 years ago. But as I saw at a jam-packed panel discussion on "The Complicated Legacy of 'Gone with the Wind'" at the 2019 TCM Classic Film Festival, there are people who love the film, and others who love to hate it, and still others who are nonetheless curious about how other folks respond to it."
Chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment Robert Greenblatt previously teased that the panel discussion which Stewart referenced would also be available for viewing on the HBO Max platform, revealing in an interview with Sirius XM: "I think a year or so ago they did a very detailed panel discussion about all these issues and I think it runs for about an hour. They filmed it and we're going to bring that into the platform as well. So yes, this is a complicated film, undeniably one of the most watched movies of all time and most award winning, and it has these issues which are not insignificant, especially at this moment of the world that we're in right now. We really do want to put the right context around it."
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