Blazing Saddles is streaming on HBO Max — but it's now accompanied by an intro disclaimer.
The 1974 Western spoof famously features explicit racism, but its content has long been viewed as satire and subversion of the behaviour it depicts. Streamer HBO Max has now added a three-minute intro to the film to address its context and its "racist language and attitudes."
Blazing Saddles: HBO Max's new intro
The Blazing Saddles intro comes from film scholar Jacqueline Stewart, who earlier provided educational information for HBO Max's version of Gone with the Wind. In her Blazing Saddles message, Stewart says:
"This movie is an overt and audacious spoof on classic Westerns. It's as provocative today as it was when it premiered back in 1974.
"As the storyline implies the issue of race is front and center in Blazing Saddles. And racist language and attitudes pervade the film," she continues.
"Those attitudes are espoused by characters who are explicitly portrayed here as narrow-minded, ignorant bigots. The film's real and much more enlightened perspective is represented by the two main characters," Stewart says of Gene Wilder and Cleavon Little's characters.
HBO Max adds intros to Gone with the Wind, Blazing Saddles
It's not known when HBO Max added the intro to Blazing Saddles, but it does now automatically play upon watching the title. In a statement reported by THR, an HBO Max spokeswoman said: "The intro was added to ensure that the film was put into the proper social context."
In the intro, Stewart also notes Richard Pryor's involvement in writing Blazing Saddles, describing his talents and director Mel Brooks's style as "honest yet entertaining criticism."
HBO Max, the recently launched streamer, made headlines in June when it pulled Gone with the Wind amid a revival of criticism against the film's relationship with racial inequalities. The at-once beloved and controversial film was returned a few weeks later with a message by Stewart, akin to the one now present on Blazing Saddles.