The children’s version of a dog-themed Blazing Saddles might finally hit theaters in 2021, but the original version of the Mel Brooks classic is definitely not for kids. And in 2020, watching it on a streaming service will come with a bit more added context on HBO Max.
The Hollywood Reporter noted on Thursday that Blazing Saddles, the 1974 parody western from Brooks and Richard Pryor, has gotten a content warning added to it while streaming on HBO Max. It’s unclear exactly when the warning was added, but it definitely came in the wake of many services examining racially sensitive content and the depiction of blackface in light of massive protests against racial inequality and police brutality that have swept the nation this summer.
As THR reported, an HBO Max spokeswoman said the introduction puts the film in the “proper social context” necessary to explain that the film’s racism and bigotry is part of the larger parody of the genre and its own inherent racism.
TCM host and University of Chicago cinema and media studies professor Jacqueline Stewart provides the intro to Blazing Saddles. She also did the intro for Gone With the Wind.
A little more than three-minutes long, Stewart’s intro puts the bigotry and racist language in context, the host saying, “as the storyline implies the issue of race is front and center in Blazing Saddles. And racist language and attitudes pervade the film. But those attitudes are espoused by characters who are portrayed here as explicitly small-minded, ignorant bigots. The real, and much more enlightened perspective, is provided by the main characters played by Cleveland Little and Gene Wilder.”
It’s the latest film spotted on the service to have a content warning of sorts, as Gone With The Wind‘s considerably racism and derogatory plot points also garnered the 1939 film a warning earlier this year. It was part of a larger movement among streaming services to either provide context for racist depictions or remove them altogether, such as the variety of shows that saw episodes depicting blackface taken out of streaming libraries this summer.